COLLEGE PARK — Lefty Driesell is more than 26 years and 220 miles removed from
But from his condo in
Maryland hopes to close these fissures by honoring Driesell at halftime of Saturday's matchup between the Terps (18-8, 6-7
"Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, Brad Davis — I think this is an honor for them more than me," Driesell said this week, naming some of his star players. "
Driesell's appearance Saturday will come a year after Maryland named the Comcast Center court for former coach
"Lefty Driesell is an iconic coach in college basketball, and this recognition is long overdue," said McMillen, a former U.S. House member and Rhodes Scholar who keeps in touch with Driesell.
Maryland athletic officials have sought to unify players loyal to each coach. They don't want men's basketball alumni to regard themselves as "Gary players" or "Lefty players," but rather as "Terps."
It didn't take current Maryland coach
"Turgeon wants to revert back to the old teams and get those people interested in Maryland basketball — to make some connections," Driesell said.
Turgeon invited Driesell to address the team in private Friday at Comcast Center.
"Last year was Gary's year. I want this year to be about Lefty," Turgeon said Friday. "I told the kids around the circle we're going to honor someone this weekend, and I said, 'This building wouldn't be here if it wasn't for something that he did.' Of course Gary did a lot, too. I don't want to take anything away from Gary. But I said, 'Look up there [to the banners in the rafters]. He recruited that guy, Tom McMillen, John Lucas, Lenny Bias. He came here when Maryland basketball wasn't really highly thought of, but he thought it was great so he made it a great place."
Some of Driesell's players say Maryland should honor more players from that era by hoisting their names and numbers to the rafters. Among those missing, they say, are Davis, a guard, along with former Olympian Steve Sheppard and swingman Adrian Branch. Maryland, which honors players but does not retire numbers, said it is continually reviewing such requests.
The death of Bias led to a transition period in which the university examined drugs on campus and academic and admissions practices for athletes.
A photo of Bias — in a gold uniform with arms raised — is displayed in the Comcast Center lobby with those of other top Terps athletes.
Driesell has filled the study walls of his
The bronze relief of Driesell is being created by Antonio "Toby" Mendez, a Maryland artist who created the sculptures of the Orioles' Hall of Famers that were unveiled last year at Camden Yards.
Driesell hasn't yet seen the design. "I know I'll look handsome," he said.