Midnight Madness Primer

10/13/2010 12:00:00 AM

The Terps are preparing to kickoff the college basketball season on Friday night for the annual Midnight Madness exhibition.  These shows are short on substance and long on pomp; but they are fun.

This year’s version holds a particular bit of mystery in that the Terps will unveil six newcomers to the team:  Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, Mike Parker, Ashton Pankey, and Haukur Paulson.

Andy Katz seems to think that Pe’Shon is the most likely to have an immediate impact.  What’s more, Katz believes the Terps could be a major surprise in the ACC this season.  Obviously, he is going to find a sympathetic audience on The Soup; but I’m cautiously optimistic as well.  I’ll tell you why.

A few things will need to happen in order for the Terps to contend this season.

1.  Maryland will need a consistent outside shooting threat to keep defenses from collapsing on Jordan Williams.  My candidate to emerge is Cliff Tucker.  Word on the street is that he took it to a new level with his off season training regimen and he has been more vocal during pickup games and team workouts.  He’s a senior with a natural stroke and we’ve seen guys with less talent turn it on for a stupendous senior campaign (see: Nicholas, Drew).  Other candidates include Sean Mosley, Mike Parker, and Adrian Bowie.  Mosley lacks the natural stroke, Parker is an unknown in terms of how he will adapt to the speed of the college game, and Adrian Bowie will likely have PG duties to worry about (see below).  My money is on Mr. Tucker.

2. James Padgett needs to make “the leap”.  We see it all the time.  A freshman who plays sparingly, miraculously transforms during the off season to become a major contributor.  This needs to happen or Jordan Williams is all alone underneath.  I’ve heard that Dino Gregory has “found his stroke” this summer, but I just don’t think he will provide enough support down low.  He’s only 6'7? after all.  Padgett has the body of an interior player and we will need him to use it if we hope to win the rebounding battle in the ACC.  I’m not asking for much.  I think something like 8.5 ppg and 8.0 rpg will get the job done.

3.  Someone needs to run the offense. The Terps will head into the season without a proven player at the point guard position.  In years past, the previous sentence doomed fans to witness 20 turnovers per game with regularity.  How does Gary Williams prevent that from happening this year?  There are no easy answers.  It’s either going to be the senior with a checkered past of protecting the ball (Bowie), or two freshman (Stoglin or Howard).  I keep hearing that Stoglin is a shoot first PG which is not going to fly with Gary.  Andy Katz, as mentioned above, thinks Pe’Shon Howard will be the guy. Regardless, one of these three guys is going to have to run the flex offense consistently all year with turning the ball over too much.

Of the three needs I’ve outlined above, I feel pretty good about Nos. 1 and 2.  No. 3 terrifies me.  The worst part is there is no way of knowing if the Terps have an answer to the Point Guard conundrum until the kids start playing.  We’ll all know soon enough.

blog comments powered by Disqus