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Milbourne On A Tear

To the delight of Terps players, coaches and fans, junior forward Landon Milbourne is averaging 18.3 points over the past three games. After a slow start as he adjusted to playing bigger and more physical opponents at the power forward position, Milbourne appears to be coming into his own. Granted, the opposition in the last two games (George Washington and Delaware State) has not been all that stellar, but his production (20 and 23 points, respectively) has been impressive nonetheless.

The good news for Milbourne is that the confidence he is gaining now against sub-par opposition should embolden him heading into conference play. The good news for the Terps is that, with expected starter Braxton Dupree underperforming and reserve Jerome Burney out with a foot injury, the team finally has a reliable scoring option in the frontcourt.

Milbourne's work ethic was never in question. The guy was shooting an array of short jump shots all by himself about an hour and a half before the team's media day in October, and I've heard several other stories of his dedication since then.

"Right now, at this point in the season, I really don't think there's a better conditioned player than Landon Milbourne, in terms of how hard he works," Gary Williams said Friday night. "You know, in the spring and summer he worked really hard and it's just carried over into the season. Landon could play 40 minutes if he had to; there's no doubt in my mind. Landon, he gives you that toughness that you need. I thought he was great tonight."

There might not be another player on the Terps roster who can match Milbourne's athleticism, and what you've been seeing in these past few games is the fluidity that comes with developing a comfort zone in a new area. Milbourne is in better position now to use his athleticism because he doesn't have to think as much about his responsibilities in the post. He's more confident, more knowledgable and, as a result, more instinctive.

The challenge for Milbourne -- and the rest of the Terps players, for that matter -- will be maintaining some sort of edge during a stretch of the season when Maryland will play the likes of Elon and Bryant. If Milbourne can continue to ride the wave he currently is on, both he and the Terps will ride into ACC play with a good dose of momentum on their side.

One side note: I mentioned this in a post on Saturday, but thought it might be worth bringing up one more time. Due to this being Maryland's exam week, the team does not play again until next Monday, which means media access to the team will be limited until then. I will make at least one post per day this week and will do my best to make it as substantive as possible, but my notebook will not be as thick with nuggets as it typically would be because I'll be working solely off material gained during Friday night's game against Delaware State. Feel free to shoot me an email with any ideas you might have to liven the blog up during the latter part of the week. My email address is yandas@washpost.com. I always look forward to hearing from you. Have a nice day.

By Steve Yanda  |  December 15, 2008; 7:34 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Changing Gears

Comments

Is there any word on a change in the timing of the December 30th
basketball game? I have that week off of work, as many people do I'm
sure. I'd love to go see a basketball game that week, but it's the
same night as the bowl game! Kinda difficult to do both. Any chance
they'd move the game to Monday night? Or a 9pm Tuesday start? Have you
heard anything about this? Thanks for the great coverage

-Charlie
mdtees.net

Posted by: CharlieF | December 15, 2008 9:35 AM | Report abuse

I am proud of Milbourne's evolution. I have waited a good year for this to happen. I won't lay back on my laurels though. I mean, for us to have the kind of success we want to have, I think we need to be better than last year's team (which included Gist & Osby).

Now, is 2008's combo of Vasquez, Hayes, Milbourne, Bowie & Neal (plus Gregory as the 6th man) better than 2007's combo of Vasquez, Hayes, Milbourne, Gist & Osby (with Dupree as the 6th man)? I kind of doubt that we can answer that question in the affirmative.

Consequently, I am very worried about how we will perform when the ACC conference starts. Remember how DJ Strawberry was tested at the 1 but could just not pull it off? I have this inkling that the same will happen to Milbourne at the 4 (once ACC play starts)...and it's not his fault really. I will still root for Milbourne to excel but if it does not pan out, he will be wrongly blamed for under performing (Gilchrist stuck it to us, didn't he?).

The positive is that we are performing better than last year's team (which included Gist & Osby) performed at this point last year.

Can't wait to get our pound of flesh back from AU on 12/22. Only 7 days left!

Posted by: de_11 | December 15, 2008 10:29 AM | Report abuse

i'm disappointed that the "insider" has made no mention of the National Champion Maryland Men's Soccer Team. Congratulations Terps on a 1-0 victory over the Tar Heels yesterday!

Posted by: TerpGrad | December 15, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

CharlieF:
The bowl game starts at 4:30. I assume the basketball game is in the evening (someone correct me if I'm wrong). So you could still watch the bowl game and make the b-ball game in the evening. Unless the bowl game goes into overtime. (... excuse me, my gag reflex went at the thought of that)

Posted by: ecglotfelty | December 15, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I agree with TerpGrad. Winning a national championship is a big deal. Where's the love? Go Terps!!

Posted by: stokesfamily | December 15, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

I actually like these player spotlight blog entries we're getting this week. Keep 'em coming!

Posted by: Lindemann777 | December 16, 2008 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Maryland will finish with a 15-16 record and 4-12 in the ACC

No NCAA

No NIT

Go Tar Heels

Posted by: hclark1 | December 16, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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