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STEVE BLAKE AND JOHN GILCHRIST fight 1-on-1 during a Maryland practice in 2002


In 2002, Steve Blake was a senior at the University of Maryland and the point guard of the Terrapins basketball team. John Gilchrist was a cocky freshman (who later ended up leaving the program early for the NBA, was never drafted and ended up playing in European Leagues and the G-League).

So here’s how it went down — Blake was boxing out Gilchrist when it appeared that the freshman clips Blake with a left hand. If you watch the video slowly, you’ll notice Blake’s head move forward. Gilchrist could have done it on purpose, but it didn’t look intentional. Blake, who was known for his crazy temper, instantly puts up his fists and throws a punch. But Gilchrist is too quick, dodges the blow, and then lands a quick right that staggers Blake.

For a second or two, it seemed that no one minded the fight, and everyone wanted them to fight it out. But, teammates then decide to step in to break it up.

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Blake went absolutely berserk after they were separated. Who wouldn’t? After all, he just got hit in the face by a freshman!

Before cameras on cell phones and the advent of Flip cams, normally, what happened in a gym stayed there. There was no YouTube or Facebook, and if something went down, it was between the people involved and whoever was there to witness it. So when rising senior Steve Blake and incoming freshman John Gilchrist got into it on July 2, 2002, during a pickup game at the University of Maryland’s Cole Field House after Gary Williams Basketball Camp, word traveled fast.

In 2004, Eric Prisbell of The Washington Post wrote a feature on Gilchrist, who was a junior at the time, mentioning the fight:

During the 2002-03 season, Gilchrist served as an apprentice under Blake, the former point guard who had helped the Terps win the national title the year before. That year, Gilchrist said, he got into a fight with Blake during what teammates described as an offseason pickup game, an altercation that taught Gilchrist two things.

He learned the intensity with which Maryland players compete, and he learned the scrutiny that Maryland players are under. Word of the fight trickled onto the Internet, and Gilchrist soon got calls from players around the country wanting to know what occurred.

Eric Prisbell, via The Washington Post


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