Tag Archive | "Jordan Williams"

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Your Monday Reality Check: “Ready” or not, Terps worse without Len

Posted on 15 April 2013 by Glenn Clark

As soon as Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news, I knew what the response was going to be.

“He’s not ready.”

“He’s soft.”

“See you in the D-League.”

“Maybe he should have asked Jordan Williams for some advice.”

What Wojnarowski reported is what we all expected was coming since the Maryland Terrapins lost to the Iowa Hawkeyes in the NIT semifinals two weeks ago. Center Alex Len will forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NBA Draft. Wojnarowski noted Len will hold a press conference later in the week in College Park to make the news official.

In fairness, the news has been “official” roughly since the Terrapins tipped off against Kentucky at the Barclays Center this past November. On that night, Len went off for 23 points and 12 rebounds while working to hold Wildcats freshman phenom Nerlens Noel to just four points.

That Nerlens Noel is still expected by many to be the #1 pick in the NBA Draft despite the fact that there’s no guarantee he’ll be able to return from a torn ACL in time to start the 2013-2014 season.

If you shut down a guy that is thought to be the #1 pick despite a torn ACL, you’re probably going to be in pretty damn good shape to end up a top pick yourself. But if Alex Len’s uneven play for most of the 2012-2013 season left anyone questioning where his stock sat, he addressed that swiftly just after Valentine’s Day.

On February 16, Len went toe-to-toe with another expected NBA Lottery pick. In his showdown with Duke’s Mason Plumlee, the Terps’ big man scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds while limiting the Blue Devils’ first team All-ACC center to just four points and three rebounds.

Fans who rushed the floor after Maryland’s win that night at Comcast Center might as well have asked the Ukranian big man if they could borrow money from him this summer. A scout in attendance that night told me that while he wasn’t completely sold on Len’s game, he knew the soon-to-be former Terp wouldn’t be falling out of the Top 10 in the Draft.

I never sensed that Maryland fans were particularly hopeful that Len would decide to pass on money in favor of another year’s worth of seasoning, so I was understanding of why the reaction wasn’t particularly disappointing Sunday night.

I also understand many of the responses about Len’s “readiness” to make the jump to the NBA. I saw the same player who lacked the physical toughness to use his over seven foot frame to go right at defenders on many occasions. I saw the same guy that appeared a little too willing to settle for jump shots in post-up situations. I saw the same guy that looked like he might have the talent to be an All-American but who instead seemed to forget when games were scheduled to tip-off in ACC play.

I question Alex Len’s “readiness” about as much as the rest of you, but I understand why scouts believe he’s capable of still making improvements at the next level.

Inexplicably, Maryland’s win over Duke provided a bit of a blueprint for what scouts see in Len as a pro. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski is as stubborn as he is successful, choosing to keep Plumlee (and a couple others) matched up one on one with Len instead of doubling him. At the next level, Len will be more likely to see similar styles of defense, especially considering the longer three point line and greater amount of available space on the floor for offensive players to use.

Combine that with the fact that Len proved himself to be a strong defender and capable rebounder and it’s much more easy to understand why NBA types believe Len’s collegiate production might not be indicative of what he has to offer at the pro level.

Moreover, I’m a bit troubled by how dismissive Maryland fans have been about Len’s departure. Len’s 12 points and eight rebound averages don’t seem particularly significant until you remember Maryland averaged just over 60 points per game as a team during ACC regular season play. For all of Len’s struggles, he equated to about a fifth of their overall offense and did much more defensively.

Maryland also loses Senior big man James Padgett this offseason, meaning they will return with sophomores-to-be Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare up front to combine with incoming Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz and incoming freshman Damonte Dodd. The inexperienced group will be expected to carry the load, but more importantly wings Dez Wells and Nick Faust will be needed to carry the offensive load with more consistency.

The loss of Alex Len may by no means be damning to the Terps’ chances of reaching their first NCAA Tournament since 2010, but dismissing the significance is can only be an attempt to justify the acceptance in a fan’s own mind. Maryland is not only not even remotely better without Alex Len, they are most certainly a worse team today than they were when they fell to the Hawkeyes at Madison Square Garden.

So fare the well, Alex Len. I’ll always be thankful for this.

And also very much so for this.


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Your Monday Reality Check-Turgeon Deserving Of Praise With Work To Do

Posted on 12 March 2012 by Glenn Clark

On Friday’s edition of “The Reality Check”, Ryan Chell and I decided to put together a Maryland Terrapins season ending report card. After the Terps’ loss to North Carolina in the ACC Tournament, it was easy to assume the basketball season was over in College Park.

That assumption proved accurate Sunday night, as the NIT failed to extend an invite to the Terps as expected. The University of Maryland declined to participate in the lesser known postseason CBI Tournament due to the financial model that forces schools to pay for participation. (Three schools from BCS conferences-Washington State, Pitt and Oregon State all accepted CBI bids.)

It’s a long winded way to say the season is over. The Terps finished 17-15 in Mark Turgeon’s first season since taking over for the retired Gary Williams, surpassing the expectations of many while still falling short of the expectations of others.

In our Report Card segment Friday, I graded Turgeon’s job in year one as a “B”. I noted the lack of both quality and quantity in Maryland basketball players that Turgeon was forced to deal with partly due to the late timing of Williams’ retirement announcement. Not only did Maryland lose All-ACC Center Jordan Williams to the NBA, they also lost F Haukur Palsson to a pro turn in Europe. Turgeon was only able to retain one from Williams’ three-man recruiting class (G Nick Faust) although he made up for that in part with a late commitment from C Alex Len.

(I point all of this out because some Maryland fans have decided to “blame” Gary Williams for the state of the program. They’re only telling half of the story.)

Len’s 10 game suspension to start the season and PG Pe’Shon Howard’s 18 missed games due to injury made an already difficult situation nearly impossible. Entering the season, there was legitimate reason to fear a “bottoming out” of sorts for the Maryland program.

