We Won A Hoops Game!

Okay, I’m giving some love now.

Please excuse no post on the huge hoops win on Friday. Spent the night watching the bowl debacle, then had a 1st year birthday party for my son. But enough about me, the Terps looked like a basketball team again. Wow.

Stat of the game. We shot 48%. They weren’t all layups either, so that’s a big improvement. We had a height advantage inside and actually took advantage of it, more than doubling up Delaware on the boards. However, the fact that they shot only 14 free throws is still a concern. They can’t settle for jump shots and need a guy who can drive to the hole.

It’s a shame that we get excited about one victory over a bad team, but we are a bad team right now, so we’ll take what we can get. After the game, the players and coaches were convinced that the team came out with more passion and played Maryland basketball for the first time in a month. That’s all well and good, but these guys are going to have to do this on a game to game basis in order to try and dig out from this huge hole they have dug for themselves.

Savannah State does not worry me too much, despite this season’s struggles. I really want to watch them against Charlotte on the road on Saturday. A noon start on a Saturday should help us learn whether or not this team has a chance to turn things around. It would be a big win, but one game against Delaware hasn’t proved anything to me yet.

Fridge Rehires Franklin

Yeah, I know this is mostly a hoops page, but we have a big game on Friday and things are looking up for the football program after the Fridge finally hired an Offensive Coordinator. Oh, and apparently he can recruit too.

Here’s the Baltimore Sun story:

James Franklin, a former Maryland assistant, is returning to the school as offensive coordinator.Franklin, who was the Terps’ wide receivers coach from 2000 to 2004, has spent the past two seasons as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kansas State.

“James Franklin is definitely the person who fits what I have been looking for,” coach Ralph Friedgen said in a statement. “His knowledge of our program, his experience as a coordinator and his ability to recruit definitely strengthen us as a coaching staff and football program.”

Franklin was named one of the nation’s top 25 recruiters by Rivals.com. Now he’s no Locksley, so he may not be able to keep guys from going to Illinois, but things should get better on many fronts. First, it allows the Fridge to worry about the entire team and not have too much on his plate by being OC as well, and it will give our offense a fresh look, while not changing a lot of the system since he was here for so long before.

I don’t know about you, but with the horrors surrounding the hoop team right now, I’m pretty excited to watch the Emerald Bowl on Friday. It should be a good, close game and I’m intrigued to watch the Terps play a team I really have never seen much before.

Terps Hit New Low

Okay, I needed a few hours to try and get some perspective. I am beyong frustrated and embarrassed over the Terps plummet to the bottom of Division 1, but we all have to try and not think the program is in shambles over this unfortunate turn of events.

I have always been a Gary apologist and he’s given me no reason to call for his head yet. The coach should take some heat from this horrible season so far, don’t get me wrong, but I’ll quickly run down the reasons I think Gary should be given more time:

First, it’s Gary’s job to put the players in the best position to score. If the players run the plays correctly and miss open shots, how is that his fault (we’ll get to recruiting later). These players aren’t bums, they have skills, but looking at the shooting percentage in the game against AU, they couldn’t hit a thing. Now I was unable to watch the game, so if someone out there can tell me the coaching was a factor, please do.

Second, every school has down years. I posted a comment a week ago to that subject. This may be a REALLY down year, but one year should not be the end of Gary’s reign, especially with all he has given to this program over the years.

Thirdly, recruiting. This is a tough one to stick up for Gary with all of the big time talent that seems to leave the area, but until these past few years, Gary’s decision not to go after the “one and done” guys has worked out pretty well. Remember the class from hell (right after the national title) was lauded by recruiting experts, and who knew it was going to go so badly. That class put the program back and they have yet to rebound. Most of the players on the current roster are above-average recruits, and they have underperformed, to say the least.

Perhaps next year’s crop will be the ones to bring us back. Let’s hope so because this will be a very rough patch.

In closing, Gary doesn’t get off the hook for this, no way. But it’s too soon to call for his head. I want to see some kind of improvement as the season goes along. Here is Gary’s quote from the loss to AU:

“You’re open from 15 feet, this is the ACC; you’re supposed to make 15 footers. You’re supposed to make 10 footers. You’re supposed to make five footers. You’re supposed to get offensive rebounds, not drop the ball, and put it back in the basket. That’s what teams at this level are supposed to do and that’s what they’ve always been doing here for 18 years.”

