Former Terps shoot for the NBA

March 13, 2003, midnight | By Calvin Anderson | 17 years, 10 months ago

Every day, metro-area sports fans can catch highlights of former Terrapin Juan Dixon lighting it up for the Washington Wizards. But most fans never hear about Chris Wilcox rotting on the bench in Los Angeles or Lonny Baxter averaging only 12.5 minutes a game with the Bulls. And nobody mentions Byron Mouton, who was once the starting small forward for a national championship team but has disappeared into oblivion.

The first pick of the 2002 Maryland crop was Wilcox, who was expected to be a high-flying demon. Instead, the team that drafted him doesn't need him.

The L.A. team is stacked with young talent, and it drafted Wilcox because he won't start over the powerful Elton Brand. Wilcox is averaging 7.4 minutes per game and only 2.3 points. I hate to say what's obvious, but Wilcox, you should have stayed in school.

The second pick from the national champion turtles was scrawny, undersized Juan Dixon, who is now a star for the Wizards. Dixon, who exploded lately, dropping 27 points on Chicago on Mar 1, was a late first-round pick expected to contribute minimally this year. Dixon was injured early in the year and forced to miss many games. He has since come back to become a consistent role player for the Wizards. He is contributing the most to his team out of all 2002 Maryland alumni.

Lonny Baxter, another undersized player with heart, has been a solid contributor for his team in Chi-town. He's averaging only 4.9 points per game in a little more than 12 minutes, but he's holding his own in the Windy City.

Last but not least is the guy who wasn't drafted in the NBA. He was cut from the Wizards summer roster and played with the Celtics for a while. Byron Mouton is now playing for the Idaho Stampede of the Continental Basketball League. Mouton has gone from Cole Field House to Idaho Stadium, but he's averaging 11 points and 4.5 rebounds a contest.

Mouton may not be experiencing the success of his former teammates, but he is balling hard and aspiring to make it to the NBA one day. With Dixon as the only former Maryland star shining, one can see how difficult it is to go from games on Tobacco Road to games at the Staples Center.

Cal's Call: I know it's early to begin discussing this year's NBA talent pool, but again Maryland is going to pump out four quality players.

Forward Ryan Randle helped his stock this season by dominating the glass and putting up big numbers throughout the season, averaging 11 points and almost 8 rebounds a game. Randle will have trouble early in his NBA career and most likely won't get drafted, but he could find a way to make a living playing ball.

Drew Nicholas and four-year starter Steve Blake should get drafted next year, and slumping forward Tahj Holden could make someone's roster, too. Blake ought to be an immediate impact player on an NBA team, and, like the tattoo on Nicholas's chest says, he can be a "specialist" for an NBA squad.

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Calvin Anderson. Calvin Anderson was born in Washington D.C. on January 3rd 1986. He now lives with his mom in Takoma Park Maryland. Calvin is the man behind the infamous column Cal's Call. In addition to writing his column he enjoys playing sports including lacrosse and basketball … More »

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