DBR Update and Midnight Madness

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2008-09 Maryland Terrapins Men’s Basketball Team!

Tonight is the start of what is surely to be one of the most unpredictable basketball seasons in recent memory for our Terps. Nothing would surprise. We could finish 4-12 in conference (unlikely), or we could finish 12-4. Will our backcourt experience key victories or will our inexperience in the frontcourt be our downfall? Who knows?

Perhaps odder scenarios are at play as well. Maybe our frontcourt is better than experts think. Will the sophomores, Dupree and Burney make the leap? Can they? So much is unknown.

Hanging over it all is the very future of the program. What will happen to Gary Williams if Maryland fails to make the Tourney again? I am loath to make any real predictions, but my intuition is that Maryland will be MUCH better than the experts are predicting. (Thanks Sporting News for the bulletin board material. Last in the conference? Really?)

Midnight Madness or not (btw, it will always be Midnight Madness to me. None of this Maryland Madness crap); the recruiting trail is still hot and here is DBR’s latest update. Enjoy:

My primary source for UMD info emailed me late last night to say still no word on Jordan Williams. Two media types have said they will text me as soon as they know something. As soon as I find out something definitive I’ll post something (watch…I’ll be in a friggin’ meeting when the word comes down). C’mon J-Dub say “YES” to UMD.

Meanwhile, Arsalan Kazemi now has an interesting final four of Maryland, Seton Hall, Rice, and Colorado, and according to Patterson Coach Chris Chaney, will likely sign early, as the 6-7 Iranian is already tired of the recruiting process. It now looks like Maryland will get a visit in early November, possibly the 7th and 8th, and one would think Williams’ decision will have certainly been made by then. Hopefully a decision will have been made by the NCAA on the eligibility on Jin Soo Kim by then as well. Chuck D went to watch Kazemi this week as Patterson scrimmaged Oak Hill Academy, Kazemi played well, so the Terp interest appears to still be very much there.

The following recruits are expected at tonight’s Maryland Madness: Isaiah Epps, Taran Buie, Jonathan Graham; and don’t be surprised to see Roscoe Smith there as well. While it will be encouraging if Smith does show, sources tell me it’s premature to get overly excited, or overly optimistic, about UM’s chances of landing the 6-8 wing man. The list of schools tracking Smith is endless, and the competition will be fierce. Some class of 2011 prospects are expected at Maryland Madness too including big man Jordan Goodman.

I’m hoping to get email updates from some people that attend Maryland Madness, so I could be posting often tonight.

As for our football team, I am aware that they have a huge game against Wake Forest tomorrow. However, I refuse to write about them until they prove they are worthy of following. I can’t take the complete and utter lack of effort. If they can hold serve against Wake and NC State and get bowl eligible in the process; I’ll start to believe again. Until then, Greivis and Co. have the floor.

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43 Comments

  1. Dear Steve Goins,
    Please look at the camera, not the floor!

  2. According to Albany City Rocks Director Jim Hart, the schools that lead for Taran Buie are Georgia Tech, Penn State, Maryland and Notre Dame.

    Clearly the longer Jordan Williams goes without a decision the further he is getting away from an early decision for UMD. Recruiting began late for him and blew up all of a sudden…could take more time/visits before making a decision.

    UMD has some other guys they’re working…Kazemi…and a kid out of Pennsylvania. So we’ll see how this plays out. A week ago the word was that Jordan would be making a decision this week but he could take more comparison visits. Something tells me Seton Hall may be a sleeper here since they only have 8 scholarship players available (one in the NCAA Clearinghouse).

  3. Regarding the guys currently on the team, I saw in the Post today where Gary wants to make Hayes a more definitive 1, but Vasquez isn’t really “buying it” yet. As if Gary needs a Vasquez sign-off on his decisions. You’re right that anything can happen…the team had a lot of growing to do over the offseason, both on their games and between the ears. It’ll be interesting, as always.

  4. JW just needs to commit. The longer he takes, the worse off I feel about the whole process…

  5. When you have a player, in GV, who led the team in scoring and led the conference in assists you know he wants to have the ball in his hands. However, at media day, Gary Williams talked about using Eric Hayes on the ball more in his natural point guard role and Hayes has spent all summer under Ricci working to improve his quickness with foot-speed drills and improved lower body strength and explosion.

