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Posted at 12:58 PM ET, 02/ 3/2011

Better offensive rebounding a key for the Terps

By Liz Clarke

Maryland’s 80-62 loss to Duke on Wednesday at Comcast Center underscored the vast disparity in the teams’ shooting ability.

Midway through the season, Maryland (14-8, 4-4 ACC) still has but one reliable offensive play: Get the ball inside to sophomore center Jordan Williams for a bucket or, failing that, a trip to the free throw line, where he’s steadily improving.

Duke (20-2, 7-1), by contrast, consistently scores from any spot on the court, with a capable shooter at every position and equally capable backups on the bench.

Against Maryland, the Blue Devils established an inside presence early by scoring eight of their first 11 points in the paint. But as the game unfolded, Duke rained one three-pointer after another, finishing with 10 to Maryland’s two. That alone accounted for a 24-point differential in the final score.

Duke leads the league in three-point field goal percentage (39.2 percent); Maryland ranks ninth (33.3 percent). The difference in total shots made is even more striking: Through 22 games, Duke has hit 196 shots from three-point range; Maryland, 95. That translates to a difference of nearly 14 points per game.

With just four weeks remaining in the regular season, it’s not as if Maryland’s going to suddenly blossom into a great shooting team, whether beyond the arc or inside it. The Terrapins have gotten as far as they have — currently locked in a three-way tie for fifth in the ACC standings, with Clemson and Boston College — on relentless defense.

So what can the Terrapins do, at this juncture, to bolster their offense?

Better offensive rebounding would be a huge a start. Simply generating more shooting opportunities — second and third attempts on each possession — would help compensate for what the Terrapins lack in pure shooting talent.

On Wednesday, Duke outrebounded Maryland, 34-31, and took 57 shots to the Terps’ 50.

Too often this season the Terrapins have treated rebounding as if it were Williams’s responsibility alone rather than a collective one. Against Duke, Williams grabbed 10 of Maryland's 31 boards. Dino Gregory had six, Cliff Tucker got five and Adrian Bowie four.

Said Jordan Williams after the loss: “We weren’t hitting shots, and they were getting offensive rebounds in the beginning. We have to get more offense rebounds and just go to the glass harder all around.”

The rebounding differential was particularly costly in the game’s most critical stretch, after Maryland pared what had been an 18-point deficit to five on a layup by Williams, trailing 56-51, with 9 minutes 20 seconds remaining in the game. What followed was this:

Duke’s Nolan Smith missed a shot, and Gregory grabbed the rebound for the Terrapins.

Bowie missed the ensuing three-pointer, and Smith grabbed the defensive rebound, which led to a dunk by Mason Plumlee.

A miss by Tucker followed. Again, Smith grabbed the defensive rebound for Duke. Though Kyle Singler missed the shot that followed, Smith (yet again) got the offensive rebound. Duke’s Andre Dawkins drilled a three-pointer that restored Duke’s double-digit lead, 61-51.

Tucker finally snapped a nearly two-minute scoreless drought by the Terrapins to pull Maryland within eight, 61-53.

But Dawkins struck again from beyond the arc — his second three-pointer in 56 seconds — and Duke went up, 64-53.

So, in a span of less than three minutes, Duke grabbed three rebounds to Maryland’s one and extended its lead from five to 11. And the Blue Devils’ lead stayed safely in double digits until the buzzer sounded.

By Liz Clarke  | February 3, 2011; 12:58 PM ET
Categories:  Gary Williams, Men's basketball  | Tags:  Duke basketball, Jordan Williams, Maryland basketball, Nolan Smith  
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Next: Catching up with Wake Forest

Comments

Another poor analysis by Ms. Clark. Duke only got one more offensive rebound (10) than the Terps (9). The difference was that Duke turned their offensive rebounds into points (thrice into 3-points), while the Terps often turned their offensive rebound into a missed layup.

Ms. Clark points out the pivotal stretch of the game, but fails to mention the play just before where Stoglin got called for a charge instead of Singler for a block on a made basket, which was taken off the board. She makes it sound like the Terps shoudl get every missed shot, but offensive rebounding is as much about shot selection by the shooter as it is the guy under the basket. Bowie's 3 was a bad shot, and while JW was in position to grab the offensive rebound, it rattled off the rim to the lane, instead of the ball side of the floor where JW was standing. The miss by Tucker was the same result as the shot was not the right choice at the time, especially with the hesitation, and the ball bounced to the weak side of the floor instead of where JW was standing.

