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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Greivis In, Walker Out

The moving and shaking is not done yet for the Terrapin men's basketball team, and it doesn't look great right now.

THE GOOD NEWS: Greivis Vasquez is coming back. Some people may groan, but he's the best returning player on the Maryland squad. Hopefully another year in college might mean another year of maturity. Now he needs some coaching (hint, hint, Gary) to stop forcing plays and turning the ball over.

THE BAD NEWS: Forward/Center Shane Walker is transferring from the school. Before the announcement, the frosh figured to earn significant minutes at least in the early part of next season until Augustus Gilchrist becomes available. He could've been a starter depending on how much Braxton Dupree weighs in the fall. This is why I'm surprised he left - perhaps there was a personal issue that made him decide to move elsewhere. I'm also disappointed: He was one of my secret favorite players, the ones I like for silly reasons. C'mon, he's British! How cool is that?

THE UGLY REALITY: Maryland now has four (4) players that can play the 4-spot and the 5-spot when the season starts next year. Gilchrist will give a great boost when he's allowed to play in December/January, but until then, think about this rotation:

Greivis Vasquez/Eric Hayes
Sean Mosley/Adrian Bowie/Tyree Evans
Landon Milbourne/Cliff Tucker
Dave Neal/Dino Gregory
Jerome Burney/Braxton Dupree

That's not a good team folks. It's crowded in the wrong places and shallow in the wrong places. We don't have a standout frontcourt player to speak of (no offense, Jerome and Braxton), and with the departure of Walker depletes the already-dangerously low depth in those positions. I honestly have no idea how we expect to rebound with any regularity, and our guards are not sharp enough shooters to run a perimeter-oriented offense like Duke did this past year with four guards in at a time.

It will be, to say the least, a challenge to make it through the first part of next year. Gilchrist is the wild card that could help make or break this squad. It's a long time from now, and people will get better from year to year, but a lot of other ACC recruiting classes will make a big impact (Duke, Wake, UNC) that Maryland's incoming class probably won't. It's very discouraging when you look at NCAA prospects for next season.

Also disturbing: The transfer leaves zero players representing the United Kingdom next year.

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun

Sunday, April 27, 2008

What Happened to Erin Henderson?

I don't understand what happened today at all.

Erin Henderson was a top-rated outside linebacker by pretty much EVERYONE.

- 3rd best OLB by ESPN
- 8th best OLB by NFL Draft Countdown
- 2nd best OLB by The Football Expert
- 5th best OLB by About Football
- 3rd best OLB by Walter Football
- 4th best OLB by KFFL

So why did Henderson not get drafted this weekend? I can't say for certain. Look at all the linebackers that were drafted! Why was Henderson not one of them?

It's true he has an injury history, but he also has a reputation for playing through them. When something like this happens, you have to check either medical records (ACL) or police records (doubtful, in this case). However, if there was something hidden in those reports, wouldn't we have heard about it already? There must've been something that scared everybody off. Maybe he isn't going pro after all? I have no idea.

If anyone knows anything, please let me know. I'm terribly disappointed at this outcome - I was looking forward to hearing his name on TV and knowing he would sign a big-time contract.

I guess he can still make it on a team by trying out free agency. But really? The best linebacker in the ACC? A potential Butkus Award winner needs to bust his butt in camp just to make the roster? That saddens me as a Maryland fan and just a person, thinking about how Henderson watched TV for 9 hours today and kept his eye on the phone just waiting to see if maybe today was the day his name would be called.

Not cool.

Photo Credits: Baltimore Sun, Press Box

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Terp Prospects in the NFL Draft

Since this weekend is a huge holiday to football freaks and geeks everywhere, I thought it might be prudent to write some more about the NFL Draft. However, for the Maryland folks out there who don't even know how to spell Vernon "Golstin," here's a breakdown of how players from Maryland will do this Saturday and Sunday with their '07 stats, various other projections - and a little INRCP spin, of course. I also called resident draft expert Kyle Miller, who did our mock draft, to help me out.

Hint: many of these projections will say "undrafted."