While those fears never came to fruition, the team never fully came together. Sophomore G Terrell Stoglin at times carried the Terps during a 6-10 Atlantic Coast Conference campaign, but often proved to be as much of the problem as the solution. Len never showed progress during his freshman campaign, Senior G Sean Mosley offered valuable leadership but never overwhelmed with his play on the floor. The only player that showed marked progress was Faust, who was named to the league’s All-Rookie team.

All of these were contributing factors in grading the job Turgeon did this season. It was a tough campaign, but it could have been significantly worse. Turgeon deserves credit for keeping the program afloat and avoiding any true embarrassment. (Only a late season loss at Georgia Tech stands out as a head shaker due to the opponent and Maryland’s most lopsided defeats came at the hands of NCAA Tournament participants like UNC, Duke, Virginia, Florida State, Alabama and Iona.)

Nearly five hundred words in, it’s time to look to the future. While Turgeon is absolutely deserving of praise for how he kept this Maryland team together in his first season, the coach offered a noteworthy thought Sunday night via Twitter.

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Terps Open ACC Tournament Thursday Against Wake

Posted on 08 March 2012 by WNST Staff

#8 Maryland (16-14, 6-9) vs. #9 Wake Forest (13-17, 4-12)
Thursday, March 8, 2012 | Noon | Atlanta, Ga. (Philips Arena)
ACC Network-WNUV 54 locally in Baltimore | Terrapin Sports Radio Network

Maryland opens play in the 2012 Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament in a first-round matchup with Wake Forest. The Terrapins beat the Demon Deacons, 70-64, on Jan. 11 in the only regular-season meeting between the teams this year.Terrell Stoglin had 20 points, with James Padgett and Sean Mosley adding 15 each in the victory that marked the first league game of the year at Comcast Center.

Sophomore guard Terrell Stoglin earned second team All-ACC honors on Monday in balloting by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. Stoglin remains atop the list of scoring leaders in the league with a 21.2 points-per-game average. He had 25 points in the last game of the regular season on Sunday against Virginia, becoming only the third Terrapin in history to reach 1,000 career points in only his second season.

Nick Faust earned a spot on the 2012 ACC All-Freshman Team on Monday. Faust has averaged 13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.4 steals in the seven games since he returned to the starting lineup after the season-ending injury to Pe’Shon Howard. It marked the third straight season the Terps have put a student-athlete on the league’s All-Freshman Team (Jordan Williams in 2010, Stoglin in 2011). Faust has six double-figure games in the last seven.

The Terrapins are the eighth seed in the ACC Tournament for the sixth time. Maryland is 5-3 in matchups with Wake Forest, including five straight victories. The Terps lost their first three tournament meetings with the Demon Deacons (1954, 1961, 1963), but turned things around with a win in the 1973 semifinals. The other wins have come in 1984, 2001, 2004 and 2009.

Scouting the Demon Deacons

Wake Forest finished the regular season 13-17 overall with a 4-12 mark in the ACC, getting its four conference wins over Virginia Tech, Boston College and Georgia Tech at home and also defeating BC in Chestnut Hill.

The Demon Deacons possess two of the top-six scorers in the conference in guard C.J. Harris and forward Travis McKie… Harris is fourth in the league with 16.8 ppg and is also the team’s top 3-point shooter, having connected on 48-of-111 attempts (.432) this season… McKie is sixth in the conference with 15.9 ppg and is averaging a team-high 6.9 rebounds per game.

Wake is the best free-throw shooting team in the league (.736), led by Harris (.856) and McKie (.730)… Sophomore guard Tony Chennault is third on the team in scoring (9.3 ppg) and has a team-high 85 assists… Fifth-year senior forward Nikita Mescheriakov is fourth on the team with 7.7 ppg.


The winner of the opening first-round game will face top-seeded North Carolina at noon in Friday’s quarterfinals.

The Terrapins are in the top half of the bracket, meaning they would play in the 1 p.m. semifinal, with the championship game also scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday.

Follow the Entire Tournament

First-round coverage of all four games on Thursday will also be available on ESPNU nationally, with blackouts in the ACC geographic footprint.

Fans can also follow the tournament on Twitter: @ACCmbb, with hashtag #ACCTRNY

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On This 4th of July, I’m Grateful For WNST’s “Independence”

Posted on 03 July 2011 by Glenn Clark

I know a thing or two about format flips.

I remember exactly where I was sitting in January 2005 when I heard the final bars of “Last Goodbye” by Jeff Buckley (one of the greatest songs in music history) before hearing the following come from my radio…

“WHFS. Annapolis. Washington DC.” It was immediately followed by a lot of Spanish, but I think I remember the words “Siempre de Fiesta” and “Noventa-nueve punto uno eff eme.”

It was followed by some sort of latin song that if I knew I would curse it to this day.

21 years old at the time, I can honest to God say that the day 99.1 WHFS became 99.1 El Zol was one of the saddest days of my life. It honestly felt like losing a friend.

In my teenage years, I camped outside of Harford Mall, White Marsh Mall and even on York Road in Towson to get HFStival tickets. I tuned in late at night to hear Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky (one of the greatest teams in broadcast history) sign off Loveline at 1am with Adam’s trademark Hawaiian “Maholo.” (I found out at an older age “maholo” actually meant “thank you”, not “goodbye.” I will admit that I am still confused as to why he used it.) I stayed tuned in to hear if at 1:05 Neci would play my favorite songs from Everclear, Stone Temple Pilots, Beck or Pearl Jam.

Hell, I even called and emailed Neci repeatedly hoping she would play the Candyskins’ version of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield. I really did. There was nothing cooler to me in my life than when I became friends with Neci on MySpace. It was hard for me to admit that to her after we started working together.

It was my dream as a teenager to be a WHFS disc jockey. I ultimately got the chance to live that dream, but I still swear to God I shed a tear the moment I realized the latin sounds from my radio meant 99.1 WHFS was gone forever.

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Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: "I know he wouldn't make a decision after just one situation"

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Former Terp Jordan Williams on if decision to go pro affected Gary Williams retirement: “I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation”

Posted on 28 June 2011 by Ryan Chell

Former Terps center/forward Jordan Williams may not have realized his importance  when he submitted his name to the 2011 NBA Draft, but now after being selected with the 36th selection in last Thursday’s NBA Draft by the New Jersey Nets, his career is going to be watched for an even bigger reason.

