Basketball Preview Part I - Rating The Newcomers

10/27/2010 7:37:09 PM The Terps are heading into the season with six new faces.  Their level of success will determine the Terps season.  What can we expect from these guys? For my money, you can break the newcomers into three categories:

Anything is a plus
We are talking about Berand Wejs, and Haukur Palsson.  Granted, both players possess some intriguing talents; but it's hard to imagine either player getting crunch time minutes this season. 

It's less crowded upfront, so JC transfer, Wejs is most likely to contribute immediately.  At 6'10", Wejs could be our tallest Terp (I think Jordan is not quite 6'10").  He may also be the skinniest.  Without bulking up, it's hard to imagine how Wejs finds the floor during the ACC season.  He's going to get pushed around.  On the plus side, he is a good leaper and can clearly run the floor (he almost beat Greivis Vasquez 5K time).  Given his strengths, Wejs would be well served to hit the weight room and work on a back to the basket move.  A little 8 footer would be nice too.  Otherwise, Gary will bury him on the bench or use his five fouls against a poor free throw shooter.

By Great Odin's raven, Haukur Palsson is the first player in Terps history to hail from Iceland.  He averaged 10 points per game on what was ostensibly an all-star team at Monteverde Prep.  Three of his former teammates are playing at Major D-I schools.  He's got a good shot (39% from 3PT) and rebounded well for a guard.  That's very nice, but when you look at the Terps crowded backcourt; I don't seeing any playing time for Palsson

Should give us something
Ashton Pankey hasn't played competitive basketball in over a year due to an injury (stress fracture) that is still not fully healed.  That smacks of a Jerome Burney-esque disappointment; but Pankey is confident that he is going to be ready to play this year.  He's got all the physical tools to be an impact ACC player. At 6'9" 220 lbs, Pankey was built to play power forward.  He also has a good motor which should serve him well as Gary Williams looks to go back to pressing and running this year.  Without seeing him play, he reminds me of James Padgett.  A guy who looks the part, but needs at least a year in the system before anything truly meaningful can be expected.

Will contribute immediately
The Terps have three nice guards who will be competing for minutes out of the gate.  Mychal (call me Mike) Parker was the most heralded of the group; but that does not mean he will get the most minutes.  That honor could go to Pe'Shon Howard (more on him in a bit).  Parker made most of his hay by getting into the paint in high school and the Terps will definitely need a little of that Messrs. Hayes and Vasquez have moved on.  If Parker is able to adjust to the bigger frontcourt players occupying the paint, he should be fine.  If gets more consistent with his jumper; the Terps could be in for a nice surprise.  Overall, I think we should expect a floor/ceiling like this:
5.5/9ppg, 3.2/5rpg, 1.3/2apg.

Terrell Stoglin has been called a natural point guard.  Terrell Stoglin has been called a shoot-first point guard.  Which is it?  I have no idea.  Pe'Shon is getting all the early buzz, but Stoglin averaged 30ppg in high school and he can shoot the three-ball.  If Cliff Tucker fails to emerge as a consistent outside shooter, then Gary could be leaning on Stoglin to supply the necessary firepower to keep pressure off Jordan Williams down low.  Will it happen? Who knows?  I can't wait to find out.  His floor/ceiling looks like this:
3.0ppg/8.5ppg, 2.0apg/3.5apg

The early buzz heading into practice was around Pe'shon Howard.  He's an strong, athletic fireplug who likes to defend.  That sounds like someone that Gary will give lots of minutes to.  Can he shoot?  Can he make good decisions while running the flex offense?  For a kid who almost went to Harvard; I'm going to assume that whatever he doesn't know, he can learn.  It's hard to get super-excited about a guy who is going to be at his best while playing defense; but as Sean Mosley can attest, defense is the key to playing time in College Park.  With Howard and Mosley on the court together, the Terps could annihilate weaker guards and get us tons of easy transition baskets.  For a team that lacks a proven scorer, easy buckets will be tremendously important to the Terps success.  That's why Pe'Shon's numbers will not accurately reflect his impact.  I view his floor/ceiling like this:
4.0ppg/10ppg, 3.0/4.5apg 1/2.5spg.

The season starts November 8th.  Giddy-up.
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