    UMD has a lot of talent at the guard position, in fact I can’t think of another team that is as deep at the guard spot as UMD. We know that Vasquez, Hayes and Bowie can play PG, and I’m sure they will rotate thru that position during games depending on the defense/personnel of the opposition.

  6. This is getting me siked up. There’s no telling what will happen this season. But I’m excited to find out.

  7. I still feel good about our chances with JW.

    The staff seems like they have put a lot of time and effort into Jordan Williams’ recruitment and to his credit he seems to want to make an informed decision. I much prefer that to a kid who commits based on an impulsive decision, then begins to have second thoughts only to de-commit at a later date when there are only a couple of prospects left.

    Sometimes we forget we’re talking about a 17-18 year old kid who has his biggest life decision to-date to make. As much as we all want an answer we shouldn’t be impatient on when he decides.

  8. Where as last year’s team was a total unknown with only 4 quality veterens returning, this year’s squad is full of experience. Where as last year’s team had its stregnth in the front court and questionable guards, this year’s team has its stregnth in the backcourt and question marks up front.

    I anticipate 26-4 in the regular season (13-3 in the ACC) followed by an ACC and NCAA championship. (Since I am allowing for 4 losses, never accuse me of being over-optimistic!) 12-4 in the ACC is also acceptable. If we go 4-12 in the ACC, then please keep me away from all sharp objects and tall buildings.

    In any case, Vermont will be the first mini-test on Nov. 21. The first real test will be in the Old Spice Classic and Michigan State on November 27.

    It will be fun to watch and I can hardly wait.

  9. DBR: Good points on Vasquez. No one epitomizes “double-edged sword” in a basketball context the way he has up to this point. Yes, he was first in ACC for assists, but he also had turnover (last or close to last in assist-turnover ratio among ACC PGs playing heavy mins) and related issues, as we all know. So I guess what I’m wondering about, especially given what you said about Hayes’ offseason, is whether it makes more sense to have Hayes as more of a default-type fixture at the 1 (as Gary seems to want, at least at the moment), or does the guard depth (and/or Vasquez’s talent) demand that you keep him in the mix at the 1 and wherever else you can get him in, regardless of the potential risk for instability that this may create? I guess a lot of it will depend on whether Hayes can step up to the challenge.

  10. Pretty much every publication is picking us to be NIT bound. Can’t say, at least at this point, I can argue with them. Cental to our success is Braxton Dupree. What say you fellow alums? I’m hoping for the best – but think 8-8 in conference would be a miracle.

  11. No doubt that Braxton Dupree’s ability to provide a strong inside presence at both ends of the court is a key to any success the Terps have this season. He needs to establish himself as a solid rebounder and low post scorer

  12. If Braxton’s metamorphisis occurs I think we could make the tourney and who knows. Burney is a jumping jack that could prove to be valuable defensively.

    So what’s the book on, as some on here refer to, Dino “Splinters” Gregory. Has he improved whatsoever?

    Lastly, Milbourne last yr was notorious for picking up 3 fouls in the 1st half. Any maturation on his part?

  13. As a junior, it’s critical for Landon to find that consistency and let his big-time athletic talent take over. Milbourne’s perimeter shot is much improved, and he is an excellent run/jump athlete.

    At 6-6, he may be asked to log some minutes at the power forward slot, which will be a challenge. He has displayed a great motor during the preseason, and has played extremely hard. The Terps need 12-14 ppg from Milbourne this year. A faster pace should help meet those goals.

  14. According to his AAU team director Jim Hart of the City Rock Basketball Program, Will Regan of Buffalo, NY has narrowed his list of schools to Michigan, Arizona State, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Penn State.

    Regan is an AAU teammate of Taran Buie and is a 6-foot-8 220lb center that can also shoot from three point range. He has already taken an unofficial visit to UMD. Indications are that Regan will make a decision on a school sometime in the summer of ’09.

  15. Based upon the lack of commentary on Gregory I would presume nothing is expected of him?

  16. The turnover problem was issue #1 last year. We cut down on the second half turnovers, there are 4 more wins and they are in the dance. That’s why I’m pretty sure Hayes will be the primary PG.

    Totally agree on Milbourne. In the photos that were published, he looked to have bulked up a bit. He had a Mouton body shape. He needs to have a big year for the Terps to excel.

    Gregory is my dark-horse candidate to surprise this year with a better than expected performance.