Ms. Clark also fails to recognize the need to floor balance, and while it is necessary to pound the glass, you cannot do that at the risk of losing defensive balance. If Bowie, Tucker, Stoglin, and Howard are collapsing to get rebounds, who is going to stop the fast break? The Terps did an excellent job of maintaining floor balance all night, and I don't thing any coach in America would take the risk of pulling down a couple of extra offensive rebounds to give the other team a half fast break baskets.

Jordan Williams did have a number of rebounds that went through his hands, which is pretty rare, and the Plumlees were probably partially responsibly for that. He also got called for a foul on what would have been a Maryland defensive rebound when he puched the ball out of one of the Plumlee's hands.

Again, I wonder if Ms. Clark actually watches these games, or just reads the play-by-play summaries. Sure, if Maryland grabbed every rebound, they would have won, but like if they would have made every free throw, they'd only have 2 losses right now. I don't think the Terps put on their best rebounding display last night, espeically on the loose balls that JW was unable to corral, but rebounding is not one of this team's major concerns.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 3, 2011 1:40 PM | Report abuse

Time to shoot the messenger?

Posted by: P00PY_MCP00P | February 3, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

You also have to consider that the flex offense is not always the best offense to reboud out of. At just about every point of a set, there's a player moving away from the basket, and with a player like JW, he's typically going to be the only guy setting the screens and in position to reboud, so that's why he gets a majority of them, and why Lonnie Baxter was such a good rebounder in college. It is JW's primary responsibility to get offensive rebounds when someone else is shooting, and I'd take my chances with him in the lane over anyone else on the floor. On the other end, Duke runs double-stack sets with typically 2 guys always in the lane available to grab offensive rebounds, and to only allow 10 after giving up 8 in the first half, they definitely did better. This is one of the top rebounding teams in the country, so I don't think one average performance is cause for alarm. The adjustment this team needs to make is to stop doubling on penetration, and stop missing easy layups.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 3, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

Where the article says "Duke rained one three-pointer after another, finishing with 10 to Maryland’s two. That alone accounted for a 24-point differential in the final score," that would only be true if not accounting for the Terps shooting a 2-pointer instead of a 3. I see an 8-point differential instead.

Posted by: MrScrotums | February 3, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Where the article says "Duke rained one three-pointer after another, finishing with 10 to Maryland’s two. That alone accounted for a 24-point differential in the final score," that would only be true if not accounting for the Terps shooting a 2-pointer instead of a 3. I see an 8-point differential instead.

Posted by: MrScrotums | February 3, 2011 2:34 PM | Report abuse

Duke's offense is also highly reliant upon the 3-ball, which is why they got pasted by St. Johns when they started 1-17 from behind the arc. The whole premise of Ms. Clarks argument is on shakey ground at best.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 3, 2011 3:02 PM | Report abuse

Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.

Make the dance. Somehow, make the dance.

Regards-

-hgr

Posted by: HughGRection | February 3, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Russ, that's a little harsh on Liz. I thought her comment about them not turning into a good shooting team was spot on. I'm not sure this team is worthy of much analysis. They simply aren't very good.

Posted by: petecard | February 3, 2011 6:40 PM | Report abuse

Who cares. We aren't making the tourney yet again. Gary should be ashamed but he isn't...which is part of the problem.

Posted by: sjp879 | February 3, 2011 9:34 PM | Report abuse

There is nothing to be ashamed of. The Terps play hard and do not always win. This team needed the seniors to play consistently well to have a good year. We have the core of a very good team but the younger guys are not there yet. This is a good team but you may not see that until later in the season or next year. Stay the course, all is not lost and there is no shame in losing to Duke.

Posted by: torope | February 3, 2011 11:18 PM | Report abuse

Enjoyed the guys' comments here. Liz is rite with the "offensively challenged" comment. Terps, while very good defensively, are gonna have trouble winning against good teams because they just don't shoot the ball well enough. Gary is totally focused on defense, and he has to be.
I thought JW's comments were the crystals of truth for this years team. "We have to make shots" (we don't) and "they couldn't stop me without fouling me". The comments reveal a powerful, confident forward who needs help from a powerful, confident guard. We just don't have one.

