Freshmen forwards making good impression
Given Maryland's dearth of traditionally-sized post players last season, the performances of freshmen forwards James Padgett and Jordan Williams are going to be closely monitored this season, likely to the point of overkill. But at least in the early going, both players appear to have made positive impressions on both teammates and Coach Gary Williams.
Here are some of the reviews following Saturday's scrimmage:
Padgett "never saw the ball last year," Gary Williams said, explaining why Padgett's offensive efficiency during fall practices might have come as a bit of a pleasant surprise. "I don't want to compare anybody to Joe Smith because of what Joe Smith has done over the course of his career, but Joe Smith, when we started recruiting Joe as a junior, the reason we got him in there so early was that he played AAU ball with Allen Iverson, so he got, like, two shots a game, you know, and Iverson took his 25 or 30 shots, and so Joe came in a much better shooter than I thought. Now, James isn't a shooter like that, but he's really quick around the basket. He's very quick. You can see that going against Dino and Landon that have played really good players while they've been here."
In the past month, Williams has compared Padgett in some way, shape or form to James Gist, Chris Wilcox and Joe Smith. Those are some pretty decent measuring sticks for a guy who has yet to play a collegiate game.
Senior guard Greivis Vasquez said the team has been pleased with how well Jordan Williams uses his body in the paint, either to set screens or grab rebounds. In fact -- and again, this might speak more to Padgett's surprising offensive production thus far -- Vasquez said the Terrapins are "not expecting too much out of Jordan offensively. We need him to get us at least 10 rebounds a game and a couple of blocks and use his body in the paint."
A month ago, who would have thought that of the two freshmen, Padgett would be the one counted on to score and Williams would be the one relied on to scrap around in the post?
The pair did a fine job in both respects on Saturday. Padgett tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Williams recorded 11 points and 10 rebounds. Padgett shot 6 for 12 from the field, while Williams shot 3 for 7.
"Those are the two guys that we needed last year, and now we have those two," Vasquez said. "Our big guys, even though James wasn't on my team he rebounded the ball pretty well, and that really bothered me a little bit because he's going to take my spot and he's probably going to lead the team in rebounding, so that's not good."
Then Vasquez smiled wide. "I'm just playing," he said. "But that's good to know."
Senior forward Landon Milbourne said both Padgett and Williams have lost 10 pounds of body fat this fall and are in good physical condition. One of the ancillary benefits to having those two around in practice is it makes life harder on Milbourne.
Though Milbourne posted decent numbers in both scrimmages, there were numerous times when he seemed flustered, frustrated and out of sync while trying to get his offensive game going. That, he said, can be attributed in large part to having big, physical bodies to square off against in the post, something Milbourne didn't have last season.
"That was a little tough because in practice I didn't really get the same look as I got in the game with the match-ups that we had," Milbourne said. "Now it's completely different. It's more game-like; the simulation between practice and a game is a lot closer this year because of those guys, so we're happy to have them."
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