Bad News: Uh, Is James Padgett Going to Miss Maryland's First Three Games?

Streeter Lecka - Getty Images

I know conversation about this has been going on throughout the day and I'm a little late here, but, uh, how is more not being made of this?

Terrapins men's basketball forward James Padgett will face trial this Friday for two charges stemming from a summer traffic incident. ... Police charged Padgett with driving while impaired by alcohol and failure to display two lighted front lamps when asked by police, according to court documents. Padgett was cooperative and police released him after completing the tests, which Limansky said is the department's common practice.

According to the university's student-athlete code of conduct, a student-athlete charged with a DWI "shall be suspended from 10 percent ... of his or her in-season competitive schedule." In a statement, athletic officials said, "We're aware of the situation and have no further comment as this is a pending legal matter."

I've seen some confusion over whether or not this is would be a DWI or a DUI or what - I thought that DWI was the higher charge, and that Padgett's .07 would be a DUI - but that's basically irrelevant. The language used in the student-athlete code of conduct is that any student-athlete charged with DWI or DUI is automatically suspended for 10% of the schedule. In this case, Padgett would miss the first three games, including Kentucky, and because the only thing that matters is being charged, not convicted, you'd assume that ruling has already been handed down to him.

(The other two games would be against Morehead State and LIU, which should still be winnable even in Padgett's absence.)

So ... kinda takes the sheen off the whole Roddy Peters thing a bit, doesn't it?

The good news, I guess: Padgett's still a good kid. He made a mistake, a stupid mistake, and drunk driving is a very serious matter - one that hits pretty close to home for me personally - but I've never seen him run into problems elsewhere, and apparently he got the team through Navy SEAL training. Kids, even good kids, do stupid stuff sometimes. Let's not harp on it.

It does hurt on the court, though, especially given that it undoes some of the potential advantage Maryland could've gained from Nerlens Noel's absence. But, to be quite honest, I didn't see Padgett as a difference-maker this year. It's entirely plausible that Shaquille Cleare, who's a better foil for Alex Len anyway, is just as capable of playing major minutes as Padgett is. In fact, I sort of expected him to be challenging Padgett for the starting spot midway through the year anyway; this might even accelerate that process.

It hurts a bit to lose the experience Padgett would've brought, but I'm not worried playing a true freshman for a few reasons. First off: it's basketball. True freshmen usually comprise like half of the all-American teams at the end of the year. Experience isn't near as big a factor as it is in other sports (namely: football). And second: it's Kentucky. They're even younger. They'll be starting probably three freshmen to Maryland's one. I'd like to have Padgett there, of course; the option is always good, as is having a leader on the floor. But it hardly sinks their chances.

In fact, it's not even a huge factor as far as depth goes, since Maryland has plenty of big men on campus already. Len, Cleare, and Charles Mitchell can all play right away, and Jake Layman can move up to play the four (against Kyle Wiltjer, who is a very similar player) with ease. Having a fourth true big would be nice, but a post shortage is something Maryland's used to dealing with.

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