Rating the Freshman

This weekend’s game at UNC has the potential to turn the Terps season around. As I die hard, I can’t bring myself to say we have no chance, but we have no chance. I fear that it will demonstrate what we know to be true. This team is a mish-mash of parts that don’t quite fit together –yet or maybe ever.

Much has been written that the majority of the rotation is made of freshman. So I am going to break down what I think about each of them.

Adrian Bowie

The positives: When on the floor, he is our best defensive player. Always. That will guarantee him playing time in Gary’s system. He seems to have a decent handle and his decision making has improved over the last seven games. His quickness will help the Terps against the quickest point guards in the conference. He has a huge test against Lawson this weekend which has the potential to be a defining game for him.

The negatives: If he can shoot, I have not seen it. His handle is not that of a point guard, but without a reliable jump shot, he is no shooting guard either. I’m not sure what he can offer in the half court. It seems that the majority of Bowie’s points this season have come on drives to the paint. If you are 6’2″ and not named Allen Iverson, you need to find other ways to score. Bowie needs to come off screens and hit jumpers. The flex offense can’t work without guards who can do that consistently.

The verdict: If he can develop a jumper, we have a keeper.

Jerome Burney

Who? You will eventually remember him as the guy who started on the 2010 UConn Final Four squad and won the MOP Award. In his acceptance speech, he will extend his middle finger at Gary Williams.

Braxton Dupree

The positives: Size and strength. He actually has quickness and agility too.

The negatives: Imagine Lonny Baxter’s doughy body combined with Travis Garrison’s manos de piedra (stone hands), and a dash of Mario Lucas’s defensive effort. It’s a horrid combination.

The verdict: I hope that all of the negatives are tied to his lack of understanding of the system in which he is playing. If the proverbial light bulb goes on between now and next season, he has the potential to be great. We saw flashes against some early season opponents so we know that he has the ability to score in bunches. To extend a tired metaphor, I just hope that light bulb doesn’t have a dimmer switch.

Dino Gregory

Never heard of him. Is he on the team?

David Pearman

Ladies and Gentlemen, the next Jason McAlpin!

Cliff Tucker

The positives: He is a gifted athlete who posesses the smoothest jump shot on the team (I say this because Eric Hayes practically shoots a set shot.). Tucker can create his own shot. No small feat in the ACC. He can take it to the rack or he can pull up from anywhere.

The negatives: He doesn’t know what he is doing out there. As maddening as that is, it is perhaps that the most promising thing about him too. The flashes he has shown could become the norm if he can learn the flex offense. His defense is terrible too and needs to improve dramatically. With his athletic ability, he should be one of the best defenders on the court, yet he is one of the worst. Right now, there are just too many holes for him to be consistent.

The verdict: Of all the freshman, Tucker has the highest ceiling. By his senior year, you will grow to love him. I promise.

Shane Walker

Shane is the forgotten man. I honestly can’t remember one thing (positive or negative) that he has done all year. Despite writing a regular Terps blog, I can’t say that I have seen every minute of every game, but I have watched enough and not a single moment stands out. All I know is that is the guy is the “project”. Hailing from England, he is supposed to develop under Gary’s tutelage.

I feel like I’ve seen this before. You never know what you are going to get with the “project”. For every Hassan Fofana, there is an Obinna Ekezie. Some of these guys develop into consistent performers, and some transfer after one season. No one can tell you which one Shane will be, Not even Gary knows.

In Summation

So there you have it. Gary’s got a mixed bag. At this juncture, the freshman nucleus of Bowie, Dupree, Tucker will be the group that Gary will build around. A big man, a quick guard, and a slasher. On paper, that is what you want. The problem is that the promises made on paper ain’t worth much.

If this were 2002, I would be giddy. All of these guys are loaded with the potential to be great and back then; Gary got the most out of his players. Ahh, but there is the rub. Potential ain’t worth shit anymore. Either Gary has lost his mojo or he has been knocking on the wrong doors for five straight years. I’ve been disappointed with a litany of potential stars. Strawberry (don’t forget the first 3 and half years), Mike Jones, Travis Garrison, Nik Caner-Medley, John Gilchrist, etc. etc.

