Terps basketball teams kick off season

The Maryland Terrapins kicked off the 2010-2011 season with Maryland Madness.

Fans who attended Maryland Madness, the unofficial season kickoff for men’s and women’s college basketball at the University of Maryland, got to see Gary Williams in something other than his customary sweaty dress clothes; they got to see him in a one-piece fighter pilot’s outfit.

After a long video introduction of Williams in the cockpit of a plane, the coach entering his 22nd season with Maryland addressed fans at Comcast Center dressed in the same gear he wore in the video.

“We need your support to be successful, there’s no doubt about it,” Williams said to the students and fans gathered in the arena. “They are a part of you and you are a part of them. We’re going to have a great team this year so just be with us all the way.”

Before the introduction of the men, the women’s team took the court and head coach Brenda Frese identified with nearly fan in attendance as she reaffirmed Terrapin disdain for the Duke Blue Devils after her players were introduced.

“Breathe if you hate Duke,” she said.

Aside from the introductions, fans were able to watch gymnasts flip throw an enflamed ring, an alumni game, performances by the university’s cheer and dance teams and original dances by both the men’s and women’s basketball teams. Juan Dixon, who helped bring Maryland its first men’s basketball championship in 2002, returned to College Park to participate in the alumni game.

Williams’ squad took the court after their female counterparts as his players entered the court from seating aisles and to proceeded to dunk basketballs. After his speech, which ended in just under two minutes, the team took the floor for a relaxed 10-minute scrimmage. With five freshmen on the roster this year in guards Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin and forwards Haukur Palsson, Mychal Parker and Ashton Pankey, fans got their first exposure to the new-look Terps.

“They looked OK to me,” Williams said in a short interview after the event. “They looked like everybody else out there.”

In terms of playing time for the newcomers, Williams said he wants to wait and see what the freshmen have to offer.

“You have to stay open when you have this many guys,” he said. “You can’t have too many preconceived notions. You want to stay open to everybody.”

The team will hold its first practice today and Williams said it should last about three hours.

“What we’ll do is we’ll establish how we want to play defense,” he said. “We’ll put some things in and then it’s a matter of constantly reviewing and adding as you go.”

The Terps open the season Nov. 1 in College Park with an exhibition game against Florida Southern.

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