Pick n’-Roll, Edition 3– Terps, Vasquez, and Shaq

February 23, 2008 |

The hoops season is heating up. The Terps, Retrievers, Bears and Greyhounds are making their late season runs.  Who will be in or who will be out of the big dance? Maryland could be the Mecca of March Madness if all four teams get in.   In the NBA, mega-trades are the trend and the playoffs are just around the corner. Time to dish the rock, drive to the hoop and shoot the open jumper as both brands head toward regular season finishes. Let’s run the Pick n’ Roll.
Pick: I think Greivis Vasquez is going to be a great player at Maryland and will have a good career in the NBA; however he needs to calm down and let the game come to him. When the Terps inside guys don’t bring their game, Vasquez tends to press, and that’s when these infuriating turnovers come. While he might be the Terps best option when the others stall, I am not sure he knows how to handle the situation yet. I also think his best position is still the off guard, not the point.
Roll: I like the way Landon Milbourne is progressing and I think next year he might become the team’s second option behind Vasquez. He needs to improve his accuracy from the perimeter, especially his mid-range game; however he has really made progress.   He reminds me of former Indiana star Calvert Cheney and former Terps starter Byron Mouton.
Pick:  One of these three big men, Shane Walker, Jerome Burney or Braxton Dupree, won’t be on the Terps roster next year.  Junior College All-American Ken Bowman joins the team and possibly starts at center or power forward next year.
Roll: Is it me or is no one in the ACC really on a roll? Okay maybe Wake Forest, but I think that is probably an aberration.
Pick:   Although they won’t get any consideration because of their school’s size and stature, UMBC’s Randy Monroe, Morgan’s Todd Bozeman and Loyola’s Jimmy Patsos deserve to be mentioned in the coach of the year ballot. All three have done a tremendous job at their respective schools.
Roll:  What role and blame do the Indiana University president and athletic director share in the Kelvin Sampson mess? They had to know there was speculation about his character when they hired him. I feel bad for the young men at Indiana to have this happen in the middle of their fine season.
Pick: The Los Angeles Lakers win the NBA title.  Okay, I have to admit I am a Lakers fan and have been since 1979, but this is legit. The Pau Gasol trade was a stroke of genius. The team is now big, athletic and can really score points. Once Andrew Bynum comes back their defense should get better. Let’s not forget they have a coach who has won nine NBA titles on the bench as well. 
Roll: Some people think Shaquille O’Neal’s decline can be traced to poor conditioning. I don’t think so. Actually Shaq looks to be leaner and carrying less weight than he was during his prime. Instead, I think the culprit is 16 years of NBA play on a soon to be 36-year old body. That’s a ton stress on his large frame. I think his body is giving out and because of that he has lost explosiveness and lift. 
Pick: The Mavericks will hate themselves this summer after the trade for Jason Kidd. They gave up young talent for a 35 year old point guard. This move doesn’t make a lot of sense and just seems like Mark Cuban may have overreacted to the other trades in the Western Conference. They better win or this is a disaster waiting to happen.
Roll:  I have to give credit to the NBA for their community work this week in New Orleans during the All-Star Weekend. They really made an effort to help rebuild that community. They donated 10,000 tickets to the Rookie-Sophomore game and gave them to local kids hard hit by Katrina. They also gave them jersey’s and other stuff.   Funny we didn’t hear about this as much as that nonsense last year in Las Vegas. Most of the trouble was caused by an NFL Player named Adam “Pacman” Jones” who was suspended for the entire year for his conduct.