Following Jordan Williams out of Maryland was legendary coach Gary Williams, and with Jordan being the focal point of Gary’s final run in College Park, that also means that Jordan Williams maybe will Gary Williams’ last project to be sent to the NBA.

But Williams-who took a lot of criticism from Terps nation and NBA experts alike-said he felt like he was more ready to move on and is ready and honored to carry on what Gary Williams taught him at College Park toward his NBA game.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Jordan told Glenn Clark and Thyrl Nelson on “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday. “Just knowing the list of guys that he’s put through the league…for me to be a part of that list is just unbelieveable. I’m definitely excited.”

As a freshman in 2009-2010, Jordan Williams formed a solid 1-2 punch with senior guard Greivis Vasquez as Maryland made its way to an ACC Title. Making an impact right away, he was second in the conference in rebounding and was expected to take an even bigger role in the offense going forward the following season with Vasquez moving on to the NBA.

Which he did.

And despite freshman Terrell Stoglin coming on late in 2010-2011, Jordan Williams found himself as the team’s only option his sophomore year in College Park.  On the Naismith Watch to start the year, Williams averaged a double-double (16.9 PPG, 11.8 RPG) for the Terps this year, becoming one of the best players in the country.

He recorded 13 straight double-doubles as a matter of fact, breaking the longtime record set by Len Elmore and ended the season with 25 overall-also good for second best in the nation.

But with Maryland missing both the NCAA and NIT Tournaments and with question marks about both the program and the future of the NBA, Williams announced he was leaving the University of Maryland and signed with longtime agent Andy Miller of ASM Sports.

That decision, and his eventual selection by the Nets in the 2nd round last week, ended his career as a Terp.

Williams told Clark and Nelson that he’s heard every reason as to why people think he left College Park early to go pro.

But he doesn’t care.

“There’s been a lot of talk about why I did it,” Williams said, “but now I’m definitely happy I made the decision to leave.”

But it wasn’t always his intent from the start.

Williams did say he was planning to make to return to College Park after first testing the draft waters in Las Vegas before signing on with ASM, but ultimately he kept hearing good things about his draft stock at those workouts forcing him to move forward with his transition to the next level.

“I was planning on coming back,” Williams said, “but when I went out there my confidence built and I made such strides. I changed my body too much and it was just the right time for me to go.”

Williams said he consulted as many people as possible before making the decision to turn his back on Maryland, but ultimately the backing of two individuals- Gary Williams and Greivis Vasquez-made the decision that much easier.

“Greivis was very positive on my decision as well,” Williams said. “He just gave me all the advice he could which was, ‘Do whatever you feel is best and don’t buy into what other people tell you because you’ll have to live through it’.”

And he was surprised to see his coach as supportive as he was given the fact he knew Gary wanted Jordan Williams back in his lineup.

“He definitely helped me out a lot,” Jordan said. “He was a huge influence on my life basketball-wise. He knows so much about past players going into the league and making the right decision, so I asked him his advice and what he thought.”

“He definitely gave me a lot of good information as far as making the decision.”

Those staring at the situation from afar said that Jordan Williams entering the NBA Draft was ultimately the determining factor in Gary Williams’ abrupt retirement after 22 years coaching the Terps.

The former student-athlete and third-team All-American said that knowing Gary for as long as he had, he knows that his coach would not have made that rash of a decision over one player leaving, even if it was him.

“Knowing Coach, I know he wouldn’t make a decision after just one situation or one event that happened,” Williams said. “I know he put a lot of time and effort into his decision and did it for all the right reasons.”

Jordan said those same critics didn’t stop there-saying that he could have maybe done himself better by staying one more year at Maryland to fine tune his game. But again, Williams said just being in the NBA and going to a class-organization like the New Jersey Nets is all he can ask for.

“I couldn’t have gone to a better organization, a better place, or a better situation being a rookie coming into the league,” Williams said. “A lot of people were talking about maybe as high as 25 (where his new teammate Marshawn Brooks was drafted by the Celtics who then immediately shipped him to NJ) but at the end of the day I kind of knew where I was falling and I knew the teams and the different slots.”

In the end, Williams said-it was all about getting the call in general.

“I was just excited that my name was gonna even be called at that point…I didn’t even care what the number was.”

Williams says now it’s about getting ready to play in the NBA and getting comfortable with his new teammates, including two-time All-Star guard Deron Williams.

“Deron’s a great guy..one of the best in the league,” Williams said. “For me to be a part of his team, I’m speechless to get the chance to meet him and I’m so excited to pick his brain and learn so much about him.”

Williams has already been told by scouts to prepare himself to play the #4 power forward on the floor, meaning he’ll probably have to lose some weight from his 6’10”, 260-lb frame.

“I know that’s my goal,” Williams said. “That’s where they have met set up. That’s where I worked out for, and that’s why I’ve been trying to change my body from a five to a four. They saw that, and they’re definitely excited for me to start at that position and do what I can to help this team win a world championship.”

And ultimately for those still worried about the lack of his presence in the Comcast Center this winter, he knows that the keys have been left in good hands with Mark Turgeon coaching and, Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, James Padgett and others on the court.

“I talked to them all recently and they’re excited about it,” Williams said of the upcoming season. “They’re great players. They have a great head on their shoulders and great work ethic and they’re going to put themselves in a position to succeed.”

WNST thanks Jordan Williams for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” Monday morning! Be sure to follow Jordan on Twitter @JWilliams20 and continue to follow WNST-We Never Stop Trying to Save You Money!

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Nets Select Maryland’s Jordan Williams in Round 2

Posted on 23 June 2011 by WNST Staff

Williams Picked by Nets in Second Round

Maryland center led ACC in rebounding in 2010-11

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – Jordan Williams, who earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition after leading the league in rebounding as a sophomore, was chosen by the New Jersey Nets in the second round of the NBA Draft Thursday night.

Williams, a 6-foot-10 center, was the 36th selection overall in the draft and was the Nets’ second selection of the night.

