Changing A Mindset
After Wednesday night's game, I spoke with sophomore forward Jerome Burney about the development of Landon Milbourne, who prior to the contest against Michigan seemed uncomfortable to varying degrees at the power forward position. Though he played at power forward in high school, Milbourne was used on the wing for much of his first few years at Maryland before being asked to serve more in the post this season.
Back on the team's media day in October, Burney told me that he was helping Milbourne "relearn" how to navigate his way around the post. During their high school days, Milbourne and Burney played together on the Georgia Stars AAU team in Atlanta. So after Milbourne's 12-point performance against Michigan, I went to Burney for an update on his new-found pupil.
"I remember when I first met him we were playing the (power forward position) together, but (Wednesday) he showed signs of knowing how to help off, get the blocked shots and stuff, handling the rebounds and stuff," Burney said of Milbourne. "Rebounding is really (key) for our position, but just the blocking shots. You know, helping for a big man is usually blocking shots, but helping for a guard is usually stealing balls and stuff.
"But (Wednesday), I saw him play more as a four. I guess with the guy he was guarding playing (on the perimeter) more it kind of helped him out cause it was more like he was playing the three, rather than the actual four. But other than that, him just helping down, using his athleticism, grabbing boards, all that other stuff, definitely helped build up his confidence. Coach also was getting on him, but he allowed him to stay in the game, allowed him to make up for what he didn't do the last time."
Milbourne recorded just one block against the Wolverines, but he did seem more at home in the interior. Teaming up with sophomore forward Dino Gregory in the second half, Milbourne helped the Terps establish as much of a post presence as they've had all season.
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