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Welcome to Maryland men’s basketball bracket madness

A 64-player tournament to decide the greatest Terp of them all.

Maryland Terrapins Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

In a normal world, this would be the back end of bracket season. The NCAA Tournament would be complete, and so would everyone else’s brackets of things like movies, songs and foods. This, of course, is not a normal world. There was no NCAA Tournament. We’re almost all stuck at home during a pandemic. And many of us haven’t gotten our fill of brackets.

With that in mind, I drew up a bracket of 64 all-time Maryland basketball players. The idea hatched a couple weeks ago, and we’ve built toward making it reality throughout this week. I’m still not sure if it’s a good idea, but I’m eager to find out.

I thought about combining men and women like ESPN. I thought about doing all sports. But I think we’ll do a separate women’s bracket after this, and maybe football and Olympic sport brackets even later. We’re going to be starved for content on this site for a while, and this seems like a constructive way to pass the time.

So let’s jump in.

The method

This bracket isn’t “seeded,” necessarily. I didn’t want 90 percent of the feedback on this to be complaints about seeding, which would’ve been the case no matter how much work I put into it. Instead, I stratified the field into four tiers, with those in the highest tier earning first-round matchups against those in the lowest. The top 16 does have some order to it — I didn’t want, say, Juan Dixon and John Lucas matched up in the second round — but there’s no practical difference between a No. 5 and No. 8 seed, really.

I don’t expect a ton of “upsets” in this fan-voted bracket. We all have an idea of which names will still be standing in the end. But along the way, let’s give some players on the second and third tier of Maryland greatness the shine they deserve. Let’s have some fun with it.

The criteria

There’s no perfect science for stratifying this field. It’s hard to compare the guys with solid four-year careers to the one-season wonders. Per-game stats are a good starting point, although I emphasized years in which a player started because several guys’ career averages are pulled down by a season or two on the bench.

Vote based on whatever criteria you desire. Who had the better career? Who was better at his best? Who was your favorite? Who do you still remember after all these years? These are all valid. You can even take pro success into account, although my blurbs about each guy won’t mention that.

Votes will be added up between ones directly in this article and votes on Twitter to decide who will be moving on from each round.

The field

Here are 64 very good Maryland basketball players from the last 62 seasons. I’d love to show more love to the Terps’ early years, but there are no stats available from before the 1947-48 season. The field includes 28 players from the backcourt and 36 from the frontcourt — I feel like I left some deserving forwards out but like this distribution. Specific positions won’t really matter in the bracket, although they are mentioned below.

Point guards (13) — Steve Blake, Anthony Cowan Jr., Brad Davis, Nick Davis, Keith Gatlin, John Gilchrist, Eric Hayes, John Lucas, Greg Manning, Kevin McLinton, Duane Simpkins, Greivis Vasquez

Guards (15) — Adrian Branch, Juan Dixon, Steve Francis, Mo Howard, Kevin Huerter, Albert King, Sarunas Jasikevicius, Chris McCray, Byron Mouton, Drew Nicholas, Johnny Rhodes, Gene Shue, Terrell Stoglin, DJ Strawberry, Dez Wells

Forwards (21) — Len Bias, Keith Booth, Evers Burns, Nik Caner-Medley, Rodney Elliott, James Gist, Ernest Graham, Will Hetzel, Bob Kessler, Jake Layman, Derrick Lewis, Jay McMillen, Charles McNeil, Terence Morris, Jim O’Brien, Laron Profit, Steve Sheppard, Gary Ward, Chris Wilcox, Buck Williams, Walt Williams

Centers (15) — Lonny Baxter, Lee Brawley, Al Bunge, Ben Coleman, Len Elmore, Bruno Fernando, Larry Gibson, Alex Len, Cedric Lewis, Tony Massenburg, Tom McMillen, Jerrod Mustaf, Tom Roy, Jalen Smith, Joe Smith, Jordan Williams

Honorable mentions who may or may not have been in previous versions of this field: Lawrence Boston, Obinna Ekezie, Exree Hipp, Ekene Ibekwe, Mike Jones, Landon Milbourne, Tom Roy, Diamond Stone, Tom Young

The voting period

Round 1 voting is open now and will last through the weekend. Second-round voting will start Monday, April 13.

Make sure this page is in a browser so the polls appear on your screen. We’ll also have voting on Twitter over the next couple days, and votes will be combined across the two platforms. Those of you who hang with us in both places will have two chances to make your voice heard.

Brace yourself. Maybe get up and stretch. We’ve got a big pile of polls for you.

