It's that time of year, isn't it? Terps FB is predictably going into the toilet, and all of Maryland begins to turn their heads to the hardwood, where we know that at the very least we won't be utterly embarrassed by our beloved Terps.
But how will this year actually turn out? I say we can be VERY, VERY good this year.
The Starting Five--If I know a damn thing about Gary Williams will almost certainly be the following on day one:
To me, this is a formidable starting five.
Let's start with the known commodities in Williams and Mosely. In Williams, you have a legitimate big who not only is an elite rebounder but is poised for a breakout year on the offensive end (I see 15-20ppg as a legitimate possibility for him). In Mosely, you have that glue guy--a guy who can guard the opponents best wing player, who will swoop in for some easy putbacks when opponents don't block him out, and who has shown an ability (at times) to knock down open mid range jumpers.
That leaves the question marks---with relative degrees of uncertainties.
Starting With Gregory--we've seen that he possesses elite bounce and strength. We've seen flashes of an ability to step back and knock down a 10-15 foot jumper. It will be absolutely KEY that he is able to do this on a somewhat consistent basis for us. Also, I'm looking to see if he can demonstrate some improved timing on his jumps for rebounds.
Then there are the guards.
What is there to say about Cliff Tucker that hasn't already been said? I think the thing that most Terp fans should relish in is the fact that this season will forever put to rest the argument of should Cliff get more clock or not. He's going to play, and play significant minutes at that. We know he has the talent to be a good ACC guard. He can knock down open threes, he can slash to the hoop, he's got elite quickness and speed, and he has quick hands on the defensive end. He can be a legitimate 2 way player. Or he could be the same mercurial Cliff Tucker we've seen for 3 years. Consistent effort, and tenacity is what will decide Cliff's fate.
Adrian Bowie could end up being the Terps best player this year. I said it. He has all the physical attributes you desire in a point guard in that he has the quickness to get to the lane, the strength to take contact in the lane and still finish, and an ever improving 3 point shot (which although it's not a thing of beauty, seemed to go down for Adrian towards the end of last year). Moreover, he's a capable defender due to said quickness and strength. Again with Adrian, it's the mental game that will decide his fate. Will he make smart decisions? Will he be able to bring it up versus a pressure D? These are the things that I'm interested to see out of the gates.
And then there are the bench players:
Padgett: Showed flashes in limited looks last year. Can he become an ACC contributer?
Weiss: I hear mixed reviews. Some have said he's outperformed Padgett in summer ball, but others say he is too thin to contribute right away in the ACC and will need a year to bulk up.
Pankey: I believe Pankey will get solid minutes this year, especially if Padgett or Weiss falter. He's somewhat of a known commodity in that he is a capable rebounder with a non-existent offensive game (outside of putbacks). Hopefully with time, he can develop a little back to the basket action.
Parker: Total X factor. Has ELITE POTENTIAL. Solid candidate for ACC FOY, even if he never cracks the starting line up. Everything I hear about him seems to indicate the sky is the limit with him.
Stoglin: Will he be able to find consitent minutes?
Howard: Assuming he beats out Stoglin for the first guard off the bench (which based on early reports seems likely), how much can he contribute right away? Can he become a solid peremiter scorer for the terps? We know he will be a lock down defender off the bench.
Hawk: I actually think that Hawk is the darkhorse of this class. He may not contribute this season, but I like everything about his game other than his aggressiveness. He is smooth, a good passer, sees the court well, and can knock down an open three with a nice jumper. He played on a team of ball hogs in highschool however, and seems more comfortable taking a backseat role. That may be fine with Gary though who tends to like guys who emphasize team first. Oh---I also like his size at the 3.
So now it's Prediction Time:
I predict good things for Terps:
Minimum: Outside of the Bubble
Maximum: Elite 8
Prediction: Round of 32-Sweet 16
3rd Place ACC finish.