- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2002

Most observers can attest that Maryland's Chris Wilcox has the kind of raw ability only a few players in the college game can attempt to match and that when he is playing at his best, it's virtually impossible to stop him.
Wisconsin certainly could after Wilcox ravaged the Big Ten regular-season co-champs in the Terrapins' second-round blowout of the Badgers yesterday at MCI Center. He started early, scoring the Terps' first points on a move on the block, and continued his domination throughout the contest.
Wilcox came through with 18 points on 9-for-13 shooting and added seven rebounds and a block in 26 minutes, his best performance in four games.
"I come ready to play all the time," Wilcox said. "Tonight it was hard for them to stop me because I was in a rhythm. I think we're going to need it for the next couple games."
Wilcox said he especially wanted to play well yesterday because he felt he had let his teammates down in recent games. After helping close Cole Field House with a 21-point, 11-rebound game against Virginia, Wilcox had a poor game against Florida State and an average game vs. N.C. State in the ACC tournament. He scored seven points against Siena in the first round of the NCAAs.
But as he has in several other big games this season, namely Illinois, Oklahoma and the second Duke game, Wilcox came through. He had his usual array of post moves working and threw down what is becoming a trademark a breakaway slam, one of three dunks on the afternoon.
"Chris is so athletically gifted, and being [6-foot-10], it seems he glides down the court. And with his jumping ability and the power he possesses, it's scary," Terps forward Tahj Holden said. "It seems sometimes, when he's playing his best, there's no answer for him, period. That goes for anybody in the country."
Wilcox scored 10 of his points in the first half. He helped Maryland to a 43-26 advantage in points in the paint, both with his offense and defense; the only shot he took from outside the lane was an 8-foot turnaround jumper late in the game, and Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan raved about Wilcox's ability to alter the Badgers' shots.
Wilcox presented a factor the Badgers could not match. Defensively, they tried a pair of 6-8 forwards, Charlie Wills and Mike Wilkinson, on him, but they could hardly slow him down.
"There's a lot of little things you can try to do to negate him, but he was so much better today than we anticipated," Wilkinson said. "He just came out and played a really good game. … He's just amazing."
Wilcox's potential is unquestioned, but there is some question whether he will return next season. He answered the speculation after the game with the words Terps faithful have wanted to hear and hope he sticks to since he began his breakout sophomore season.
"I think I'm doing a great job here at Maryland," Wilcox said. "This year, it's more Juan and Lonny's team and I'm just following in their role, and next year I have a better chance to come in and make a major impact on this team."
When asked to confirm he is indeed coming back for his junior season, Wilcox hedged a little bit.
"I mean, I don't know," he said. "Maybe after the season, we'll see what happens. Whatever happens, happens. But right now, I'm coming back to school."
Regardless of what he decides, the Terps will have him for the rest of the season at least, and Wilcox understands the responsibility he bears if the Terps are going to make a return trip to the Final Four.
"I've been struggling here lately, and I think tonight I picked it up and came ready to play, and I think that's what we're going to need," Wilcox said. "And if I have to play like that the rest of the year, then I'll play like that."


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