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For Padgett, minutes harder to come by

You had to figure that the playing time of both the freshmen forwards was going to decrease once junior Dino Gregory returned from his suspension for an unspecified violation of team rules. And since Jordan Williams had done well in a starting role in Gregory's absence, James Padgett's playing time seemed likely to take a harsher hit.

Indeed, Padgett averaged 16.4 minutes per game in the eight contests that spanned Gregory's suspension. Padgett's court time in the five games since Gregory returned:

vs. Eastern Kentucky, 12-12 -- DNP-coach's decision
vs. Winston-Salem State, 12-22 -- 13 minutes
vs. Florida Atlantic, 12-27 -- six minutes
vs. William & Mary, 12-30 -- three minutes
at UNC-Greensboro, 1-3 -- 10 minutes

"That’s the way it works," Coach Gary Williams said Saturday. "Everybody’s not going to play the same. James is good. I mean, he’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with James. He’s a freshman behind Landon Milbourne, a senior, Dino Gregory, a junior, and Jordan, who gives us a big presence, so that’s how that goes. Now, we haven’t been in foul trouble in a while, which may be good or bad. Maybe we have to be more aggressive. But it’ll happen."

Although Maryland led by more than 20 for the final 18:41 of the game Sunday, Padgett did not enter the contest for the first time until just less than 10 minutes remained on the clock. He finished with five points on 2 of 3 shooting and four rebounds. He also impressed Gary Williams with his ability to pass out of the post.

"We had a lot of good interior passing," Gary Williams said after his team's 34-point win. "James Padgett is gradually showing that he’s a very good interior passer. He didn’t get in there, I guess, until the last seven, eight minutes, but he’s going to really help us as time goes by this year, and so his ability to pass is going to be big."

Padgett -- who is averaging 4.8 points and 4.0 rebounds per game -- is not the most offensively polished player and there are times when he appears overwhelmed while trying to execute Maryland's press and other defensive schemes. But he can provide another big, athletic body to a frontcourt that seemingly will need as much depth as it can get as the Terrapins progress through ACC play. It will be interesting to see in what capacity Padgett is used from here on out.

By Steve Yanda  |  January 4, 2010; 2:24 PM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

I've been impressed enough with Padgett so far to believe that he will eventually be a key contributor to this team - if not this year, then next for sure. He may only warrant 6 or 8 minutes per game right now. But I think that against teams like UNCG and WSSU, once the outcome is no longer in doubt, Padgett needs to see more minutes to increase his experience and comfort level. The foul trouble will come and, at some point, he's going to be thrust into a close game against UNC or Clemson and we're going to need him to perform. I'd feel better about that is he wasn't just getting 3 or 4 minutes per game.

Posted by: ICBomber | January 4, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

I keep comparing him to Travis Garrison at this point. TG had some huge games for us (especially in the ACC tourney win) but was otherwise inconsistent. I am hoping I am wrong. JW is the one to get excited about. Hope he stays for four years.

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | January 5, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

I agree with ICBomber. Padgett looks like a real solid player and he will develop in time under Gary into a good ACC starter. He has shown some real flashes early in the season and once we get into ACC play we will need that depth he can provide in the front court.

Posted by: lavar609 | January 5, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

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