I’m excited for Jordan that he realized a longtime dream of his to have his name called in the NBA Draft,” said new Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon. “It’s a testament of his hard work and the great opportunity he had to play college basketball at Maryland.  We wish Jordan the best as he begins his professional career, and we will follow him closely as he adds his name to the long list of Maryland alumni to play in the NBA.”

Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds per game for the Terrapins, who went 19-14 in the 2010-11 season. He set a school record with 13 straight double-doubles this season and ended the year with 25, which was second in the nation.

With 388 rebounds, he finished second on the single-season rebounding list at Maryland and was only the seventh sophomore in the history of the ACC to grab at least 600 career rebounds (672). He finished third nationally in rebounding and was the first Maryland player to lead the ACC on the glass since Joe Smith (1993-94).

He was a third team All-America pick by Yahoo! Sports and FoxSports.com, and earned honorable mention All-America consideration by the Associated Press.

Williams’ selection gives the Terrapin men’s basketball program picks in back-to-back seasons for the second time since 2007. Greivis Vasquez, the ACC Player of the Year in 2010, was selected on the first round by the Memphis Grizzlies and was the 28th pick overall in last year’s NBA Draft.

D.J. Strawberry (2007) and James Gist (2008) were the most recent back-to-back picks, while Maryland had players taken in 2001 (Terence Morris), 2002 (Chris Wilcox, Juan Dixon, Lonny Baxter) and 2003 (Steve Blake).

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NBA Mock Draft — With a Little Blurb About Jordan Williams in the Begining.

Posted on 23 June 2011 by Tom Clayton

The NBA Draft is almost here and although I am in the minority in Baltimore I am pumped up to see the next crop of prospects enter the ranks of the NBA.

For Maryland fans I will say that I believe Jordan Williams made a major mistake by leaving this season as I do not think his game is anywhere near mature enough to be a contributor at the NBA level. With that said I have a feeling like Greivis last year a team will take Jordan late in the first round.

Admittedly this draft is a little underwhelming with the top-2 draft eligible prospects, Harrison Barnes and Jared Sullinger, choosing to remain in college but there are some interesting prospects and a shrewd General Manager should be able to find a prospect to help his team.
I have decided to do a mock draft for the 14 lottery picks and here we go:

1. Cavaliers – Kyrie Irving, Point Guard, Duke, 6-2, 175lbs.

After LeBron took his talents to South Beach everyone saw the reason why, the Cavaliers had assembled an abysmal team around him. Years of signing fringe “stars” to big contracts and trading for over the hill “name” players caught up with the Cavaliers and now they are in a complete rebuild. I believe they will start this process with the best point guard prospect in the draft and a player that will become a leader in the locker room from day one.

 Excellent ball handler that has the ability to get open for a jumper or all the way to the rim at will, once at the rim Irving is a ferocious finisher
 Irving plays under control and has a complete set of all around fundamentals.
 Superb court vision especially in the open court on the fast break; Irving also does a nice job of getting the ball to the open man without being overly turnover prone.
 A lock down defender with great lateral quickness, quick hands, and a knack for jumping the passing lanes and creating offense from his defense.
 A confident leader without being cocky or self-serving; Irving is a natural born leader that will take control of a locker room from Day One.

• Need to improve his outside shot to become a complete offensive player (but this is a critique of 98% of NBA perimeter prospects).
• Can become a bit of a shoot first point guard; needs to consistently find that happy medium between getting his teammates involved and getting off his own shot.

2. Timberwolves – Derrick Williams, Small Forward/Power Forward, Arizona, 6-8, 248lbs.

This pick would certainly necessitate a trade of fellow #2 overall pick Michael Beasley but the T-Wolves could be onto something by adding Williams to a backcourt of Kevin Love and Wesley Johnson.

 Strong finisher at the rim that finishes with explosion and power; should rack up a ton of ‘and 1’s’ at the next level.
 Excellent shooter for his size; should be be a threat from beyond the arc (57% last season).
 Supreme athlete that runs the floor well and gets himself into good position quickly off the break.
 High IQ player that knows where he should be on the court at all times and moves well without the ball using screens and natural quickness to get open.
 Clutch player that shows up when the lights are brightest.

• A bit undersized for a natural power forward at 6’8”.
• Some ball security issues; he turns the ball over too much for a post player.

3. Jazz – Enes Kanter, Power Forward/Center, Turkey, 6-11, 260lbs.

Brandon Knight is probably the right pick here but I think the Jazz have their eyes on picking up a different point guard with their second lottery pick. With that in mind I have them taking the best pure big man in the draft in Enes Kanter.

 A physical big man that loves to use his immense body to make room in the paint to grab rebounds and get an inordinate amount of put back baskets.
 Has great touch around the basket with a nice repertoire of post moves; does a nice job of backing down defenders with his size.
 Has a decent mid-range game and his face-up game is a bit underrated; he should be able to keep defenders honest with his shot although a majority of his points are going to come in the paint.
 An excellent finisher that uses his power to fight through fouls to create a lot of ‘and 1’ opportunities’; Kanter is also a solid free throw shooter which will help him add 4-6 points to his total every night.

• Is still a bit raw on the offensive end but with good coaching the sky is the limit when it comes to refining his post moves.
• Ball security can be a bit shaky in the post; smaller players with quick hands have shown a propensity to swipe the ball away.
• Not particularly explosive therefore he is not an imposing defender and he isn’t going to be a big time shot blocker but he should be a serviceable defender that improves as he matures.

4. Cavaliers – Jonas Valanciunas, Center, Lithuania, 6-11, 240lbs.

Cleveland is actively shopping this pick but I am not mocking trades and with Kanter off the board I think the Cav’s go with Jonas Valanciunas. Combining Kyrie Irving with JJ Hickson and Valanciunas would be a good beginning to what could be a long rebuilding process in Cleveland.

 Great size with a long wing span; room to add weight onto his frame.
 Excellent athleticism and explosion; if combined with a good point guard he could be an unstoppable alley-oop finisher.
 An excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor; his rebounding should translate immediately to the NBA game.
 Good finisher that runs the floor well and should get easy points in an up-tempo offense.
 High energy player that gives everything he’s got on the floor; his activity leads to a lot of second chance points and tip-ins.

