Freshman Collins denies he will seek transfer from UM

Point guard `to compete' with incoming Gilchrist

Williams remembers year 1

Final Four notebook

April 02, 2002|By Gary Lambrecht, Christian Ewell and Ken Murray | Gary Lambrecht, Christian Ewell and Ken Murray,SUN STAFF

ATLANTA - Maryland freshman point guard Andre Collins denied rumors that he was considering asking for a release from his scholarship to transfer to another school.

Collins, who has played sparingly behind Steve Blake and Drew Nicholas this season, could find himself stuck in a logjam at point guard with the arrival of heralded recruit John Gilchrist next fall. Blake will be a senior.

"I'm not leaving. I'm not wanting to leave. I'm going to continue to compete and play," said Collins, who has averaged 2.2 points and 3.8 minutes this season.

"With Gilchrist coming in, he's going to be a freshman just like I was. He has to learn the Maryland system just like I did. I'm not worried about it all. Coach [Gary Williams] is going to play his best players."

Collins starred at Crisfield High School, where he led the school to a Class 1A state title. He attended Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy for a year before coming to Maryland.

"I wouldn't trade this for anything," Collins said of the Final Four he's been a part of this season."It gets no better than this. There's no way I'm transferring."

Fond four

Maryland center Lonny Baxter and shooting guard Juan Dixon stayed around to fulfill their senior seasons at the College Park campus. Last night, they were asked if they wanted to say anything to young players who are thinking of leaving early to go to the NBA.

"I don't know what to say about that," said Dixon. "I had a lot of fun in college. I developed as a basketball player each year. Really, I mean, college is a lot of fun to me. It's a good experience. I learned a lot. You know, a lot of guys are talented, they're able to come out early. I mean, it's up to them."

Baxter said: "Everybody has different situations, different things they have to face. But me, I don't regret ever leaving college or anything. It was the best four years of my life. We just finished it off tonight."

Remembering when

Maryland coach Gary Williams remembers what the program was like when he first came to College Park 13 years ago. That made winning last night's national championship even more satisfying.

"Well, having played at Maryland, coming back at a time I hate to even think about it, because there was so much mistrust, so much doubt about the place.

"We had to work all those things out before we could even think about having a good basketball team," said Williams. "The guys who played, Walt Williams, people like that. The crowd kept coming to Cole Field House even though we couldn't participate in the NCAA tournament or be on television. I'll always remember those guys as well as the guys that played on this team. I'm not sure we could have recovered if it weren't for the poeple involved back there, say from '90 to '93."

Jeffries undecided on NBA

Until last night's championship game, Indiana sophomore Jared Jeffries sounded like a player who had decided his immediate future was in the NBA.

In the wake of a 64-52 loss to Maryland, he seemed to be wavering.

"I'm going to take a little bit of time just to kind of decide what's going to be best for myself and my family," said Jeffries. "I mean, this is definitely going to weigh into my decision just because it's such an emotional thing. It's such a large part of my life right now."

Indiana coach Mike Davis didn't sound as certain Jeffries would leave, either.

"It's all about playing defense, playing team basketball," he said. "[If] Jared Jeffries leaves, it's definitely going to affect this basketball team, no question about it. His development to me is right on schedule to be one of the best basketball players in the country. But if he leaves, then who knows [what Indiana's season will produce]?"

With eight points last night, Jeffries just missed becoming the fifth player in history to score 1,000 points as a sophomore. He has 999 through two seasons.

Tough assignment

Dane Fife, Indiana's defensive stopper, did a commendable job guarding Dixon, but Maryland's guard showed why he deserved to be the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

Dixon got just nine shots, but made six, including a crucial three-pointer to blunt Indiana's second-half run. He finished with 18 points.

"Fife played him well," Davis said. "For [Dixon] to score 18 points on nine attempts tells you what kind of basketball player he is.

"We knew he would be a handful. ... I think he's the best player we played against this year other than [Duke's] Jason Williams. They both are in the same class. He's a special guy. Fife was playing the best he could play him."

Bad memory

Maryland's previous meeting with Indiana was a painful experience for the Terps.

On March 14, 1981, the Hoosiers crushed the Terps, 99-64, in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Maryland, which had a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season standings, jumped out to an early lead on Indiana at the Dayton Arena, but the Hoosiers were rolling by halftime. Led by Isiah Thomas, Indiana won its fourth NCAA championship that year.

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