  17. Refusing to write about teams that disappoint you can make Turtle Soup a very lightly visited blog.

    Go go woman’s lacrosse???

  18. My apologies…most of my sources are already at Comcast Center and it took a while for someone to get back to me on the Dino Gregory questions. Here’s what I got:

    No doubt, this is a big year for Gregory, who played some minutes early last year, and then languished on the bench during the end of the season.

    Any plans for Gregory to play SF seem to have been scrapped. He is noticeably stronger and bulkier than last season.

    He has worked very hard during the offseason to prepare for the rigors of being a 6-6 power forward in the ACC.

    It will be interesting to see how he fares during his sophomore campaign.

  19. Good commentary by everyone. Hoop fever is begining to hit me as well. Unlike some of you, I’ve got no predictions on our potential record; however I will list my things to watch for this year: 1) Dupree/Burney; Burney/Dupree–doesn’t matter which order you list them in, we need them both to emerge for us to be competitive; 2) Dino Gregory’s emergence (PLEASE!!!)–we’ve got to have a quality big man to back-up Dupree/Burney///Burney/Dupree; Neal & Goins need to give us something (I hope w/ fingers crossed as I say it), but Gregory appears to be our only real hope of an athletic frontline presence for 08-09; 3) the backcourt mix has got to straighten itself out. We need a bona fide 1 and bona fide 2 this year. Just as an aside, if say EH & SM are emerge as our best starting backcourt, I hope GW will go with it and not feel like he has to give GV the starting nod. This team in the early going looks like a three-guard bunch for a good deal of minutes per game with Milbourne playing the 4…5) I sure hope JSK can play and can give us front court trey possibilities. We need an outside threat very badly. If JSK can provide it, D/B///B/D should really benefit from it.

  20. Jordan Williams http://www.zagsblog.net/2008/10/17/williams-still-deciding-2/

  21. Maryland Madness recruit report numero uno:

    Isaiah Epps, Taran Buie and Roscoe Smith all hanging out together like best friends right now, while another new name is here, 6-8 soph Greg Lewis from St. Frances Academy.

  22. Good to hear that Epps, Buie and Smith are there. Bad to hear about Jordan Williams. Why can’t Gary contact him and put on the full court press with Jordan Williams within NCAA rules if other schools are permitted to contact him and create confusion and doubts in his mind?

  23. I am getting really fired up for our BB team this year. Hayes will come strong, mark my words.

    I will throw some love our football team’s way. They can still salvage the season and it starts tomorrow at noon. They play a solid but not super talented Wake team. They lose that game and the goal of winning the ACC is done.

    I have no idea which team will show. If I had to place a bet I would go with the one that beat Cal. They usually don’t have trouble getting up for good teams. If we do win then we have NC State to worry about. We don’t want to UVA that game away.

    Keep the updates coming DBR!!!

  24. Another MM recruit update: freshman Justin Anderson from Montrose Christian is in the building

  25. Some of these other schools mentioned along with Jordan Williams are Johnny come lately…reached out to him after Padgett comitted to the Terps.

    Jordan took two of his five permitted official visits (UMD & St. John’s) and took an unofficial to UMass since it was nearby. Gary went into Jordan’s home and visited with him and his family. Gary was at several of Jordan’s AAU games back in July (which is when he offered Jordan a ‘ship).

    Right now Gary can’t “contact” Jordan because we’re in the “evaluation” period of the NCAA recruiting calendar during which coaches and other authorized staffers are allowed to assess the athletic and academic ability of prospective student-athletes, but cannot conduct off-campus visits.

    And in NCAA-speak, “contact” is anything beyond saying “hello.”

    Just because JW is taking more time than he/his family originally said they would is not automatically a bad thing.

  26. Provided that he is not being contacted by, or making contact with, others.

  27. I don’t know how many people went to, or saw the ‘Madness’ on TV, but I’m not terribly excited for our team this year if how they played in their “first practice” is any indication of how they’ll play during the season.