• He has shown a propensity to get into foul trouble due to his high energy play; he hacks at opposing players leading to early trips to the bench.
• Could get overpowered by bigger NBA post players; although throughout his young career he has shown no fear and attempts to bang in the paint with opposing big men.
• His footwork is raw and will need a lot of polish before his offensive game catches up with his defense.
• He will need to develop a better mid-range shot to bring opposing centers out of the paint to guard his jumper.
• Will probably need to stay in Europe for one more year because of his contract; if not for this he may have been the #1 overall pick.

5. Toronto – Brandon Knight, Point Guard, Kentucky, 6-3, 177lbs.

Bryan Colangelo & company will be officially jumping for joy if the hyper-talented Brandon Knight falls into their lap with the 5th pick. Knight would be a great fit for the Raptors and would more than likely be their starting point guard from Day One.

 Didn’t start out lighting Lexington on fire but grew into an elite college point guard as his freshman year continued. This showed he takes coaching well and has a lot of room for growth as he matures as a basketball player.
 Great motor; he is quick and extremely agile which aided him in his ability to penetrate into the paint at will.
 Excellent finisher around the rim, unafraid to take contact and get to the free throw line.
 A good shooter with an excellent mid-range game and a smooth stroke from beyond the arc.
 The best defensive point guard in this year’s draft; a tenacious defender that swarms his man with quick hands and outstanding lateral movement.

• Knight isn’t as fast baseline to baseline as previous Calipari point guards (D. Rose and John Wall).
• Some scouts question his basketball IQ.
• High volume shooter that can tend to forget about his four teammates on the court and attempt to take over a game single handedly.

6. Washington – Kawhi Leonard, Small Forward, San Diego State, 6-7, 227lbs.

The Wizards are in a tough spot here as Kanter and Valanciunas are both off the board. I think they really could use an elite shooting guard but I think they go with the best wing player on the board.

 An excellent rebounder with HUGE hands; Leonard averaged 10.6 rebounds per game including an outstanding 3.1 offensive boards during his sophomore season. He also has the ability to take a defensive rebound and lead the fast break.
 A tremendous finisher at the rim especially when he gets out in the open court.
 Leonard also has excellent ball handling skills that he combines with nice court vision which makes him a dangerous facilitator at the Small Forward spot.
 An amazing athlete that can guard multiple positions on the floor and is an absolute tenacious defender no matter what position he is guarding.

• Leonard will need to improve his overall shot to become a complete offensive player at the next level.
• Forces his game at time; especially in his penetration leading to unnecessary turnovers and offensive fouls.

7. Sacramento – Kemba Walker, Point Guard, UConn, 6-1, 184lbs.

The thinking with this pick is that the Kings will move Tyreke Evans to the small forward and allow him to become more of a scorer. The Kings desperately NEED a leader in their locker room and there is no better leader in this draft that Kemba Walker, who led his team to an NCAA Championship this past season. Late rumors have started to pop up that the Spurs have offered the Kings Tony Parker in return for this pick and that may be a wonderful fit as Parker is a proven winner that will bring a veteran presence and great leadership to the locker room.

 Elite scorer at the Point Guard position.
 Outstanding athlete with elite quickness and explosiveness; probably the fastest player in the draft baseline to baseline.
 Great ballhandler with a devastating crossover that allows him to get open at will; also adept at getting to the rack where he converts an inordinate amount of “traditional” three point plays.
 Very nice shooting touch with a mature mid-range game and an improving outside stroke.
 Above average court vision with a knack for getting his teammates the ball in a position to score.
 Solid defender with great lateral quickness and quick hands that give opponents fits.

• Undersized for an NBA point guard at a generous 6’1”.
• Questionable shot selection; sometime will fire up a deep three early in the shot clock without allowing his team to get into their offensive set.
• Needs to continue developing his outside shot.
• Is more of a combo guard than a natural distributor of the basketball; reminds me a little of Russell Westbrook in his offensive mentality.

8. Pistons – Alec Burks, Shooting Guard, 6-6, 191lbs.

The Pistons are high on Bismack Biyombo but with the impending free agency of Tayshaun Prince and the Pistons lack of offensive punch I think they go with a player with more offensive upside.

 Late blooming prospect that has shown he is just tapping his full potential.

 As athletic as any prospect in this draft; Burks is exceptionally explosive and is an unparalleled finisher around the basket, particularly in transition.
 Goes to the hole hard; relishes contact around the basket and is an excellent free throw shooter (82.5%) which combined with his attacking style of offense should add 5-7 points a night to his scoring total.
 Good rebounder for a shooting guard; follows his own shot well and crashes the offensive and defensive boards with reckless abandon.
 A long, quick athlete which helps project him to a solid on ball defender.

• Can try and do everything on his own at times; forces the action especially in crunch time.
• Needs to improve his shooting ability, without improvement he could become very predictable and easy for good NBA defenders to stop.
• Needs to be a more willing defender; he posses the length and quickness needed to be a good defender but looks disinterested on that side of the ball at times.

9. Bobcats – Jan Vesely, Small Forward, Czech Republic, 6-11, 240lbs.

Michael Jordan has proven throughout his tenure with the Wizards and the Bobcats he has no idea what he is doing when it comes to draft picks. This season I think he makes the right pick with Jan Vesely, a foreign player with huge upside.

 Super athletic wing player that runs the floor as well as any big man, a combination that makes him unstoppable in the open court.
 Outstanding finisher at the rim that draws free throws at an amazing rate.
 Good slasher that uses screens well to get open.
 Great range that extends well beyond the three point arc.
 Uses tremendous leaping ability to contest every shot put up and to get easy tip-in baskets on the offensive boards.

• Struggles to create his own shot off the dribble; will need to play with a good distributor to become an offensive force.
• Will need to gain more confidence in his jumper because right now he depends too much on pure athleticism.
• Needs to add some bulk to his thin, lean frame; has a tendency to get pushed around by opposing big men in the post.

10. Bucks – Bismack Biyambo, Power Forward, Congo, 6-9, 240lbs.

Defensive minded head coach Scott Skiles will be having wet dreams about pairing the “Ben Wallace clone”  Biyambo in the paint with current Center Andrew Bogut.