Now, I am seeing it again. In his second year, Greivis Vasquez has disappointed as those who came immediately before him. I even renamed him Nik Caner-Vasquez. I’d be more optimistic that he will eventually learn if I hadn’t endured the last 5 years of Maryland basketball.

So now, I am supposed to believe these freshman will develop? I’m sorry but I have lost faith. It is going to take a great deal for me to get it back.

A miracle win at UNC would be a start.

Advertisements

21 Comments

  1. Jwremy. i agree wiht everyting once again. exept that we are gonns beet the crep outta them tardheels. i garyantee it. execpt im drunkt. and in my defense, i didnit even knowd there was a kid maned Davisd Pearman on us. But im dronk. So we get the win gainst friggins tartheeks! we win! wooohoooo! Dronks for everydoby! Terrrrrrrrrrrrp.

  2. A miracle isn’t needed to win at UNC, like GT proved earlier tonight. I’m a Maryland Fan (by choice, not just because I was “born into it” like the majority of people who answered the latest http://www.umterps.com fan poll), and perhaps that is the reason for my unbridled optimism, but I can certainly see Maryland doing just as well or better against UNC as GT just showed, and Clemson proved earlier in the season. A missed shot there, a layup there, and the game falls into the L column for UNC.

    Thats besides the point. Back on topic: Our freshmen are exactly what we need to utilize against UNC. NoCarlos is ‘wearing teams down’ and seem to come up big in the final minutes of play if the game is close (a la Clem et GT). Our coaches seem reluctant to use some of the freshmen who haven’t been assimilated into the ‘system’ so to speak, but its their ‘fresh’ legs off of the bench which will really push Maryland over the top.

    If Maryland comes out of Carroll-liner with a W we will see a stat sheet with plenty of minutes for the young guys.

    Dupree, Tucker, Bowie, Gregory and Walker will all see unselfish playing time with plenty of production from their ‘shot at the spotlight.’ If you look at last year’s numbers, DJ scored 27, Gist 9 and Boom 9 as well. We scored a total of 89 points (the final was 89-87.. sound similar to the GT game tonight?) which means that the other 44 points were pretty evenly spread amongst our bench or ‘roll players.’ The Freshmen are the key.

    Each of them have separately and independently shown flashes of pure talent. They can put it all together. Everyone talks about unsee having ‘8 starters’….the best way to combat fresh legs is with fresh legs – throw the bench at them. I have and am willing the spread the faith.

  3. I watched the UNC-GT game, too. My take-away isn’t that UNC is beatable but that GT won’t be a cupcake for the Terps. How’s that for optimism?

    I’m dreading Saturday.

    Jeremy, good breakdown of the freshmen. I hope Tucker’s smooth jumper starts dropping consistently. The dearth of shooters on this team is astonishing. I’m beginning to conclude that Dickie V wasn’t out to lunch when he observed early in the season that this was the least talented MD team he had seen in many a year.

  4. lack of consistant offense and lots of turnovers, that’s what i’m bracing myself for….if GW can not drill into thier brains to NOT TURN THE BALL OVER before this game he’s not doing his job…

  5. well, i pretty much agree with the overall analysis of each freshmen. however, why is the onus for our pathetic season falling on the freshmen??? these guys are overwhelmed with starting college and haven’t even been in gary’s system for 1/2 a season yet! i can understand bashing gist, vasquez, and osby, but damn man give these guys some time to develop.

    I think this point was brought up in a previous thread by that drunken dude who is new to the board, but I’m seriously worried about our inside play next year. Gary isn’t giving Burney and Gregory any playing time at all and Dupree/Walker are getting very limited minutes. We should be very solid at the 1, 2, and 3 positions for the next several seasons, but our prospects at the 4 and 5 do not look good into the immediate future. Our only hope at this point is that gus gilchrist comes in and is an absolute monster from the get-go, which I would be surprised about. Man, I wish Terrence Jennings didn’t back out of his committment! Sucks. Maybe Dave Neal will develop into an animal down-low for his senior season???? I know, not likely…

  6. Yanik! It’s been a long time. Welcome back. I don’t think I have heard from you since we moved to the new site. I miss the humor. I really do.