Let's go:


Position: Linebacker
Key 2007 Stats: 133 tackles, 11 for a loss despite missing time with well-documented injuries
Biggest Plus: Has an instinct for the run and always seems to know where the play is going to be
Biggest Knock: Not terribly well-rounded in coverage or pass-rushing and has an injury history
ESPN Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 3 pick, possibly round 2
INRCP Take: Henderson was everyone's darling this past year and the face of a team that lacked great leadership. Unfortunately injuries prevented him from having a Butkus-worthy season. His combine results did little to move him up boards, and most scouts consider his speed very average for playing outside linebacker. A detailed catalog of nicks and tears on his body causes many teams worry as well. Kyle Miller says, "He can fit in a 3-4 or a 4-3 defense, but he's not really special in either. He's not great in man-to-man coverage but decent in zone. He probably won't be asked to do much more than clog up the run in the NFL." It's also our opinion that Henderson would probably thrive in the middle linebacker position, where he would be asked to stop the run more than drop back into coverage. The guy can tackle like nobody's business, but today's linebacker prototype is asked to do more than what Henderson is good at.
INRCP Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick, and could slip further


Position: Defensive Tackle
Key 2007 Stats: 63 tackles and 6 sacks (led the team)
Biggest Plus: Ideal size, strength and speed
Biggest Knock: Questionable motor, plays when he wants to
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 2 or 3 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 2 pick
INRCP Take: Moore is a guy that I just can't get excited about. Statistically, he had a good senior season, but on the field, he hardly dominated. Maryland had the 3rd-worst rushing defense in the ACC and consistently got run over by backs like James Davis and Yvenson Bernard during the season. You would expect a team with a top-five tackle and a top-five linebacker to squash the run game, but Moore never got it together like Glenn Dorsey or Sedrick Ellis did. He screams "Workout Warrior" to me. Kyle Miller says, "He'd probably be a good fit in a 3-4. We'll see how he adjusts to the NFL in terms of being more consistent, but he could dominate." I personally believe he should only go to a highly disciplined team that believes they can corral him and make him dedicated to becoming all that he can be.
INRCP Projection: Round 3 or 4 pick, but likely will go in round 2


Position: Guard
Key 2007 Stats: Missed 5 games with a broken fibula
Biggest Plus: Versatile, anchor of some great lines in '05 and '06, technically sound
Biggest Knock: Not big enough and not strong enough in any one area
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
INRCP Take: How the mighty have fallen - once a pre-season All American, Crummey slid doooooowwwn draft boards after breaking his leg. Although he played in the Emerald Bowl, his stock took another hit when he had to leave to NFL combine because his leg had not fully healed. However, Crummey is a sound blocker who was greatly respected before his injury, so he has upside, even if he is not as athletic as the ideal NFL guard. Kyle Miller says, "He was a first-day talent before he caught a bad break. He's a good run-blocker and has good size, and he would've intrigued teams." Crummey, if he heals, could be a steal on draft day.
INRCP Projection: Round 6 pick


Position: Tight End
Key 2007 Stats: 30 receptions (2nd on the team) for 318 yds (3rd on the team)
Biggest Plus: Absurdly tall (nearly 6'8), a hard worker who was a walk-on
Biggest Knock: Not athletic, fast or overly strong
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 6 or 7 pick
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted
INRCP Take: Haynos took a step back this past season, mostly due to the unstable situation at quarterback. The guy was clutch in '06 with Sam Hollenbach at the helm, but mostly due to his size and modest receiving ability. He's worked hard to get where he is today, but in the NFL, I can't see him breaking beyond special teams. He doesn't fill a niche role and his frame needs to fill in as well.
INRCP Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted


Position: Cornerback
Key 2007 Stats: 69 tackles, 10 passes broken up
Biggest Plus: Uh ....
Biggest Knock: Doesn't know how to play coverage even though he's a corner
ESPN Draft Projection: Undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: Gardner is the kind of player that every team has who only seems to be highlighted by his mistakes. I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to throw up after one of his blown coverages was exploited. Passers intentionally threw to his side of the field because they knew he would be out of position. He ran a decent 4.41 forty time and had a great 42.5-inch vertical, but what does that matter if you can't play your position? If your team drafts him, it's a good sign that you might be a Jets fan.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted, possible CFL candidate


Position: Running back
Key 2007 Stats: 900 all-pupose yards, 13 TDs
Biggest Plus: Elusive and instinctive runner
Biggest Knock: No elite speed, balance or strength
ESPN Draft Projection: Round 7 pick or undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: Lattimore has some decent NFL skills, and there is a small chance he could find a team that needs a back. However, the RB class is too deep and Lattimore's measurables and pro day workouts were hampered by injuries. Even though Kyle and I are fans of Lattimore and think he could make it in the league, he'll find it tough, especially since he split so much time in college.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted


