2008 Maryland Terrapins Basketball Preview
Numerous times over the past 20 years, Coach Gary Williams has shaped the Maryland Terrapins (19-15 overall, 8-8 ACC) into conference and national contenders. In 2002, they took the national title. But since that time, they have underperformed. In the past three of five years, they’ve gone to the NIT and the two other times they went two and out in the NCAA Tournament. Fans are growing weary of the team’s performance.
Much of the muscle, shot blocking and power under the boards is gone with the graduation of seniors Bambale Osby and James Gist. Sophomore Jerome Burney (7.4 mpg, 1.8 PPG, 1.6 RPG, 0.2 APG, 46.9 FG%, 0.0 FT%) at forward and sophomore Braxton Dupree (10.3 MPG, 2.5 PPG, 2.2 RPG, 0.1 APG, 38.3 FG%, 61.8 FT%) at center must step-up and jump up. As freshmen, both offered uneven play. The front is pretty thin, leaving Williams to play three and four guards at a time.
Unlike the area around the basket, the back offers an assortment of choices. Sophomore guard Greivis Vasquez (37.0 MPG, 17.0 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 6.8 APG, 43.2 FG%, 78.2 FT%) is an extremely talented and versatile player who must learn to improve upon last season’s average of 4.4 turnovers per game. Look for Vasquez to play the shooting spot, while junior Eric Hayes (33.4 MPG, 9.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 4.5 APG, 42.7 FG%, 85.2 FT%), a sound ball handler, takes the point position. Although Hayes lacks quickness and strength, he’s got a fine three-point shot. There’s a host of other options, adding fine depth to the back area.
Last season, Maryland was mediocre. This season, they will be less-than-mediocre.
The team lost two of its best recruits in Tyree Evans and Gus Gilchrist,
leaving one new guy, the athletic swingman Sean Mosley, to bring
some new energy to the team. An eighth place finish and the NIT
look to be in the cards. Still, Williams, in the past, has managed
to get many of his Terrapin teams to overachieve. However, it’s
been years since that has happened. Will there be a new coach at
Maryland in 2009-2010?