Maryland basketball alums enjoy reunion, talk transition from Mark Turgeon to Kevin Willard

After helping force a shot clock violation in the first possession, former Maryland men’s basketball guard Melo Trimble stepped into a familiar three-point stroke and drained it with ease.

DawgTalk then exploded for a 20-3 run and eventually led 33-13 after the first quarter. College Park Boys limited the former Hoyas from building too much more of a lead and hung around through the rest of the contest, including a 15-6 run in the end before eventually falling, 117-91.

Former Hoya D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera was named Most Valuable Player Saturday after a 25-point performance that included seven made three-pointers. Trimble led the way for the College Park Boys with 21 points while James Gist added 20 points as two of six former Terps in double figures.

Despite the outcome, Saturday’s Alumni Basketball League event between Maryland and Georgetown alumni brought plenty of positive moments and buzz.

“I think especially coming back to College Park, where I played four years at and had the opportunity to be here, it was great,” Mosley said. “It was a great show for the fans and getting back with the guys, even knowing some of the guys on the Georgetown team, it was great just to get out there and play again.”

The College Park Boys, led by general manager Travis Garrison, spanned across multiple Terp generations and included Trimble, Gist, Anthony Cowan Jr., Terrell StoglinSean Mosley, Byron Mouton, Ekene Ibekwe spirit Damonte Dodd.

“I definitely watched [fellow Maryland alumni] growing up,” Trimble said. “But just like playing with those guys, you could tell they wanted to be the man too because that’s how they were when they were there. But it is what it is, it was a good experience and I hope to do it again next year.”

The Alumni Basketball League is a new concept dreamed up by former Missouri basketball player Kareem Rush. The goal is to bring together alumni from different basketball programs around the country to compete, similar to The Basketball Tournament, but give players more stake in the operations and pay for every contest.

“It’s easy for me, man. Anything with the University of Maryland, you don’t have to ask me twice,” Mouton said. “And I was excited about the opportunity to play in this game. I’m the oldest guy out here, man, so for them to call me and be a part of it, I was all smiles and ready to be a part of it.”

Maryland and Georgetown alumni faced off in the Xfinity Center Pavilion in front of nearly 1,500 fans in this exhibition matchup that will allow the league to devise plans as it expands.

“In love [the format],” Mouton said. “Getting guys to come back and play with each other, different generations, it’s unique… And I’m not going to lie, I wasn’t expecting this crowd to be like this, they were going electric in here. It was incredible.”

Reconnecting different generations of Maryland players has been a task new head coach Kevin Willard has taken on since coming to College Park, and the effort has been welcomed by those of the past.

“We actually had an outing which was great. Great guy,” Mouton said. “I love what he’s trying to do, which is have a tough non-conference schedule. Coach Turgeon wouldn’t want to do that, but Willard is doing a tough nonconference schedule and I love it.”

The new buzz and excitement in College Park even brought out some of those long-lost fan favorites like Stoglin, who returned to campus for the first time since his departure in 2012.

“It’s been 10 years since I’ve been back, so it was good to get back with the fellas, see the campus and the best fans out here,” said Stoglin, who had a frigid relationship with former Terps coach Mark Turgeon. “It’s exciting for me to see the program is going in a different direction, a higher direction, with a new start. You know, I had a lot of animosity with the other side, so now I can be a Terp fan.”

Other former Maryland players in attendance included Joe Smith, Johnny Rhodes, Jalen Smith, Aaron Wiggins, Darryl Morsell and women’s basketball’s Kaila Charles, among others. Current players such as Donna Scott, Julian Reese and more were in attendance, as was four-star Class of 2023 commit Jamie Kaiser Jr.

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