The bracket

The matchups

Len Bias (1982-86) — The two-time ACC Player of the Year is third in Terps history with 2,149 points. He averaged 19.1 points and 6.4 rebounds in three years as a full-time starter, including 23.2 and 7.0 as a senior.

Rodney Elliott (1994-98) — Started on two NCAA Tournament teams and averaged 15 points and 7.4 boards in his senior campaign.


Round 1: Len Bias vs. Rodney Elliott

This poll is closed

  • 99%
    Len Bias
    (1084 votes)
  • 0%
    Rodney Elliott
    (8 votes)
1092 votes total Vote Now

Derrick Lewis (1984-88) — Maryland’s career leader by far with 339 blocks (2.7 per game). Four-year starter who dominated his last two seasons, averaging 17.1 points and 8.5 rebounds from 1986-88.

Greg Manning (1977-81) — Averaged double-digit scoring all four years, finishing with 13.2 points per game for his career on 58.3 percent shooting.


Round 1: Derrick Lewis vs. Greg Manning

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Derrick Lewis
    (723 votes)
  • 30%
    Greg Manning
    (314 votes)
1037 votes total Vote Now

Anthony Cowan Jr. (2016-20) — Started all 130 games he played at Maryland, averaging 14.9 points and 4.5 assists for his career. When the 2020 postseason was canceled, he was seventh in scoring (1,881 points), fifth in assists (584) and first in made free throws (579). Leads Maryland in consecutive games started.

Jerrod Mustaf (1988-90) — In just two seasons, averaged 16.6 points and 7.7 rebounds. His 18.5 points per game in 1989-90 earned him All-ACC honors.


Round 1: Anthony Cowan Jr. vs. Jerrod Mustaf

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Anthony Cowan Jr.
    (1003 votes)
  • 8%
    Jerrod Mustaf
    (91 votes)
1094 votes total Vote Now

Ernest Graham (1977-81) — Do-it-all player in his last three seasons, averaging 15.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals as a full-time starter. His 44 points against NC State in 1978 are still a single-game school record.

Alex Len (2011-13) — Posted 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds in just 26.4 minutes per game as a sophomore, then left to become an NBA lottery pick.


Round 1: Ernest Graham vs. Alex Len

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Ernest Graham
    (923 votes)
  • 14%
    Alex Len
    (158 votes)
1081 votes total Vote Now

Walt Williams (1988-92) — Averaged 19.2 points over three seasons as a full-time starter. His 26.8 points per game as a senior remains the program single-season record by a wide margin. He earned consensus All-American honors that year.

Drew Nicholas (1999-2003) — Excelled as the sixth man on Maryland’s 2002 championship team, then averaged a team-high 17.8 points per game as a senior in 2002-03.


Round 1: Walt Williams vs. Drew Nicholas

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Walt Williams
    (1047 votes)
  • 3%
    Drew Nicholas
    (38 votes)
1085 votes total Vote Now

Laron Profit (1995-99) — In three years as a starter, he tallied 14.4 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game. His 252 career steals are third in program history.

DJ Strawberry (2003-07) — Became a full-time starter as a junior; averaged 12.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.9 steals in his final two seasons.


Round 1: Laron Profit vs. DJ Strawberry

This poll is closed

  • 82%
    Laron Profit
    (880 votes)
  • 17%
    DJ Strawberry
    (191 votes)
1071 votes total Vote Now

Albert King (1977-81) — Four-year starter is the only Terp with at least 2,000 career points, 700 rebounds and 300 assists. Maryland’s first ACC Player of the Year in 1980, when he recorded 21.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Career averages of 17.4 points and 6.1 boards.

Jordan Williams (2009-11) — Averaged 13.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in two seasons, one of just five Terps to finish his career with over 10 rebounds per game. Tallied 16.9 points and 11.8 boards as a sophomore.


Round 1: Albert King vs. Jordan Williams

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Albert King
    (1023 votes)
  • 4%
    Jordan Williams
    (46 votes)
1069 votes total Vote Now

Tony Massenburg (1985-90) — Recorded 18 points and 10.1 rebounds per game as a senior, and averaged 17.3 and 9.0 across his final two seasons.

Ben Coleman (1982-84) — Finished career at Maryland after transferring from Minnesota. Averaged 15.2 points and 8.2 rebounds in his two years with the Terps.


Round 1: Tony Massenburg vs. Ben Coleman

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Tony Massenburg
    (886 votes)
  • 14%
    Ben Coleman
    (151 votes)
1037 votes total Vote Now

Joe Smith (1993-95) — Averaged 20.2 points and 10.7 rebounds in two dominant seasons. Became Maryland’s only Naismith Award winner in 1995. Program leader with 3.0 blocks per game, adding 1.5 steals for good measure.

