Maryland basketball had their only preseason game today, against Northwood, an NAIA school. For being in the NAIA, they're pretty damn good, even though that's not saying a lot. The Terps disposed of them pretty easily, actually - even breaking the 100 point barrier - so maybe there's hope. Greivis Vasquez and Sean Mosely didn't play, so it wasn't even the best team out there. Here's my thoughts:
- Eric Hayes looked great playing point guard. He was much more confident than in the past, had his shot working, and played good defense. He finally seems to be developing into that calm, collected point guard we always thought he would be.
- Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker have really improved their games. Tucker's extremely active on offense and defense, especially in transition. Bowie seems comfortable at either PG or SG, and his trademark defense and penetration are as good as ever. Even better, they're joined by a much improved jump shot.
- The inside game is not promising. The post players are simply not ACC-starter material, unfortunately. Braxton has the potential to be one; he's in much better shape, and still has great technique, but he was pretty quiet. Dino had his moments, as did Jerome Burney, but no one had the type of game they should've against Northwood.
- I was wrong about Jin Soo Kim. I had thought he'd be redshirted - no way. He's ready to play now. He will get serious minutes and may contend for a starting spot. He put up 15 points after only a couple of practices. He was obviously rusty - his first half was pretty bad - but once he got going, he was for real. His shot is good, even though it didn't fall as often as expected - likely nerves or rust. But more than that, he's not one-dimensional. He's not just a shooter. He can actually penetrate into the lane, he's active off the ball, and his defense isn't bad. He made some athletic and-ones, and hit all of his free throws. I'd like to see how he does against bigger competition, but he certainly has the skill set.
- Landon Milbourne may be the best player on this team outside of Greivis Vasquez. He's incredible active on defense, and led the team in scoring. His skill set and mind have finally matched his athleticism.
- Maryland really does have a chance this year. The guards are good enough to go to a 3 or 4 guard set. There's going to be a ton of depth, so the guards will likely be able to outrun other guards. The big men - Dino and Burney, at least - can get in transition, too. I expect a very up-tempo offense. Gary and Co. will definitely surprise some pundits (I'm looking at you, Sporting News).
- With all that awesome positivity, a disclaimer: this was against Northwood. Anything less than this would've been a disappointment. Take everything with a grain of salt.