    A few thoughts: Landon wants the ball. Vasquez wants to prove that he can be a team player and be a pass-first guard. Mosley looks exciting, but like everyone else, he seemed to miss easy shots. Burney will start over Braxton. When Dino and Adrian played well, the rest of the team stepped up. (I heard once that Sasho, the men’s soccer coach uses a survey metric to determine who is captains will be, and it doesn’t always point to the highest scoring, or best players… just to the players who have the right qualities to be leaders.) Dave Neal still favors his right arm for layups even though he’s not wearing a brace (I’m a little disappointed that HE is representing MY graduating year) Eric Hayes seems to be the same Eric Hayes of yesteryear. Mind you, this is all from seeing them play for about 10 minutes.

    Also, Byron put on a show during the Alumni game with his light-up shoes… and Chuck D missed a 3 coming off a screen moving to his left (ACHEM… Eric Hayes).

    The women’s team: Fun, but they didn’t play defense so I can’t tell how much of an indicator the practice game will be of their talent. The best part was that they all seem to be very cohesive and like to be around each other. Brenda talked more about Duke than Maryland.. how sad is that? Also, a lot of the Women looked kind of uncomfortable in their new shorts (constant adjustments and the like), I don’t know whether they are cut correctly for their thicker legs. Kristi Toliver made a few 3s from beyond men’s range.

    Overall, very enjoyable, and for those who missed Gymkana, the Dance and Cheer squads, you really missed out on some high class, constant excitement entertainment.
    For those who saw it or went, what did you think?

  28. Great, great info on this site. It’s the best anywhere on Terps hoops. Thanks to everyone, especially DBR.

    Major sports publications rank their predictions in this rather simplistic way:

    1. They look at who will obviously be considered the top teams and look at them in-depth.
    2. For the rest of the teams not considered perhaps Top 10, they look at how they did the past year, who graduated, who’s returning. Incoming freshman are given very little credence unless they were officially endorsed by McDonald’s.

    Using this critieria, I would rank our Terps near the bottom of the ACC also. We graduated 2 of our top 3 scorers and our top 2 rebounders. We also didn’t get any Big Mac eating players.

    But anyone who knows our conference would NEVER rank the Terps last in the ACC. When is the last time Garyland has won fewer than 7 conference games? I can’t even remember it’s been so long. It may be a stretch and a bit optimistic to think we’ll go 13-3 on the conference this year. But conversely, can you see us going 3-13? Would Gary ever allow that to happen? I think it’s virtually impossible. There is no precedent for it. Our teams just play too hard for that to happen.

    During the NC State/FSU football game on Thursday, ESPN interviewed hoops coach Sidney Lowe. NC State as we all know is expected to do well this season. Paraphrasing, Lowe said he thinks his team can compete this year with the best in the conference, teams like “North Carolina, Maryland and Duke”. I’m pretty sure Lowe said “Maryland” subconsciously as we don’t have the talent to compare with Duke and UNC this season. But I bet every coach in the conference will tell you that Maryland will be a tough game if we were starting 5 freshman. When the ACC media makes their pre-season picks this season they should take a poll of the coaches and assistant coaches at the same time. Let’s see how they compare. I think I already know. Who knows more about the game, journalists or coaches?

  29. One note from Gary Williams’ interview on TV during the Madness… He said Milbourne was the hardest worker during the offseason and was elected as one of 3 team captains by the rest of the squad. (Vaz and Neal the others).

    You can’t judge the team on 10 minutes of goofing around scrimmage, but Bowie hit some big shots, including two 3’s. He may be a surprise.

    Now let’s go beat up on Wake.

  30. Jacob made some good observations. But I’d caution anyone against considering Maryland Madness to be a “practice”. It’s more like the last time the team gets to goof around before serious work starts. This event is really for the student body and the players to get them excited about the b-ball team/season. Also a chance for freshmen to see what the attomosphere will be like with the Comcast Center crowd and them at center stage so to speak.

    I received some observations from MM, I left out the ones that similar to Jacob’s:

    Adrian Bowie is firing away, without hesitation, and calmly nailed three treys, and led the White team with 11 points.

    Dino Gregory had a one-hand catch and dunk off the break, the play of the night.

    Landon Milbourne simply outruns and outworks people, even in this setting.

    Sean Mosley had two dunks and played hard, which is something he always does.

    Eric Hayes looks very comfortable on the court and in total control of his game.

    The scrimmages are brief and tell you little, since they are done simply for fun and little defense is played but the Red team (Goins, Mosley, Hayes, Milbourne, Neal, Burney) won 27-26.

    Jin Soo Kim has not yet been cleared and did not participate in the scrimmage, nor did we see him in the building.

