For Driesell — or anyone — to argue that the court shouldn’t be named for anyone at all is hollow, especially given that Driesell has a court named for him at Georgia State.
Here, though, is the biggest problem and a big part of the reason why Maryland managed to turn a night that should have been a celebration into yet another controversy: The school has never properly honored Driesell.
In 2002, when the basketball team moved from Cole Field House to Comcast Center, Driesell wasn’t invited to the ceremony on the night Cole closed. His name wasn’t even mentioned until master of ceremonies Johnny Holliday, ad-libbing at the end, mentioned Driesell as one of those who had been a contributor to the building’s history.
“I felt like it was something I had to do,” Holliday said Saturday. “I mean, you couldn’t not mention Lefty.”
Holliday got that. Maryland officials did not. Lefty isn’t honored in any way in Maryland’s current home. Steve Francis, who played at Maryland for one
season, has his name and number in the rafters. Driesell has nothing.
How is that possible?
“They ought to build a statue to Lefty outside,” Virginia Tech Coach Seth Greenberg said Saturday. “Gary deserves the court, which is the most visible thing. Lefty should have a statue.”
At the very least, there should be a banner — a big one — that has his name, the years he coached and his record on it. They need to bring him back to unfurl that banner and have Gary Williams introduce him.
Of course right now that can’t happen. Williams is justifiably angry and hurt by Driesell’s letter to the chancellor and by his public pronouncements. Driesell should apologize to him.
Why? Because he’s not angry at Williams. He’s angry at Maryland for slighting him for 26 years and he’s still upset that he’s not in the basketball Hall of Fame — an honor he and Williams deserve.
On Saturday afternoon, things were back to normal in College Park after Wednesday’s first sellout of the season for the court-naming ceremony and the annual holy war against Duke. The student section was almost half-empty at tip-off (although enough students showed up to boo the announcement of ACC Sportsmanship Week) and the crowd was muted throughout most of the Terrapins’ 73-69 victory over a Virginia Tech team that spent the game’s first 38 minutes firing enough bricks to build Maryland’s next corporate-named home.
Mark Turgeon has the program pointed in the right direction. He may someday achieve what Gary Williams and Lefty Driesell achieved. Maybe by then, the school they all care about so much will be a little less dysfunctional.
For more from the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.
com. For his previous columns for The Post, go to washingtonpost.com/