Position: Running back
Key 2007 Stats: 856 total yds, 12 TDs
Biggest Plus: Tough, gritty runner who performs consistently
Biggest Knock: Small, slow for NFL game
ESPN Draft Projection: Undrafted
NFL Draft Countdown Projection: Undrafted
INRCP Take: See Lattimore, Keon. Ball is another Maryland hero who potentially could find himself on an NFL roster if he really keeps working. However, things like his height and his lack of speed won't help him. There are just too many backs who have a better chance of getting on to an NFL roster.
INRCP Projection: Undrafted

J.J. Justice and Christian Varner are also players that have an outside chance of being drafted as safties, but I doubt it and no major site has them listed as draft prospects. They are both average college safeties, and the NFL is the best of the best. They may have an easier time finding a spot on a roster than Lattimore or Ball, but don't hold your breath waiting for them to be selected.

Cheer for your Terps on Saturday - there's a good chance we could see at least two go by the time the first day is over.

Photo Credit: Washington Post, UMTerps

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Spring Recruiting Notes

Hey guys, today I'm basically going to rehash some stuff I've seen recently on Recruiting Report and give my own spin. Don't mistake that for me taking credit for the work (good work, Matt Bracken).


Maryland picked up a 2009 commitment from QB C. J. Brown from Pennsylvania last week. He hasn't shown up in an position rankings yet, but it's still early. The good news is the kid has lineage - his father Clark was a QB at Michigan State. He's got 4.65 speed as well, which is nothing to sneeze at. See the full story on Recruiting Report.

Also, I can't end this section without somehow mentioning Michael Campanaro's decision to attend Wake Forest in 2009. All I can say is that someone from River Hill would go to such a WASPy school - one where a friend of mine who attends there admits, "The only black people who go here are athletes." Obiviously, that's an exaggeration, but still:

Wake Forest University rankings in Princeton Review:
- No. 7 for least race/class interaction
- No. 18 for least diverse
- No. 8 for "jock schools"
- This classic student desciption (a must-read)

Boo Wake, boo River Hill (That's just high school loyalties, sorry). They do have really nice landscaping, though.


I'm not sure how up to date you guys are about Bobby Maze, but it seems like he's officially a no-go for Maryland, which makes sense when you consider how many freakin' guards are still on the team. A Wichita State blog has an article about Maze possibly becoming a Shocker (trying not to make an inappropriate reference here, but young people, smile while you read "Shocker"). That's a tough fall from ACC school to Missouri Valley Conference, not to mention from Terp to Shocker. But he might get more floor time - he could be a star there.

The Maryland women also picked up a recruit, but this one is coming here in 2008: Jackie Nared, a swingwoman from Oregon. Her dad, Greg, played basketball here in the 80s. The one troubling thing I find is that Nared only had one other scholarship offer at San Diego State, so it's possible that Nared might've earned a ticket here partially on a "legacy" basis. But she sounds good, so we'll see how she develops next fall. Check out the video:

Overall, the class is not looking as strong as the classes of the last three or four years, but there is plenty of reason to feel good about it: One is a Parade and McDonald's All-American, another was JuCo Player of the Year and only lost one game last year, and Nared rounds out the class. This group, along with Drey Mingo, will hopefully replace some of the production in the frontcourt lost by the graduation of Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper. And trust me, that can be a steep drop if they don't adjust their games to the college level quickly.

Also worth mentioning: Kat Lyons, a freshman guard, is transferring schools after this semester. That's what happens when people don't play, and underclassmen hardly played at all last season. Lyons averaged 9 minutes per game in the 24 contests she played in last year, but that might be misleading - her time was cut as time went on. Overall, I don't think Maryland should be terribly hurt by her loss.

Fun fact: In the seven-player rotation this past season, composed entirely of juniors and seniors, six of those players played more minutes than all freshmen minutes combined, and the other player, Jade Perry, was pretty close to that mark.

That's recruiting for ya. Keep it real and keep it current.

Photo Credit: Scout.com, DCBasketCase bloggers

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Yes, Kevin Love is Ready to Go

I've been saying this around for some time now, so I decided to consolidate with a post.

Kevin Love is ready for the NBA. Now all of you know.

Wait ... You're asking why? Well he should marinate another year in college, he won't be a good pro, he's not athletic, he's white, blah blah blah, etc. I've heard these lines of reasoning plenty of times each.

