The Maryland Terrapins surprised a lot of the experts with the way they played last year, earning a share of the ACC regular season title. With the unanticipated success head coach Gary Williams won ACC Coach of the Year honors. Even so, Maryland was unable to make a deep run in the NCAA Tournament, as they lost to Michigan State 85-83 in the second round. Williams is going to have his work cut out for him this season, as he will not have the services of ACC Player of the Year Greivis Vasquez and seniors Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne. The trio combined for over half (54.7%) of the Terp’s points last year. For a better idea of what the Terps will be like this year, here is a short breakdown of what they have added and are bringing back, plus my prediction on where they will end up this season in the conference.
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Backcourt: A lot of uncertainty surrounds this group, as it’s unknown what can be expected out of these guys. Junior guard Sean Mosley has the most talent out of this group, averaging just over 10 points and five rebounds a game last year. What really makes Mosely a talented player is his ability to get it done on the defensive side of the ball as well. Senior Adrian Bowie will likely start at the one this season, but he will need to take better care of the basketball and hit at a higher rate from the perimeter. Senior Cliff Tucker has has a lot of upside and could be a big time player for the Terrapins this season, but he inconsistent on a nightly basis. Freshman Pe”shon Howard is a physical player that should contribute off the bench this year, and fellow freshman Terrell Stoglin is a quality point producer, and could wind up being a big time spark off the bench.
Frontcourt: If the Terrapins make it back to the NCAA Tournament this year it will be because of the play of sophomore center Jordan Williams, who became only the third Maryland player in school history to record at least 250 points and 250 rebounds in his freshman season. Williams is an offensive threat down low that Maryland has been looking for. He is also an excellent defending and can rebound the ball. Williams nearly averaged a double-double his freshman season, totaling 9.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Senior forward Dino Gregory will be the other quality post player for the Terrapins, who is also good on defense and while he isn’t going to scare anyone on offense, he can make the wide open shot. Sophomore James Padgett and junior Ersin Levent return to add depth, but don’t be surprised if you see freshmen Mychal Parker and Ashton Pankey see a lot of floor time as well.
Prediction – 5th in the ACC: Never underestimate a team coached by Williams, and I think this year’s Maryland team is going to surprise a lot of people with their ability to get after teams defensively and offensively. I believe we are going to see the makings of a star in Jordan Williams, who could wind up being one of the best post players in the ACC. They won’t compete for the ACC title, but I think they have an excellent shot at making it back to the NCAA Tournament.
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