Tight-lipped Wilcox says no NBA draft decision yet

Maryland notebook

Sophomore forward's mom believes he'll return to UM, but Williams isn't so sure

College Basketball

April 03, 2002|By Kevin Van Valkenburg | Kevin Van Valkenburg,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - His mother swears he'll be back. His coach isn't so sure. Either way, Maryland sophomore forward Chris Wilcox isn't saying much of anything just yet.

Wilcox, 19, is expected to be a lottery pick in the June NBA draft if he decides to leave after this season. And although there has been plenty of speculation that he already has made up his mind to leave, Wilcox says that isn't the case.

"People are going to say what they want to say, but I haven't made my decision yet," Wilcox said yesterday at Cole Field House, where thousands of Maryland students and fans greeted him with chants of "One more year!" during a welcome home pep rally for the Terps. "There are a lot of things I need to work on, so if I do come back, that's what I'm going to do."

It's a big if, considering the potential millions Wilcox could command as a top draft pick. Though his offensive skills are somewhat raw, at 6 feet 10, Wilcox has the combination of size, quickness and leaping ability that makes NBA general managers drool.

Though he is clearly on the cusp of becoming a college basketball star with a national championship and several big-game performances under his belt, there seems to be little left to prove.

"His mom [Debra Brown] has pretty much said he is going to stay, so we'll see how that goes," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "I haven't talked to him yet about it."

Said Wilcox: "I'll talk to Coach about it, but now's not the time. If my mom says she wants me to get my degree, then I'll stay in school. But other than that, I've got to do what's best for me."

In six NCAA tournament games for Maryland, Wilcox averaged 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds.

Having a ball

There's no doubt that it was an up-and-down tournament for Maryland junior point guard Steve Blake. He played poorly against Kentucky in the Sweet 16, hit a clutch three-pointer against Connecticut in the regional final, and was repeatedly criticized by CBS analyst Billy Packer for his erratic play during Monday's championship game.

As a result, there were a few boos mixed in with cheers from the fans when Blake was introduced during yesterday's trophy ceremony at Cole.

Nothing, however, can diminish Blake's heady retrieval of the game ball from Maryland's 64-52 victory over Indiana. When the final horn sounded and tournament MVP Juan Dixon heaved the ball high into the air, Blake tracked it down and stashed it for safekeeping.

"I was really surprised [Dixon] threw it up, and I said, `I've got to go get this before anyone else does,' " Blake said. "I'm keeping it forever."

Family matters

Maryland assistant coach Dave Dickerson, who is expected to interview soon for the head coaching position at the College of Charleston, didn't attend yesterday's ceremony at Cole because he was visiting a sick relative.

Fanatic behavior

Williams said he, too, was disappointed to see Maryland fans celebrate the Terps' national championship by setting fires and smashing windows along Route 1 in College Park, but he was quick to dispute the suggestion that the university's students were responsible.

"I'm not sure they were students doing it, to be honest," Williams said. "That stuff has been a problem for every school that's gone as far as we have.

"Ninety-nine percent of the students and people who support Maryland are great fans and do all the right things all the time. However, in any situation like this, there always seems to be that minority presence that causes problems and gets the attention."

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