- The Washington Times - Friday, November 2, 2001

In most of his 13 years at Maryland, coach Gary Williams tended to try different things for the season's first exhibition game, using players in different combinations and positions or in different offensive and defensive sets. He won't have that luxury this year.
The season opener is six days away in the Coaches vs. Cancer IKON Classic against Arizona in New York, so Williams and the Terps ranked in the top five in almost every preseason poll need to use tonight's exhibition against the EA Sports All-Stars as a real barometer of their progress.
"You don't get another look [in an exhibition] before you play a game that counts," Williams said. "[Tonight is] important."
Williams said the early start has forced him to put in some plays that he normally would not have at the start of the season. Usually, the Terps have about 10 days between their first of two exhibitions and their first regular-season game. While they normally get in about 30 practices before the season opens, this year they'll only have around 20.
Williams said he'll be watching tonight for conditioning and timing on offense, but he'll also be sizing up his power forwards. Williams said he remains undecided who will start at the position, and junior Tahj Holden and sophomore Chris Wilcox likely will each start one half. Holden said he tweaked his left knee in Tuesday's practice but the injury is not serious. He practiced Wednesday and yesterday with a brace as a precautionary measure.
"Tomorrow might be just another big evaluation," Holden said. "I could start [tonight], but Chris could play really well in the coming weeks. Or it could be the other way around."
Said Wilcox: "I guess we'll see [tonight]. It really doesn't matter to me who starts it's always who finishes the game."
The roster of EA Sports All-Stars/Southeast, one of six EA Sports touring teams, includes former Virginia gunner Curtis Staples, guards Schea Cotton (Alabama) and Adrian Peterson (Oklahoma State).
"What you want to see is how you play; you don't worry about what they do," Williams said. "You're going to get beat on some plays because you haven't seen them before. You want to see where your halfcourt man offense is, halfcourt man defense."
Note Tonight's game, scheduled for 8 p.m., can be heard on WMAL-AM (630). Tickets are available.


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