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Keep On Shooting

During the Terps' season-opening thrashing of Bucknell, junior guard Eric Hayes attempted just three shots (three fewer than any other starter) and scored just three points. Wednesday night, Hayes attempted 13 shots and recorded 13 points against Michigan.

What does that mean, other than that Hayes seems to be a fan of symmetry? Well, for starters it means that Hayes has become more involved in the offensive attack. It also means that as Hayes becomes more assertive, he also becomes more productive.

Hayes is shooting 40.0 percent from the field and just 28.6 percent from three-point range, but Coach Gary Williams said Wednesday night that he would like to see his starting point guard continue to be aggressive on the offensive end of the court. Hayes, who is averaging 8.6 shots per game, has developed into the team's second leading scorer (10.3 ppg).

"One of these days, Eric Hayes is really going to start knocking 'em down," Williams said. "I was really pleased that he took 13 shots because he was open. Shooters have to shoot when they're open. It doesn't matter if you miss six in a row, if you're open on the seventh, you have to shoot it. I think Eric did that tonight, and if he keeps doing that he'll be fine."

Hayes and Greivis Vasquez (who, no surprise, is Maryland's leading scorer with 17.9 ppg) alternate in running the Terps' offense, which means both should get their fair share of open looks throughout the game.

But aside from taking and making jump shots, Hayes has shown a greater willingness and ability to drive into the lane and finish near the basket. By now, every Terps follower should know the team's strength lies in its backcourt, and if Hayes can develop into a consistent scorer, he and Vasquez might end up legitamizing a theory of ESPN's Fran Fraschilla.

"I think Vasquez and Hayes, that's one of the underrated backcourts, I think, in the country," said Fraschilla, a former Division I-A coach and current college basketball analyst. "They're not the best backcourt in the country. They not probably in the top five of the best backcourts in the country, but they're definitely a backcourt that can play on a given night with every backcourt in the country. They're both talented players."

By Steve Yanda  |  December 5, 2008; 7:12 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Hayes has to be more aggressive offensively, defensively, and in running the offense. The more he can take over and control the team, the better off Greivis Vasquez and the team will be. Greivis feels like he has to do it all, including running the offense. When Hayes is more assertive, Greivis will chill and let the game come to him.

Now, if Greivis will actually willingly give up the control once Hayes (or Bowie) shows he can run things, who knows.

Posted by: ckstevenson | December 5, 2008 8:19 AM | Report abuse

I think Hayes's willingness - and increased ability - to drive is key to the team's success. It adds another dimension that defenders need to think about. And we need to find more ways to get him to the line. He shoots 88% from the line, but he only attempted 34 free throws as a freshman and 54 last year.

Posted by: ICBomber | December 5, 2008 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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