First look at Padgett, J. Williams
With just more than four minutes remaining in the first half Tuesday night against Indiana (Pa.), junior guard Adrian Bowie shot an errant mid-range jumper. But as the ball clanked off the rim, freshman forward James Padgett grabbed it with the palm of his hand and flushed it back through the net.
"Yeah, he helped me out," Bowie said of Padgett's clean-up job. "I thought [the shot] was good, but he helped me out."
Padgett and fellow freshman forward Jordan Williams played their first game at the college level Tuesday night, and the performance reviews were mixed. On the one hand, Coach Gary Williams and several teammates acknowledged how hard both freshmen worked and talked about the potential the pair displayed. On the other hand, vast room for improvement also was noted.
Williams tallied seven points, six rebounds and a steal in 18 minutes. Padgett started and played 22 minutes, recording eight points, four rebounds and two blocks.
"I thought Jordan was fine; he worked hard defensively," Gary Williams said. "James was good. They both were a little nervous, but they did some good things too, so I think that’s a good step for them tonight."
Inserted into the starting lineup in place of the suspended Dino Gregory, Padgett showed some of the offensive polish early on that he displayed during the team's two open scrimmages in recent weeks. He shot 4 for 5 from the field.
Gary Williams said he elected to start Padgett over Jordan Williams because he felt the quicker, more athletic Padgett would match up well against IUP's smaller lineup. Jordan Williams came off the bench and served as Maryland's best offensive rebounder on the night. Still, it was clear at times that it was a night of firsts for the two big men.
"I thought they played hard; I give them credit," senior guard Greivis Vasquez said. "It was their first game, and it doesn’t even count. Now they know what it takes to get better, to win games. You have to be mentally prepared for every game. You can’t go through the day without thinking about the plays or the guys you’re going to play defense on. You have to be ready. You have to know every play."
Padgett and Jordan Williams combined to pull down 10 rebounds, which would be an adequate amount for a pair of freshmen forwards on most other teams. But for a Maryland squad that -- depending on how long Gregory is out -- may desperately need its two freshmen to make immediate impacts, specifically on the boards, the tally was not enough.
"They weren’t as effective as they should have been, and that goes for everybody else on the team," senior forward Landon Milbourne said. "I think everybody could have did a whole lot better job, and [Wednesday] we’ve just got to work on that."
Vasquez said Padgett and Jordan Williams should expect to grab a combined 12 rebounds per game. He says the team is confident its freshmen duo is capable of meeting such a standard.
"We need those guys," Vasquez said. "Having those two big guys, they should be a monster in the paint. They should be getting every rebound. This rebounding thing, it will be good for us to know, and for them to understand that they have to work extremely hard."
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