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Posted at 2:39 PM ET, 01/26/2011

Shaking things up offensively: part two

By Rick Nelligan

Yesterday in part one of my post on how to shake up the Terps offense, I laid out the changes I’d like to see in Maryland’s offensive philosophy. If you missed it, the Cliff (Tucker) Notes version is to get Jordan Williams the ball in just about every way possible, and then get it to him even more. Ground breaking, I know, but it just might work….

For part two, I’d like to lay out the changes I want to see in the Terps’ starting five and lineup in general. So far this season, there have been five different starting lineup combinations. But I really like the lineup I’ve created for a couple different reasons.

First of all, it should help create a more intense competition between the players. There have been far too many times this season where the upperclassmen have looked complacent. I don’t want anyone on the Terps to play as if they are afraid to lose their position, but the minute you believe you have your starting position locked up is the minute you shouldn’t be starting.

If you’re a Terp and your name isn’t Jordan Williams, you better play like it’s the last time you’re ever going to play basketball again. Or else, I’m sure Gary Williams has one of those nice, warm and cozy bench spots open for you. And if you can point out one time in the history of sports in which competition wasn’t a good thing, I’ll eat my words.

The second motive behind my starting lineup changes is so the Terps are dangerous during every segment of the game. This season, Maryland has looked like one of the best teams in the nation for roughly 30 minutes of the game. It’s that 10-minute lapse in just about every game we’ve played against a quality opponent that makes the Terps look like a middle of the pack team.

The way to avoid the recurring lapse is to always have someone on the bench ready to come in and provide a spark. Our bench has just not been very good this season, mostly because it’s comprised of underclassmen. But if you can find certain cohesive combinations of seniors and freshmen to put on the floor, the Terps should be able to improve their offensive efficiency.

For some, it’s extremely beneficial to come off the bench. It gives them an opportunity to calm their nerves while observing the opponent and studying ways to attack them when they enter the game, as I believe both Cliff Tucker and Terrell Stoglin have proved this season.

So without further ado, here are my proposed lineup changes for Maryland, along with the estimated amount of minutes I’d like to see them play. A brief rundown of a few of my decisions follows.

C – Jordan Williams – 34 minutes

PF – Haukur Palsson – 15 minutes

SF – Sean Mosley – 27 minutes

SG – Adrian Bowie – 27 minutes

PG – Pe’Shon Howard – 13 minutes

6TH man – Dino Gregory – 23 minutes

7TH man – Cliff Tucker – 25 minutes

8TH man – Terrell Stoglin – 19 minutes

9TH man – James Padgett – 8 minutes

10TH man – Mychal Parker – 9 minutes

  • The point guard situation – Admittedly, Howard has been horrendous against quality opponents this season. He is shooting only 28 percent from the floor and a paltry 12 percent from long range against quality opponents. However, Bowie has been better playing off the ball rather than running the point this season, and Stoglin has been better while coming off the bench. I believe Howard is the more even-tempered of the three. I feel he will help Maryland settle into the flow of the game early while allowing Stoglin to settle down on the bench, then come in and provide the spark he’s known for. Then Bowie can run the point when we need his senior leadership to handle the opponents’ pressure defense.
  • “Hawk” vs. Dino – There are two primary reasons why I like Palsson to start over Gregory at this point. First, Palsson has been playing with more confidence lately. He is a smart player who has the outside shooting touch to help spread the floor. Conversely, I’ve been somewhat disappointed with Gregory this season. He has averaged the second most minutes per game against quality opponents with just over 30 per game, yet he is averaging fewer than eight points and five rebounds.
  • Mosley playing 27 minutes a game – I’d be surprised if Mosley has lived up to anyone’s expectations this season – much less, his own. He has shot only 39 percent from the field and a meager 13 percent from long distance against quality opponents. However, I have seen signs of him starting to break out lately. He has been slightly more aggressive on offense and is shooting 79 percent from the charity stripe - the best on the team against quality opponents. However, it seems as if every time he starts to find his rhythm, he is taken out of the game and sits for the next ten minutes. Mosley is the kind of player you have to let play through slumps; not allow him to cool off on the bench. He’s coming around though, I can feel it.
  • Mychal Parker – I feel like I’ve seen more lunar eclipses in the past couple months than the amount of minutes I have seen Mychal Parker in a game. But Gary finally put him in for some (arguably) meaningful minutes against Virginia Tech, and said he liked the energy he gave to the team and the crowd when he entered the game. I’d love to see more of that. Parker is obviously still raw, but he’s incredibly athletic and gets the crowd hyped up by just acting like he’s about to take his warm-ups off and enter the game. There could be way worse things than allowing our highest-rated freshman recruit to get some run and experience while providing an energy boost.
  • The center situation – Haha, just kidding. Jordan has been better than advertised this season, and if he’s not on some sort of All-America team I’d be shocked.

So there you have it, Terrapin Nation. The changes are a little unconventional, but I’d be very excited to see how effective they could be. Being able to spread the floor more while coming at the opponent in waves of talented offensive players rather than all at once should be able to get the Terps over the hump and into the NCAA Tournament. It’s pretty scary at this point considering Maryland has little room for error over the second half of the season, but I’m still very excited to see what can happen.

Side Notes

I don’t wish harm or ill will upon anyone, but why couldn’t Korie Lucious have been suspended last season?

Also, don’t forget that national signing day is Wednesday, Feb. 2. I’ll be interested to see if Edsall and his staff can pull off any late miracles and get either Kevin McReynolds or Jeremiah Hendy to sign on the dotted line. Dream big, right?

By Rick Nelligan  | January 26, 2011; 2:39 PM ET
Categories:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  | Tags:  Rick Nelligan, Terps  
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