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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Driesell’s objections to ‘Gary Williams Court’ are ill-timed, unfair

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

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Gary Williams and Lefty Driesell (Getty Images)

Maryland's decision to name the Comcast Center court after newly retired Gary Williams should be a celebration of everything the legendary coach accomplished in his illustrious 22-year tenure.

Instead, it has become a competition thanks to the ill-timed objections of a disgruntled predecessor.

In separate interviews with the Baltimore Sun and Washington Post this week, Lefty Driesell, the second winningest coach in Maryland history, detailed his concerns in advance of Wednesday night's ceremony in honor of Williams. Emphasizing that he's not advocating for his own name to be on the court instead of Williams, the retired 80-year-old coach said he thinks Maryland basketball has too much great history to honor any one person this way.

"It's not fair to my players that they would put Gary Williams' name on the court," Driesell told the Sun. "It's a disservice to players such as Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Len Elmore, Brad Davis, Greg Manning, Adrian Branch and Steve Sheppard."

Whether or not Driesell believes he should have been honored before Wednesday night's game against Duke instead of Williams, his comments still come across jealous and petty. He's needlessly driving a wedge between two great eras of Maryland basketball, forcing players, fans and administrators to pick sides rather than celebrate both.

The worst part for Driesell is he'd lose the competition with Williams he's creating.

Driesell built Maryland into a power in the 1970s and '80s, leading the Terps to two ACC regular-season championships, one conference tournament title, eight NCAA tournament appearances and an NIT championship. Williams revitalized a program floundering as a result of NCAA violations before he arrived, leading Maryland to 14 NCAA tournaments, three ACC titles, two Final Fours and a national championship.

Both men had tremendous careers. Williams accomplished slightly more at Maryland, but that shouldn't be what we're debating on what should be a day of celebration for the Terrapins.

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