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.
Will the real Cliff Tucker please stand up? Last season was a roller coaster of peaks and valleys for the now junior combo guard/forward. The low; rumors of Cliff wanting to transfer out of College Park due to lack of playing time and being the mayor of Gary Williams' dog house. The peak; scoring 22 points, grabbing 6 rebounds and playing 29 minutes in helping the Terps upset UNC at Comcast. So what can we expect from Cliff Tucker this year? Check it out after the jump.
In Tucker's freshman year, everyone though he would be a staple in the Terps starting line up for the next 4 years. He started 6 games and played over 500 minutes. Last season, Tucker lost playing time to Mosley, an improved Bowie and the stronger play of Gregory. Where Tucker comes down this season in terms of his playing time is anyone's guess. He showed he has the ability to play but he's also struggled; his playing time has reflected his playing - vastly inconsistent. Tucker seems to often get lost in Gary's player rotations. Tucker has the abilities to play in the ACC but for some reason I think he struggles in practice a lot and that prevents Gary from putting him in as often as his abilities would suggest.
Cliff Tucker was the Terps' second best 3-point option last year, shooting 37.8% from 3 point land. He can do a lot while on the court. He has the ability to score near the basketball, is quick, and is great at slashing to the hoop and scoring. Tucker has also improved his free throw shooting a lot, raising his percentage from 40% his freshman year to 72.4%.
So the question is, with these abilities and improvement, why don't we see more of Mr. Tucker? It's a good question and one that only Gary Williams can answer. There have been rumors that Tucker isn't a good practice player and might be lacking in the effort department, but again, that's a question only Gary could answer.
If Tucker can get his game going, you can expect you'll see more of him this year, especially with Gregory and Goins possibly being out for extended periods.
I think everything is up to Tucker. He could get 15-20 minutes a game and average about 10 points or he could fall further behind in the Terps rotation, with Williams and Padgett stealing more of his playing time. If he doesn't step up, he could end up being a 5 minute, 3 points per game type person. I'm going to guess it falls between those extremes. Tucker didn't get many minutes in the exhibition game last week, but who knows if that is an indication of what is to come this season. Here is an estimate of Tucker's performance this season:
Pts Rbs Ast
7.5 3 1.5
What do you think? What are you expecting from Cliff Tucker this year? Let us know in the comments section.