Nevertheless, among this mix of new and old, veteran Maryland fans will likely notice something that seems surprisingly and impossibly familiar: a 61 player wearing number 25.
For most Maryland fans, this description will bring back memories of 2009 Maryland graduate Marissa Coleman, who also stands at 61 and wore number 25 in her Maryland days. However, this years number 25 is actually freshman Alyssa Thomas.
Thomas acknowledges that Maryland fans will likely make comparisons between herself and Coleman, given that Coleman was arguably one of the most legendary players in the programs history. Coleman was a starter on the 2006 national championship team, became the only player in school history to record a triple-double, received All-ACC honors, Associated Press All-America honors, State Farm All-America honors, was awarded 2009 ACC tournament MVP, and broke school records in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. She was a big-time player and Maryland fans definitely loved her, so I definitely have a lot to live up to, wearing this number, said Thomas.
Maryland fans will soon notice that Thomas has achieved similar success at the high school level; she, too, has proved legendary at her alma mater, Central Dauphin High School, receiving Parade, ESPN, and USA Today All-America honors as well as graduating as her schools all-time leading scorer.
And besides clearly noticeable linkages between the two players, Colemans presence and influence throughout Marylands preseason is a notable intangible. Since the end of the WNBA season, Coleman has been participating in some of the strength and conditioning workouts at Comcast Center with Thomas and the rest of the 2010-2011 team. In addition, Coleman, along with other starters from the 2006 national championship team spoke to the 2010-2011 team recently and offered wisdom and shared experiences, according to Thomas.
Role models such as these serve as motivation for the young Terps, and Thomas believes that the whole team is on the same page in terms of goals for the upcoming season. Were definitely bonding and working really well together, and I think were shaping up to have a really good team, said Thomas.
And although no one player is the same, it would appear that these players share more than just a number, they share an attitude as well. Like Maryland fans came to expect of Marissa Coleman, fans can also expect this years number 25, Alyssa Thomas, to do whatever it takes to help her team. Im just going to be myself, work hard, and help my teammates, declared Thomas.