Let the Madness Begin

10/16/2009 6:35:04 PM

#21: Greivis Vazquez
Image by Sabine01 via Flickr

I apologize for not posting earlier. Considering that the basketball season officially starts at midnight; I should have gotten to this sooner.  My excuse is that I quit my job today, so it has been a bit hectic.  Contrary to popular belief; I am not retiring to focus my energies on Turtle Soup.  I've accepted another position at a competitor and had to make some hasty goodbyes to some very good friends.

Terp fans have been waiting seven long months to see an encore from Maryland's improbable mini-run this past March.  While making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament is hardly anything to hang one's hat on; there is little doubt that Gary Williams sublimely steered last year's Terps to a height above anyone's expectations.

This year is different.  Maryland is loaded with senior leadership (Hayes, Vasquez, and Milbourne) and the highly touted incoming freshman are poised to fill the most glaring weakness from last year's team (i.e. lack of an inside game).

Word on the street is that 6'10" man-child Jordan Williams is already tearing it up during pick-up games and the other frosh, James Padgett earned a comparison to James Gist from Gary. While encouraging; I'm not buying Final Four tickets just yet.

There is no question that both Jordan Williams and James Padgett will make an impact this season.  How much will depend on the speed in which they pick up the flex-offense.  Last season, the Terps struggled when Greivis Vasquez was forced to do too much and guys like Landon Milbourne were forced to playout of position.

The freshman can change that.  All Gary needs from them is defense, rebounding, and some basic finishing ability.  Our dynamic backcourt should be able to create the scoring chances.  Hopefully, the freshman can take the pressure off on the other end by keeping teams off the offensive glass.  If successful, Gary and the Terps could have their best season since 2003.

It's safe to say that anything less than a .500 conference record will be a disappointment.  We have the upperclassmen to lead us deep into March if Gary can bring the freshman into the rotation smoothly.

With  8 of our top 9 scorers returning; that will be a challenge.  A challenge that is no doubt welcome given the shortcomings from last season
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