Wednesday, September 10, 2008

SI's Top-10 Maryland Athletes

SI posted this list quite a while ago, and Winsdor and I mentioned it on the radio show last night, but now I throw it to you. Who's is the top athlete in the history of Maryland athletics?

(Note: the list is SI's list, the commentary is my own. If you want to view SI's list, click here for the link.)

10. Scott Milanovich- Football, quarterback, 1992-95
Statistically the greatest quarterback in Maryland history, Milanovich leads the Terps in almost every major passing category. Despite a four-game suspension in '95 for gambling, he had 7,301 passing yards with a 66.2% completion percentage and 49 touchdowns. Despite his successes, Maryland never reached a bowl game in his career.

9. Len Bias- Basketball, forward, 1982-86
One of the greatest ever athletes in college basketball, Bias scored 2,149 points and was compared to Michael Jordan's talent level after winning ACC Athlete of the Year in 1986. Maryland was the 1984 ACC Champion and reached the Sweet 16 twice. However, shortly after getting drafted 2nd overall in the 1986 NBA Draft, he died of a cocaine overdose in College Park.

8. Stan Jones, Football, lineman, 1950-53 (plus January 1st, 1954 Orange Bowl)
A future College and Pro Football Hall of Famer, Jones was an All-American lineman for Maryland. The Terps had great achievements duing his time, winning the 1952 Sugar Bowl and earning the national championship for the 1953 season.

7. Jen Adams, Lacrosse, attack/midfield, 1998-2001
Considered to be the best women's lacrosse player in NCAA history, this Australian National Team leader set NCAA records in points (445) and assists (178). Her trophy case in full of hardware, getting the first Tewaaraton trophy, earning the National Player of the Year award three times, and getting four national championships. [Note: SI said she was associate head coach at Maryland, actually now (and when SI published the list) she is head coach of Loyola.]

6. Renaldo Nehemiah, Track & Field, sprinter, 1978-80
Though a very talented runner, his excelled at the hurdles, winning the ACC Chapmionship in hurdling and dashing events. He is in the Track & Field Hall of Fame after winning the NCAA Championship in the 60-yard hurdles in 1978 and 1979. (stats provided by SI)

5. Boomer Esiason, Football, quarterback, 1981-83
Probably the most well known Maryland athletic alumnus, Esiason had over 6,200 passing yards and 42 touchdowns in his Terps career. He led Maryland to the 1983 ACC Championship and two bowl games, having a fantastic pro career with the Cincinatti Bengals after leaving College Park with two Honorable Mention All-American awards.

4. Crystal Langhorne, Basketball, center, 2004-08
In her senior season, Langhorne set career records with the most points and rebounds in Maryland history, getting her number in the rafters before her graduation. She had a 65.2% field goal perecentage and earned All-American status three times, leading Maryland to the 2006 NCAA Championship.

3. Joe Smith, Basketball, center, 1994-95
Despite only two years in College Park, Smith, getting 190 blocks and nearly 1,300 points, won the National Player of the Year award in 1995. Smith's leadership down low earned Maryland two Sweet 16 berths, including a 26-8 record and top-10 ranking in 1995. He would be the #1 overall pick in the 1995 NBA Draft by the Warriors.

2. Randy White, Football, defensive lineman, 1972-74
Often placed in college football top-100 lists, White is the #1 Terps football player of all-time according to A member of the College Football and Pro Football Hall of Fame and two-time All-American, White had 24 tackles for a loss and 12 sacks in 1974 ( He would lead Maryland to two bowl games, including being MVP in the 1974 Liberty Bowl.

1. Juan Dixon, Basketball, guard, 1999-2002
Maryland's all-time points leader and ACC Player of the Year in 2002, this Calvert Hall high school grad led Maryland to two Final Fours, including the 2002 NCAA National Championship. 2,269 points and over 300 steals in his career put him as one of the top basketball players ever in the ACC. (stats provided by SI)

My two cents:
This is a terrible list. As much as Juan Dixon did for the university, Len Bias was the better all-around player. When Mike Krzyzewski says that the two best players to ever come from the ACC were Michael Jordan and Len Bias, that carries a lot of weight. Though he didn't get a national title, Bias was the better player, and is my #1.

Obviously sports like basketball and football are going to carry more weight to this kind of list. But that shouldn't take away from other people's achievements. Milanovich, though a good quarterback, didn't accomplish anything substantial in terms of wins. And though Langhorne was good, she had a fantastic team around her the whole time, and some others with great accomplishments didn't have such teamwork. Also it's possible pro careers helped somewhat in placement. The lack of a pro career from Bias may have put him lower on the list.

But two names are missing that need to be on this list somewhere:
--Joe Walters, Maryland's all-time leading points scorer in men's lacrosse and a member of the U.S. National Team before he even graduated from Maryland.
--Paula Infante, a four-time All-American field hockey player that led Maryland defense to two national championships in 2005 and 2006.

So, shake up the list and add those two somewhere. My top five:
1. Len Bias
2. Randy White
3. Jen Adams
4. Boomer Esiason
5. Joe Smith

(Photo credits: (Maryland logo), Sports Illustrated (Bias), STX Lacrosse (Adams), ACC (Esiason), ESPN (Dixon))


LeakBrewerGator said...

Where in the hell is Frank Reich???

windsor said...

outside of that one historic game against Miami, his career outside of that was fairly average-- not enough to break the top ten for Maryland