Here's the deal: The kid is good. Pac-10 Player of the Year award-good. First team All America-good. This past season, he had spectacular averages: 17.5 points per game, 10.6 rebounds per game, 1.44 blocks per game and even hit about one three per game. How many freshmen average a double-double that aren't named Michael Beasley or Kevin Durant? And unlike those guys, he was the best player on a team that made it to a Final Four. Plus, although his outlet passing is already much-ballyhoed, you can't discount that it's a marketable skill that no one else has. Plus, who else can make full-court shots like it's their job?

Right now, ESPN has him as a lottery pick, and I believe this is a fair evaluation based on Love's success in college and his array of post moves and ways to score. The draft profile right now basically says the same stuff that most people are saying (good, but can't jump, not big enough, etc.).

Look, just say Kevin Love isn't going to be a good pro. So what? What more reason does he have to stay in college? Win a championship? I can't blame the guy for turning down a "college education" for lottery-pick money. These days, you have to protect your body like its an investment - you can't afford to get injured.

In addition, Love had an incredible season. Incredible seasons are followed by raised expectations. Why should Love subject himself to increased scrutiny by people trying to poke holes in his game? What if he already has hit his ceiling and doesn't improve? Let's not forget just how special a guy like Tyler Hansbrough is, who vastly improved statistically by staying another year (He should go, too - you don't do better than Player of the Year).

What if he hits a sophomore slump? Does he go the way of Josh McRoberts and drop stock like it's goin' out of style? It's not good business. If you have a good season, go and get paid! How can anyone hate on that?

Kevin Love is one of those guys that will work hard on his game and always try hard to make it in the league. In terms of attitude and maturity, you can't ask for much more of a young man, especially when there are so many Pacmans running around. The adjustment will definitely be hard, but another season in college probably has more risk than reward.

So smile, Mr. Love, when you get that paycheck. Smile when you sign that shoe deal. Don't hide it - it feels good. Even if you don't turn out in the NBA, either way, you're gonna get to spend that money.

It didn't take four years of college to make that no-brainer.

Photo Credit: AP

Friday, April 18, 2008

What Will Men's Basketball Look Like Next Season?

You didn't deserve this, and I owe you all an apology. I'm sorry for not posting for almost 10 days. I'm a bad person.

Now that I've apologized, here we go. We've got to talk about:


Maryland signed guard Tyree Evans on Tuesday, bringing on board a troubled young man but a prolific scorer. He'll play shooting guard for the Terps. Evans came out of high school in 2005, but his college career was torn asunder by a statutory rape charge that was later dismissed. Classy. He's been drifting in junior college ever since and now has two years of eligibility left in College Park.

Evans' signing raises at least three questions for next season's squad:

1) Is Maryland still recruiting Bobby Maze? My understanding is that the scholarships are full right now, so unless someone else is leaving, it would appear not. However, sources say Maze's people seem to think things are on track, which leads to the next two questions ...

2) Is Eric Hayes transferring? The simple answer is that no one knows. This rumor has been circulating for at least a month, and The Sun's Don Markus has been addressing it recently. Markus says that if Maze signs, Hayes will go somewhere else, possibly Loyola. Personally, I think he can bring control to the game, and perhaps his injury during the season was worse than we thought. However, if he wants to go, Gary Williams should let him. He didn't take the next step this past year - his defense and how he creates shots on offense (or lack thereof) leaves much to be desired. He might just be ill-suited to ACC competition.

3) Is Greivis Vasquez leaving for the NBA? I hope not. I've feared this possibility since last fall. The honest truth that everyone knows but no one likes to admit is that Vasquez is the Terps' best player. He's good for at least 13 points, 5 assists and 5 rebounds every night despite his inconsistency. He could be better next year if he slows down his game, but I don't know if Gary has that kind of control over him. However, ever since he played in Las Vegas against Kobe, it seems like Greivis has thought, "Gee, I can guard the best player in the NBA," (if you want to call what he did against Kobe "guarding"). It is my personal belief - although I emphasize I have no evidence to prove this - that Greivis believes that he is ready for the NBA. I think there will be a lot of people telling him to stay in school, but Gravy is the type of guy who does whatever he wants to do. If he genuinely believes he's ready, he'll bolt in a second.

It's a tough prospect when you consider that Evans and Mosley are both considered good enough to start right away - some experts believe that both are better than anyone who played guard last year, even Jason McAlpin. Hayes might be facing a lot of bench time, and Vasquez might be reluctant to subject himself to the criticism of the Maryland crowd (even though some of it is deserved). Whatever happens, I think it's safe to say that we're in store for an interesting season next year.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Terps Taken in the WNBA Draft

They did their school proud, and now they get to go pro. And like Juan Dixon several years ago, one Maryland alum will still be local.

