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Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Best Terp Ever?

The other night in an 88-61 victory over Boston College, Crystal Langhorne, a senior and team leader, eclipsed the all-time rebounding mark for men and women, besting Len Elmore's career mark of 1,053. She is the only woman and and the only player besides Elmore to eclipse the 1,000 mark. She also is a mere 20 points away from surpassing Vicky Bullett's scoring record of 1,928 points. She is also in the conceivable range of Juan Dixon's scoring record of 2,269, although she probably won't get it at her current rate of 14.1 ppg (just shy even if you include postseason games.)

If you consider that soon Langhorne will be the all-time scorer, rebounder, FG% leader and have at least one ring on her finger, you have to consider if she's the greatest Maryland basketball player ever. Yes, including not only Bullett, but Bias, Blake, Booth, Dixon, Elmore, Rhodes, Smith and Williams.

Blasphemy? Is it really? Is it really such a bad thing to say a girl might be the best ever? Yes, women's basketball may not be as competitive as men's, but is that really a decent excuse? Langhorne has been dominant in one of the toughest conferences for women, facing at least two powerhouses a year in-conference (Duke and UNC). She is a two-time AP All-American heading for a third berth and widely considered one of the best - if not the best - post players in the nation. He unreal 70.7 FG% last year turned many heads and was a conference record (Yes, a whole season).

And you can argue for other (male) players, too. Bias was the most unbelievable natural athlete that ever stepped foot on the campus. Elmore was the most dominant rebounder ever in school history, with an incredible 12.1 record for his career - if he had played as many games as Langhorne, he'd still have the record. Sure. Dixon is one of the most beloved Terps besides being just a scorer, and he also brought back what no other Maryland legend could before him - a national championship.

But Crystal should be one of the most beloved Terps ever, as should this entire team. For over three years now, they've been playing incredible basketball with a dominance never before seen in this program, and they do so with an infectious spirit and passion. I mean, Langhorne won a championship as a sophomore, and in case you haven't noticed, the Lady Terps are back in position to win another.

You might argue that she isn't the best player on the team, as Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman seem to be pushing for that label. You might argue that the championship team and the current team are chock full of talent. Fine. But no one has been as dominant as long as Langhorne, who averaged 17.2 ppg and 10.6 rpg as a rookie starter for every contest. Her averages in these areas continue to slip because she doesn't have to do that much to win anymore, but I guarantee you that her leadership anchors the squad, and after she graduates, there will be a gaping hole in the frontcourt that not even prized recruit Drey Mingo will be able to fill completely.

Langhorne will be remembered as a woman who was among the best players in the country during her collegiate career, the best player on the 2006 national championship team (because she was that year) and a leader for her teammates, someone that always inspired with her passion and hustle in games. I propose that we at least consider adding one more label: "Best Terp Ever." Man or woman - it doesn't matter.

Related News: Sa'de Wiley-Gatewood, the point guard transfer from Tennessee that played a reserve role last year, is out for the season. She hadn't seen any game action after undergoing surgery on her knee this past summer. She will have one more year of elegibility after this season.

Also, I took a few days off, and I think from now on I might be doing entries once every two or three days. Honestly, I'm suffering chronic pain in my hands and wrists and I think it might be related to my heavy use of computers for my job and for running this site. I'll probably see my doctor soon and I hope to be able to post as often as I want, but health first, right? Plus I need to save my hands for raquetball (I'm a raquetball fiend).

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: Capital News Service, Baltimore Sun

1 comment:

J-Red said...

I want to do dirty things to Marissa Coleman.

Did I just say that in public?