Playing The Hand You're Dealt
Gary Williams just got done with his weekly segment on the ACC coaches' teleconference, and he spent some time talking about how it's been playing with a smaller lineup this season.
"The smaller lineup is good in terms of, you know, it's a good ball-handling lineup; we're playing good defense with it," Williams said. "We've played three pretty good sized teams in Georgia Tech, Miami and Florida State in the league and we've been able to defend to a point pretty well. You'd just like to have the versatility of being able to go either way, of playing big or playing small. And I think we can play either way next year, but right now we're playing the way that we can play. And we have to do a good job with what we have this year."
When asked how opposing teams have approached playing Maryland and whether or not foes have had to adjust to the Terps' smaller, quicker lineup, Williams responded thusly:
"Each team tries to do what they're best at," he said. "In other words, they're not going to change until you can prove that the way you play is better than the way they play. We have to shoot the ball better to do that. We have an advantage if we shoot the ball well, but we haven't done it so far in conference play, so that's our next goal is to shoot better because our defense, our pressure, things like that have been good enough."
The player most impacted by the switch to a smaller lineup has been junior forward Landon Milbourne, who Williams praised for his willingness to adapt to the team's needs. Milbourne has played out of position at forward this season. His bodytype suggests he's better suited for a role out on the wing.
"I think Landon's one of those people that you really respect in coaching because he's never complained," Williams said. "He probably feels he should be playing more of a guard position. This year, it's very important to us that Landon be a rebounder, and he did a great job Saturday against Florida State, for example, on the offensive glass. We need him to do that this year. Next year, he'll be a senior and things could be a little different in terms of new players coming in and things like that, but right now he's as valuable as anybody we have because he has filled a gap that we had this year for us."
Much, much more on Milbourne to come. I'll have a long post on his impact in a few hours, and keep an eye out for a shorter version of that story in tomorrow's print edition.
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