Posted by: dlyell001 | February 4, 2011 7:12 AM | Report abuse

To those disparaging Liz's analysis, I disagree. She has been a breath of fresh air in writing about the Terps compared to most of her predecessors. Terp fans have known for years that, overall, we don't rebound well. All you have to do is watch the Terps on offense. As soon as someone jacks up a shot, watch the remaining players start to head for the defensive end. If the shot misses, we usually have fewer players around the basket than the opponent to try for the rebound. Gary has taught this for years, not wanting to get burned by a fast break, but how many points has this philosophy cost us because we never had a chance to get the offensive rebound and try again? Beyond that, years of lettting assistants do most of the recruiting has burned this team since the NC. Yeah, Gary can "coach 'em up" better than most, but when he starts so far down on the talent level, year after year, the results are going to be about what we have seen - hoping to make it past the bubble into the NCAAs yet again.

Posted by: Pearl77 | February 4, 2011 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I love all the over analysis of the Terps games. Face it.... this year's team is just a poor shooting one especially compared to last year. Nobody other than Williams who scores most of his points from within 10 feet of the basket, can hit the broad side of a barrel. Last year you had Greivis from anywhere, Hayes from three point land, Williams and Milbourne inside. Even the second level of Mosley, Tucker and bowie were better. This year they just stink.

Posted by: bullwinkle1 | February 4, 2011 8:02 AM | Report abuse

There's a lot of things that aren't going right for the Terps this year. But they have three seniors and one junior that haven't done anything except show that they are who we always thought they were...bench players. That's why Vasquez, Hayes and Milborne started and Bowie, Tucker, Gregory and Mosely came off the bench.
They are who we thought they were. Second tier players that can't or won't execute Gary's offense. Why, when you have just put in a supreme effort to catch up, would you (Bowie and Tucker) put up a three ball with JWill standing open under the basket? Not very good decision making. And I doubt that Gary told them to shoot away if they were open, even though he knows this team is sorely pressed to put the ball into the basket on wide open shots.
The level of talent that is on the floor (except for JWill and you really can't blame the frosh) is just not that good.

Posted by: M20832 | February 4, 2011 8:07 AM | Report abuse

As an earlier poster said Maryland rebounded almost as well as Duke, they just did were not able to take advantage of the opportunities to score. Shooting is the problem, not rebounding. That said, if Maryland gets fired up by ACC tournament time they could still get to the NCAA tournament, if they win it. Perhaps there is less hope for that at this point of the season, but still there is hope.

Whatever happened to supporting your team vs hating? Gary Williams is one of the best coaches in the game. He limits the Terps potential by not being a scum bag when it comes to recruiting etc. That's not a bad thing, it's a fact of life. Do you choose to take the low road or the high road.

Even then, he's done pretty darn well. And every season is exciting because the Terps always have a chance to win by playing hard and taking advantage of the skills they do have, and persistence.

I would feel better if their graduation rate was better, but somewhere in the middle of all of this, the reality of how the NCAA operates vs how they should operate has to be dealt with. Duke has a great graduation rate, but they also have a much easier time getting the big name recruits.

Posted by: tojo45 | February 4, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the comments here but think about it for a second...every year we don't make the tourney Gary and his believer are full of excuses; we are young, we dont have any shooters, our seniors aren't playing well, Gary doesn't cheat, etc, etc. It's time to stop making excuses. You guys wouldn't accept these type excuses from your subordinates at work yet you somehow take them from Gary. Good basketball can be played consistently without cheating and to think it can't is a cop-out. The fans have been lulled into a sense of complacency by Gary's excuses. Think for yourself. Gary needs to do a better, more consistent job. The ACC is weak. Teams like Va Tech have passed us by. UMD is in the most talent rich basketball region in the country. We can do much better.

Posted by: sjp879 | February 4, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I thought Liz gave a pretty good analysis.

Posted by: Benson | February 4, 2011 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Fans of UMD basketball should all be use to this repeating episode of Maryland Basketball. The episode starts off with recruiting players with limited offensive abilities; Gary bruises their egoes to get players to conform to his system; players are forced to make perimeter shots against the better competition in the country(but the players recruited are not naturally gifted shooters so they miss), every 3 or 4 years Gary gets lucky and has players develope their offensive game a bit (these seniors are still no match for the premier freshmen that the upper echilon programs recruit); the fan base is teased with hopes of an ACC championship; the upper classmen move on and we see the repeat episode start again on the recruiting trail with blue collar hopefuls...STAY TUNED!

Posted by: mlh5173 | February 4, 2011 9:13 AM | Report abuse

I love Gary but he really has to recruit better. Every top 10 team every year has players from Maryland. Maryland it the BEST state to recruit baller's. Gary should know that.

