The Maryland men’s basketball team will begin play in the ACC Tournament Thursday afternoon, and they’ll do so with heavy hearts. Former team manager Zach Lederer died Tuesday evening after a lengthy battle with brain cancer.
Lederer was an inspiration to nearly everyone he came to know. His signature pose, a flexing of his arms, went viral, and many over the years have mimicked it. Wednesday, Maryland’s Twitter account posted a photo of the entire team honoring him.
— Maryland Basketball (@TerrapinHoops) March 12, 2014
The Terrapins play Florida State at 12 p.m. E.T. in Greensboro, N.C. And the Maryland players say they’re dedicating their tournament – one they hope will be a long one – to Lederer, their former manager.
“It’s tough,” said forward John Auslander, the team’s lone senior, to the Washington Post. “It’s an emotional thing just because he’s been fighting cancer for so long and he’s been in our thoughts since the battle started. But Zach would want us to go out there and give everything we have. He’s in our prayers. We’re going to dedicate this tournament to him.”
Added Wells, “Knowing Zach, he doesn’t want us to mourn his death. He wants us to celebrate his life. I think that celebrating his life last night, me saying the words I said and everybody else saying what they said, I think it put everybody in good perspective of what should really matter in life. Life is a lot bigger than basketball and sports and stuff like that. The relationships in life are the things we should really hold onto. I’ll never forget the relationship I had with Zach, because he was a special person.”
Maryland has struggled this season, going 17-14 overall and 9-9 in-conference in its final year in the ACC. A deep ACC Tournament run is needed for the Terrapins to have any chance at making the NCAA Tournament.