— Arriving at the site of the
Years ago, Wells sent a letter to Williams, the former
That's the thing about the ACC tournament — its tradition has a way of energizing players, particularly the younger ones.
"It's just a big time of year," said Maryland coach
Wells is a sophomore but played for Xavier last season. A handful of other players in Maryland's regular rotation — four freshmen and transfer Logan Aronhalt — are also making their ACC tournament debuts.
"I always thought I was going to be an ACC kid growing up, so I watched all the tournaments," said freshman forward Charles Mitchell. "I was in love with (former
The Terps, who almost certainly need to win the entire tournament to gain an
The tournament is also a social experience. With a dozen teams staying in close proximity, it's hard for players not to bump into old friends. " I know some of these kids I played basketball with in high school," Mitchell said. "I bumped into one of my longtime friends — from Wake Forest actually."
Mitchell knows the friend, freshman Aaron Rountree, from Amateur Athletic Union games.
Maryland, which may end its season in the
"The Virginia loss hurt more than any other loss we had all year because we were invested. There were tears in the locker room," Turgeon said. "That's a good sign."
The ACC tournament presents a chance to start over. That's the message Turgeon is telling his team.
"We had our ups and downs during the regular season, but it's a clean slate for us right here," said freshman center Shaquille Cleare. "I never thought that I'd be here. I'll take it all in while I'm here."
Maryland, the No. 7 seed, defeated 10th-seeded Wake Forest twice during the season. If the Terps win, they would face Duke on Friday night. The second-seeded Blue Devils have a first-round bye.
"The beauty of college basketball is anyone can be beaten," Wells said. "It's really dangerous when you get to tournament time because you don't have to be the best team, you just have to be the best team on a given night for 40 minutes. That's something that really makes the tournament so interesting to watch."
Note: Maryland center