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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Freshman Review Updates

Tonight, I watched a blowout against Savannah State and I had a few things to add/revise to my earlier post since every Terp on the roster got to play. Plus, a few more observations. Here's the stats and away we go:
CLIFF TUCKER - I really mean it; this kid will be a star in this class. He's athletic and quick - witness 4 steals in the game, and he had other opportunities that he almost converted.

BRAXTON DUPREE - His minutes continue to shrink. He has moves but his inability to play above the basket hurts: On one play, he was blocked on layups twice in a row before throwing up a third try that clanked.

ADRIAN BOWIE - Actually one of the better backups tonight, going 3-for-4 and getting 3 steals. I was nervous when he was running the point. Also has some hops: Among his highlights were a fast-break dunk and a silky smooth reverse layup. He's 6'2, in case you're wondering ... and that might be a generous assessment.

SHANE WALKER - Reprised in his role as Gist's main backup, but only managed a personal foul and one made free throw. We'll see how he goes.
DINO GREGORY - I think he has more potential than I suggested the other day, but his size will probably be a factor in his minutes in the future. But still a great hustler and player. After Dave Neal graduates, he'll probably take the mantle of People's Champ.

JEROME BURNEY - I really question the logic of putting in one of your most impressive physical specimens in last, even after the walk-ons. I was with two friends for the game, and when Burney came in, one said, "Whoa, who is that dude? He's huge!" That's what I always think. But he only got two minutes tonight, the least of anyone. And yet he seems like the best candidate to fill in at power forward next season. We aren't even going to give him garbage minutes over Jason McAlpin?

Along those lines, Maryland recruiting classes are so congested right now, I heard it suggested here and there that someone might transfer from the team. I hope Gary is mindful of the talent we could lose if we don't play them enough over our walk-ons. I'm sure some players are mindful that we have a 4-star guard and a 4-star forward/center coming next year, and playing very limited minutes might discourage them. As a disclaimer, I offer no evidence that anyone is transferring, but don't be surprised if it happens. Only four guys "graduate"(the quotes indicate that I hope they graduate) in the next two years - that means the talent will be stockpiled in such a way that not everyone will get to play. Everyone wants to play.

P.S. - Burney just posted a Facebook status report (tacky, I know) that any rumors of him leaving are false. The guy does seem to like Maryland - I see him around and about all the time.

Other observations:

- Only 2-of-9 from 3-point land will not get the job done for the season. It's been a problem all year.

- This is one game that I wasn't actually totally satisfied with the performance of Greivis Vasquez. 13 pts, 6 reb and 6 dimes aren't bad, but his 4 turnovers were - most were just the result of poor concentration, which actually seemed to be a problem for the whole team in the second half, believe it or not. I mean, you can't be upset about how a team plays when they blow someone out, but a better team will take advantage of you if you let down as much as we did in the second half.

- Similarly, we shouldn't only have a 7-rebound edge against a team as small as Savannah State. They had four players on their roster taller than 6'7, and two of those guys were at the end of the bench. Some of those balls come down to hustle and concentration.

- A lot of good execution in the first half, however. Crisp passing to the post was a key and a lot of people did a good job finding the open man instead of jumping on bad opportunities to score themselves. Vasquez and Hayes had 6 dishes each.

I think overall, the performances are improving. But the Terps will have a trial by fire against a Holy Cross team that went to the NCAA tournament last year and is currently 8-3, including a win over Ohio University, a team we had trouble with already this season. Bill Simmons will be tuning in to watch his alma mater - it's the least we can do to disappoint him.

Go Terps!

Photo Credits: The Baltimore Sun


Anonymous said...

Maybe Burney's grades suck?
But would Gary know?

Anonymous said...

You imply that someone transferring would be bad for the team, but as harsh as it is, I couldn't think of anything better- with the recent Gilchrist ruling, the team is slated to lose seven scholarship players at once in a few years. The transfer of a mediocre player like Gregory or Burney would be a welcome trade in exhange for a shot at Ater Majok (or any other recruit) because it would balance out the classes more and would probably be an upgrade in talent as well.

KGoon1590 said...

But you assume we land Ater Majok... and I'm not sure that's a safe assumption. Honestly, Burney and Gregory are project players that should be great contributors by their junior year. I think it's safer to hold onto talent you have than to have someone transfer so you have "a shot" at talent next year. Would an extra scholarship have helped the year we picked up Dave Neal and Parrish Brown?