As we close in on basketball season, we here at Testudo Times will be previewing the team player-by-player, starting with the freshmen and working our way up to the seniors. We'll be closing it up November 13 (that is, Maryland's first game) with the final player preview plus a full team preview. Check out our previous previews: Ersin Levent/David Pearman, Sean Mosley, Jin Soo Choi, Steve Goins, Jordan Williams, James Padgett, and Adrian Bowie.
Today we look at Landon Milbourne, a versatile forward from Georgia who was Maryland's second offensive option last year. Only 6-7, Milbourne usually played above his height, matching up at PF. That was done out of necessity, but we actually found out that Milbourne actually plays the 4 better than he does the 3. Unfortunately, his body wasn't developed enough to take the beating of the inside game, and he wore down toward the end of the year.
Keeping him fresh and effective is key: even though there are the new, incoming bigs, he's the only post player with experience. A breakout season for Landon in his senior year could lead to big things for the Terps.
His Game: Milbourne was projected as a three in high school and his first two, playing-time sparse years at Maryland. Then, after Gus Gilchrist and Ken Bowman fell through, he was forced into the power forward spot simply because there was no one else there. To everyone's surprise, the 3 playing the 4 was better at 4 than 3.
To be fair, Milbourne was never a great SF. He lacked the elite quickness and athleticism for that spot, and his outside game wasn't great. He did have above-average strength for that spot, though, which translated well to PF. His lack of elite quickness and speed became an advantage against slower fours, and he was able to keep from being dominated defensively, if he didn't shut anyone down. His jumper became his go to move, and he's money from about 15 to 17 feet out, where big men don't like to venture. He's also unexpectedly effective in the paint - he's not all that great technically, but he knows how to get the ball to the basket.
Unfortunately, playing a year against a ton of foes with significant size advantages took a toll on his body, and he became less and less active as the year wore on. The hope is that that won't be the case this year, for two reasons: first, Landon has supposedly bulked up in the offseason, which would make it easier for him to stand up to bigger opponents and increase his durability. Second, his breaks should be much longer with two capable freshmen bigs. I wouldn't be surprised if Maryland went big on occasion, combining a Milbourne/Williams/Padgett frontcourt, giving them three capable post players and a size advantage, for once, for Milbourne.
Prediction: I like Landon, a lot. I also like Sean Mosley, James Padgett, and Jordan Williams, but I don't think they're quite ready enough to take over Landon as the second scoring option. A fresher, stronger Landon means more consistency and more scoring. Last year, he put up 11 points and 5 rebounds a game. While his rebounds shouldn't increase that much because JWill and Padge will steal some, his points should shoot up. Here's what I'm seeing:
15 might be a bit high, but I was feeling good today. Any opinions?