Posted by: luvdc808 | February 4, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

While I appreciate the the analysis of x's and o's by the beat writer, and it's certainly a breath of fresh air compared to constantly criticizing the ability of the program to recruit blue chippers, the analysis presented by the writer is flawed. In her attempt to figure out what went wrong against Duke, Ms. Clark reasoned her way into a corner, and came up with a thesis that is easily debunked.

Rebounding is not a problem for this Terps team, and anyone debating that, even in a game like Duke where they did not rebound particularly well, could not have been watching this season's edition of the Terps. This is one of the best rebounding Terps teams in years, and the fact a team running the wide flex can be near the top of the standings nationally in rebounding is something to be said. If someone wants to point to rebounding as a flaw of the 2008-09 team, that's a valid argument. However, to make that criticism of this team is completely bogus.

This team's problem on the offensive end boils down to jump shooting, and an overall lack of a go-to shooter. There's not one single player that this team can point to if they need to make a shot. There are not one (tight foul-line flash), not two (secondary double-screen to the wing), but three (double-flex low-high) sets of Gary's standard offense that he can't run this year because of the lack of jump shooters. The only jump-shooting sets that he runs this season are the "2" set that is a flex flash to the short wing (DG or SM), and the "5" set that is a modified high-low with a wing kick option (the option is rarely used because of JW's efficiency). That's the fatal flaw of this team on the offensive end, not rebounding. Certainly having so many poor shooters does cause a problem for offensive rebounding, because it can be difficult at times to be in good position to rebound eratic, bad shots.

I'm in no way complaining about the presence of analysis, and certainly appreciate the analysis over 3-part pieces on why Gary can't recruit, but I'd also like to point out that the analysis that we are getting from this paper is thin, and poorly thought out. I don't think anyone can dispute that.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 4, 2011 9:59 AM | Report abuse

I love Gary but he really has to recruit better. Every top 10 team every year has players from Maryland. Maryland it the BEST state to recruit baller's. Gary should know that.

Posted by: luvdc808 | February 4, 2011 9:44 AM | Report abuse

Ohio State doesn't.
Kansas does--Josh Selby (Baltimore, MD) and Thomas Robinson (Washington, DC)
Texas doesn't.
Pitt does--Aron Nwankwo (Baltimore, MD)
Duke does--Nolan Smith (Upper Marlboro, MD) and Tyler Thorton (Washington, DC)
UConn does--Roscoe Smith (Baltimore, MD)
BYU doesn't.
Notre Dame does--Eric Atkins (Columbia, MD)
Kentucky doesn't.
SDSU doesn't.

5/10 is not ALL the last time I checked, and out of those local players on top 10 teams, only Selby, Robinson, and Smith are true contributors. 3 of Maryland's starting 5 are local products (Adriane Bowie, Dino Greggory, and Sean Mosely), so maybe Gary should keep looking elsewhere for talent, since half of the top 10 don't have a DC Metro player on their roster and of the other 5, only 2 have local players that contribute to their success, while Gary can't crack the top 25 this year with 3 out of 5 starters from the local area.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 4, 2011 10:24 AM | Report abuse

I appreciate the comments here but think about it for a second...every year we don't make the tourney Gary and his believer are full of excuses; we are young,

[Most teams in the NCAA are experienced teams. When we have an experienced squad (2009-10) we make the tourny. Pretty common correlation.]


We dont have any shooters. our seniors aren't playing well, Gary doesn't cheat, etc, etc. It's time to stop making excuses.

[if your seniors aren't playing well and your shooters arent making shots, then yes, you normally don't make the tournament. In other news, the team that scores the most points usually wins the game.]

You guys wouldn't accept these type excuses from your subordinates at work yet you somehow take them from Gary. Good basketball can be played consistently without cheating

[Has anyone told this to Calhoun? Calipari?]

and to think it can't is a cop-out. The fans have been lulled into a sense of complacency by Gary's excuses. Think for yourself. Gary needs to do a better, more consistent job. The ACC is weak. Teams like Va Tech have passed us by.

[Is this a joke? V Tech? Really? The same VTech that hasnt made the NCAAs since 2007 and has made the NCAA's a total of twice since 1987? Just b/c they beat us this year? In that case, St. Johns has passed Duke by. Seriously, this is hilarious.

UMD is in the most talent rich basketball region in the country. We can do much better.

