Terps return home
National champs savor title, look toward futurePosted: Tuesday April 02, 2002 7:57 PM
Updated: Wednesday April 03, 2002 12:09 AM
COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) -- Wearing a net from Maryland's first-ever NCAA title around his neck, Juan Dixon had a hard time containing himself as he spoke to 5,000 cheering fans.
"You guys are going to make me be all emotional," the Final Four MVP told the crowd said before returning to his seat and burying his face in his hands.
Later, Dixon explained his myriad of emotions.
"It was my last night in a Maryland uniform, I'm hurt," Dixon said. "It's bittersweet for me to go out on top with a national title."
Maryland coach Gary Williams agreed.
"This is a great day for all of us, it seems it hasn't stopped since last night, its a great feeling," Williams said.
Before the team arrived at Cole field House for Tuesday's celebration, the crowd was worked into a frenzy watching a replay of the Terrapins' 64-52 victory over Indiana.
By the time the Terrapins took the podium, the fans were already thinking about the future.
The crowd chanted "One more year!" when it was Chris Wilcox's turn to speak, a plaintive cry they hope will keep the sophomore forward from turning pro, and keep the wins coming.
The Wilcox said he has not made up his mind whether or not he'll turn pro. "I really haven't thought about it, I'm still trying to enjoy the moment," Wilcox said. "I'm going to talk to my mom and my coaches, I just want to do the best thing I can do."
Williams, also facing the departure of his three senior starters, Dixon, Lonny Baxter and Byron Mouton, said he has not discussed the issue with Wilcox, but was hopeful.
"His mom has pretty much said he is going to stay, so we'll see how that goes," Williams said.
For the fans, a chance to celebrate Maryland's national championship was the opportunity of a lifetime.
James Greco, 13, and his brother, Jordan, 9, were sitting in the front row of the bleachers with their mother, Cindy Greco.
"They wanted to see them up close and personal," Cindy Greco said.
Steve Leonard, 29, of Bethesda, remembered the past as he savored the present.
"My dad used to bring me to games here when Albert King and Buck Williams were stars," Leonard said. "Last night, to watch the game was especially neat for my family and all Maryland fans."