Condensing The Bench
Only three Terps -- junior guard Eric Hayes, sophomore forward Dino Gregory and freshman forward Jin Soo Kim -- came off the bench last night against Miami. They combined for 17 points, five rebounds, one steal and two turnovers.
A long while back (say, November) Gary Williams spoke of his desire to have an eight-man rotation. He mentioned that some of his best teams had really only three main guys coming in as subs, two big men and a guard. At the time, Williams's wish seemed preposterous, mainly because Maryland seemed equipped with more guard talent than post talent.
Now, though, Williams's ideal reserve unit appears to have taken form. Hayes started every game this season prior to last night, and regardless of whether he or Sean Mosley stays in the starting lineup, the other almost certainly will be first man off the bench.
Gregory has been Williams's top big man reserve for quite some time. He provides great energy on defense and has the potential to be an asset on the boards. Gregory provides a jolt of athleticism to the lineup upon entry.
Kim isn't a true big man, at least not in the way the team uses him. Still, he is 6-foot-8, so he gives the Terps a taller look when he's out on the floor.
To listen to Williams tell it, Kim's presence in last night's game was quite the surprise, based on events of the past week. On Monday, Kim was declared academically ineligible. On Friday, the NCAA provided Kim a waiver that made him eligible to play once again.
"I had to get him off the ceiling," Williams said. "He was so happy. Because he thought he was done for the year. We did, too. It was great that the NCAA showed compassion and realized how hard the kid was working and came through with the eligibility issue."
Kim scored five points in eight minutes last night.
This is not to say that players such as sophomore guard Cliff Tucker and sophomore forward Braxton Dupree won't play much the rest of the way. There certainly will be times when Williams needs to reach farther down on his bench than the first three guys. But as far as majority sub minutes go, Hayes/Mosley, Gregory and Kim seem to fit into the kind of bench unit Williams would prefer.
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