Crystal Langhorne was drafted 6th overall by the Washington Mystics, and Laura Harper was drafted 10th overall by the Sacramento Monarchs. Candace Parker went No. 1 overall to the L.A. Sparks, as expected, and Tennessee and Rutgers both had multiple selections in the top 10 as well.

Langhorne and Harper were both drafted higher than any other Lady Terp before them (the previous highest position was Jessie Hicks in 1997). There is still some speculation that Langhorne and Harper may also play in Europe (to make more money), but a lot of female players do that in the offseason of the WNBA.

This could be one of the greatest draft classes in history: Candace Parker is considered by many to be the best female player in all of basketball, and her dunking ability is much ballyhooed. Sylvia Fowles and Candice Wiggins are considered sure things. Then you have players like Langhorne and Essence Carson who will probably thrive in the league. Read the ESPN take.

Congrats to Lang and Harp (as Marissa Coleman calls them) and go ahead and get that money.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Is Kansas a Historic Team?

Mario Chalmers forces overtime with a spectacular shot that will surely be remembered in title game history, and in doing so helps Kansas and Bill Self finally win it all. But does that make Kansas a historic team?

In the Final Four, I would argue that Kansas was the most anonymous team left because it is bereft of major stars: UNC has Hansbrough and Lawson, UCLA has Love and Collison, Memphis has Rose, CDR and Dorsey. Kansas has ... Rush and Chalmers? Will those faces last the test of time like Laettner, Hurley and Hill? I'm not sure.

No one's arguing that Kansas didn't have a great season or a great title game, but they were relatively under the radar all year. Will their lack of media attention relegate them to just another team that you have to check on Wikipedia to remember?

Please leave your opinion/thoughts/comments.

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Monday, April 7, 2008

Classic Time for Sean Mosley

Maybe some of you were lucky enough to make it to Towson for the Charm City Classic. If you weren't (like me), take peace in the fact that the Baltimore All-Stars crushed the U.S. competition once again (although they don't seem to be much competition). Yes, they play a watered-down roster every year, but don't take away my Baltimore pride.

Sean Mosley continued to add to his accolades of Baltimore Sun POY, Gatorade's Maryland POY, and a Baltimore Catholic League Title by making the all-tournament team. He contributed 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists. Plus, he reportedly pleased the crowd with some eye-opening alley-oops and dunks.

Now, the time is coming up when you - yes, YOU - can see Sean Mosley for yourself. Get out your calendar and get a pen: Sunday, April 13th, is the Capital Classic when Mosley and team USA take on the All-District team at Comcast Center at 5 p.m. It also features the D.C. City team vs. the Suburban All-Stars at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 (for students for the two games) or $5 at the door (for the nosebleeds). How can you afford not to?

If you recall, last year was an opportunity for fans to see future Terps Adrian Bowie, Shane Walker, Dino Gregory and (unexpectedly) Augustus Gilchrist, last year's MVP. While the only Maryland-bound player in this year's game is Mosley, I can assure you that it will be worth the price of admission. I'm desperately trying to see the guy myself, and finally he's coming to us.

Mosley had a spectacular senior year, and I project him to enter the starting lineup somehow, even with all the backups (more on that later). He'll be an impact player, and the impact starts now: giving Maryland fans reason to hope.

Go forth and get in the stands on Sunday. See you there.
Special thanks to Recruiting Report and Matt Bracken for the updates and links.


"UM Looks To Get Faster, Stronger" - The Baltimore Sun
"Season In Review" - UMTerps.com
"The State of Maryland Hoops" - The Baltimore Sun

Photo Credit: Baltimore Sun

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Gist Gonna Get His Dunk On

As reported by the Diamondback this morning and other news sources, now ex-Terp James Gist will participate in this year's DiGiorno College All-Star Game, the most unheralded all-star basketball game on any level because it is for college seniors only, A.K.A. the kids who got left behind.

He'll be playing for the American squad with all your favorite players from Brian Butch to David Padgett. Lining up against him will be Duke's DeMarcus Nelson (very deserving) and Clemson's Cliff Hammonds. The game is on at 6 p.m. on Friday on CSTV, and you know what that means:

No one is going to watch it.