    Now the fun is over and practice begins for real this afternoon.

  31. Buie & Epps still on campus and are expected to attend F-ball game and B-ball practice.

  32. Brenda Freese got a commitment from 6-1 junior Forward Alyssa Thomas. She’s ranked as the #27 player in the class of 2010 by Hoopgurlz. Thomas attended Maryland Madness and is still on campus.

    Congrats to Brenda and her staff.

  33. Hey DBR,
    Just wanted to say love all your info and for Gregg and Jeremy this is the best site ever for Terps B-Ball Info. Anyways, I am a huge Maryland fan from Schenectady, NY (which yes if you’re wondering is close to Albany where Taran Buie goes to school and I happen to also go to school down the street from his). I am very optimistic about the terps, love to support them like everyone here, and think Gary Williams is the greatest he should stay forever. I was wondering and I know you probably get this question alot but any estimated time to hear about JSK and can he play right away? I think he would definetly help out the team and it would be great to have a complete roster going into the first game. (hope he is at least cleared by then). Thanks so much and keep up the great work on the site!

  34. Hi NYMETSI’m in the Capital Region too. Just moved up here to Cohoes. Perhaps we’ll run into each other at some of Taran’s games at Bishop Maginn.

    We’re all waiting anxiously on word from the NCAA Clearinghouse regarding JSK’s eligibility. Hopefully good news will come soon.

  35. Good stuff

    http://www.zagsblog.net/2008/10/18/epps-buie-visit-maryland-for-madness/

  36. Sounds good to me DBR…Thank you alot and I look forward to possibly running into you as well. Not quite sure how we will recognize each other to meet you (ha-ha) but I am sure if it is meant to happen for us Maryland fans it will.

  37. Arsalan Kazemi will reportedly visit UMD on 11/8. That is the day the Terps play an exhibition game against Northwood University.

  38. I will be wearing MARYLAND gear at any Bishop Maginn game I attend.

  39. Okay that’s great…I’ll be sure to keep up with the site to see which games you are attending, in fact I think when they play at Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons and Schenectady I will most likely attend since it is real close by, or perhaps go to his home games at Maginn as well. In any event, look forward to meeting you and keep up the great work!

  40. From my opinion, I think JSK can contribute to the team. Despite of his size, he can shot from anywhere (even beyond 3). Since I am also Korean native, I’ve heard about him since 3-4 years ago. He was member of Korean National team (not junior national team) with Seungjin Ha who was drafted by Blazers few years ago. Even when he was in the middle school, he played with college and professional. So, I think once he is cleared by NCAA, he can contribute to the team right away (if his injury was recovered 100%). I think he enjoys Maryland very much. I also think one of the reason he choose Maryland is because there are decent population of Korean American around DC area.

  41. JSK just recently started playing pickup ball, after shoulder surgery during the early summer. Still very thin, Kim is an offensive talent, displaying outstanding catch-and-shoot ability, a legit threat from behind the arc, and finding teammates with his passing ability in work outs.

    His rebounding has improved (according to people that watched him in HS) and his length can be an asset defensively, though he loses his man on occasion during pick up games. Much work in the weight room is needed, and of course, he still is waiting for clearance by the NCAA before he can suit up for the Terps.

    JSK’s brother John is a UMD grad and lives in Silver Spring.

    We should all hope he gets cleared by the NCAA this week so he can join his teammates in practice. JSK would be an asset to this team not only because of his ability but also because he played for the Albany City Rocks AAU team along with Taran Buie and Will Regan. It would be one more “comfort” factor that could get those two 2010 recruits even more interested in UMD.

  42. CJ Fair is off the board as he commits to Syracuse this weekend during a visit there. Terps had not offered CJ yet as they wanted to see how fully he recovered from his knee surgery. Syracuse offered during his weekend visit and he popped to them.

  43. Hey Jordan Williams if you’re reading this, CollegeHoops.Net ranked St. John’s the #6 college basketball program in the state of NY behind the likes of Manhattan, Hofstra, Niagara, Siena and Syracuse. http://www.collegehoopsnet.com/state-03908-new-york-105092 Come to UMD and play at the program of The University Of Maryland!

    JW, we’re a legit national brand http://sports.espn.go.com/ncb/news/story?id=3649815

    We’ve got the top criminal justice college in America at UMD. Come on down JW.


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