  7. Does anyone know the NCAA record for turnovers in one game? Without Hayes running the point I think Vaz will challenge the record. Watch this game as if it was the Washington Generals v. The Harlem Globetrotters. I don’t need to tell anyone here what part Md plays.

  8. Gotta agree with the frustrated fan that the GT/UNC game highlights how tough it will be to beat GT in Atlanta, rather than what chance we have to win at the Dean Dome. The Tar Holes are much more effective there than on the road.

    Anybody who predicts a Maryland victory has been mixing antifreeze in their drinks. That said, I never rule out Gary taking down a giant, because he has willed several overmatched Terps teams to victory in this situation before.

  9. Jeremy, nice analysis of the freshman. I was looking over what you wrote and doing some projections for next year. Why next year? It gives me at least some reason to keep watching Saturday if the nightmare scenario devleops and we’re down by 15-20 at the half.

    It looks like Tucker and maybe Dupree are potential starters in 2008-9. Tucker looks like the 3 unless Milbourne happens to develop faster than Cliff. With Dupree, we have either another Baxter or another Garrison, or something in between. Let’s hope its the former not the latter. Maybe the Terp coaches should be showing him a bunch of Lonny B. tapes in the off-season to see if the light happens to come on- i.e. Braxton emulate Baxter, not Garrison

    Bowie will need to develop a J to start or he’ll remain a substitue. We can’t really afford a starting 2 on the floor that is a one dimensional-defense only player. We’ve got to get points from the 2 position. Eric needs to concentrate on running the offense more so than on scoring, so a 2 that can give us 14+ per game is vital. The only one that can do that is Vaz, unless Mosley or Maze exceeds expectations. So it looks like Vaz will starting 2 slot again next year. Actually that will be ok if Vaz gets his act together and plays with his head as much as he does with his heart.

    So crystal balling next year, we’re looking at a starting five of Dupree, Gilchrist, Tucker or Milbourne, Vas and Hayes with Bowie, Neal, Tucker or Milbourne, Mosley and Maze as our bench. I’m not sure this improves us much over this year unless Gilchrist is a monster talent and Dupree and Tucker really improve between seasons. If Vaz court IQ improves and Mosley and/or Bowie steps up big we might have a nice talent mix emerge. If most or all of the above does not hapen, I think we may have another season like this one looming.

    The loss of Jennings is looking incresingly painful. Just going on what everyone wrote about him, he sounded like our future 4. Gilchrist, Jennings and Tucker sounds like it would have made a nice strating ACC frontline, at least talent-wise. Of course it would have been very young line-up, but now we’ll never know will we.

    Agian, I brought all this up just because it gives us something to look for on Saturday if things get out of hand early. I’ll be looking to see which one of our kids is showing signs of emerging as a legit ACC player during a stern ACC road test We’re going to need a number of them next year, so now is a good time for them to start making the very best use of every minute their given.

  10. What I got out of the UNC-Ga Tech game was that the Jackets were able to stay in it because they could score. We can’t score. End of story. If it was at home, perhaps we could make it close, but this will be ugly.

  11. Two of the most important thoughts the MD team should have in their psyche today should have been developed by watching the UNC- GT game. They would have watched that game……wouldn’t they?

    Here they are:

    # 1 These guys can be beat. Sure GT played a hell of a game but they also had a few “fresmen” that contributed mightily. Our frosh need to as well.

    #2 – Get everyone involved. We absolutely need production …..rebounds, defense, blocking and yes points….from some unlikely sources. Here’s why.

    Watching as many Terp games as I do (and you too) doesn’t it look like our offense plays to some kind of “hierarchial order” excluding maybe GV?

