Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding
The area in which the Maryland men's basketball players and Coach Gary Williams have said the team most needs to improve based on their showing in last week's exhibition game, as well as last Saturday's scrimmage against Temple (which was closed to the public and reporters) is rebounding. Given the team's struggles in that department last season and the fact that it is breaking in two freshmen big men, that shouldn't come as much surprise.
But it does provide something to watch for tonight when the Terrapins host Charleston Southern in the regular season opener at Comcast Center. Will winning the rebounding battle be critical to defeating the Buccaneers? Probably not. But how Maryland fares on the boards will serve as an important indicator nonetheless.
"We have to rebound the ball well," senior guard Greivis Vasquez said. "We have a quick team that can run the break every time, but we have to get the ball first. Our last exhibition game we proved that we need to rebound better, so tomorrow's a great opportunity for everybody on the team to get 10 rebounds, whether you're a point guard or a two guard or a big guy. I'm expecting everybody to get in the paint and help our big guys get rebounds. ... We've proved that if we can rebound the ball, we can be a great team."
Okay, so maybe 10 rebounds per Terrapin shouldn't be the realistic standard, but still, you get Vasquez's point. The Buccaneers offer a handful of tall players, but none who have proven particularly adept at rebounding so far in their collegiate careers. CSU likely will start 6-foot-10 center Billy Blackmon, who tallied 4.5 rebounds per game last season before missing more than half the season because of injury, and 6-7 forward Kenny Mitchell, who redshirted last year because of injury. CSU can bring 6-9 senior Quinton Goods (2.5 rebounds per game in 2008-09) and 6-9 freshman Patrick Shaughnessy off the bench.
The Buccaneers' leading returning rebounder would have been the 6-5 Omar Carter (7.9 rebounds per game), but he transferred to Appalachian State in the offseason. Instead, their leading returning rebounder is the 6-5 Kelvin Martin, who pulled down 6.9 rebounds per game in 2008-09.
Anyway, the point is that Charleston Southern is a team Maryland should be able to handle on the boards. Whether or not the Terrapins do so remains to be seen. Maryland finished last season with a minus-1.7 rebounding margin per game, a mark that will need to improve if the Terrapins are to live up to the heightened expectations surrounding the program entering this season.
"We learned that we need to rebound a lot better than we did," senior guard Eric Hayes said of the past week of preseason competition. "I think we got outrebounded in our exhibition [against Indiana (Pa.)], and in Saturday's scrimmage I believe we got outrebounded by Temple. But we did a good job scoring, ran the offense pretty well. Basically, we need to shore up the rebounding aspect."
James Padgett and Jordan Williams, Maryland's two freshmen forwards, will play a significant role in determining the Terrapins' ability to improve their rebounding. Padgett earned the start against Indiana (Pa.) after junior forward Dino Gregory was suspended because of what Maryland described as a violation of team rules. Gregory also did not participate in last Saturday's scrimmage against Temple, according to a source close to the men's basketball program. Gary Williams said Thursday he had no update on Gregory's status for Friday night's game.
Additionally, sophomore forward Steve Goins continues to sit out because of a lingering knee injury. Gary Williams said Thursday that Goins has not practiced in recent weeks. Goins is not expected to play Friday night against CSU.
"We're waiting to see where he feels like he can play, and then when he can play, you know, in practice obviously, then we'll see how that will be the next day," Gary Williams said. "And if he can go the next day and a couple times in a row, he'd be ready to go in a game. We could use Steve; there's no doubt about it. He's 6-9, 250 and does some good things when he does play. It's just been a health thing the whole time with him, really ever since high school. The knee just hasn't responded that well to what's been done to it."
With Goins and possibly Gregory out of the lineup Friday night, either Padgett or Jordan Williams likely will be inserted into the starting lineup. Gary Williams said Padgett was chosen to start last week against Indiana (Pa.) because he matched up best against the opposing lineup. He said Thursday the same method would be used in determining Friday night's fifth starter.
"You got a quarter?" Williams said. "Flip it and see what comes up. They're different players. A lot depends on who we're playing against, if one of the freshmen start."
Regardless of which freshman starts (if one of the freshmen start), both likely will see significant playing time. Gary Williams and Vasquez both made a point Thursday of stating that the Terrapins don't necessarily need the freshmen to provide points at this stage in the season. Making an impact on the glass and in the flow of the offense would suffice.
"The most important thing for them is they need to understand their role and what they can do for us," Vasquez said. "Just like I tell them every day in practice, if you get me open and you get your teammates open like Sean and Adrian and Eric, that will be better than you guys trying to, you know, score for yourself. You just got to play your role. Obviously, we need them to score in the paint when they get the ball, but I think their role is more like a role player. They don't have to be the main players on the court. Obviously, we need them to play like they have been here for two years because we didn't have big men before. But I don't want to put too much pressure on them."
Posted by: HughGRection | November 13, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: HughGRection | November 13, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: fushezzi | November 13, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: aviscardo | November 13, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: J-Wiz | November 13, 2009 1:47 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | November 13, 2009 2:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: epdaly | November 13, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: S2DU | November 13, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Barno1 | November 13, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | November 13, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.