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Midseason Evals: The Backcourt

On a team with size and inexperience issues in the frontcourt, it was clear from the beginning that Maryland's guards would be heavily relied upon this season. They would need to create perimeter pressure on defense to limit an opposing team's ability to break into the lane. They would need to work feverishly in the Terps' half- and full-court pressures to create as many turnovers and transition offense opportunities as possible. They would need to shoot with a considerable measure of efficiency to limit the exposure of Maryland's rebounding deficiency.

To date, the backcourt has been an inconsistent bunch. They were outstanding on defense early on, yet struggled to build any sort of sustained momentum on the offensive end. Now, there defensive prowess is waning just as their offensive acuity is showing signs of improvement.

Junior guard Greivis Vasquez entered the season with a heavy burden to bear after earning All-ACC second team honors as a sophomore. The expectations placed on him were greater than those placed on any other Terrapin. As always, Vasquez has been intriguing in his play, his demeanor, his relationship with fans (home and away) and in his commentary. But for the purposes of this poll, we'll just focus on his on-court performance. He leads the team in scoring (16.0 ppg), rebounding (5.7 rpg) and assists (4.8 apg), while shooting 38.0 percent from the field and 29.8 percent from three-point range. Vasquez also is shooting 89.5 percent from the free throw line and has tallied 30 steals.

Sophomore guard Adrian Bowie started the season as the team's sixth-man, but quickly moved into the starting lineup. Bowie began ACC play as Maryland's most consistent offensive producer before cooling off Tuesday night against North Carolina. Bowie drives to the basket with a frequency and ferocity unmatched by any of his teammates, though his decision-making is questionable at times. He is averaging 10.4 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game, and is shooting 46.9 percent from the field. He, too, has tallied 30 steals.

Freshman guard Sean Mosley was a reserve until Saturday night, when he made his first start since late November. In two games as a member of the starting five, Mosley has performed admirably on both ends of the court. He helped create the pressure defense that stifled Miami and he led all Maryland scorers against North Carolina. Though his shooting has been inconsistent at best this season, Mosley provides the starting lineup with boosts of physicality and athleticism. He is averaging 5.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 40.8 percent from the field.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 5, 2009; 2:25 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Midseason Evals: The Coaching


This is an area where the expectations are much higher than the frontcourt. Neal and Milbourne were going to be overmatched in a lot of places, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

The backcourt has improved in most areas except they remain inconsistent. We get incredible runs followed by longer droughts of scoring that usually end up with the Terps on the short end even after building a solid lead early in the game. Vasquez is trying to shoulder most of the burden for this team. His turnovers have become less and less, which is a major improvement over his wild days. Still, with his antics on the court and his contentious relationship with the fans, he still needs to mature a little more.

Bowie and Mosley are going to be counted on more as the season progresses. While I appreciate the education they are getting, they need to step it up even more if they hope to make the tournament (NIT). Defense needs to improve vastly, especially after watching UNC rain 3s all over the place.

Posted by: ecglotfelty | February 5, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Eric Hayes needs to give his scholarship back.

Posted by: DMoney28 | February 5, 2009 2:50 PM | Report abuse

Vasquez is mediocre on defense and certainly not within the tradition of the elite guards that this program has seen. Certainly cursed with a poor supporting cast, he nowhere in the same breath of Blake, Dixon, Francis, Lucas, Howard, Branch, White, Bodell etc, etc. And with his attitude, it will be nice when he leaves and we move on to the next chapter. Hayes is just overmatched...until we get the protype guard on the floor...we got nothing in the backcourt. In the frontline, we got a lot of openings...

Posted by: outrbnksm | February 5, 2009 4:06 PM | Report abuse

Considering that the backcourt is taking the burden of the entire team with inadequate help(yes they are trying) in the frontcourt, I have no problem with their effort/play.

Give the team 2 ACC big mean, move Milbourne to the 3 and have Neal as the 3rd big man off the bench and the team would be fine. Vasquez would be even better if he wasn't the best player on the team.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | February 5, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Hayes is a wreck. Stop playing him so much. All he's good for is chucking some 3's, and he's not even that good. Seriously, when your center has about the same average from the 3 point line than your "best shooter", its not looking good.

I expect more out of Bowie. For a stretch of 3 games, he practically played himself out of them with foul trouble.

I like mosley. He's like the bombale osby of the guard world. Since he's a freshman, I hope he can improve his ball handling and perimeter shot.

Posted by: doh1 | February 5, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

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