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NCAA Tournament 2010: Milbourne passing along words of wisdom

While talking with reporters Tuesday at Comcast Center before the Maryland men's basketball team left to fly to Spokane, Wash., senior forward Landon Milbourne revealed some of the advice he has been imparting on the Terrapins' two freshmen forwards, Jordan Williams and James Padgett, as they prepare for their first NCAA tournament appearance.

Milbourne, who will be playing in the third NCAA tournament of his collegiate career, said this was the same advice given to him by D.J. Strawberry and James Gist when he was a freshman in 2007.

"The best advice I got was probably, 'You never know when you’re going to come back,'" Milbourne said. "I’ve only been to the tournament three times since I’ve been here. It’s not like just because you’re a big DI school you’re guaranteed to go every year. That’s not true. You never know how a season’s going to go, and that’s what we’ve been telling Jordan and James. You never know. You never know. Anything could happen, so don’t take this for granted. It’s where everybody wants to be. You know, you should feel good that you’re a top seed and you’re going to be out there playing against some of the best teams in the country. Just take advantage of it. Don’t take it for granted, because you never know how the next year’s going to be."

Milbourne then was asked whether he's given any thought to the fact that at some point during the next three weeks he will wear his Maryland uniform for the final time.

"Every now and then, you know, I think about it," Milbourne said. "But I try not to because I don’t really want it to affect how I play. I want to go out with a bang. Of course, I want to do a real good job in this tournament. That’s the only thing I’m really worried about. I’m not really worried about, you know, I’m about to be out of here or this is about to be over. I’m not really emotional about it or anything like that.

"But I think it’s just exciting. I think it’s exciting to just to prepare for something like this. And just to be in practice and thinking about, you know, we’re ready to go to the tournament. This is what we’ve been waiting for this whole year, so it’s exciting in that way, and once we get out there it will be even more of an excitement. But right now we’re just trying to focus on Houston and do whatever we can to win that game. But at the same time realize how important it is and where we’re going to be and why this game is a big deal. That’s what’s in my mind. And that’s what I’m trying to tell the other guys on the team, as well."

By Steve Yanda  |  March 17, 2010; 8:18 AM ET
Categories:  Men's basketball  
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Comments

Thanks LM for all of your contributions thus far to the program and here is to wishing you personally and the team much success this weekend in Spokane.

I did not understand why Barno and others had posted negativity about Yanda and MD's graduation rates until this morning when I read the articles in question. I'm not in complete agreement with the overall attacks on Yanda.

First, I don't think Yanda is that great a journalist and have never thought so. He's has got the beat that I care most about so it is exceptionally appalling that he is not only a terrible writer, but has no additional insights beyond the blatantly obvious. I know others have accused yanda of having a bias against MD, but I think he lacks the ability to counterpoint any negativity on his own. Instead, GW quotes are used which by definition will make him look defensive. I think we are assigning malice on Yanda where mere ineptitude is the real issue.

In terms of the graduation stats - no doubt they are appalling. we came in last place for the period in question - which lets face it is ancient history. Four seniors, three of whom will have lucrative pro careers of some type, will graduate. That is relevant. If the story was framed with a "look how far we've come slant," then it would not be nearly as provocative.

The study itself, albeit dated, is likely the best measure in that it excludes transfers who left in good academic standing. Athletes do get one unquantifiable benefit - first pick of classes, which at MD is exceptionally important because they get to avoid horrible professors and not have to wait to get the competent ones. Anyone who took any STATs classes knows exactly what I am talking about. The Duke three year program makes sure that core courses are offered over the summer, and that the athletes from all sports can take them.

In comparison to GTown, the stats are woeful. Same region, same hucksters, agents, thugs, wannabes and distractions. But again, the period for these stats is ancient history AND overlaps a NC.

One specific disappointment - Dixon was on campus for five years and still did not complete his degree? I hope he is close since he can't play for a while. Hopefully its somthing a couple of summer sessions can take care of. I know he was in a remedial position entering school so it is entirely forgivable. But agree with GW, would like to see him graduate.

So, in time the stats will show GW and the program's support turned it around - this senior class as well as D. Neal from last year is at 100%. Not going to calculate the numbers, but am certain that puts us in a respectable range.

For purposes of the study (where the only buckets were african-american and white) where will GV fall?

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | March 17, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Hugh is putting it out there. No fury like the Terps Insider board scorned

We did have a bad graduation rate, but we are improving it. Gary Forever

Posted by: jpfterps | March 17, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Yanda, I hope you don't read these comments, but if you do, you are a fine journalist.

