The expectation heading into the season was that sophomore guard Adrian Bowie would serve as the Terps' spark plug, the guy who energized the troops with hustle on defense and constant movement on offense. So far, he has done just that. Only, he's doing it from the starting lineup.
You see, another part of that expectation heading into season was that Bowie would fulfill his role coming off the bench. Bowie, who plays the point and shooting guard positions, was stuck behind Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez on the depth chart and no one really thought he would supplant either. He hasn't. Instead, he's joined them.
In a post last week, I wrote about how Gary Williams feels more comfortable now with his current lineup and the flexibility his guards allow him. With Bowie in the lineup, Vasquez plays more of a small forward position, which allows him at times to set up on the wing and set up scoring opportunities for himself off the ball. Bowie plays the shooting guard and Hayes, typically, runs the point. The nice part for Williams is that at any time he can shuffle those three around at what essentially has become three guard spots.
The interesting part of this equation was that Bowie's recent level of play seems to have caught even Williams by surprise.
"I don't think I thought he could be a starter," Williams said Friday night after Bowie tallied 12 points and four assists against Delaware State. "I thought he could be a really good player coming off the bench because he gives us that change in gears when he comes into the games, but he's played so well that I'm certainly going to give a guy a chance to start if he is playing well and Adrian has taken advantage of the situation. Hopefully that will continue."
Bowie is shooting 47.7 percent from the field and averaging 10.6 points per game.
Last week, Bowie said the only significant difference he's noticed between starting and coming off the bench is his ability to read Maryland's opponents. When he was a reserve, he typically subbed into games for Hayes, which meant he could spend the first eight minutes or so of each game watching how Hayes guarded his man and, likewise, how Hayes's man played defense.
Now "I have to pay more attention to who we're playing against and who I'm guarding specifically," Bowie said, noting that pregame preparation has become more critical since he entered the starting lineup Dec. 3 against Michigan.
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