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Postseason Evaluations: Landon Milbourne

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.

Landon Milbourne is sort of a brooding fellow. When you approach him in the locker room after a game, you almost feel as though you’re breaking him out of a trance. He is intense in the most ferocious of ways.

Given his role on this year’s team, he had to be. Milbourne, as was well discussed, was asked entering the season to move from the wing into the post. He’d played there as a prep standout and knew what it took to survive there at the high school level.

But he quickly discovered that banging around in the paint at the college level requires an entirely different amount of physicality. During much of the first six games of the season, Milbourne appeared lost and overwhelmed in the post. He compensated for his lack of comfort by fouling. The transition was not going well.

And then, while preparing to play Michigan in early December, Milbourne had a revelation of sorts. He said watching tape of Wolverines forward DeShawn Sims clarified how he could be effective matching up against bigger and taller players. At 6 feet 7 and a little more than 200 pounds, Milbourne needed some guidance, and he thought Sims was comparable enough in size to model himself after.

Milbourne said the key for Sims -- and thus, for him -- was to keep moving. He couldn’t reach over most other post players. He couldn’t outmuscle them, either. But he could use the assets he honed out on the wing -- quickness and agility -- to out-position his foes. He simply would go around them. Or try to, anyway.

The results were promising at first. Beginning with the Michigan game and continuing throughout the rest of nonconference play, Milbourne scored in double figures each game.

Then Maryland’s ACC slate began, and the true tests arrived. Against more experienced post players, it was assumed Milbourne would struggle to adapt, at least at first. But Milbourne’s strategy continued to pan out.

For two-thirds of the conference season, Milbourne was dependable on offense and adequate on defense. He accepted the fact he would have to rely on his energy and athleticism to get by, and as long as he could, he did so.

But as the season entered the backstretch, it appeared Milbourne began to wear down. He didn’t engage himself in the flow of the offense from the opening tip quite like he used to and he began playing further away from the basket. He seemed a half step slower on defense. As a result his effectiveness began to wane.

The thing about Milbourne, though, was that he always seemed to rise to a challenge. Hours before the Terrapins were to square off against Wake Forest in the ACC tournament quarterfinals -- what was then the biggest game of Maryland’s season -- Coach Gary Williams challenged Milbourne and Dave Neal to be more productive on the boards. Leading up to that game, Milbourne had not tallied more than six rebounds in a month and a half.

Against the Demon Deacons, Milbourne grabbed 11 rebounds and afterward seemed as outwardly proud as he’d been all season. In addition to helping secure Maryland a spot in the NCAA tournament, Milbourne had responded more than adequately to his coach’s challenge.

In the final three games, Milbourne became disengaged once again. Though he would never admit it, going up against bigger, taller and sometimes stronger players took its toll. That is not meant as a criticism. Milbourne did what he was asked to do as best he could. He ended the year as Maryland’s second-leading scorer and rebounder. He started every game and he led the team in blocks and field goal percentage.

Over time, though, his productivity became more sporadic. Given the circumstances, the way Milbourne’s season played out is understandable and, in many ways, commendable.

It will be interesting to see how the additions of Jordan Williams and James Padgett, two incoming freshmen who appear better suited to man the interior, will affect Milbourne’s role. Will he move back out to the wing? Will he stay inside but not feel as much pressure to rebound, block shots and block out and be Maryland’s inside presence?

What did you all think of Milbourne’s season? How would you evaluate his performance? Ideally, what do you think his role should be next season?

By Steve Yanda  |  March 25, 2009; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Next: Postseason Evaluations: Sean Mosley

Comments

commendable i think is a good word...

look forward to seeing him shine his senior year in a role more suited to his skills...we should expect him to be the X factor next year...a byron mouton that can actually light up the scoreboard...

Posted by: deadskin | March 25, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

A good player having a good season. Probably the Terps' best athlete. But he should spend the summer shooting jumpers from the corner and elsewhere. That's where any hope of a post-college future lies.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

I thought Landon had an excellent year, overall. He can only be evaluated in the context of not only having to play out of position but what that out of position meant. It's different for a 3 to play the 4 than a 1 to play the 2 or a 2 to play the 1 or a 2 to play the 3.

I think Landon will have a breakout season next year with the two new big boys coming in to take over the 4/5 spots and allowing Landon to go out to the wing (3) again.

WIth the confidence and experience he got this year, he should really make waves in the league as a 3 next year.