Not much more to say. Keep the faith Terp fans. Go watch your old tapes of the 2002 championship, there will be better days ahead.

Halftime Observations

We suck.

There’s your observation. Now I can’t watch this game (thank goodness), but I’m following it on the GameTracker. It seems like it’s pretty much self explanatory as far as the numbers go. Let’s take a look, why don’t we:

We are losing to American 25-20 at the half. Just unbelieveable.

We are shooting 21%, that’s 5 of 24 from the field. But we are 3 of 10 from three point range, so that means we are 2 of 14 from inside of the arc. 2 of 14.

We are being outrebounded 23-18 and AU has 6 offensive boards.

After having just 1 turnover in the first 12 minutes, we now have 6.

Vazquez only took 4 shots. Hayes took 4. Gist took 3 and has 2 fouls.

Folks, I don’t understand this team. Our defense has been good all year, but this offense is so unbelievably bad. I mean reeeeeeeealy bad. Horrible.

I just can’t wait for the 2nd half! (Insert Sarcasm here)

Terps Sign JuCo Transfer Bobby Maze for 2008-09

Sorry to everyone for the lack of posting. I guess the OU game just took a lot out of me. I’m not sure what to make of this news, but it appears that Maryland has given away all of its scholarships for next year. Not sure where this came from but my buddy Goody sent it to me. Meet Bobby Maze…..

Both TurtleSportsReport.com and TerrapinTimes.com are reporting that Maryland has added former Oklahoma and current Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College guard Bobby Maze to its 2008 recruiting class.

Maze, 6 feet 2, 180 pounds, has taken a circuitous rout to College Park. He starred at Suitland High School, playing AAU ball with Kevin Durant and North Carolina’s Tywon Lawson on the D.C. Devils.

After being named honorable mention All-Met by The Washington Post in 2004 during his senior year, Maze took his game to Patterson (N.C.) Prep to get his grades in order.

At Patterson, Maze began receiving some pretty lofty comparisons.

“Everyone’s been saying I look just like Allen Iverson,” said the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Patterson School (N.C.) guard. “We’re going to do a commercial together.”
Maze is joking about the commercial, but his game has been anything but humorous lately.

The haircut, headband and sleeve on his arm aren’t the only thing that Maze and Iverson have had in common lately. Maze, who averaged 26 points per game last season as a senior at Suitland High (Md.), has shown that he can get by defenders virtually at will and get to the basket.

After weighing offers from Oklahoma, Wake Forest, Cincinnati, Kansas State and Seton Hall, according to DeaconSports.com, Maze chose the Sooners.

A broken foot sidelined Maze for the first seven games of his freshman season at Oklahoma, but he rebounded by averaging 5.6 points and 2.1 assists in 22 games for the Sooners.

After the conclusion of the 2006-07 season, however, Maze was released from the Oklahoma program, a move that was brought on by “practice habits and overall attitude,” according to the Tulsa (Okla.) World.

“Bobby and I met last week and we came to an agreement that he and our program will part ways,” OU coach Jeff Capel said in a statement. “This decision is best for Bobby and for our team.”

No more details were offered, and Maze could not be reached for comment. However, sources close to the program said that Maze’s freshman season was marked by immaturity and poor decisions, and that pattern continued into the first weeks of OU’s offseason.

Maze told TSR’s Jeff Ermann that he wasn’t dismissed from the Sooners. Rather, he and Capel “came to an understanding.”

After leaving Norman, Okla., Maze moved on to Hutchinson, Kan., where he’s currently averaging approximately 20 points and 7 assists per game for the traditional JuCo power.

Maze will have two years of eligibility remaining when he joins the Terps next fall.

Barring attrition, Maryland has now filled its scholarship allotment for the 2008-09 season. The Terps are currently using 12 of out 13 scholarships. UM will lose Bambale Osby and James Gist to graduation, but will add Sean Mosley, Gus Gilchrist and Maze to the mix, giving them 13 scholarship players.

By the way, you may have noticed Gregg Kanner’s photo on the upper right of the page. Gregg and I went to Maryland together (we were roommates, actually). He is going to be adding commentary from time to time as well as filling in for me while I am out of pocket. One of those times is starting tomorrow. I will be in Florida for the week with uneven Internet access. I’m also going to be gone the first week of March. I’ll be in Argentina then. At first, I was worried about missing crucial Terp games, but now, I’m doubtful if any games in March will matter.

Either way, please welcome Gregg to the fray.