Cedric Lewis (1987-91) — Only a regular starter for one season, but he made it count, averaging 11.9 points, 8.3 boards and a school record-shattering 5.1 blocks as a senior.


Round 1: Joe Smith vs. Cedric Lewis

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Joe Smith
    (1041 votes)
  • 3%
    Cedric Lewis
    (42 votes)
1083 votes total Vote Now

Chris Wilcox (2000-02) — After coming off the bench as a rookie, averaged 12 points and 7.1 rebounds on Maryland’s 2002 championship team. Earned All-NCAA Tournament honors before leaving for the NBA.

Bruno Fernando (2017-19) — Showed flashes as a freshman, then tallied 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds and 1.9 blocks as an All-Big Ten sophomore. Produced 24 points and 28 rebounds in two NCAA Tournament performances.


Round 1: Chris Wilcox vs. Bruno Fernando

This poll is closed

  • 60%
    Chris Wilcox
    (652 votes)
  • 39%
    Bruno Fernando
    (422 votes)
1074 votes total Vote Now

Adrian Branch (1981-85) — Four-year starter averaged 16.2 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest in his career. Fifth in school history with 2,017 points. Two-time All-ACC honoree.

Lee Brawley (1948-52) — The oldest player in this field averaged 12.6 points in his career (13.9 his last three seasons). No field-goal shooting numbers for his second season, and no rebound or assist numbers available at all.


Round 1: Adrian Branch vs. Lee Brawley

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Adrian Branch
    (1027 votes)
  • 1%
    Lee Brawley
    (20 votes)
1047 votes total Vote Now

Terence Morris (1997-2001) — Fifth in school history with 925 career rebounds and 12th with 1,733 points. Averaged 14.4 points and 7.8 boards as a three-year All-ACC starter. Starting power forward on the 2001 Final Four squad.

Gary Ward (1963-66) — Averaged 16.8 points and 9.5 rebounds in three seasons, earning All-ACC honors as a senior. Career 78.2 percent foul shooter, excellent for the era.


Round 1: Terence Morris vs. Gary Ward

This poll is closed

  • 85%
    Terence Morris
    (877 votes)
  • 14%
    Gary Ward
    (152 votes)
1029 votes total Vote Now

Tom McMillen (1971-74) — Earned All-ACC honors all three seasons, averaging 20.5 points and 9.8 rebounds. Consensus All-American in 1973. Remains Maryland’s career leader in scoring average, and ninth all-time with 1,809 points.

Charles McNeil (1957-60) — Averaged 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds as a Terp, earning All-ACC honors in 1959. Played only four games in his final season, preventing him from threatening the 1,000-point plateau.


Round 1: Tom McMillen vs. Charles McNeil

This poll is closed

  • 98%
    Tom McMillen
    (1013 votes)
  • 1%
    Charles McNeil
    (18 votes)
1031 votes total Vote Now

Terrell Stoglin (2010-12) — Made a mark in his two seasons, joining the 1,000-point club in just 65 games. His 21.2 points per game in 2011-12 are the most by a Terp in the last 28 years.

Jake Layman (2012-16) — His 141 games played are tied for most in school history. Top 20 in career points (1,436) and rebounds (674). Helped lead Maryland to consecutive NCAA Tournaments his last two years.


Round 1: Terrell Stoglin vs. Jake Layman

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    Terrell Stoglin
    (134 votes)
  • 87%
    Jake Layman
    (927 votes)
1061 votes total Vote Now

Greivis Vasquez (2006-10) — Second in program history with 2,171 points (16 per game) and 772 assists (5.7 per game). Averaged 19.6 points and 6.3 dimes as a senior to earn ACC Player of the Year honors.

Sarunas Jasikevicius (1994-98) — Impact starter his final two seasons, averaging 11.5 points, 3.4 assists and 1.2 steals as a junior and senior. Made 37.5 percent of his career three-point attempts.


Round 1: Greivis Vasquez vs. Sarunas Jasikevicius

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Greivis Vasquez
    (1021 votes)
  • 3%
    Sarunas Jasikevicius
    (39 votes)
1060 votes total Vote Now

Gene Shue (1951-54) — Maryland’s first (recorded) scorer extraordinaire, averaging 22.1 and 21.5 points in his last two seasons. Still third in career scoring average with two of Maryland’s top five scoring seasons.

Al Bunge (1957-60) — Averaged 12.4 points and 10.6 rebounds in his career, including 16.7 and 12.6 in his All-ACC final season. Remains fourth in career rebounding average and top-10 in total boards.