Posted by: imageaid | March 25, 2009 1:12 PM | Report abuse

I hate to break it to you but unless GV leaves the wing isn't open for Landon to go to. Nobody on the wing is leaving. So Landon you did well this year getting used to your role. Now hit the weight room and get JACKED. With your quickness and your jumper you could be sick at the 4 next year with 15 more pounds of muscle. If you wanna play the 3 in the NBA you're going to need it anyways. Landon had a good year but next year he needs to be ready to be a 2nd/3rd team All-ACC performer which is entirely possible with 10-15 pounds of muscle. Go forth and do great things.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 25, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

Lee,

I could not disagree with you more. The last thing Landon should do is put on a bunch of weight--ever heard of Exree Hipp? Great freshman, sophomore, and junior years at MD as a slasher who played above the rim. Then he put on a bunch of muscle weight going into his senior year and was not nearly as quick as before and lost some of his hops--and he had a miserable senior year.

I think the 3 spot does open up next year as the only reason we played so small this year was our lack of size. Next year with the 2 big bodies coming in,Dino Gregory, and possibly a healthy Burney, we could have a real front court. In this scenario, Mosley likely moves to the bench and our Bowie and Vasquez are our starting backcourt, with Landon at his natural position: the 3.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

Yawn, all these evaluations are showing is that Gary certainly can't recruit for jack.

But whatever makes you jokers feel better about next year.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 25, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

He gave everything he had every game, just like Neal. Can't ask for much more than that from two overmatched players playing inside.

Posted by: mkremnitzer0 | March 25, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Stoors is a fantastic place to start. Follow that with a trip to Durham and you could be onto something here Eric. Every time I hear morons cheerleaders like Vital talk about what character Calhoun and Krzyzewski have, I throw up in my mouth.

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 5, 2009 3:12 PM

virtueandvice;

You just proved you don't know ANYTHING about Calhoun! I will hold comment about coach K, because I don't know him!
Thanks

Posted by: caphcky | March 5, 2009 3:53 PM

virtueandvice;

You just proved you don't know ANYTHING about Calhoun! I will hold comment about coach K, because I don't know him!
Thanks

Posted by: caphcky | March 5, 2009 3:53 PM

Not referencing anything about them in a personal way (i.e. how they treat their family and friends or conduct themselves in public). My comment has to do with the mountaintop Vital puts them on when both Calhoun and Coach K have dipped their hands deep in the cesspool of recruiting. If you think Calhoun is 100% above board recruiting players, you are very much in the minority. And as for Coach K...........WHERE DO YOU WANT TO START?

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 5, 2009 4:01 PM

Got anything to say today caphcky? Tell us all about your boy Calhoun and the program he runs..........

/hears Vital defend him
//throws up in my mouth again

Posted by: virtueandvice | March 25, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Exree Hipp had a bad senior year because he saw the bright lights of the NBA beckoning after Joe Smith got drafted number one overall at the end of his junior year. That whole senior class Rhodes, Simpkins, Hipp had a bit of a Joe Smith hang over their senior years. It wasn't because Hipp hit the weight room, please.

Posted by: restonhoops | March 25, 2009 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Joe Smith left after his Sophomore year. So it had nothing to do with Hipp's down Senior year. He had already been gone for 2 years.

Posted by: Terp1995 | March 25, 2009 4:31 PM | Report abuse

I think you are mistakes reston. it was well documented at the time how much weight Hipp had gained and how much slower he was. He was told by Joe smith that he needed to gain some weight to be able to compete with the physical play in the NBA and he over did it. He was never NBA material and should have settled for being a highlight reel college player. I guess its hard to blame him for trying but you would think Gary had seen that act play out before and would have warned him against it. Anyway it is accurate that he bulked up and lost his speed and his jump shot.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | March 25, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

And for the story, LM had a great season and should be commended for being a great team player going up against players in the ACC that are true power forwards, some at the next level. He didn't always excel, and at times didn't even hold his own, but he tried every game and nevr coomplained. The experience will benefit him next year when he plays away from the basket a little, though I expect he will still be asked to play inside some until the youngsers get their attitute.

Posted by: dbrine1261 | March 25, 2009 4:39 PM | Report abuse

To the guy who said Gary can't recruit for Jack, yeah like Uconn. Lets see,im sure the NCAA will blink an eye for Uconn but it just proves what Gary said all along. The panel on jim Rome today even singled out Gary about all the heat he's been catching and how all the other coaches out there are playing the "game". No wonder we dont get those stars, because we dont play that game like Uconn, UNC, and especially Memphis. Calipari is famous for recruiting violaitions, just look at what he did at UMass and the NCAA continues to look away.

