The Washington Times - June 19, 2009, 10:51AM

The headache of coming up with a list of the top 20 players at Maryland in the last 20 years is the matter of going all the way back to the beginning of that stretch.

Somehow, the sort of perspective you have on players when you’re, say, 9 isn’t quite the same as late 20s. And, yes, it sure would help this entire exercise if I was 50.

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In any case, Gary Williams‘ first Maryland team featured two primary players who warranted consideration for this list. Jerrod Mustaf and his two-year career missed the cut.

Tony Massenburg and his four-season, five-year career made it.

Now, Massenburg obviously rolled up much of his career stats under Bob Wade (and some of them under Lefty Driesell). So based on the criteria determined for this exercise, that probably diminishes the value of his 1,354 points (22nd in school history), 722 rebounds (14th on the career list) and 97 blocks (12th all-time at Maryland).

He also went on to become the ultimate NBA itinerant, bouncing from San Antonio to Charlotte to Boston to Golden State to the L.A. Clippers to Toronto to Philadelphia to New Jersey to Vancouver to Houston and then back to Vancouver (and onto Memphis for the franchise’s relocation) to Utah to Sacramento and back to San Antonio.

That obviously doesn’t factor into this equation, either.

What does matter, though, is that only two Maryland players in the last 20 seasons have averaged a double-double in a season:

* Joe Smith
* Tony Massenburg

Keith Booth didn’t. Lonny Baxter didn’t. Just Smith and Massenburg. That’s excellent company, even if the ACC was loaded with a little more big man depth in 1995 than it was in 1990.

Massenburg averaged 18.0 points and 10.1 rebounds that season, helping Maryland improve from 1-13 to 6-8 in the ACC.

(That five-game improvement in the standings remains tied with the 2002 team for second among Williams’ best ACC turnarounds, behind only the 1994 bunch that improved from 2-14 to 8-8).

The Terps also went from the shambles of Wade’s departure to the NIT in Massenburg’s final season.

Much as I’d like to try to build a wall before the 1989-90 season, I’m finding that difficult to do. Massenburg didn’t accomplish everything in his career under Williams, but he certainly was a really good player in that one year.

In retrospect – and after staring at some numbers this morning to make me feel silly – Massenburg is probably a spot or three higher than necessary if a strict definition of “the Gary Williams era” is utilized.

Nonetheless, that one-season was really, really good.  And while a case can be made this is a little lofty, it would be hard to come up with a top 20 and leave Massenburg out.

Previously:

* No. 20: Exree Hipp
* No. 19: James Gist
* No. 18: Obinna Ekezie
* No. 17: Evers Burns
* No. 16: D.J. Strawberry
* No. 15: Drew Nicholas

Patrick Stevens