University of Maryland freshman and Maryland native, Sophie Harris, got a lot of tips from older friends before starting school, but the one thing that resonated with her was that she should expect to see the athletes, especially the men's basketball team around campus.
Harris became very excited at this prospect, because "they're basically celebrities." And although her friends told her to act cool because "they're literally students just like us" and "it would be weird if [she] freaked out," Harris was ready to pounce on the first basketball player she saw.
Monday morning around 12 p.m., Harris was crossing Hornbake Plaza with a few friends when she saw a group of three African American male students, all around or at least 6 feet tall wearing red Maryland backpacks.
Harris, barely being able to control her excitement, yelled out, "Make us proud on the court this year boys!"
After spotting looks of confusion on the students' faces, Harris' friends informed her that they were not members of the basketball team, and in fact, just students who happened to have red backpacks.
When asked about the incident, Harris denied any allegations of racism, retorting with, "Um... I don't know... I just don't know anyone on the team yet... I thought--I'm not racist, okay?"
This has not been the only on-campus incident of confusing students for members of the basketball team. At least three tall, red backpack wielding, redheaded male students have reported to the Rival UMD that girls come up to them twice a week, on average, asking to take pictures with them.