Posted by: tony28 | March 25, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Exree Hipp who is one of my favorite Terps of all time put on weight, that wasn't muscle though. Dude got fat. Love him, but he got fat. Basketball fat, but fat none the less. If it's only 7 pounds of muscle so be it. Mosley isn't going back to the bench, Bowie goes back before he does. Landon knows how to bang a bit in the post now he just needs the body to do it. Gary isn't starting two freshman and unless Landon wants to come off the bench or Grevias leaves and no Born Ready his starting spot is still gonna be the 4.

Posted by: Lee26 | March 25, 2009 5:05 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why I'm even responding to Poopy the resident p*ssy, but he keeps b8tching about Gary not being able to recuit for jack, it just flies in the face of reality. 2 top 5 recruiting classes and another in the top 20 in the past 6 years. That's pretty damn good by anyone's standards.

Then you throw in the fact that outside of Duke and UNC, no team has had more players go to the NBA in the last 20 years than MD and I'd say Gary is among the best recruiters out there.

Poopy has no facts, he's just some loser with no life and nothing better to do than try to annoy people with unfunny jokes and unwitty retorts.

Bottom line, poopy the p*ssy needs to shut his mouth and know his role.

Posted by: terpsfan09 | March 25, 2009 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Lee, respectfully disagree on this. It was muscle, and it was well documented as another poster pointed out. Go back and read the stories from 1995 about the Terps. I remember it well.

As far as who would go back to the bench, I don't know whether it would be Bowie or Mosley. I like both of them, but Mosley is a liability on offense and I have a feeling Gary wants to go back to that fast paced, up and down the court, style of play that defined the last dozen or so years prior to this year.

As for Gary not starting 2 forwards, I agree with you that it's a longshot. But remember Dupree was our starting center to start this season and it's not out of the realm of possibility that either he or Burney will be a starter in 09/10. You heard it here first.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

meant to say: as for Gary not starting 2 FRESHMAN forwards...

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2009 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Landon has to get major kudos. He was basically a 3 playing center, especially with Dave Neal floating to the perimeter so much.

I hope he moves back to the 3 next year.

There are 2 power forward prospects coming to UM next year (Williams and Padgett). If one of them can start, and if we can get Dino Gregory in at the 4, we can move Landon to the 3.

Posted by: p1funk | March 25, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

...as for Dupree and Burney, who knows what the heck happened to those guys...

...if they could play a lick, you'd think we would have seen them this year...

BTW - Anyone see the new allegations against UCONN? I hope Calhoun gets hit hard with some extra mustard for the whole Rudy Gay affair...

Posted by: p1funk | March 25, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

If Stephenson comes, then he starts at the 2 and Greivis moves to his "natural" PG position...

...otherwise I don't mind if Mosely starts and plays the other team's best perimeter defender. It takes pressure off of Greivis so he can focus on running the offense.

Posted by: p1funk | March 25, 2009 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Think Landon will have a solid senior year, as was this year, but should be more consistent. As far as him being a 3...perhaps it was his responsibility, but Landon didn't look comfortable with the ball in his hands away from the basket. He rarely, if ever attempted to take his man to the basket via the dribble the way a 3 should be able to do. That said, he does have a nice spot up jumper, and would like to see him be more comfortable from 3. The 3 he hit against Cal was huge, and gave the terps the cushion they had struggled to get the entire game. I believe he'll cont to start as a 4, just have less responsibility with Williams or Padgett providing the muscle. Would like to see him get more of the looks Dave Neal got this year, and create match-up problems for bigger guys guarding him, as well as be able to take smaller guys inside.

Posted by: asnis715 | March 25, 2009 5:35 PM | Report abuse

I guess I'm thinking Greivis will go. Of course, his relationship with Gary Williams is closer than most, so maybe that will counterbalance his desire to move up.

Not to be a sourpuss, but I'm thinking Stephenson goes to Kansas. Hope I'm wrong.

So with those changes I'm seeing the Terps next year as:
Guards: Mosely, Bowie, Hayes
Small Forwards: Milbourne, Kim, occasionally Mosely
Inside: The two freshmen plus Gregory and Dupree.

That's still not a bad lineup. They'd miss Greivis in some ways, not in others. Better balanced than this years, certainly, if not as inspiring.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 25, 2009 6:21 PM | Report abuse

I'm pretty surprised so many on here are unaware of Burney's talent. The guy can flat out play. The problem is and always has been the injuries. But for people to say "if he could play a lick we would have seen him this year" is just ignorant. He's been hurt. But whenever he has gotten on the court he has produced.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The panel on jim Rome today even singled out Gary about all the heat he's been catching and how all the other coaches out there are playing the "game".