Round 1: Gene Shue vs. Al Bunge

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    Gene Shue
    (956 votes)
  • 5%
    Al Bunge
    (58 votes)
1014 votes total Vote Now

Juan Dixon (1998-2002) — Maryland’s all-time leading scorer with 2,269 points (16.1 per game) and the Most Outstanding Player of the 2002 NCAA Tournament, leading the Terps to their only national title.

Nick Davis (1955-58) — Averaged 12.7 and 12.8 points per game in his final two seasons. MVP of the 1958 ACC Tournament.


Round 1: Juan Dixon vs. Nick Davis

This poll is closed

  • 99%
    Juan Dixon
    (1055 votes)
  • 0%
    Nick Davis
    (3 votes)
1058 votes total Vote Now

Jalen Smith (2018-20) — Started all 64 games in his two seasons, notching 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game as a sophomore en route to All-Big Ten nods. Named a Third Team All-American, the first Terp to do since Vasquez. Now off to the NBA.

Dez Wells (2012-15) — Spent final three seasons at Maryland after transferring from Xavier. Posted averages of 14.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a Terp.


Round 1: Jalen Smith vs. Dez Wells

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    Jalen Smith
    (764 votes)
  • 27%
    Dez Wells
    (292 votes)
1056 votes total Vote Now

Melo Trimble (2014-17) — Started all 104 games in his three seasons. Averaged 15.9 points, 3.9 assists and 3.7 rebounds per contest. Third in program history with 503 made free throws (on 84.3 percent shooting).

Nik Caner-Medley (2002-06) — Started 113 games across four seasons, averaging 14.5 points and 5.7 rebounds over his last three. Top 25 in program history for both points and rebounds.


Round 1: Melo Trimble vs. Nik Caner-Medley

This poll is closed

  • 90%
    Melo Trimble
    (959 votes)
  • 9%
    Nik Caner-Medley
    (96 votes)
1055 votes total Vote Now

Johnny Rhodes (1992-96) — Program leader with 344 career steals (2.8 per game). Also top-15 in school history for points (1,743), rebounds (704) and assists (437). Averaged 14.3 points for his career.

Kevin McLinton (1989-93) — In three years as a starter, averaged 11.8 points, 5.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals. Career-high 15.8 points, 6.3 dimes as a senior.


Round 1: Johnny Rhodes vs. Kevin McLinton

This poll is closed

  • 94%
    Johnny Rhodes
    (975 votes)
  • 5%
    Kevin McLinton
    (56 votes)
1031 votes total Vote Now

Buck Williams (1978-81) — Averaged a double-double all three seasons, finishing career with 13.6 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Shot an astounding 61.5 percent from the floor. Two-time All-ACC selection.

James Gist (2004-08) — Saw his role expand each of his four years, starting full-time in his last two and averaging 15.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks as an All-ACC senior.


Round 1: Buck Williams vs. James Gist

This poll is closed

  • 93%
    Buck Williams
    (964 votes)
  • 6%
    James Gist
    (72 votes)
1036 votes total Vote Now

Bob Kessler (1953-56) — Stood just 6’4, but averaged 20.4 points and 12.5 rebounds in his final two seasons. Only Terp to average 20 and 10 twice.

Kevin Huerter (2016-18) — Turned pro after averaging 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists as a sophomore. Shot 39.4 percent on 3-pointers as a Terp.


Round 1: Bob Kessler vs. Kevin Huerter

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    Bob Kessler
    (459 votes)
  • 56%
    Kevin Huerter
    (588 votes)
1047 votes total Vote Now

Len Elmore (1971-74) — A consensus All-American in 1974 with 14.6 points and a program-record 14.7 rebounds per game. Averaged 11.8 and 12.6 in his Maryland career. Blocks weren’t yet counted.

Duane Simpkins (1992-96) — Started his final three years, tallying 11.4 points and 4.6 assists per game over that time. Career 40.6 percent 3-point shooter.


Round 1: Len Elmore vs. Duane Simpkins

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Len Elmore
    (1005 votes)
  • 2%
    Duane Simpkins
    (23 votes)
1028 votes total Vote Now

Brad Davis (1974-77) — Started all three years and averaged 12.2 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Two-time All-ACC selection.

Jay McMillen (1964-67) — Averaged 17.3 points and 7.2 rebounds in his three seasons. All-ACC in 1965, when he tallied 19.7 points per contest.


Round 1: Brad Davis vs. Jay McMillen

This poll is closed

  • 59%
    Brad Davis
    (588 votes)
  • 40%
    Jay McMillen
    (396 votes)
984 votes total Vote Now

John Lucas (1972-76) — The two-time consensus All-American was the first Terp to eclipse 2,000 career points and Maryland’s first No. 1 NBA Draft pick. He averaged 18.3 points and 4.7 assists for his career.

