50 for 50 – Len Bias’ Golden Moments #13…A Rising Junior

Through Nov. 18, Len Bias’ 50th birthday, the Born Ready Blog will provide each day a new item that helped define Len’s legacy, 50 in total.

Bias Becomes a Dominant Force During his Junior Season

During a three-game stretch in early January of his junior year that included four ACC games against teams ranked among the top 20 in the country – including No. 2 Duke and No. 5 North Carolina – Bias started to show why he would be named the top player in the ACC that season. He led Maryland in scoring in a two-point win over 17th-ranked N.C. State (17 points), a one-point loss to North Carolina (23 points), and in its next game five days later, a two-point overtime win over Duke (24 points).

Against Duke, Bias scored 16 second-half points to erase a 14-point deficit, causing Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to lament afterward how many of Bias’s shots bounced around the rim before sliding through the net. Krzyzewski thought Bias was a lucky shooter until he reviewed the game tape and realized that Len’s soft touch helped him make the shots. Two weeks after the Duke game, Bias scored 30 points in a three-point win over 14th-ranked Villanova, the eventual national champion.

In late January, he scored 24 points in a win over Old Dominion, and converted Maryland’s last two free throws in the final seconds of the Terrapins’ one point win over N.C. State in late February. At the end of the regular season, Bias led the ACC in scoring with 19 points per game on 53 percent shooting from the field and led Maryland with an average of 6.8 rebounds. In a Washington Post feature about Bias the day before Maryland was to meet Duke in the first round of the ACC tournament, Indiana Pacers personnel director Tom Newell said: “Len Bias has a chance to become one of the best players to ever play his position. I don’t mean one of the best now, I mean one of the best ever. He’s replaced Newton’s theory of gravity with Michael Jordan’s theory of gravity – which is that there is none. He just climbs up there and hangs.”

Bias_cover_pngExcerpted from the book, Born Ready: the Mixed Legacy of Len Bias

Learn about the Born Ready Project that teaches life skills, using Len’s legacy as a teaching tool.

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