As Greivis and Co. leave the house, others rise to take their place. This year, it's a group of five incoming freshmen. Over the next five days, we'll be introducing them to you, in order of their commitments. We've done Terrell Stoglin, Mychal Parker, Ashton Pankey, and Pe'Shon Howard. Only Haukur Palsson remains.
Name: Haukur Palsson
HS: Montverde Academy; Sagemont, FL, by way of Reykjavik, Iceland
AAU: Yeah, no, he's from Iceland.
Nickname: Hawk, which as a few kind Icelanders have informed me, is a direct translation of his name. Oh, and when he does well in clutch situations, he has ice water in his veins. Get it? Ok, I'm done.
Rankings: 3 stars on Rivals; 89 on ESPN
Maryland Was Better Than: South Florida
Strengths: Palsson is a jack of all trades (master of none, but we'll get to that in a moment). He's a good passer, a solid defender, and is a shooting specialist. He works hard and goes hard for rebounds. He's a bit of a glue guy in that sense, because he does the little things that keep the team together. He's been well-coached at Montverde, and Gary will be able to work with him. He's already a smart kid and high character guy that works hard, so Gary is sure to like him.
Weaknesses: Somewhat limited athletically, which hurts his overall potential. Indications are that he's not going to light up too many scoreboards in his time at Maryland; he hasn't had too many big games in HS. Unfortunately, he's not particularly great at any of the things he can do well. His base for basketball might be a little bit underdeveloped considering he's only been in the states for a year and Iceland's national team plays against pretty poor competition.
In a Turtleshell: Productive glue guy. He does everything well enough to get playing time, but nothing well enough (yet) to be considered a "great" player. Because he's so new to the game, though, and because he's a hard worker, don't be surprised if Gary Williams turns him into something.
Interesting Storyline: Um, he's from Iceland. What more do you need?
Comparison: The Icelandic Byron Mouton. Mouton was never really a scorer or a shooter, but played good defense, worked hard, and rebounded well. Whether or not he'll be as good as Mouton is up in the air, but the playing styles are the same, even if Palsson is a bit more a shooter.
Prediction: There's a big talent pool for Maryland next year, with four legitimate players fighting for one spot. Palsson will probably come off the bench behind three of those players, and possibly Ashton Pankey and James Padgett as well. But gym rats that also happen to be knowledge sponges always turn out in a Gary Williams team, so you can bet that something will become of Palsson before long. It just won't happen next season.
Other Useful Links: Rivals | ESPN | "One Cool Customer" | Finding His Role | EuroHopes Profile | Testudo Break Down