[And PG County leads the nation in murders. Would you want to stay in this area?]

Posted by: sjp879 | February 4, 2011 8:52 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: fushezzi | February 4, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

"UMD is in the most talent rich basketball region in the country. We can do much better."

I really don't understand why people keep saying this. Sure, there are a lot of talented players in this area, but a lot of them are not from around here. Oak Hill has kids from all over the country, and the same goes for many of the other prep schools around here. Just because a kid plays in the area does not mean he's from here or has a desire to stay here. In fact, the exact opposite is true. Gary and his assistants cannot make any more trips to these places than any other coach in the country, and many of the local prep schools make trips all over the country, where other coaches can visit without paying big bucks to travel to the DC area.

Every case is different, and it's obscene and ignorant to think that Gary has an obligation to keep kids that play on local teams should stay in state. This is NOT football recruiting.

Also consider that Gary dealt with a number of years (2003 through 2007) with a revolving door of assistant coaches. Recruiting is about creating relationships, and that's really hard to do when a different guy is knocking on a kids door from the same school every year. Gary is limited by NCAA rules in what he can do, so it's up to his assistant to reel kids in when Gary can close the deal. Wojo and Collins have been Coach Ks assistants for nearly 10 years, and the result is continuity in his recruiting operation. The results are clear as day with the continuity that Gary has created through Chuck Drissell (delivered Williams, Stoglin, Howard, and Gibbs)/Bino Ranson (delivered Faust) and Keith Booth (delivered Mosely--at least on paper that was a great get, and had a hand in Faust). These are not excuses, they are facts. Assistant are the ones that do most of the recruiting, and if you have different assistants every year, it's difficult to continuously pull in the top recruits. Look at Billy Donovan at Florida. He won back to back national titles, and has been mostly irrelevant ever since because he lost all of his assistants, and has been rotating his staff for the past 4 years. He gets decent classes, but they're nowhere near the level of the championship classes.

Posted by: Russtinator | February 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

lot of new names posting comments on here today. Interesting, not sure what's going on but glad to see more people. Have to correct some of the newbies' comments.

"I would feel better if their graduation rate was better"

Graduation rate can't get much better than they currently are. 13 of Gary's last 15 seniors have graduated. Almost all of Gary's players graduate these days. You must be relying on that bogus study from a few years ago with numbers that are more than a decade old, which counted transfers like Danny Miller, Hosan Fofana, Andre Collins, Matt Slanika, Braxton Dupree etc the same as dropouts, which counted guys that went pro early as not graduated, and which didn't account for guys like Steve Francis and John Gilchrist who came back to school to get a diploma.

"That's why Vasquez, Hayes and Milborne started and Bowie, Tucker, Gregory and Mosely came off the bench."

Not sure what you are talking about. Mosley has been a starter since early in his freshman year. Bowie/Tucker were behind a 3-time All ACC player who was the best point guard in the nation last year.

"Beyond that, years of lettting assistants do most of the recruiting has burned this team since the NC."

How do you know Gary lets his assistants do most of the recruiting. Gary says he spends as much time on the recruiting trail as "any coach in the country." Just wondering how you know this is false.

"I appreciate the comments here but think about it for a second...every year we don't make the tourney Gary and his believer are full of excuses; we are young"

We've missed the tourney 3 times in 17 years. The first time, our best player was injured most of the season--and we missed the tourney by 1 win. The second time, our leading scored was ruled ineligible for most of the season--and we missed the tourney by 1 win. The third time, we were loaded with freshman and sophomores, and we missed the tourney by 1 win. You can call those "excuses" if you want, I call them "reasons."

Posted by: Barno1 | February 4, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

*The second time, our leading scorer was ruled ineligible

Posted by: Barno1 | February 4, 2011 12:33 PM | Report abuse

I love the Terps, but this team is absolutely subpar!

Other than Jordan Williams we have absolutely NO talent.

We are a POOR free throwing team, and are IMPOTENT when it comes to 3 point shooting.

The SENIORS stink, and ought to be benched collectively .

Padgett, and Poson (sp?? - the guy from Iceland) need to be on the floor to support Jordan offensive. Iceman can drill the 3's which we need in our game.

Adrain, Sean, and Dino stink up the joint!

Our inability to score points is painful to watch.

Hope we have a GREAT recruiting class. If not, next year is going to be even more painful to watch.

Posted by: mi6-007 | February 4, 2011 8:18 PM | Report abuse

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