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Greg Abel Remembers Len Bias

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Greg Abel
Freelance writer, Baltimore Maryland

To remind myself what Len Bias looked like and played like to write this article, I went to College Park last week and visited the archives. At the suggestion of ESPN's Scott Van Pelt, a Maryland grad and as good an unofficial historian of all things Terps basketball-related as you can find, I watched the 1984 ACC Championship game. During that game, Bias destroyed Duke with 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting. It was incredible to watch.

Bias, then just a sophomore and becoming more versatile and confident by the game, scored on an array of baseline jumpers, monster dunks, and turn-around jumpers that made him all but impossible to defend. He jumped incredibly high and straight up on his jumper with perfect form.

For me, two moments stood out in particular. The first came at the start of the second half. Guard Jeff Adkins threw an alley-oop to Bias but the pass was way too short and looked destined to be intercepted. Bias leaped in the air from the baseline and, reaching back, swiped the ball with his left hand toward the rim and away from Dan Meagher, the Duke defender. Bias then gathered the ball off the rim, took one dribble and slammed it home on the other side.

The second moment happened with just 21 seconds left in the game and Maryland up 71-60. Duke called a timeout but the game was over, Maryland had finally done it. The pep band, as it did in those days, broke out into "Amen," the gospel sing-along and theme song for Maryland wins.

After a series of hugs and high fives, Lenny took a step back from the mob around the bench and clapped his hands high above his head and mouthed the words, "A-MEN… A-MEN … A-MEN…. A-MEN, A-MEN!"

Before it was time to go back on the court to finish things off, Lenny stood behind the huddle and stretched out those long, rippled arms out to his sides.

Then he hugged the whole team.

Greg Abel is a freelance writer in Baltimore and can be reached at


Posted June 14, 2006