However, the more exciting news is that Gist is also registered for tonight's dunk contest at 9 p.m. on ESPN. You actually should be watching this. It should provide answers to questions we've had throughout Gist's college career, questions like: Can Gist go between the legs? Can he jump from the free throw line?

Actually, the answer to both of those questions is "no" (I say with 99% confidence), but it still should be interesting. Gist is one of my favorite power dunkers. Whenever I see him go for it, he reminds me of Dr. J because he just cruises through the air gracefully but comes down like a freight train:

He'll be going against Will Bullard (TA&M - CC), Patrick Ewing Jr. (G-Town), Brian Randle (Illinois), J.R. Giddens (New Mexico) and Deron Washington (VaTech). I'm not familiar with Giddens or Bullard, and I didn't know that Randle and Ewing were any good at taking it to the hoop like that. Washington, however is definitely someone to watch:

The "Paulus teabag" dunk is one of my favorites ever.

So remember to watch ESPN at 9 tonight and support Gist as he throws it down with the best ... of whoever the NCAA could scrape together.

Go Terp alums!

(Here's more dunks:)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

INRCP's Mock Draft

Ed. Note: This mock draft is brought to you by Kyle Miller, a guy who scans web material all day about the draft. I personally trust his judgement, but if he's wrong, I claim absolutely no responsibility. Seriously. So don't whine.

The NFL Draft is coming up this month on the 26th. Besides being a thrilling TV spectacle (I fell asleep before the Raven's first pick last year), the draft is a great opportunity to celebrate young athletes. Unfortunately, I hardly know who they are past the top 10 prospects, so I did what any sports blog author would do: Made my roommate make a mock draft for me.

Here's his take and explanations:

1) MIAMI - DE CHRIS LONG: Other than Jake Long, C-Long is the most polished player in this draft. He’s no L.T., but Bill Parcells can use this kid in multiple positions in a weak Miami defense.

2) ST. LOUIS - DT GLENN DORSEY: Drafting Adam Carriker last year was a step in the right direction for the Rams on the defensive side of the ball. Now with Dorsey on the roster, Carriker will be able to move back to his defensive end position. Dorsey is the best 4-3 tackle in this draft with a rare blend of size, power, and athleticism. He could be the next Warren Sapp ... seriously.

3) ATLANTA - QB MATT RYAN: This just needs to happen. Joey Harrington is their starting quarterback right now ... Are you f***ing kidding me?

4) OAKLAND - RB DARREN MCFADDEN: Chris Long and Jake Long may be the most polished, but Run DMC is the best talent and given Oakland’s lack of real depth at running back, McFadden is a great prospect. If he runs in the NFL like he did in college, say hello to The Juice part II.

5) KANSAS CITY - OT JAKE LONG: Larry Johnson is personally flying this kid to KC if he falls to them. He is the kind of guy you can build a line around. He has a nasty demeanor, great push in the running game, and is a very solid pass blocker. Not as good as Joe Thomas of last year’s draft, but he is bar-none the best O-lineman in a deep tackle draft.

6) NYJ – DE/OLB VERNON GHOLSTON: This won’t take but about 2 seconds for the Jets to think through - he is the best pass rusher in this draft. He made Jake Long look average in the Ohio State - Michigan game, registering two sacks. He also possesses a rare blend of size (6’4-265) and athleticism (45 inch vertical, 37 bench press, 4.6 speed). Just the guy they need to get after Brady.

7) NEW ENGLAND – CB LEODIS MCKELVIN: This makes sense on a lot of levels. One, he is the best cornerback in this draft. The patriots lost key players in their secondary. Also, he is a big-time return man. Has great ball skills and can run with anyone.

8) BALTIMORE – CB DOMINIQUE RODGERS CROMARTIE: Yes, they need a QB (ed. note: I'm pretty certain Troy Smith is the answer, but maybe to be safe ...) but there is no quarterback worth this pick. Chris McCallister is getting old and they need to start grooming replacements for some of those playmakers that made that defense great.

9) CINCINNATI – DT SEDRICK ELLIS: Some believe he is the top DT in the draft. My mock obviously begs to differ. However, this would be an amazing pickup for the Bengals who have essentially had the Brokeback Mountain technique run on their defensive front seven for the past few years. Ellis provides an interior pass rush as well as the ability to make plays behind the line of scrimmage against the run.

10) NEW ORLEANS – LB KEITH RIVERS: It sucks for the Saints that Ellis went to Cincinnati but Keith Rivers is the best linebacker in this draft. Reliable tackler, good cover man, and with John Vilma next to him, that looks like a linebacker corps to take seriously. The Saints are going in the right direction in terms of rebuilding the defense.