    It looks to me this is their approach. First is Gist open. Nope. Well, how about Boom. Nope Ok what about Milbourne. Oh crap, GV is open …..let’s swing it around to Hayes (et al). Crap
    GV is still open. Wow….looks like Boom is open here goes a pass underneath. Damn I hit Boom with the pass right in the hands and he put it on the floor and loses it. Maybe I should have hit GV.

    In this scenaria, fear, uncertainty and doubt rules their play. We must hit the open man and the open man has got to take the shot without looking for permission to fire away .

    Comments?

  12. Gerry what they should have taken is this. Play the entire game with no quit as a team and you have a chance. GT was balanced on offense and ferocious on defense. The did not have a idiot like Vaz launching 15 shots with wide open bigs. The passed and found the open man and hustled down court to defend. UNC was bigger faster and more talented but GT played with great heart and emotion which kept them close. If the Terps play team ball and aggressive defense, not stupid fouls, there is a chance. If they play like they did against WF then we will get to see some walk on play in a blow out.

  13. While reality says a 25 point blowout, we all know Gary can prepare his teams for this kind of game. If someone were to check the record over the last 5 years, we probably have a better record against duke, carolina than we do against the rest of the acc.

    So, until reality sets in, terps upset tarheels by 3 in overtime.

  14. Please forgive if this is old news, but Eric Hayes will attempt to go today in a reserve, part-time role, not start, but try to give them something off the bench, hopefully he can do it as they will need help in the backcourt

  15. Oops, I hit “post your comment” too soon LOL. I meant to add that I’m not 100% comfortable with Eric trying to play today. Clearly he’s willing and thinks he’s ready but is he able? And if he plays on it for a few minutes and it gets worse, he may be unavailable for the next few games including the one against Duke.

    It will be interesting to see who gets the start? Bowie, who has played well recently, or Tucker?

    GO TERPS GO!!!

    ok now I’m done :)

  16. I don’t see it in Bowie so far. Sure he’s quick (when he wants to be). He seems to jog too much, not play absolute lockdown defense a la Strawberry or my favorite, Steve Blake.

    Tucker should get a lot more PT and Gary should promote him as a #1 offensive option.

    I agree with Gerry’s analysis of the offense. Very mechanical.

    I went to the Terps blowout win of UNC by 44 back in 2003. I’m afraid today might be UNC’s revenge for that loss.

  17. I share cjazh’s fear. Payback is in the air. Oh, well, this too shall pass. But when? That’s what has us all on tenterhooks.

  18. I echo the concern of DiamondbackRuss regarding Hayes. I know we need all our weapons (did I just say weapons?) for a big game like UNC. But if he plays and it gets worse we’re in trouble. Seems the safer option might be for him to rest completely. Don’t want him to offer nothing this game and get worse for the upcoming games. Hopefully, he and the team will be wise about it. Then again, it’s a huge game and I’d want to play if I was in his shoes.

  19. Good summary on the freshmen. The only thing I’d add is that, as a group, they seem to lack confidence…..sort of feeds into Tucker’s “lostness” on the courth. All these kids (probably even Pearlman) were studs in HS. You’d think that they’d exude more confidence on the court being only one year out (like Hayes and Vaz last year). Instead, they are all way too tentative. Hard to tell if the problem is in the way they are being coached, in the complexity of the offense or in the type of personality that GW is recruiting.

    Burney (my head is shaking) – The one time we got to see Burney (I think it was against Illinois), we looked “solid as Sears” (as we used to say back in the hood). I wonder what he did to get into a perpetual doghouse.

    Regarding today’s game…….The Win against WF got me out of the VT loss funk. I say we can win if – as always – Gist plays to his potential and we get some breaks. They gotta play the game hard and never, never, never surrender.

    Yanik, pass the bottle.

  20. On a previous blog I observed that G’Town’s top recruit, Greg Monroe, from Harvey, LA, didn’t deserve his # 1 HS player ranking based on the games I’ve seen him play. This article in the Wash. Times bears me out:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080118/SPORTS/111065734/1005/SPORTS

  21. Ps. I guess I’m trying to take my mind off today’s game.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s