The Washington Times - June 27, 2009, 12:45PM

As you get closer and closer to the top of any list and close in on the best that some category has to offer, a description becomes more and more irrelevant as things progress.

After all, there tends to be rather obvious why something or someone would be considered to be elite.


That said, there are a handful of ways to demonstrate Walt Williams was among the most crucial players to come through Maryland in the last 20 season (and, realistically, ever).

He scored 776 points as a senior, an average of 26.8 that remains easily the most prolific offensive season in program history.

He dropped 30 points in seven straight games as a senior, all against conference competition.

He kept what otherwise would have been a shorthanded, probation-addled team competitive his final two seasons, including a 14-15 senior year that very well might have been an 8-20ish nightmare.

And maybe most of all, he stayed through it all when pretty much no one would have blamed the local product for bolting.

Williams, with respect to his teammates and coaches (including Gary Williams), was about the only thing that managed to keep Maryland relevant in the early 1990s. And he did so in impressive fashion, even if no one got to see large swaths of his career because of either a television ban or a place on a sub-.500 team.

But toiling for an undermanned outfit ultimately played to Williams’ benefit. He had the chance to play point guard out of necessity, something not every 6-foot-8 guy received the chance to try.

And his strong play in a loaded league (this was the time of the Christian Laettner/Bobby Hurley/Grant Hill teams at Duke, and Tom Gugliotta, Bryant Stith, Rodney Rogers and Sam Cassell operated elsewhere in the ACC) helped vault him into the NBA lottery (and a trip to early 1990s basketball purgatory —- Sacramento).

Ultimately, Williams scored 1,704 points (11th in school history), delivered 410 assists (also 11th), and still ranks in the top 10 in 3-pointers (seventh) and steals (eighth). And that’s after playing a tertiary role as a freshman and missing 11 games as a junior with a broken leg.

Of course, this was pointed out several times in the past. But even still, the totality of Williams’ career, his absurdly prolific senior season and his impact on the direction of Maryland’s program justify a spot just below the unquestioned top two Terps of the last two decades.


* 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
* No. 14: Tony Massenburg
* The Next 10
* No. 13: Chris Wilcox
* No. 12: John Gilchrist
* No. 11: Laron Profit
* No. 10: Terence Morris
* No. 9: Greivis Vasquez
* No. 8: Steve Francis
* No. 7: Johnny Rhodes
* No. 6: Lonny Baxter
* No. 5: Steve Blake
* No. 4: Keith Booth

—- Patrick Stevens