 Quite simply an elite defender with the potential to be a defensive player of the year candidate for the next decade.
 An elite shot blocker with great timing, explosive leaping ability, quick second hop, and a ridiculous wingspan.
 Excellent rebounder on both ends of the floor.
 Great upper and lower body strength; should be able to physically battle other NBA post players from Day One.

• No offensive game to speak of; has no jump shot and virtually no post moves which make him a completely one dimensional player.
• Horrendous free throw shooter that gets to the line A LOT but converts well under 50% of his attempts.
• May be a few years old than he claims (18).

11. Warriors – Marcus Morris, Power Forward, 6-9, 230lbs.

New coach Mark Jackson is going to preach defense and fundamentals to the Warriors for the first time in well……..forever and Marcus Morris presents the perfect combination of both left on the board.

 Good size and strength with ideal dimensions for an NBA Power Forward but the skill set to play Small Forward.
 Runs the floor well and a strong finisher in transition.
 Strong player that gets good position on the blocks to post up and keeps defenses honest with a solid mid-range jumper.
 Great teammate and a high character guy that will fit in well in any NBA locker room.

• What you see is what you get; there isn’t nearly as much upside with Morris as there is with most other lottery picks.
• Not an elite rebounder for a Power Forward.
• Doesn’t have the range to hit shots consistently from outside the arc.

12. Jazz – Jimmer Fredette, Point Guard, BYU, 6-3, 196lbs.

After taking Enes Kanter with the 3rd pick Utah gets their point guard with the 12th pick and he is a popular player in the Utah area. Fredette should not only contribute on the court but at the box office where he will be a crowd favorite from Day One.

 First and foremost, Fredette is an elite scorer that has ability to drop 40 on a nightly basis.
 Crafty and intelligent player with scoring instincts that are unparalleled in this year’s draft.
 Does a great job of using screens, curls, and fadeaways to get his shot off, even when double teamed.
 A good finisher at the rack but not in a typical fashion; he uses layups, tear drops, and scoop shots rather than thunderous dunks but is just as effective as a high flyer.
 Unlimited range on his jump shot; has the ability to hit from just inside half court if left unguarded.
 Underrated ball handling and court vision, should be able to be a decent facilitator while still putting up big scoring numbers.
 Well put together with a strong upper body and a quiet toughness that helps him withstand contact when driving the lane.
 Great emotional leader on the court that loves playing on the road and relishes being a “wanted man” on the court by both his opponents and opposing fans.

• Not a great defender and could have trouble defending good NBA point guards due to a lack of lateral quickness and athleticism.
• At 6’2” he has trouble when defended with longer athletes; Kawhi Leonard gave Fredette fits in their two meeting last season.
• In college he was given a green light to shoot at will, at the next level he will be forced to control his game and gets his shots in the flow of an offense.

13. Suns – Tristan Thompson, Power Forward, 6-8, 233lbs.

The Suns are a wildcard here because they could go a plethora of different ways with this pick; I think Alec Burks or Jimmer Fredette are their targets but if both are gone I think they go with Thompson a Power Forward with a ton of upside.

 A great combination of length and size; at just 20 years of age he should be able to fill out his frame and become a prototypical Power Forward.
 Outstanding athlete with tremendous bounce; great timing on his jump which led to Thompson being one of the best shot blockers in the nation without being a foul machine.
 A very good rebounder on both ends of the floor with the ball handling skills to start the break and turn a missed shot into immediate offense.
 Fiery player that gives it everything he has on the court and will not be out hustled to rebounds or loose balls.

• Thompson is still a developing offensive player that needs to continue to work hard on his jump shot to be a difference maker on the offensive end of the court.
• Not an overly explosive athlete on the offensive end of the floor; he is not a dominate finisher around the rim.
• A horrendous free throw shooter (48%); this is going to make him a liability in the waning minutes of an NBA game.
• Is probably going to be a pure Power Forward; I don’t think his offensive skills are going to allow him to drop down and play the wing offensively.
• Could have used another year in college to develop his offensive game; with another year of seasoning he could have been a Top-3 pick next year.

14. Rockets – Klay Thompson, Washington State, 6-7, 202lbs.

The Rockets could probably use a big man as I think Yao’s career is just about over but I also think they could use a sharp shooting wing as well. With Klay Thompson on the board I think they go with the best pure shooter in this year’s draft.

 Without question the best pure shooter in the draft; he has shown the ability to consistently hit contested jumpers.
 Above average offensive skill set with the ability to get open off screens and well as using his dribble; he also will attack the basket and use his athleticism to penetrate into the teeth of the defense.
 A solid ball handler with decent court vision; he could fill play Point Guard, Shooting Guard, and Small Forward at the next level.
 An outstanding free throw shooter.
 A solid defender with good length and good lateral speed
 Has been the focal point of Washington State’s offense for three seasons so he should relish the opportunity to be a go-to guy in the NBA.

 Will need to add bulk to his frame to be a durable NBA player for the next decade; his frame is thin and wiry at this point in his career.
 He looks like he could settle to be a one-dimensional player in the NBA if he can’t find the ability to get to the basket against bigger, stronger wings.
 He can be streaky on the offensive end.
 Needs to keep his emotions in check as he has shown to be overemotional on the court at times.

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Top 10 Baseball Distractions

Posted on 20 June 2011 by Glenn Clark

Honorable Mention: Pro Lacrosse-MLL Boston Cannons @ Chesapeake Bayhawks (Saturday 7pm Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium); Arena Football: AFL Kansas City Command @ Utah Blaze (Friday 8pm from Salt Lake City live on NFL Network); Boxing: Friday Night Fights-John Molina vs. Robert Frankel (Friday 9pm from Temecula, CA live on ESPN2), Devon Alexander vs. Lucas Matthysse (Saturday 9:45 from St. Charles, MO live on HBO); WNBA: Indiana Fever @ Washington Mystics (Tuesday 7pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet), Tulsa Shock @ Washington Mystics (Sunday 4pm from Verizon Center live on Comcast SportsNet)

10. Bad Teacher” and “Cars 2” out in theaters (Friday)

Both of these flicks appear to be watchable at worst. Bad Teacher looks particularly good, as it includes the great Jason Segel…

…Phyllis from “The Office”…

…and of course the great Justin Timberlake…

9. Roots Fest (Wednesday-Sunday “Highway to Nowhere”-Route 40, Franklin and N. Gilmor)

Perhaps the highlight of the event? The dialogue on the future of Baltimore…with the cast of “The Wire.”

