Baxter has evolved into the ACC's second-leading rebounder. Juan Dixon the second-leading scorer. And freshman point guard Steve Blake has helped steady both the transition game and Williams' oft-maligned half-court offense.
"Blake does a good job getting the ball where it needs to be, when it needs to be there," Bonner said. "But it's not just Blake. Maryland does as good a job feeding the ball into the post as any team in the league."
As with the half-court defense, Williams said the half-court offense has improved out of necessity. With Steve Francis and Laron Profit now in the NBA, Maryland can't always play an up-tempo style.
"We're better in the half-court because we know we have to be," Williams said. "Last year we felt we could score off transition, score off traps. The urgency wasn't there to run a good half-court offense."
But the urgency is there now. The Terps ran numerous options off their basic flex offense in their 98-87 victory at Duke, and attained their highest point total against the Blue Devils since the 1982-83 season.
Bonner said a team can't help but succeed in the half-court when it has an outside threat like Dixon to complement an inside force like Baxter. And Morris, while not dominant, is all over the stat sheet, ranking in the ACC top 10 in five categories.
"Last year when they went into the St. John's game and got ignominiously defeated, I would have bet money that this was the high point of Gary Williams' career, and it would start to go downward," Baker said.
Instead, Williams came back hungrier, and so did his team. Odom said he can sense Maryland's passion "night in and night out." All of Williams' teams play hard, but this one does it with such consistency, effort is never an issue.
Is this his best coaching job? Time will tell. Williams is proud that his early teams at Maryland competed hard under NCAA sanctions. He is proud that last year's team posted a school-record 28 victories. But this team is a different type of Williams team, and it continues to win, anyway.
What greater satisfaction can there be for a coach?