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Power Point

Thursday, March 10, 2005; Page G08

By any standard, John Gilchrist is one of the most intriguing players in the ACC. By his own admission, this has been a trying season for the junior, whose performance fluctuated wildly as he struggled to find a balance between his ability to score and the need to involve teammates in the offense.

Gilchrist scored at least 20 points in five straight games early in the season, but his playing style came into question when he had a brief philosophical disagreement with Coach Gary Williams about how best to run the offense. Gilchrist finally obliged, deciding the team was at its best when he played more of a setup role.

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Williams said his point guard has had an erratic season, but not without a few high points. Gilchrist perhaps played his best game in Maryland's 99-92 overtime victory against Duke on Feb. 12, when he came within one assist of tallying a triple-double. More than that, though, Gilchrist was the undisputed team leader, motivating players and pulling teammates together for impromptu team huddles.

Gilchrist's greatest strength can also be a weakness: He is very emotional. That characteristic sometimes inspires superb efforts because Gilchrist has a passion to win that few can match. However, at other times Gilchrist can play as if in a daze, like he did in Maryland's 81-66 loss at Wake Forest on Jan. 11. Gilchrist relishes playing against the ACC's other top point guards and wants to prove he is the best among them.

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