The Kids Who Did It
Historic 2001 and 2002 Basketball Teams Reuniteby Charlie Wright ’17
The last time the 2002 men’s basketball team stood together on the court, Juan Dixon had just triumphantly tossed the ball into the air as the Terps defeated Indiana to capture the national championship. That is, until Feb. 25, when an older but still commanding squad strode to midcourt in Xfinity Center, former Coach Gary Williams pumped his fist once again and Byron Mouton thrust the trophy in the air.
The crowd erupted in cheers during the halftime ceremony that brought back familiar faces from the 2002 and Final Four 2001 seasons.
“Things haven’t changed,” says former point guard Steve Blake. “It’s as if we’ve seen each other last week, except for the gray hairs.”
In 2001, the Terps knocked off Georgetown and No. 1 seed Stanford in the NCAA tournament, but lost to eventual champion Duke. The following year, the team returned four starters and went undefeated at home (the final season in Cole Field House), including a retribution victory over Duke. The No. 1-seeded Terps marched through the NCAA tournament into the finals, led by Dixon’s 18 points and Lonny Baxter’s 14 rebounds.
Students at the ceremony filled the arena with a chorus of “Moo”s for Mouton and wore T-shirts that read “The kids have done it,” an homage to Terps broadcaster Johnny Holliday’s jubilant call as the buzzer sounded in the title game.
“It’s great to hear their stories, what they’ve done in their lives,” says Williams. “Their experiences … really developed them as people.”
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