Gilchrist Loses One Year of Eligibility

The Washington Post is reporting that Augustus Gilchrist (I love the name Augustus by the way) has lost a year of eligibility because he reneged on his commitment to Va Tech and chose Maryland instead. The biggest negative is that he won’t be eligible to play until January 2009 and will miss the first half of next season. It is more bad news, but this is the standard penalty so I cannot imagine that anyone involved was surprised by the ruling.

Move along. In other news, the basketball team still sucks right now.

The Sum Of All Fears

The Terps stink. We have been deluding ourselves. We see flashes of possibilities. Only 10 turnovers against Boston College! The Terps hit 9 three pointers against Morgan State! Cliff Tucker has a great stroke! Unfortunately, when you add it all up; it amounts to nothing. The whole, unfortunately, is not equal to its parts.

Sure, there are individual players with talent. After all, what’s not to like about James Gist? He can jump out of the building, he can finish on the low block, and he can step out and make the open jumper if called upon. Eric Hayes was born to play point guard, right? Cliff Tucker is an exceptional athlete.

Just because you throw these players together and put them in the same uniform does not mean that they are a team. The performance that they turned in last night, is what you would expect from 12 players who had just met 2 hours before tipoff. No one knew what to do. Was there a game plan?

I think there are probably 100 or so teams in the NCAA that could beat Maryland right now. I’m not kidding or exaggerating. Someone please jam a fork in my eye!

The 2007-08 season has quickly degenerated from a season of promise and anticipation into one of sorrow and fear. Sorrow because of how bad the next 3 and half months will be, and fear because we have yet to see the worst of it. Are you ready for a 30 point demolition at the Dean Dome? How about two double-digit losses to Duke?

I have diligently followed this team since the 1980’s and the program has not been in such a state since 1991. In those days, it was Probation and the Len Bias tragedy holding the team back. Gary Williams came to the rescue.

Who will rescue Gary now? These are his players and for the most part, they can’t play together. They are not a team. If you look at the recruiting classes since 2003, the low basketball IQ from our players is mystifying.

A friend of mine wrote to me before last night’s game that he thought Gist needed to step up and be more assertive in order for Maryland to be good. Here was my response:

Gist can’t take control. He can’t create off the dribble, so he needs to get the ball delivered to him in spots that he can be effective. Without solid guard play: good passing (which we have) and good shooting (which we clearly don’t); other teams can collapse on the interior and make it difficult for Gist to do his thing. Not being able to consistently hit from the outside is killing us. We have fixed the turnover problems for the most part, but no one can hit a J coming off of a screen or off the dribble (maybe Tucker). Hayes is a catch and shoot guy only. That is fine for a point guard in Gary’s system but it is not going to be enough in the flex offense which requires constant movement. Juan Dixon was the perfect fit for the system. Why Gary has deviated from that winning formula is beyond me. I love Vasquez, but he is too slow to run the curl play that Dixon made famous and he is a terrible three-point shooter. He is a better fit as a point-forward (a la Ginobili with Spurs). Tucker may be that guy, but he doesn’t know the offense well enough yet to be relied upon. If he can step up, there is hope for this team because of the talent level and the number of bodies we can throw at teams. Otherwise, we will be 16-12 overall and 6-10 in the ACC. I just threw up in my mouth.

After last night’s debacle, the point I made about Juan Dixon really hits home. Why hasn’t Gary Williams recruited players who fit into the flex offense better? Why do we have two slow guards in an offense that requires movement? Juan made a living off that little curl play. There hasn’t been anyone at Maryland who can run that play since he left. Why? Gary is too smart and too successful for this to have occurred year after year for five straight years. I need an answer

I fear more of the same. Are Sean Mosley and Gus Gilchrist false messiahs too? If so, the program can’t take sustain itself much longer. We realized last night why the alumni sections of Comcast have been so empty. No one wants to come and pay to watch a pick-up game. Our fans deserve to watch a team that knows how to play together. For that we will have to wait. For now its the beginning of our winter of our discontent.

A Foul Performance Against Boston College

We should have won this game, instead we lost. In a weird way, it reminded me of the football team’s loss to Wake Forest. The Terps we in command and they fell apart at the worst time.

Maybe the season is cursed. The Terps played the best 10 minutes of the year and then Vasquez picked up that damn technical. That was it. BC hit all four of their free throws. Maryland missed its next shot and BC came down and hit a three. A 7-0 run. The Terps proceeded to fall apart for the next five minutes. Game over.

