This is what the title of the post says it is. We're three games in against bad teams. We've seen one semi-convincing blowout of a bad team, a squeaker over a decent team, and a seriously convincing blowout over a bad team. Let's not get carried away. It's easy to beat up on bad teams, and these games may or may not mean anything at all.
That's said, it's a Monday morning. I'm working, you're probably working, and if nothing else this is all good for some discourse and passing the time with some talk. DISCLAIMER: EVERYONE KNOWS THAT IT'S TOO EARLY TO MAKE FINAL JUDGMENTS. (That said, we have learned a little bit about Maryland's players, so there is some truth in each of these).
- Jordan Williams is beastly. That's three double-doubles in his first three games and five straight if you include the two NCAAT games from last year. He's averaging 22 and 15. He's not perfect - still not as athletic as he could be, still kind of awkward in the post - and those weaknesses will get exposed by some of Maryland's better opponents. He's not the type of guy that will take over an ACC game by himself and isn't a paragon of athleticism. But he is by far Maryland's best player and the most productive big man they've had since Lonny Baxter, and maybe even farther than that. He runs hard down the floor to get easy buckets, still has awesome hands, knows how to use his body, and has a surprising knack for scoring no matter how ugly the points are. He will be, in short, a double-double machine this year.
- Cliff Tucker has made the leap. I'm stopping short of declaring him Maryland's second-best player just yet, but he's not far off. After a solid, if unspectacular, game against Seattle, Tucker's had two awesome outings against CofC and Maine. He shut down Andrew Goudelock, which might be the biggest reason Maryland got out of that game with a win, and pitched in four steals against Maine. He was Maryland's best perimeter scorer in both of those games, and had 16 first half points - including four three pointers, making him the only consistent deep shooter of the team so far - against Maine, where he was outstanding. If he can keep this up, Maryland has a pretty high ceiling.
- Sean Mosley hasn't. I'm not panicking yet, but this was the second really bad game out of Mosley. He was great against Seattle and led Maryland in points, but looked distracted and lazy against CofC and couldn't find the floor against Maine. He's been hesitant with the ball, and even when he hasn't been he's missed the shot. I'm not sure if he's just in a rut, if he's struggling to find his role on the team, or if he's just not taking kindly to the "lead scorer" role, but it hasn't been working two games in. It needs to.
- Maryland's very lucky to have Pe'Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin. Neither look like legitimate stars in their careers yet, but both are very good and very advanced. My memory's a little spotty, but they're similar to where Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes were at the same point. Neither Vas nor Hayes played with nearly as much court awareness, level-headedness, confidence (well, Vas did there), or scoring ability so early in their career. They will get major minutes this year, and the fact that both can play the 1 or the 2 gives Gary Williams some flexibility in his lineups. (And yeah, I got through that whole thing without mentioning The Pe'Shot).
- Adrian Bowie isn't going to go quietly. Howard and Stoglin are both making major pushes for minutes and maybe even a starting spot. Bowie's two rough performances at the start of the year - barely on the floor against Seattle, plus a bunch of turnovers, then getting passed-by by Howard against CofC - were partially made-up for with a great game against Maine. His statline was positively Rondo-lite: 9 points, 3-3 from the field, 8 boards, 5 assists, and, most importantly, 0 turnovers. One good game doesn't wipe the two bad ones off the board, but Bowie will get a lot of time to make his case to keep his job.
- The third best newcomer, behind Howard and Stogs, is Haukur Palsson. (And he's followed by Berend Weijs). This has more to do with the lack of PT from Mychal Parker and Ashton Pankey than awesome play from Hawk or Berend, but they've been fine in their own right. Palsson has the potential to be very good and his outside shooting, if it arrives, will be crucial. If nothing else, he'll give Maryland a minor scoring presence, quality defense, okay rebounding, a lot of hustle, and a few dozen minutes off the bench. Weijs gets the next spot by default; Parker and Pankey have been frozen out of the playing time spectrum and are clearly not yet where Gary wants them to be.
- Terps still need a consistent outside shooter/perimeter scorer. Cliff Tucker shooting 4-6 in one game doesn't solve all of Maryland's problems here. There's still no clear-cut replacement for Eric Hayes, as Tucker hasn't been a force (yet) and everyone else has been inconsistent. This will be key as the season goes on, as Jordan Williams will draw more and more double-teams, meaning open threes for whoever can make them. Palsson? Stogs? Bowie? They each have the potential to help out, but they need to show it before I'm a believer.
- There are a lot of awesome nicknames here. MVPe'. The Pe'Shot. The Red Berend. Hawk. Stogs. The Flying Dutchman. The Iceman. J-Wow. Currently accepting applicants for more.
What are your snap judgments? The same as mine? Different? Let 'em rip.