Given the folks involved, is it safe to say that the future of Baltimore somehow involves drugs?

I’d pay ten dollars just to go and watch the guys re-enact their interrogations. Pardon the language…it’s art.

8. Auto Racing: NASCAR Toyota/Save Mart 350 (Sunday 3pm from Sonoma, CA live on TNT); IndyCar Series Iowa Corn Indy 250 (Saturday 8pm from Newton, IA live on VERSUS)

Rex Snider said something on Twitter the other day about NASCAR TV ratings being up. I would have kept reading, but it involved NASCAR so I’m pretty sure no one cared.

Jeff Gordon recently won an event. With Cars 2 set to open soon, I will admit that I am much more concerned with how Jeff Gorvette is doing…


7. Golf: PGA Tour Travelers Championship (Thursday & Friday 3pm live on Golf Channel, Saturday & Sunday 3pm live on CBS. All golf from Cromwell, Conn.); Champions Tour Dick’s Sporting Goods Open (Friday 6:30pm Saturday & Sunday 7:30pm from Endicott, NY live on Golf Channel); Wegmans LPGA Championship (Thursday & Friday 12:30pm Saturday & Sunday 4pm from Pittsford, NY live on Golf Channel)

With the U.S. Open in the books (and Rory McIlroy still making a birdie somewhere at Congressional), all of us not named Drew Forrester now go right back to doing exactly what we were doing before-not really giving a crap about golf.

You know how that would change? More Bubba Watson in overalls and “ooh-da-lolly lolly.”

Seriously…these guys need to make one of these videos every week, especially if Tiger Woods is going to totally stop banging whores.

I mean, what the hell else are we supposed to do? Talk about golf???

6. Mixed Martial Arts: UFC Live 4-Nate Marquardt vs. Rick Story (Sunday 9pm from Pittsburgh live on VERSUS); Strikeforce Challengers-Caros Fodor vs. James Terry (Friday 11pm from Kent, WA live on Showtime)

A couple of things. One-Is Kevin Connolly REALLY interested in making a movie about the life of one-time MMA star Kimbo Slice? REALLY? Is Mr. T available to play him???

And also-did you see this picture of Conor Heun that Bloody Elbow posted after the Strikeforce event Saturday night? Looks normal at first…but keep looking at his right arm. I’ll give you about 5 seconds before you exclaim “Ohhhhh…………”


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Kevin Anderson

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson on Mark Turgeon hiring: “it was all about hiring the best basketball coach for the University of Maryland”

Posted on 11 May 2011 by Ryan Chell

Back in December, new Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson was tasked with replacing a head coach who was not only an alum of the school but could be seen as an institution when it came to football coach Ralph Friedgen.

Anderson-who was hired back on September 4th, 2010- had to show off his skills as an adequate leader and decision-maker of the athletic department when it came to finding a new football coach for the Maryland program, and he indeed found at least a worthy candidate in former Big East coach of the Year in Randy Edsall.

But Anderson’s skills were to put even more to the test last week when longtime coach Gary Williams-a 22-year stalwart and the school’s winningest basketball coach; the man who led the Terps to the lone national championship in school history in 2002-abruptly announced his retirement leaving Anderson again with the task of finding another coach for a major program at Maryland.

And after the ceremony last Friday to thank Williams for his time in College Park, it was Anderson’s job to tour the country in search of the next man who would follow in Gary’s steps on the sidelines of the Comcast Center.

Kevin Anderson

Anderson-left in quite a predicament by Williams’ abrupt retirement-then went quickly to work in going through candidates to find the school’s next head coach.

And after several high-profile coaches turned down the offer to leave behind what they had at their respective schools, Anderson eventually found a candidate this week in Mark Turgeon, the basketball coach at Texas A&M who spent the last four years at College Station roving the sidelines in the Big 12.

Mark Turgeon

Turgeon will be introduced Wednesday afternoon, but before then, Anderson joined “The Mobtown Sports Beat” with Thyrl Nelson Tuesday to introduce his next coaching hire to Terrapin Nation.

“I want to thank my team at Maryland and the athletic department,” Anderson said. “They helped me out tremendously so we were able to go after this in a hurry and after a couple days we were able to hire Gary’s successor.”

The first question Nelson asked Anderson? Who’s the next Maryland team that needs Anderson to find them a coach?

“Hopefully there isn’t an encore,” Anderson laughed. “I believe that if everyone embraces Randy and Mark the way they’ve embraced me, we’ll all be fine here for quite a long time and be successful.”

Just from his interactions with Turgeon, Anderson knows already that he is the right man for the job.

“He’s a proven winner,” Anderson said. “Everywhere he’s gone, he’s had a program…that he’s basically taken from scratch or he’s made it better.”

Turgeon is 250-159 in his coaching career between Jacksonville State, Wichita State and the last four years at Texas A&M.

He directed the Aggies to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, and for his efforts was named Big 12 Coach of the Year the last two seasons.

He also holds the distinction of being the only coach in the history of the Big 12 with at least 24 wins in each of his first four seasons.

Anderson said that in occurrence-and this could be the first  in Turgeon’s 13-year coaching record-he has something to build off of at Maryland when it came to Gary Williams’ foundation as opposed to starting from scratch or having to clean up after someone.

“In this case,” Anderson said, “he’s going to come in here and he’s going to work on what Gary’s done and the legacy Gary has, so he’ll continue to build on that greatness.”

And in a way, Anderson said that already Turgeon has shown him the tenacity that he’s willing to fight for recruits in the Maryland-VA-DC area-something that was the biggest criticism of Turgeon’s predecessor at Maryland in Williams.

“The other thing is that he’s a competitor,” Anderson said. “He will back down from nobody.”