Posted by: tony28 | March 25, 2009 5:01 PM

Did you really just cite Jim Rome and Rome is Burning. Thanks for the laugh tony the tiger.

Jim Rome isn't grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrreat.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | March 25, 2009 6:48 PM | Report abuse

I am very proud of Landon and how he has played this year. He has really answered the call and I look forward to his continued progress for next season.

His father Andre Foreman has to be proud! His mother, my cousin Kaona, is most proud!

Posted by: Doobie_Sparks | March 25, 2009 7:07 PM | Report abuse

When Burney is healthy...he can be a force on offense and defense. Just look at the North Carolina game. Blocked shots, altered shots...NC was scared.

Plus the guy can finish near the rim...much more polished than Dino.

Well...my 3 yr old niece is more polished around the rim than Dino. God that guy is awful on offense.

Posted by: jdgreger@yahoo.com | March 25, 2009 7:31 PM | Report abuse

Dino just becomes a nervous pervert around the basket. He needs to play on offense with the same kind of confidence he plays with on defense.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 25, 2009 7:57 PM | Report abuse

On a side note, I find it very interesting to read about the new allegations which Yahoo broke concerning UConn recruiting.

As I'm sure everyone remembers, Gary Williams has taken a lot of heat over recruiting. One of the players which was mentioned was Rudy Gay, a former UConn player. Also, it would be wrong of me not to point out that Jerome Dyson, Stanley Robinson, and Josh Boone all considered Maryland at a point. All big time recruits. Gary Williams was round about in many of his answers, but he referenced his morals many times saying that he wasn't willing to sell his sole in order to get a recruit.

If this turns out to be true (which would not surprise me for two reasons: Jim Calhoun is a shady character and Gary Williams is not) how can we not consider that Micheal Beasley, Kevin Durant and even Carmelo Anthony (although I don't believe that Jim Boeheim has poor enough character to stoop to the levels of buying a recruit), all of whom left their backyard, were not motivated by the wrong reasons to make their college choice?

I'd rather Gary Williams stay's until he wants to leave.

Posted by: Matt34 | March 25, 2009 8:55 PM | Report abuse

I'd rather have these recruits than to cheat for recruits. Gary rocks. 'Nuff said.

Posted by: charles20001 | March 25, 2009 10:07 PM | Report abuse

First, great effort from Landon this year. Played out of position and did an admirable job. On a side note, is Calhoun already in the HOF? If so, let's start the movement here for GW to go ahead and take that spot which Calhoun should vacate if the allegations are true (not that GW needs to take anyone's place, he has earned a place of his own).

Posted by: terpinNC | March 25, 2009 10:13 PM | Report abuse

"Gary Williams was round about in many of his answers, but he referenced his morals many times saying that he wasn't willing to sell his sole in order to get a recruit."

Well, if he won't even sell off a shoe, I guess we can assume he won't sell his spiritual essence, either.

Still, Gary has taken some chances on some real non-predictors over the years. Hard to think of a big time program that hasn't (certainly Big John THompson did). The kid last year, I forget his name, was a real concern, and I think Gary was unwise to think the boy could flourish on the Maryland campus, which isn't exactly a hotbed of libertarianism. Gilchrist wasn't as big a stretch, but still not somebody you would take a chance on if you didn't have to. And we haven't even gotten to Herb Pope, who last time I checked, was at New Mexico State. Good thing there's no drugs or crime down there on the Mexican border.

To me, the significant thing is that these are all out-of-area prospects. I can understand Calhoun ranging all over the Northeast for players -- most years, there's nobody worth recruiting near Storrs. But Maryland sits in the middle of one of the five best b-ball recruiting territories in the country. Even this year, Maryland's two recruits are from NY and Connecticut, and Lance Stephenson is a New Yorker, too. Meanwhile, players from this area are all over the East, performing great feats for some other fans.

I'm not into blaming this on Gary. I don't know why it happened. I'd just like to see it change a little, for the better.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 26, 2009 6:47 AM | Report abuse

Landon is probably the hardest player to evaluate from this season. The offense went through stretches where they would continuously go to him, and he delivered. The only problem was that the offense would abandon him for long stretches (mostly because Vasquez would take over the offense), and he would become disinterested. Landon is much better when he gets consistant touches, and can do so within the flex. He is virtually useless with his back to the basket, and no matter how much work he does, he's never going to score that way unless he gets a favorable size mismatch.

Posted by: Russtinator | March 26, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

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