Posted by: rd81 | March 17, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

The way the NCAA measures "graduation rate" for college sports teams is illogical - if a player transfers to another school you are dinged - if a player leaves early, to make over a million dollars in their first year out of college you are dinged.

The article will come out this year, right before the Final Four, just like it always does.

The NCAA is whack.

Posted by: BrokenClipboard | March 17, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

Does Dixon really need that piece of paper. He got a lot out of Maryland and Maryland got a lot out of him. I really don't care if he graduates or not. I would be interested to know, though, how close to graduation these players were when they left. We certainly don't want players that never go to class (Landesberg at UVA). But if someone is 15 to 30 credits short and then goes pro or leaves to take any good full time job, that's different than the player that takes basketweaving for a few semesters just so he can play ball.

Posted by: terpin | March 17, 2010 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Wow Hugh.

Can't say I disagree with any of those sentiments.

My main concern is - How can a journalist/blogger whose main responsibility is the U of MD, alienate the head coach and still do his job effectively and unbiased? Wouldn't Gary be one of your main sources of information?

You can call it objective journalism.

I call it poor management of resources - which in turn results in unnamed sources and lack of insight.

Posted by: fushezzi | March 17, 2010 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Terpin -

I agree that for St. Juan as well as many others the degree is not nearly as necessary as it is for the rest of the student populace. However, maybe I am hoping for style points. I remember Juwan Howard completing his degree - mainly on-line and via video conferencing while with the Wiz (back when they were the Bullets) and thought that it was a great thing - he was only in school three years I believe. So I hope that MD players have the same opportunity if they choose to pursue it.
I would rather see Juan, Lonny and others complete their degrees rather than not complete them, thats all. But its their lives and they can lead them as they see fit - unworried about whether some middle-aged fans would give style points for degree completion.

I agree that Juan got a lot out of MD; I contend he gave a lot more back to the University than he received.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | March 17, 2010 10:18 AM | Report abuse

The issue of graduation rates illustrates just how little college has to do with college basketball. I don't blame kids for leaving college to make millions of dollars, but college shouldn't just be a place you go until you're good enough to leave.

Major NCAA sports are about one thing: money. Graduation rate statistics and enforcement seem just like games colleges have to play. If MD seriously had an 8% graduation rate, why wasn't the program penalized?

Posted by: acebojangles | March 17, 2010 10:24 AM | Report abuse

Earlier this season on College Gameday (I believe the one hosted at Kansas State), Jay Bilas made a great point. Talking about graduation rates is really missing the boat.

Rather, we should be talking about the quality of the education these kids get while they are in school. Isn't that the whole point? Giving these young men (and women) something solid to support them once their professional careers in athletics ends? Of course, getting the piece of paper is important, especially in certain industries. However, it's only the tip of the iceburg.

Posted by: NaptownTerrapin | March 17, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

I did not understand why Barno and others had posted negativity about Yanda and MD's graduation rates until this morning when I read the articles in question. I'm not in complete agreement with the overall attacks on Yanda.

Posted by: HughGRection | March 17, 2010 8:58 AM | Report abuse

Hugh, I didn't attack Yanda. I actually said I thought his piece was very fair. I just think the study itself is a joke and shouldn't be given any attention by the media. I've actually come around on Yanda this season and think he's doing a much better job reporting on the team than last year.

Posted by: Barno1 | March 17, 2010 1:28 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Barno. Yanda just reported what the report said. That report comes out the same time every year and some school is always dissed. It's just silly. Coach Williams made a good rebuttal and Yanda reported that. I'm very pleased with the job Yanda and Prisbell have done in keeping the Insider updated this year.

Posted by: erniegogo | March 17, 2010 4:26 PM | Report abuse

Hey Barno -

I was hard on him on this article, probably unduly so. I guess what I'd like to see from the WaPo (and understanding that there are limited resources and a ton of info demanded on the team from the likes of us) is some form of prospective reporting - calc'g the graduation rates for more recent periods. Your note on the players during the period in question was more illuminating than the article itself as it went through player by player.

I actually agree that the coverage has improved from last year - as likely a result of the teams performance this year as well as the journalists listening. I find it funny that the "GW can't Recruit" pieces won some form of award in some forum. The Moses Abraham story (with the board members pointing out he was never offered a scholarship) was another example of I think ineptitude over malice.

To be fair, re-reading YOUR post - it was not an attack, it actually was an illumination. OTHERS certainly attacked Yanda - I was missing the point as to why until I read the article - much later than the rest of the board it seems.

Regards -

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | March 18, 2010 8:16 AM | Report abuse

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