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A Quick Ode to Landon Milbourne, Unsung Maryland Hero

Y'know who hasn't gotten enough credit lately, in my opinion? Landon Milbourne. Maybe because he's not all that spectacular when he scores, maybe because he's unbelievably consistent, maybe because Maryland fans just expect these performances now, but I am yet to see a lot of love for Landon, even when guys like Tucker or Bowie are being applauded.

I'm not criticizing anyone - it's easy to forget about Milbourne. But it's arguable that no Terp has been steadier than the 6-7 Georgian the past few games, Vasquez included. He's scored double-digits in 9 straight games, and has grabbed less than 5 rebounds only once in that stretch. Particularly recently, he's not only been putting up numbers, but doing it in a very efficient fashion: the past four games he's averaged 16.5 points per game and shot 68% from the field. Can't ask for better stats from a #2 option.

Milbourne's game has expanded nicely from last year. He's already taken as many 3s as he did in all of last year (20), and upped his percentage 10 points to a cool 45% from deep. His mid-range jumper is deathly accurate, and his post moves have expanded nicely. He's even rebounding at a higher rate. Essentially every single category - minutes, offensive efficiency, FG%, FT rate, points per game, etc. - has improved from last season. If he continues on this pace, 3rd team All-ACC would be a probability.

A lot of this is due to finally having a real space eater in the middle with Jordan Williams. Dave Neal, bless his heart, was small and liked to hang around the 3 point line. Williams gets in and bangs in the middle, and that gives Milbourne space and room to float around a little bit. He's facing the basket a lot more this year, and that allows him to combine his 3 background with his 4 skills and size.

The hope is that Williams' presence, which saves Milbourne on banging, will preserve Landon more than last year. In 2009 his body wore down from the wear and tear of playing significantly bigger players without any experience doing so, and he ended up with double digits in points just one time in the final 8 games. His productivity level will be key for Maryland, especially if they are to contend for the ACC championship, or at least a top 3 spot in the conference.

Anyway, I've been quick to laud guys like Anthony/Adrian Bowie, Cliff Tucker, and Sean Mosley (all of whom deserve it) but I realize I've forgotten about Milbourne, who has probably done more to earn it than they have. I'm not the only one guilty - last time I checked, Milbourne doesn't have a WaPo article like Bowie and Tucker have. Not blaming Yandabell, either - like I said, it's easy to forget about this guy, even though he doesn't deserve to be forgotten.