11) BUFFALO – WR MALCOLM KELLY: When Lee Evans is your top receiver, you’re in trouble - he is not as complete as a No. 1 receiver should be (ed. note: and he kills your fantasy team). Malcolm Kelly is 6’4 230 pounds, can make all the pro catches, and has some wheels on him to go deep. Plus, his presence could make the Lee Evans go route more deadly.

12) DENVER – OT RYAN CLADY: This is a definite need pick for Denver in order to get younger up front. In addition, Clady himself said he felt more comfortable in a zone-blocking scheme.

13) CAROLINA – DE DERRICK HARVEY: Mike Rucker is gone. So is Kris Jenkins. Derrick Harvey is an animal in terms of rushing the passer (MVP of BCS Championship: 3 sacks on Troy Smith). If Julius Peppers even bothers showing up on the field, Harvey can get a lot of one-on-one matchups.

14) CHICAGO – RB RASHARD MENDENHALL: They made a mistake letting go of Thomas Jones and leaving their running game in the hands (or lack there of) of Cedric Benson. Mendenhall has great strength, size, and speed. Hopefully he works out for them in order to put Ceddy the Human Teddy on the bench.

15) DETROIT – OT CHRIS WILLIAMS: He is one of the more highly regarded left tackles in this draft and too good of a prospect to pass up. He pass blocks like no other (only 2 sacks his last two seasons at Vanderbilt) so Detroit’s QB can actually stay vertical.

16) ARIZONA – CB MIKE JENKINS: They wish Keith Rivers fell to them but they still get value in Mike Jenkins. Playmaker at the corner position. Has good ball skills and timed well at the combine. Can instantly help Arizona’s defense.

17) MINNESOTA – DE PHILLIP MERLING: One of their defensive ends unfortunately came down with a career threatening disease. Phillip Merling is a playmaker, a very hard worker, and while he may not have eye-popping measurables, his game film definitely shows a DE that has all the tools to have a successful NFL career.

18) HOUSTON – RB JONATHAN STEWART: They don’t care about his injury. He will be healthy by the start of the season. Running back is one of the easiest positions to play in transition from college to the pros. Ahman Green is getting old and they need a back that can handle the 20-25 carry load in the future.

19) PHILADELPHIA – OT JEFF OTAH: They could go with DeSean Jackson here but Andy Reid is the kind of coach that loves to build the trenches in the draft. He can step in immediately and give Winston Justice serious competition. He is raw as hell, but is a mauler and has decent pass-blocking skills. Could be a starter within the next year or so.

20) TAMPA BAY – WR DESEAN JACKSON: Joey Galloway is like 60 and Garcia had no one else to throw the ball to. Jackson is small but he is a playmaker at the receiver position and in the return game. He is deadly in the open field. Tampa can use him a million different ways.

21) WASHINGTON – WR LIMAS SWEED: Santana Moss, Chris Cooley, and ... my point exactly (ed. note: Brandon Lloyd really worked out, didn't he?). They need another receiver to help compliment Moss and help bring along young Jason Campbell. He has breakaway speed, can win 80% of jump balls, and can make all the difficult catches necessary to be successful in this league.

22) DALLAS – RB FELIX JONES: Perfect complement to Marion the Barbarian. He can catch balls out of the backfield and has some burners on him (4.45 speed).

23) PITTSBURGH – OG BRANDON ALBERT: This is just too easy. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin tear their hamstrings running to hand in their selection to Roger Goodell. He projects to play LG immediately and LT in the near future. He is nasty with excellent pass-blocking skills(something the Steelers would’ve killed for last year). He also gets great push in the running game. In short, he’s a freak of nature.

24) TENNESSEE – LB JEROD MAYO: They wished Limas Sweed fell to them but Keith Bulluck is getting old and this kid would be a great addition to an already good defense. Mayo can flow through traffic, making tackles in the trenches, and has a ridiculous motor.

25) SEATTLE – TE DUSTIN KELLER: They do not have a good tight end . They could go with Fred Davis but Keller is bigger, better blocker and a more versatile tight end. Hopefully he can make Seahawks fans forget about that asshole Jerramy f***ing Stevens (ed. note: who raped someone in college).

26) JACKSONVILLE – DT KENTWAN BALMER: Had a pretty productive career at North Carolina. Can help the Jaguar’s interior and step in where John Henderson was.

