Let me start by saying that I don’t pay a lot to attention to college basketball until the conference season kicks into fill gear in January. The early season tournaments like the Maui Classic, Coaches vs. Cancer, BB&T Classic etc… give you some interesting out of conference matchups, but they are forgotten by the time the New Year rolls around.
With that said, after 8 games, which is about a quarter of the season in the books, here’s my two cents about the Maryland Terps men’s hoops team.
Bambale “boom” Osby is their best player, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Not to take anything away from Osby, who is my current favorite Terps player, but he is arguably the least talented of the five starters. He should not be Maryland’s best player. You can’t help but like Osby’s hustle, toughness and determination. He has overachieved and filled a void at the center position. Do you think that Maryland would have made the NCAA tournament last year with Osby’s work in the paint?
James Gist is too passive, plain and simple. For a senior player with NBA potential, his teammates don’t seem to get the ball in his hands enough, especially early in games. Gist needs to be more assertive and demand the ball in the paint. Whoever told him to shoot the three needs to tell him to stop!
Greivis Vazquez is a shooting guard, not a point guard. He isn’t particularly effective running the point, his shot isn’t falling and he’s not as quick or athletic as most of the point guards he’ll be called on to defend. At this point, his overall game isn’t as good as it was at the end of last season.
Eric Hayes is a pass first point guard playing out of positions at shooting guard. You almost have to beg him to shoot the ball, which is not #1 on the list of attributes for a good shooting guard. He has a decent outside shot when his feet are set, but by no means is he a catch and shoot player like Mike Jones was for Maryland.
Landon Milbourne is ineffective in a set offense, period. He can’t seem to take his man off the dribble, isn’t particularly physical or a good finisher. To date, he hasn’t shown much.
Off the bench, freshman Braxton Dupree from Calvert Hall is a classic, Gary Williams back to the basket center. He shows a good understanding of how to use his body to seal off his defender and can finish with either hand. He shows a lot of upside and teamed with Bambale Osby makes a good combination at the center position for Maryland.
Freshman Cliff Tucker has given Maryland good minutes off the bench at both the shooting guard and small forward positions. He’s aggressive, can hit the three, take his man off the dribble, finish and defend. I’d be shocked if he didn’t steal minutes from Landon Milbourne at the small forward position as the season progresses.
Center/forward Jerome Burney is athletic and brings rebounding and shot blocking ability to the table. He won’t give you much in a set offense, but is aggressive on the offensive boards and will get you points on put backs and emphatic slam dunks.
Freshman point guard/shooting guard Adrian Bowie has been turnover prone so far.
The rest of Maryland’s bench hasn’t really played enough minutes for me to get a good feel for what, if anything they may offer this season.
One last note….it’s time for Maryland to say goodbye to playing in the BB&T classic in DC. The attendance is embarrassing, they don’t play very well, and the losses to the GW’s, Notre Dame’s and VCU’s of the world are not helping their NCAA Tournament chances in March.