Eric Hayes (2006-10) — Started 95 games across his four seasons, averaging 11.3 points and 4.0 assists as a senior. Finished his career shooting 40.5 percent from deep and 87 percent from the foul line.


Round 1: John Lucas vs. Eric Hayes

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    John Lucas
    (986 votes)
  • 3%
    Eric Hayes
    (38 votes)
1024 votes total Vote Now

Will Hetzel (1967-70) — Turned in three dominant seasons, making two All-ACC teams. His 23.3 points per game in 1968-69 stood as the program record for 23 years, and he also averaged 12.2 rebounds that year.

Mo Howard (1972-76) — In three years as a regular contributor, averaged 13 points per game on 56.3 percent field goal shooting. All-ACC selection in 1974-75.


Round 1: Will Hetzel vs. Mo Howard

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Will Hetzel
    (652 votes)
  • 32%
    Mo Howard
    (321 votes)
973 votes total Vote Now

Steve Francis (1998-99) — Dazzled in his lone year with the Terps, notching 17 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.8 steals per contest. Consensus All-American led his team to the Sweet 16.

Byron Mouton (2000-02) — Started for two Final Four teams after transferring from Tulane, including the 2002 championship squad. Averaged 11.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in his triumphant senior season.


Round 1: Steve Francis vs. Byron Mouton

This poll is closed

  • 75%
    Steve Francis
    (781 votes)
  • 24%
    Byron Mouton
    (250 votes)
1031 votes total Vote Now

Keith Booth (1993-97) — Appeared in 126 games, starting all of them. Scored in double figures all four seasons, highlighted by his 19.5 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.0 steals as a senior in 1996-97. Two All-ACC appearances.

Larry Gibson (1975-79) — Four-year starter averaged 11.8 points and 8.9 rebounds. His 895 career rebounds are seventh in school history, and his 32 double-doubles rank sixth.


Round 1: Keith Booth vs. Larry Gibson

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Keith Booth
    (962 votes)
  • 4%
    Larry Gibson
    (43 votes)
1005 votes total Vote Now

Steve Blake (1999-2003) — The lead facilitator of Maryland’s Final Four and championship teams. His 136 starts, 972 assists and 7.0 assists per game are all program records. Led Maryland to Sweet 16 in senior season.

Jim O’Brien (1970-73) — All-ACC as a rookie in 1970-71, when he averaged 16.3 points and 7.8 rebounds. Finished his career averaging 14.9 points, 5.7 boards and 2.9 assists.


Round 1: Steve Blake vs. Jim O’Brien

This poll is closed

  • 96%
    Steve Blake
    (980 votes)
  • 3%
    Jim O’Brien
    (37 votes)
1017 votes total Vote Now

Keith Gatlin (1983-88) — Third in school history with 649 assists (5.3 per game) and scored 1,087 points in 122 games. After missing 1986-87 for academic reasons, returned to average 12.2 points as a senior. In his lone season playing with a three-point line, he made 49.6 percent of his attempts, still a program record.

Chris McCray (2002-06) — A regular starter his last three years, averaging 13.1 points, 3.9 boards, 3.1 assists and 1.8 steals in that span. Was averaging 15.2 points as a senior before being ruled academically ineligible.


Round 1: Keith Gatlin vs. Chris McCray

This poll is closed

  • 91%
    Keith Gatlin
    (907 votes)
  • 8%
    Chris McCray
    (80 votes)
987 votes total Vote Now

Lonny Baxter (1998-2002) — Averaged 15.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in his final three seasons, which culminated with the 2002 title. Eighth in program history in points (1,859) and second in rebounds (998).

Evers Burns (1989-93) — Spent two years as a role player before breaking out as an upperclassman. Tallied 18.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per game as a senior.


Round 1: Lonny Baxter vs. Evers Burns

This poll is closed

  • 97%
    Lonny Baxter
    (986 votes)
  • 2%
    Evers Burns
    (23 votes)
1009 votes total Vote Now

John Gilchrist (2002-05) — Best known as MVP of the 2004 ACC Tournament. Started two seasons, averaging 14.7 points, 5.2 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game those years.

Steve Sheppard (1974-77) — Turned in three strong seasons at Maryland, notching 16 points and 7.7 rebounds per contest. Also averaged 1.4 steals the first year those were recorded.


Round 1: John Gilchrist vs. Steve Sheppard

This poll is closed

  • 66%
    John Gilchrist
    (662 votes)
  • 33%
    Steve Sheppard
    (336 votes)
998 votes total Vote Now