27) SAN DIEGO – CB AQUIB TALIB: Not only did they lose Drayton Florence, this is way too good for the chragers to pass up. Talib is a top-10 caliber corner. He can make plays in the secondary, has great ball skills, and he is not afraid to take risks, which isn’t terrible when thinking about the Charger’s pass rush.

28) DALLAS - WR DEVIN THOMAS: He can provide another big strong weapon for Tony Romo in that offense. Good return man, good speed and fluid athleticism.

29) SAN FRANCISCO – DE QUENTIN GROVES: This is more of a luxury pick for the 49ers since there are no O-lineman worth taking here. Nonetheless, he is one of the best pass rushers in this draft. He's got great timed speed and great strength to beat big offensive tackles off the edge.

30) GREEN BAY – CB BRANDON FLOWERS: They need a corner and all the top corners are taken. Brandon Flowers is polished and experienced. Plus he would be playing with two of the better corners in the league (Al Harris and Charles Woodson).

31) NEW ENGLAND – Canon EOS 5D Digital Camera.

32) NYG – S KENNY PHILLIPS: He is the best safety by far in this draft, and the Giants need a safety to put in the secondary. He had a disappointing junior season, but he has all the tools necessary to be a starter in this league. Excellent range, hard hitter, and he’s a safety from the U. What more do you want?

Thanks for your perspective Kyle, and readers, leave a comment.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Reflections on INRCP

Well, we struggled against it, but basketball season at the University of Maryland is over. No more watching the Terps on the court - even when they play badly, that's sad news.

Basketball at UMD officially ended last night when the Lady Terps lost in the Elite Eight to a Stanford squad that featured a 41-point scorer, Candice Wiggins. I had a feeling, and I mentioned it last week, but I still thought that the Terps were the better team. It was simply a matter of who was hot and who was not last night, as the Cardinal hit 14 three-pointers in the game and were 66.7% from long range in the first half. It was tough to see Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper end such storied careers so close to a second national championship, but I take rest in the fact that they did at least win one, and not many players can say that.

The men's season ended some time ago against Syracuse when the Orange basically decided to school the Terps. To their credit, they did beat Minnesota and played potentially the most individually talented team not to make the Big Dance.

It was a very disappointing season - the worst since 1993. I fail to see why it was a "rebuilding year," because in midseason the Terps did show that they had the salt to beat a top team in UNC. The wheels came off.

However, despite the disappointment and the heartache, I'm most upset that basketball is done. More than anything in sports, I love the thrill of being in the stands, watching the game unfold, seeing the coaching adjustments, watching players take their game to the next level. Even though this men's team broke my heart and I wanted the women to win it all one more time, they gave me much more joy than pain.

Really, that's what this project has been all about. The future of sports writing is about the fans - catering to what they feel and think more than what they see. I've tried to create a fan's eye view of this team, tried to share with you why I love being here, what I perceive and what I take from my observations.

You know, all that junk.

Again, I would like to thank you all for the support and making this site bigger than I imagined. Writing is in my future, and this project - started as a hobby - has helped me express one of my passions and helped me get positioned for a career in the field.

Now, we have something important to discuss: Now that basketball is done, what's happening to INRCP?

The quick answer is that I don't know. As you might know, I've been slacking off a bit. I want to keep writing, but I also have other commitments and I don't want to give any readers false hopes. So here's what I can promise:

- NFL MOCK DRAFT brought to you by NFL insider Kyle Miller, the best draft expert that lives in my suite.

- MEN'S & WOMEN'S SEASON REVIEWS to take a look back on the season that was.

- RECRUITING UPDATES and a look at the starting basketball lineups.

- SPRING FOOTBALL and position battles as that unfolds.

- MILDLY AMUSING VIDEOS for your convenience. Like this one.

- JEROME BURNEY HIGHLIGHTS which will be starting now:

Also, we have crowned a new People's Champ - BAMBALE OSBY. Too bad he's graduating. Second place was Greivis Vasquez, so I suppose he's now People's Champ. If you have a problem with this, leave a comment. But the third place champ is Earl Badu, who graduated several years ago (and is the in the People's Champ Hall of Fame), and fourth place is DAVE NEAL, the reigning champ. So we'll see how that goes.

Well, tough going for the women, but then again, there's always lacrosse ...

... no, you're right. It's definitely not as good. (West Coast readers: This is what lacrosse is.)

Go Terps! And go Vikings! (Couldn't pass up a high school shout out. Girls lacrosse starts at Mount Hebron.)