Maryland basketball preview: part 1
All right, Terp fans, our favorite time of the year is just around the corner – college basketball season. Over the next couple of days, I will be writing my brief preview of the Maryland men’s basketball team, and a preview of the season tomorrow. First up, (in my best Michael Buffer impersonation) yooouuur Maryland Terrapiiiiins…!!!
The man, the myth, the legend. Gary Williams is easily one of the best coaches in the nation, and is notorious for his ability to do more with less. The Terps have a chance in every game they play because of his ability to lead.
Can he step up from the consummate role player into all around stud? He’s been the all-out hustle player since he’s been in College Park, unselfishly deferring to the upperclassmen. It’s time for him to become a little more selfish on the offensive end and look for his own shot as well.
Maryland’s most dominant post player since Lonny Baxter, Williams has unlimited potential. As a freshman, he averaged 9.6 points, 8.6 rebounds and one block. I fully expect him to continue to improve and become the rock of this Maryland team. An average of 15 points, 11 rebounds, and two blocks is well within reach in his sophomore campaign. If he’s able to improve his free throw shooting, he’s close to unstoppable.
Bowie’s middle name since he’s come to College Park is “streaky.” He comes into the year as Maryland’s starting point guard, a position for which Gary has high expectations. If Bowie can find his consistency and run the flex offense as well as the fast break, the Terps could be much better than expected. If not, look for one of Maryland’s talented freshmen to unseat the senior.
Tucker is at his best when spotting up on the perimeter and running from the wing on the fast break. When he tries to handle the ball in the open court, I get heart palpitations. He has All-ACC potential if he sticks to what he does best. Otherwise, he’s another senior candidate to be unseated by one of Maryland’s freshmen.
Gregory was unsteady for most of last year due to his early season suspension. But he has improved greatly since he arrived at Maryland and will be a key contributor for the Terps. He comes into the season as a starter, but I’d love to see him come off the bench to give the Terps a spark and spell Williams when they need it while playing 25+ minutes a game.
The top three freshmen – Mychal Parker, Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard
All three will likely be counted on heavily at times this season, especially if either Bowie or Tucker is unable to perform to Gary’s standards. Parker is a super athletic guard/forward who I’d like to see starting over Gregory once he’s able to shake off his freshman cobwebs. Stoglin is a quick point guard with a great crossover and excellent scoring ability: think John Gilchrist minus the all-about-me attitude (hopefully). Howard is a stocky combo guard who has great vision and can really lock down defensively.
I’m giving Padgett his own space because he really could be a lynchpin to the Terps success this season. I’m not saying he has to be spectacular, but the Terps will need him to give Williams and Gregory a breather when needed, especially for when they get in foul trouble. He was unable to crack the lineup a season ago due to nagging injuries and inconsistency. If he’s able to get in Gary’s good graces this season, it would be a huge plus for Maryland.
The rest – Haukur Palsson, Ashton Pankey, Berend Weijs, Ersin Levent
This is not at all meant to disrespect any of these players. There is only so much room in a basketball team’s rotation, and these four are by far the most unproven of the bunch. Palsson is a hustle player who can shoot the three. If he’s able to hit his shots when the lights are on him, he could crack the rotation at times. Pankey is coming off a stress fracture in his leg that made him miss most of his senior season, so he’s likely to be rusty and unlikely to see much playing time this season. Weijs is athletic and has the potential to be a good weak side defender, but probably not until he can adjust to the level of competition in the ACC. And last but not least, Ersin Levent. You have to respect a walk-on player for Gary Williams. You get worked hard in practice and never get any of the credit. He’s arguably my favorite player though, because when he’s on the court, Maryland is hopefully winning big.
Thanks for reading, Terp fans, and make sure to check back tomorrow for my preview of the season. It’s going to be an exciting one.
| November 3, 2010; 1:55 PM ET
Categories: Rick Nelligan, Terps | Tags: Rick Nelligan, Terps
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