Well, it looks like it's off to NIT'ville for Gary and the boys after last nights loss to the Miami Hurricanes. If they were on the bubble going in (and that's a stretch) they're free falling now. Only an ACC tournament title will get them into the NCAA tournamnet now. Let's face it, we should have seen this coming. In fact, we should have seen it before the season even started.
Maryland lost a lot of production from last year's co-ACC championship team when guards Greives Vasquez (the ACC player of the year), Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne's eligibilty ran out. These three players gave the Terps production in all of the important statistical areas of points, rebounds and assists. Though they may not have been the greatest threesome in Maryland history, Vasquez, Hayes and Milbourne were four-year players who knew Gary's system and what it took to win. Vasquez was the best all-around player of the three and Hayes and Milbourne knew their roles and how to feed off of Greives. Losing one good all-around player is tough much less three.
The players who have replaced them are trying, but just aren't as good. Adrian Bowie, James Padgett, Dino Gregory, Cliff Tucker and Sean Mosley may be upperclassmen, but they don't have the minutes or talent that the departed players had. So though sophomore Jordan Williams and freshman Pe'Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin and Hauker Palsson have shown potential this team is just not NCAA tournament worthy. And we have to accept that and look towards the future which seems bright to me.
If Williams comes back for his junior year, the three freshman improve and top recruit Nick Faust of Baltimore City High turns out to be the player I think I saw last season when he led his team to the state title Maryland will be a better team next year. And if everyone comes back two years from now, they have a chance to be as good as the 2010 team, maybe better.
So Maryland fans we need to be patient. The team may be taking it's lumps this year, but they'll improve. We know they have the coach to do it. He will get every ounce out of them if they are willing to let him. To me, Gary has coached well this season with the team playing hard in every game except the first Virginia Tech contest. He just doesn't have the horses. At the moment.
So though we are frustrated with this season the future looks bright. And Gary should be given the benefit of the doubt and a chance to see this young group of players through. He's earned that right. If you don't think so just remember wha the program was like before he got there and how far he has brought it. Before Gary, we were happy with just making the NCAA's. Now we are spoiled. Unfortunately, the glory years of the early 2000's may be gone, but the future is not totally bleak.
To me, it may be very bright.