The University of Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team is one of the most successful members of the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Terrapins have been to 24 NCAA Tournament appearances including one NCAA Championship in 2002. There have been a total of 34 NBA players from the University of Maryland. They are led by former All-Stars Buck Williams and Gene Shue.
Three-time All-Star power forward Buck Williams was the longest-tenured NBA player from the University of Maryland. As the third pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, Williams won the Rookie of the Year Award with averages of 15.5 points and 12.3 rebounds with the Nets. He proceeded to maintain double-double averages for his first seven seasons to become the Nets’ all-time leader in points and rebounds. Spending the second half of his career in Portland, Williams led the NBA in field goal percentage in consecutive seasons with a .602 clip in 1990-91 and .604 in 1991-92. His .549 career field goal percentage ranks 14th overall in NBA history. In his 17-year career, Buck Williams totaled 16,784 points and 13,017 rebound, the latter of which ranks 12th in NBA history.
Gene Shue was an outstanding guard and coach and one of the best NBA players from the University of Maryland. Shue played ten seasons from 1954 to 1964, spending most of his career with the Pistons. A five-time All-Star, Shue averaged 18.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 4.4 assists in six seasons with the Pistons, totaling more than 10,000 points in his career. After retiring as a player, Shue returned to coach in the NBA for 22 years, winning two Coach of the Year Awards while guiding his teams to the Finals twice.
A great play-maker from the 1970s and 1980s, point guard John Lucas was one of the best NBA players from the University of Maryland. Lucas earned All-America honors three times with the Terrapins as he took the school to the Elite Eight twice. Lucas had a consistently good career, but a few of his seasons really stand out. In his third season, 1978-79, he averaged 16.1 points, 9.3 assists, and 1.9 steals for the Warriors. He later averaged a double-double with 10.9 points and 10.7 assists per game with the Spurs in 1983-84. For his 14-year career, John Lucas dished out 6,454 assists and ranks in the top 25 of all-time. After retiring, he went into coaching and spent several seasons as a head coach in the NBA.
Point guard Steve Francis had a great start to his career as one of the best NBA players from the University of Maryland. With averages of 18.0 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.5 steals per game, Francis won the 2000 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. He spent five years in Houston and earned the nickname “Stevie Franchise” with cumulative averages of 19.0 points, 6.0 boards, and 6.3 assists in a Rockets’ uniform. With Houston, Francis went to three All-Star games before a trade sent him to Orlando. He had one great season with the Magic before his career began to fizzle out.
The first overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft, active power forward Joe Smith is one of the top NBA players from Maryland. In two collegiate seasons with the Terrapins, Smith averaged more than 20 points and ten rebounds per game while taking the school to two Sweet Sixteens. Starting his career in Golden State, Smith played his first three and best three years with the Warriors. He averaged 17.0 points and 8.2 rebounds with the team before being traded to the Sixers. Since 1998, Smith has been a solid role player most recently with the Hawks. He has tallied career totals of 11,200 points and 6,554 rebounds with ten NBA teams.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended University of Maryland. Basketball-Reference.com