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Solid First Half For Neal

Clemson’s frontcourt was no bigger or taller than any other that Maryland had faced this season. But unlike previous opponents, the Tigers were intent on feeding the ball into the post from the game’s outset and leaving the Terrapins to deal with the consequences.

Early dunks by Trevor Booker and Jerai Grant served as the most direct results of Clemson’s game plan, but there were several others, some of which actually were beneficial for the visiting team.

Clemson’s repeated entry passes eventually became predictable, even for senior forward Dave Neal who entered the game averaging .58 steals per contest.

With just less than five minutes to go in the first half, Neal denied a pass intended for Clemson forward Raymond Sykes and took off on a one-man fast break. Neal spun to his left to avoid an oncoming defender and missed his lay-up attempt. He then grabbed an ensuing miss by Adrian Bowie and was fouled on the putback. Neal sank both free throws.

Neal tallied a pair of steals by halftime (he finished with three on the night) and was crafty enough in the first half to help semi-negate Clemson’s inside presence. He finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

On Monday, Williams commented that Neal is effective in large part because he realizes his own limitations, be they in terms size- or talent-wise. Williams said a player like Neal has to learn all aspects of the game, since he cannot rely on one strength to carry him through.

And so, there was Neal, listed at 6-foot-7, 263 pounds, draining a three from the top of the key. There he was, pulling up in transition and draining a long jumper.

There he was, sidled up next to Booker (6-foot-7, 240 pounds) near the free throw line with 40 seconds remaining in the first half, prodding his opponent, nudging him farther and farther from the basket.

Exasperated, Booker finally slapped away Neal’s hands and yelled, “Get off me!”

Neal smirked.

By Steve Yanda  |  February 18, 2009; 3:57 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

OK, now you are getting laughable. If you truly believe that we have had excellent recruiting (3 top 20 in the last 6 years), then I guess the results we see are not the result of poor recruiting, but poor coaching. You can't have it both ways.

If we had Top 20 recruiting classes, how come the team rarely lands in the Top 20??

Posted by: Terp77 | February 18, 2009 3:43 PM

77,

When the 02/03 class were freshman, we went to the sweet 16 and came within one shot of making the elite 8.

When the 02/03 class were sophomores, and the highly touted 03/04 class behind them were freshman, we won the ACC championship.

When the 03/04 class were seniors, we won the 6th most games in Maryland history with 26 games and finished 10-6 in the ACC, good for 3rd place in the league, and earned a 4 seed in the NCAA tourney.

You might recall the 2 years in between those years we lost our best player and our leading scorer respectively, and still managed to win 19 games each year.

Is your memory really this piss poor?

Posted by: Barno1 | February 18, 2009 4:58 PM | Report abuse

barno1: "When the 02/03 class were freshman, we went to the sweet 16 and came within one shot of making the elite 8.
When the 02/03 class were sophomores, and the highly touted 03/04 class behind them were freshman, we won the ACC championship.
When the 03/04 class were seniors, we won the 6th most games in Maryland history with 26 games and finished 10-6 in the ACC, good for 3rd place in the league, and earned a 4 seed in the NCAA tourney."

Very impressive. So, why do you think so few top-flight Washington area players wind up at Maryland?

Posted by: Samson151 | February 18, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

So, why do you think so few top-flight Washington area players wind up at Maryland?

Posted by: Samson151 | February 18, 2009 5:46 PM

Here we go:

-Sean Mosley was the Baltimore Player of the Year last year and Gatorade Player of the state of Maryland. Is Baltimore no longer in Maryland??

-Andrian Bowie was an All Met.

-Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes were both All Mets.

Gus Gilchrist was an All Met.

Dave Neal, hard as it may be to believe, was an All Met.

James Gist was a great high school player at Good Counsel and 2-time All ACC pick who wound up drafted by the Spurs.

John Gilchrist was one of the best PGs ever to come out of the state of Virginia.

Travis Garrison was a McDonalds All American coming out of Dematha.

Chris McCray was a 2-time All Met.

Steve Francis, who went to Montgomery Blair, was one of the best players in the country.

Juan Dixon and Lonnie Baxter weren't highly touted but both were local. And both were 3-time All ACC players.

Keith Booth was a top flight recruit out of Baltimore (again, is Baltimore not local?)

Joe Smith was local and was good enough to become the first player picked in the NBA draft.

That's just to name a few...

But yeah, Gary never gets guys from the Washington area. Never. This claim that Gary "ignores the backyard" is the biggest joke of all time. It makes for good copy and gets some readers fired up, but the problem is that it's 100% false.

It's really pathetic that some people who claim they are avid Maryland "fans" have such short memories that they have forgotten all of the great local guys Gary has gotten over the years.

Posted by: Barno1 | February 18, 2009 7:25 PM | Report abuse

barno1" "But yeah, Gary never gets guys from the Washington area. Never. This claim that Gary "ignores the backyard" is the biggest joke of all time. It makes for good copy and gets some readers fired up, but the problem is that it's 100% false.
It's really pathetic that some people who claim they are avid Maryland "fans" have such short memories that they have forgotten all of the great local guys Gary has gotten over the years."

But the question wasn't 'why do no local stars ever go to Maryland?". It was why so few did. Particularly the ones who might potentially have long and lucrative NBA careers.

For myself, I haven't forgotten 'all the great local guys Gary has gotten over the years.' But neither have I failed to notice the many, many players he didn't.

And those turned out to be better players, too.

Posted by: Samson151 | February 19, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Particularly the ones who might potentially have long and lucrative NBA careers."
Who gives a ____ about that? Beasley and Durant won NOTHING in college. These are the gjuys that got people paid elsewhere that we are talking about. No conference championships, no final fours, no championships. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. From a team perspective Mike Jones did more his freshman year hitting big threes to beat Duke and win the ACC Championship. I'm just saying...

Posted by: Lee26 | February 19, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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