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Postseason Evaluations: Cliff Tucker

This week, Terrapins Insider is taking a look back at the Maryland season that concluded last weekend. Each day will feature posts on the performances of specific players and Coach Gary Williams.

The “DNP” was the worst. Sophomore swingman Cliff Tucker could bear the declining minutes and the questions he had over what more he needed to do to earn those minutes back. But following a Jan. 31 win over Miami – a game in which he remained planted on the bench – Tucker voiced his displeasure to the public for the one and only time.

In that brief moment of open rebellion, Tucker may have unknowingly ignited the turnaround to his sophomore season.

Tucker started the first five games of the season after an impressive fall in which he appeared poised to become a breakout performer. His shot was falling. His passes were crisp. His decisions were sharp and instinctive.

But after not scoring against Michigan State and tallying just four points against Gonzaga in the first two games of the Old Spice Classic in November, Tucker was pulled from the starting lineup. His minutes – along with his confidence and his production – wavered from that point forward.

The rap on Tucker was that he did not always provide full effort and focus during practice. He thought he was giving all that was needed and expected of him, but that was not the case. Tucker met several times with Coach Gary Williams to discuss his situation, but only after Tucker’s public venting did his fortunes begin to improve.

Three days after the win over Miami, Maryland traveled to North Carolina. In the loss to the Tar Heels, Tucker played 20 minutes, tallying 18 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds.

From then until the last few games of the season, Tucker played a decent chunk of minutes each game as a reserve. He had another standout game on Feb. 21 against North Carolina at Comcast Center (22 points, six rebounds). But he had bouts of ineffectiveness, as well.

Tucker possesses the athleticism and shooting ability to be a major contributor at Maryland. The question appears to be whether he is willing to devote the full-time focus and effort necessary to earn opportunities to showcase his skills.

What did you all think of Tucker’s season? How would you evaluate his performance? How significant a role do you think he’ll play on the team next season?

By Steve Yanda  |  March 27, 2009; 7:01 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Postseason Evaluations: Dino Gregory


Probably the Terps most talented athlete, outside perhaps of Milbourne. Would like to see him develop.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 27, 2009 8:38 AM | Report abuse

Cliff Tucker, for me, was probably one of the most disappointing returning player this season (I didn't expect much from Dupree and Burney has an excuse with his injury). Tucker almost always looked uncomfortable, and never appeared like he was an important cog in the offense. He had his streaks, but often struggled to get into the flow of the game. He has some talent and perhaps he's suffering from the fear of getting chewed out by Gary and the staff for any mistake. He played very timid for most of the year, and needs to recognize how talented he his and his ability to be a slashing inside-out player. Of any player on this roster, Tucker has the most potential to improve and make a major impact in the next two years.

Posted by: Russtinator | March 27, 2009 9:22 AM | Report abuse

We don't go to the NCAA tournament this year without Tucker. You could say that about pretty much any of our regulars, but it's a fact that we don't beat UNC without his career game. He was as much a part, if not more a part, of the comeback when we were down 16 than Vasquez. Almost all of his 22 points in that game came after halftime. If he could just play half as well as he did that game on a consistent basis, he'd be one of our most productive players.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 27, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Tucker's Terp career thus far has a similar arc to Mike Jones. Though Tucker is not the shooter Jones was, both would have flashes of brilliance dulled by streaks of ineffective play. Jones, even with some incredible highlights, proved to have a somewhat disappointing career. Let's hope the same doesn't happen with Tucker. I think he will get it together, but Gary could go along way in helping too. Give the kid steady minutes so he doesn't fear mistakes and plays freely.

Posted by: jpfterps | March 27, 2009 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Tucker characterizes the Terp team in general......bunch of patsies, wuses (sp), and prima donnas......under tutelage of a prima donna coach who needs to retire NOW.
Vasques, Hayes, and Neal are only exceptions in my not so humble opinion. Look for same next yr.

Posted by: teddybeartwo | March 27, 2009 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Tucker needs to do three things focus,focus, and focus He has the ability to play hard and effective all the time, I know you think you do but take a look, an honest appraisal of your effort on film just you and your favorite assistant in a room by yourselves and then go from there.

Posted by: dargregmag | March 27, 2009 11:58 AM | Report abuse

what has he accomplished ? overrated, underachieving, another body who will come in, spend some time in the program, and contribute very little other than to himself.

Posted by: outrbnksm | March 27, 2009 12:22 PM | Report abuse

i agree he looked timid and lacked confidence when he wasnt contributing... hopefully he focuses on the success he did have and develops and builds confidence through next season...this kid has potential...can hit the 3, can step in for the midrange and can get to the rim. parlay it into a jaun dixon type thing...

i think both bowie and tucker have that potential...

they just need consistency and bring it ever night...

Posted by: deadskin | March 27, 2009 1:39 PM | Report abuse

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