Season Preview Part 2 - Player Profiles

11/11/2009 8:31:10 PM

CHAPEL HILL, NC - JANUARY 19:  Greivis Vasquez...
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As you all know, college basketball kicked off this week and our Terps are set to tip off in less than 48 hours time.  I will be in Vegas for the occasion.  Actually, I won't be in Vegas specifically for MD vs. Charleston Southern.  Let's just call it a coincidence.  Of course, this means that regardless of how many points the Terps are laying, I will be betting on them.  May God have mercy on my soul.

Before the season officially tips off; let's take a look at the returning players and what we need to see from each of them in order for the season to be a success.

Adrian Bowie - Going into last season, all I heard about was how great Bowie looked in pick up games.  We were told to expect huge strides from him during his sophomore campaign.  Well, it didn't happen.  Bowie had flashes of brilliance.  He can get to the hole; but his lack of a consistent jump shot has made him a one dimensional player on offense.  Being a one-dimensional in the ACC means you are not a very good player.  This season, Bowie must improve his perimeter scoring.  He needs to shoot 40% from three to secure significant playing time.  I also think Bowie could be effective running Juan Dixon's little curl play where he runs from the baseline to the top of the key.  Bowie is quick enough to be effective running that play.

Eric Hayes - After three seasons, we can all agree that Hayes is not the second coming of Steve Blake.  He is too slow to defend the conference's quicker guards and he just doesn't command the ball like Steve did.  He seems to lack that competitive edge that made Blake so special.  As a senior, the Terps need to see Hayes exhibit some of the leadership that Blake had.  He can't get lost during big games.  We need him to be consistent to take scoring pressure off of Milbourne and Vasquez.

Cliff Tucker - Like his classmate, Adrian Bowie, Tucker is all promise and potential.  So far, we've seen flashes of greatness followed by loooong stretches of silence.  Is Cliff ready to become a consistent scorer.  He is a great athlete will he start to show it night in and night out?

(I just read back over my first three player analyses and they all have the same theme-- consistency.  Ugh)

Sean Mosley - In contrast to his aforementioned backcourt brethren; Mosley had an extremely consistent freshman campaign.  He did all the little things exceedingly well.  He defended, rebounded, and passed well.  Unfortunately, he was also consistent in lacking an offensive game.  Mosley laid so many bricks that he could have single-handedly built the next phase of expansion for Byrd Stadium.  He also had an inordinate amount of layups blocked. By all accounts, Sean appears much improved this year.  He has more bounce to his offensive game and his jumper has arc to it.  Maybe last year's ankle injury was more serious than everyone thought.    We need Mosley to give the Terps 10 ppg or more this season.

Dino Gregory - With his eligibility status in limbo; it's hard to calibrate my expectations for Dino.  I had hoped that he could continue to be a force on the boards and on defense with some minor offensive improvements.  In particular, it is crucial that Dino improve his FT shooting.  Gregory will be needed down the stretch and the Terps can't afford to have a liability at the charity stripe playing big minutes.  Dino is also capable of hitting the offensive glass and he is going to have to earn many of those chances at the line.   For now, none of that matters until we can be sure that Dino will be suiting up.  As of now, it is looking as though that might not happen until 12/20.

Landon Milbourne - Last season, Milbourne was the Terps unsung hero.  Playing out of position all season long, Milbourne held his own defensively and at times absolutely dominated on the offensive end.  Landon has some patented offensive moves around the basket and his jumper is arguably the best on the team.  He is poised to have an outstanding season now that he will likely have some breathing room upfront.  On the negative side, there were games where Landon completely disappeared and that just can't happen as a senior.  He will likely play the 4 again this year, but the added bulk up front (Padgett and Williams) will mean that there will likely be sequences where Milbourne plays the 3. That versatility may give Gary Williams an edge come March.

Greivis Vasquez - Last year, Greivis was the Terps.  How he went, the team went.  In my mind, he entered the Pantheon of all-time great Terps with his performance last season.  What can he do for encore?  For one thing, he can greatly improve his draft position by being more selective with his field goal attempts.  Hopefully, that coincides with Greivis' teammates being able to create scoring opportunities for themselves.  Last season, if Vasquez wasn't scoring, he was setting up a teammate.  This year, with everyone a year older, Vasquez should have more help.  His game will greatly improve as his teammates get better.

That's all I got.  I'm done with talking and analyzing.  I'm just ready for tipoff.  What I'm not ready for (but expecting) is a half filled Comcast Center until January.  Local alumni and students better start suppporting this team.  They are the best thing the DC area has going these days (apologies to Caps fans).  If they win the Maui Invitational, I will be extremely disappointed if Comcast is not filled upon their return.

(One final note:  sorry Jin Soo Choi fans, I ran out of energy tonight.  Besides, he needs to prove that he is going to get minutes before I write about him.)
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