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Who’s the best small forward in Maryland basketball history?

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Keeping it moving.

Maryland Athletics

Last summer, we ran a series of polls to determine the best players in Maryland football history by position, which gave us a fan-voted all-time Terps team. We’re running it back this summer, but with basketball. 2002 NCAA Champions Steve Blake was voted the best point guard and Juan Dixon was chosen as the best shooting guard and now it’s time for the small forwards.

For the purpose of this poll, the only players considered were those that played small forward at the college level. We’ll provide a little more clarification this week about those not considered. Every now and then, the Terps have featured some star swingmen, and even a generational talent.

Here are our nominees, ordered alphabetically. Vote and let us know your favorites in the comments.

Len Bias

A four-year player that blossomed into a two-time ACC Player of the Year, Bias will always be remembered as one of the program’s best. He took a backseat to Adrian Branch his freshman season, before taking over the scoring mantle. After leading the Terps to a conference crown in 1984, Bias led the ACC in scoring with 18.9 points a night and was tabbed First Team All-ACC and Second Team All-America in 1985. In his senior season, he repeated as conference player of the year and first team all-conference as well as earning First Team All-American honors. Bias sits third all-time in career points with 2,149 and No. 12 in rebounds with 745. He was drafted No. 2 overall in 1986 by the Boston Celtics, but died of cocaine overdose two days later.

Keith Booth

A top-notch rebounder and lethal scorer, Booth spent four seasons at Maryland and found himself on an all-conference list each one. The Baltimore native earned honorable mention his first two seasons, and continued to improve his junior and senior seasons, earning a third-team nod his junior season and First-team recognition as a senior. Booth also led the program to two Sweet 16 runs, and earned Third Team All-America honors as a senior in 1997. His 916 career rebounds sit ninth in program history. He was drafted in the first round by the reigning-champion Chicago Bulls and played two seasons, getting a ring in 1998. He’d later return to Maryland as an assistant coach under Gary Williams from 2004, until Williams’ retirement in 2011.

Bob Kessler

Kessler played just three seasons at Maryland from 1954-56, and was one of the program’s earliest stars. A 6’4 forward, Kessler was versatile as both a scorer and rebounder and bloomed quickly. After averaging 9.7 points a game as a freshman, he turned a switch and averaged over 20 points and 10 rebounds in each of his final two seasons, leading the team in both categories. He earned two Second Team All-ACC selections for his efforts and was drafted No. 14 overall in the second round of the 1956 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons. He never suited up for the club.

Gary Ward

Nicknamed “Spider,” Ward had a sweet outside touch in a time before three-point lines. He was a high-level scorer and rebounder at 6’5, averaging 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds over three seasons with the Terps and a double-double in 1965. He holds the eighth-highest career scoring average in program history and earned an NBA draft selection, but never cracked a roster.

Walt Williams

A 6’8 swingman, Williams is credited as the first star under Gary Williams. After Gary Williams’ predecessor, Bob Wade, left the program in disarray, Walt could have left after his freshman season in 1989 with Maryland facing sanctions. Instead he went on to blossom under the new coach, exhibiting versatility and elite scoring. Williams put it all together as a senior for one of the best seasons in program history. He earned First Team All-ACC and Second Team All-American honors in 1992, after averaging a program record 26.8 points, as well as 5.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Williams went on to be drafted No. 7 overall by the Sacramento Kings in 1992 and play 11 NBA seasons, before returning to his alma mater as a sideline reporter for the Terps.

Honorable mentions: Ernest Graham, Jake Layman, Laron Profit, Dez Wells, Will Hetzel
Considered as shooting guards: Albert King, Adrian Branch
Considered as power forwards: Buck Williams, Nik Caner-Medley

Poll

Who do you think is the best small forward in Maryland history?

This poll is closed

  • 89%
    Len Bias
    (1993 votes)
  • 2%
    Keith Booth
    (50 votes)
  • 0%
    Bob Kessler
    (4 votes)
  • 0%
    Gary Ward
    (4 votes)
  • 7%
    Walt Williams
    (161 votes)
  • 0%
    Other—comment your answer
    (8 votes)
2220 votes total Vote Now