Anderson said that attribute may have been the biggest thing Turgeon brought to the table on his resume.

“I believe that was one of the most important attributes we could find in the next Maryland basketball coach because we play in a conference against some great coaches. I wanted somebody to come in here who was not only a good coach, but wasn’t going to be afraid to go after the top prize and not back down from anybody.”

“And that’s Mark Turgeon.”

And that’s where Anderson wanted to drive the point home. While Gary Williams had a hand in choosing his successor, and Anderson certainly was looking for candidates ready to carry on the legacy of Williams-he wanted to make it clear.

They were looking for the best coach to lead the University of Maryland basketball team forward.

“You don’t find the next Gary Williams because Gary Williams is an entity unto himself,” Anderson said. “He’s a very unique basketball coach.”

“But it was all about hiring the best basketball coach for the University of Maryland-one who’s going to take care of the student-athletes, who’s going to be demanding in the classroom and on the court.”

Anderson compared it to hiring Edsall replacing Ralph Friedgen.

“I would say that therea lot of the same characteristics that Randy Edsall and Mar share…Mark sees things the same way as Randy does and I do too,” Anderson noted.

Anderson hopes bringing in a quality guy to the coaching chair on the sidelines at Comcast will bring in the quality prep talent to the program as well.

“That’s what we kept talking about,” Anderson said. “If you hire quality people, you recruit quality kids. Nine times out of ten you’re going to be successful. That’s part of why he’s here now.”

The irony of it all?

All of this almost didn’t occur with Turgeon in the mountains of Pennsylvania over the weekend in a bad cell area. The initial phone to call to Turgeon from Anderson?

It didn’t connect.

“I reached out to Mark and didn’t get a return call,” Anderson said. “I didn’t think he would be interested. Well, what happened was he was camping with his family up in the Pennsylvania mountains but there was no cell service.”

“As soon as they came down the mountain, he hit voicemail and responded immediately. We connected Sunday night and here we are today.”

WNST thanks Kevin Anderson for joining “The Mobtown Sports Beat” to welcome in the new Maryland basketball coach, Mark Turgeon! Glenn Clark has you covered tomorrow as he is introduced! Be sure to follow us on Twitter @WNST!

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Gary Williams "Retirement" is Hard to Believe

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Gary Williams “Retirement” is Hard to Believe

Posted on 06 May 2011 by Thyrl Nelson

Terps fans braced themselves this week to deal with the official realization that Jordan Williams would not be back with the program next year. The news that followed however…Well there was simply no way to prepare for the bombshell that head coach Gary Williams would be riding off into the proverbial sunset as well. That however is exactly where fans of the Terps find themselves today.

While the reasons behind the sudden move may never be altogether clear, it’s good to see Williams going out on his own terms at least…or so it would seem anyway. As the outpouring of respect comes down now from fans, media, contemporaries and adversaries alike it’s clear that whomever endeavors to take on this job has a lot to live up to. It’s also pretty clear that new Athletic Director Kevin Anderson can consider himself “all-in” less than one year into his tenure, having turned over alumnus head coaches now in both revenue sports whether fully by his own design or not.


Maybe enough was simply enough for Gary, and the Jordan Williams news was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Having watched his career play out for the last two decades plus though, I’m having a hard time buying that the fight just got to be too much for Gary Williams. It was the fight after all that seemed to bring out the best in Williams, and that same fight that defined team after team throughout his tenure. Moreover, there have been rumblings about Jordan Williams’ lack of class attendance circulating for weeks. If the news of his announcement wasn’t much of a surprise to most Terps fans, I doubt it was a surprise to his coach either.


It’s surely not inconceivable that the business side of college hoops may have ultimately broken Williams faith in basketball as he knew it, but given his dedication to doing things the right way and building for the long term with honor and integrity and commitment to his alma mater, Williams departure at this time, and the position that it potentially leaves the program in seems contrary to the way that he’s conducted business here for the last 22 years. Surely the Terps will be scrambling to find a replacement, and even getting big time coaches to risk their current recruiting classes by interviewing at this time of year should be tough. After taking complete care of the program for over 20 years, I’m having a tough time believing he’d depart, on his own terms at a time when it’s detrimental to the program.


I’m more prone to believe (100% speculation) that Jordan Williams departure may have led to a meeting of the minds between Gary Williams and Anderson that may have fractured the coaches footing with the new AD or vice-versa perhaps. Or maybe Debbie Yow’s accusations about Williams muddying the waters in her coaching search had a little more merit than Gary was willing to admit when questioned about it. The conspiracy theorist in me wants to think that Yow may have “advised” Anderson that she was set to take action against Gary and the Terps and did him the courtesy of allowing Anderson to clean his own house first.


If indeed that were anywhere close to true, it’d be a fitting irony that Williams got swept out in a housecleaning of that kind. Ironic because of all of the proverbial garbage that Williams had to clean up in his efforts to make his alma mater respectable again. The job that Williams did here is often spoken of as a restoration of Terps pride and tradition, but with all due respect, Williams’ achievements far surpassed any reasonable expectations or historical precedent in school history. He took the program over at its nadir and brought it to levels unimaginable even without the backdrop of the Wade and Bias scandals.


My Dad and I had a five game mini-plan back in the early Gary Williams days. I’ll never forget the Walt the Wizard and Everest Burns led Terps that helped to build the foundation that would eventually attract the likes of Johnny Rhodes and Exree Hipp and Joe Smith and maybe most importantly Keith Booth. That team led to an era of Terps hoops that I’m afraid may never happen again. And sadly for me, it’s also the realization that in the now less than 3-years since I’ve lost my Dad, all of “his guys” have been supplanted. This really is no longer my father’s’ sports town.


The coming weeks, and seasons for that matter, will be interesting. The last twenty plus years, have been truly unbelievable…unimaginable. Coach Williams, and Coach Keith Booth and Coach Rob Ehsan and Coach Bino Ranson were all great friends to my show during a trying season this year to say the least. I’m hopeful and confident that they’ll all land on their feet soon. I am equally hopeful but far less confident that the Terps will do the same anytime soon.



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