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All Parties Benefited From Terps' Lineup Switch

Few would argue that the Terrapins were better off a month and a half ago than they are now, and one of the catalysts for Maryland's late-season improvement was a lineup switch that could have caused division among the ranks.

When freshman guard Sean Mosley replaced junior Eric Hayes in the starting lineup Jan. 31 against Miami, the reason was fairly apparent. Hayes, to that point an inconsistent shooter all season, was mired in another rut. Mosley, meanwhile, had developed into a stifling defender who could add some physicality to a unit in need of such a boost.

Since then, Mosley has continued to develop on both ends of the court, while Hayes has rediscovered his shot and now appears more comfortable on the floor.

"Sean likes starting the game; he enjoys it," Gary Williams said Tuesday. "I think Eric, maybe because of his background of being the son of a coach, gets a chance to watch for a couple minutes, and he knows when he's going into a game basically, he's able to see some things before he gets into the game and he knows in the second half that he's going to be in there most of the time."

Williams also suggested Hayes might retain more energy for the second half because he no longer plays all but a few minutes of the first.

Last week in Atlanta during the ACC tournament, Hayes turned in two of his best performances of the season. Against North Carolina State in the opening round, Hayes played 29 minutes off the bench and tallied a team-high 21 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range. Two days later in the ACC semifinals against Duke, Hayes recorded 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting from the field in 28 minutes of action.

Williams said he felt bad for Hayes when the junior guard struggled mightily to find his stroke earlier in the season. Williams lauded Hayes's ability to continually "get good looks." The problem was that Hayes couldn't convert those looks with much frequency.

"To get open in college basketball, you have to be a pretty good player," Williams said. "And Eric was getting open and not making some shots that I knew he felt that he could make. So to see him keep not losing faith and keep working to get open, because when you're not shooting the ball well, maybe you don't want to shoot it. Some guys don't want to shoot it even though they're supposed to be good shooters. If they don't shoot it, they kind of hide -- you can hide out there and just don't come off a screen real hard or whatever.

"But Eric never changed his game. He kept trying to get his looks and we kept running plays to get him those looks. We didn't have a lot of ways to go if Eric wasn't shooting the ball well. In other words, it wasn't like we could put two or three other guys in there that could do the same thing."

By Steve Yanda  |  March 18, 2009; 7:17 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Williams's Growing Comfort With the Zone

Comments

Quite possibly the best coaching move Gary made all year was putting Mosley in the starting lineup. Shut down defender and getting him starting games, playing major PT as a freshman. I love Mosley's game....always around the ball, always in the right place at the right time. Now if he could just sharpen his O he could be a MAJOR player.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 18, 2009 8:32 AM | Report abuse

It was a great move, not just for who he was putting in the starting lineup but for who he taking out and bringing off the bench: Eric Hayes. Hayes' best games prior to the move had come his freshman year when he came off the bench. Gary's teams over the years like to run and gun, but it's hard to do that when your 2 starting guards aren't very fast. Bringing Hayes off the bench was a brilliant decision and he has flourished ever since the move.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 18, 2009 8:43 AM | Report abuse

I really like the way Hayes has carried himself of late. He seems much more confident. If he can keep this up, and GV returns, we'll be a dangerous team next year with some frontcourt help.

Posted by: H1Dynasty | March 18, 2009 8:53 AM | Report abuse

It's been a beautiful thing to see Hayes find his shot. If he can drive the Cal zone like he did against Duke, with the option to shoot or kick it back to GV, Terps will be dangerous. It's fun to see us actually taking advantage of having two tall guards.

Posted by: Effyeahterps | March 18, 2009 9:38 AM | Report abuse

It looks like we are out of the running for lance

www.zagsblog.net/

Posted by: terpsandyanksfan | March 18, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

I hope I am wrong about my above post. Plus it just says that he is unlikley to come here. I really thought we had him.

If he does not want us, hopefully Vinson will come here.

Posted by: terpsandyanksfan | March 18, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

@terpsandyanksfan,
I wouldn't base too much off one unspecified source. It sounded like Zagoria was digging for the scoop, and he found someone who claimed to be in Lance's "inner circle". Who knows if he actually is?

On the other hand, realistically it does seem unlikely that he comes here, given that he wants to announce at the McDonalds game, and there's almost no chance we would know about a scholarship opening up by then. I find it hard to believe that he would declare intentions to attend Maryland, without having a scholarship available. That would create a really awkward situation where either GV would have to announce he is leaving early (he already said he would "test the waters" meaning we won't know for sure right away) OR someone like Dupree or Goins would have to announce they are transferring.

The whole thing just seems like a long shot, but I wouldn't count us out completely...plus, as you say, Vinson is a nice second option if someone leaves. And he already said basically he is waiting to see if we have a scholarship for him, so it sounds like we are his clear top choice.

Posted by: Jeremy76 | March 18, 2009 1:30 PM | Report abuse

Jeremy:

You are right. The sight has been updated and we are in the final three. He has already decided, and will announce his decision at the McD's AA game. I think we have a decent shot at getting him, although I may be in the minority with this opinion

Posted by: terpsandyanksfan | March 18, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

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