The technical foul by Vazquez was deserved. He let his emotions get away from him (as he always does), but I’m just not sure you remove someone from the game on that call. That is highly questionable. By making that call, the official decided the game. Would that have happened if Tyler Hansborough had pounded the padded support? I’m sorry, but I say no.

Later in the half, the same official called a foul on Osby instead of an obvious travel on Tyrese Rice. Oh, and then came the icing on the cake: with 23 seconds left Osby sized up a block and the official blew the whistle a split second before the shot. I actually rewound it to check. This was a grade A stink-bomb from the boys in stripes.

Regardless, the Terps have no one to blame but themselves for the loss. They fell apart after Vazquez fouled out. Sure, they fought back valiantly, but it was too late. There just wasn’t enough time.

Let’s talk a little bit about that comeback. Where the hell has that three point shooting been all year? Tucker is a player. He has a nice stroke and can hit the open jumper. If you team him with Hayes, that is a legitimate shooting backcourt with some long range prowess.

Milbourne asserted himself, but I like Tucker starting. He gives Maryland the shooting we need. Hayes played a great game. He really led the offense. He drove the lane when it was available. He made some great passes too. He will be our point guard. Case closed.

This season is officially on life support. At 6 -4 overall and 0-2 in the ACC, the hole we have dug is nearly an insurmountable one. I’m depressed. Lest the Terps find their stroke and go on a legendary winning streak during the ACC season, we are NIT bound.

I hate silver linings, but if there is one, it has to be the way they played for most of the second half. Tucker and Milbourne are beginning to assert themselves offensively. Gist and Osby continue to dominate the paint, and Hayes and Vasquez have cut down on the turnovers. If Gary can get the boys to focus on the positives perhaps the season can be salvaged.

The Boys Can Actually Shoot – Terps Blow Past Morgan State, 89-65

I missed the game. I work in online media and the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association had its annual party last. The Morgan State – Maryland game was a casualty. On the bright side, you will all be happy to know that Andrew Shue (Billy from Melrose Place) is alive and well. Apparently, he sells advertising for a couple of his Mom’s web sites. Randomly, he was there. He went to UVa, so it took much willpower for to not kick him in the nuts. He is also about 5’2″. Why am I telling you this? I have no idea.

No matter. Judging from the box score, the Terps had their best shooting night of the year. 50% from the field! Will miracles never cease? Even Vasques dropped in three treys during the game. Of course, it took the Terps 20 minutes and 13 first half turnovers to warm up; but at least they played one solid half.

Vasquez had a whopping 7 turnovers. I appreciate StevenD’s comment about Vasquez needing to make mistakes so he can get better. Maybe that is what is happening, but Greivis is going to be responible for more heart attacks than Vioxx. I love the swagger; but until he is able to consistently keep his turnovers under 4 per game, his nickname will be continue to be Nik Caner-Vasquez and not General Greivis.

The BC game on Sunday is so huge, it’s massive. Thank whoever it is that you like to thank in these situations (God, Jesus, Allah, Hare Krishna) that it is being played at Comcast. The Terps are still too young and mistake-prone to turn in a good performance on the road against a quality team and this is a game that we need desperately.

With the early season troubles, it’s clear that we will need at least a .500 record in conference to merit tournament consideration. That means losing home games is not an option. If we can win on Sunday and also scrounge out a victory on the road against Charlotte, and we will be back on track.

Morgan State Comes To College Park To Decide State Title

During Gary’s first season, 1989, the Coppin State Eagles came to College Park and upset the Terrapins. Maryland hasn’t played Coppin since. That is how Gary rewards the “other” state schools in Maryland. Play us tough? See you in five years. Beat us? Have a good life.

Is tomorrow going to be Morgan State’s last appearance in College Park? If so, kill me now and end the torture. A loss and you can stick a fork in the season. Losing to a MEAC school is a scarlet letter that would make Hester Prynne shudder. You just aren’t going to the NCAAs with that mark on your record.

I’m not trying to denigrate Morgan State. They are a decent team but the fact that losing to them is plausible, makes my skin crawl. Maryland is teetering on the edge of mediocrity and an upset can’t be ruled out

This is not Juan Dixon’s Terrapins. Who are we kidding? This is not even Terrell Stokes’ Terrapins. We are a couple losses away from dipping into the (gulp) Chris Kerwin and Evers Burns territory.