Terps Returning Frontcourt - An Analysis

I'm back from my self-imposed week long hiatus.  Once Evil Drew Nicholas doomed our season, I needed a break from writing.  Some unattributed quotes overheard last week:
  • When the shot went in, I had to take a knee
  • I woke up at 5AM on Tuesday, started thinking about the shot and I couldn't go back to sleep.
  • There is still a chalk outline of where I collapsed at the bar after the shot
It was that bad.  We all know it, but let the healing process begin.  This year's senior class is by far my favorite in years, but I'd prefer to make my first post-shot post about looking forward, rather than looking back. Many Terp fans are rumbling how next year will be a difficult.  Maryland's top three scorers are gone after all.  While I agree that next year will most certainly be different; I'm not so sure the Terps will struggle as much as many say they will.  Expect Maryland to shift from a backcourt dominated squad to a more traditional  team that scores in the paint. Jordan Williams The Terps leading scorer will be Jordan Williams. JWill's frontcourt production during his freshman year was the best Terp fans have seen since Joe Smith.  Look it up.  Expect major improvement during the sophomore campaign.  As a means of comparison, let's look at Lonny Baxter's first two seasons:
  • 1998-99:  6.8ppg, 3.6rpg
  • 1999-00:  15.6ppg, 8.8rpg
Jordan Williams' freshman campaign ended thusly:
  • 9.6ppg, 8.6rpg
Now, Baxter only started 10 games his freshman season (while Obinna Ekezie was injured), and his production during those games similar to Williams:
  • 9.6ppg, 4.6ppg
Is it reasonable for Terps fans to assume a 70% increase in point production from Williams next year (from 9.6 to 15+)?  I say yes.  Here's why.  Jordan is likely to be the Terps top scoring option next season.  Simply put, he will get more chances.  Also, I expect Jordan to greatly improve the areas in which he lacked this season. Williams had trouble finishing last year.  Too many times, Williams blew layups in traffic when he should have been dunking the ball. Our strength and conditioning coach will have Williams working hard to remedy the problem.  I'm not expect miracles, just a little more ups and little less baby fat.  Lastly, Jordan needs to work on his free throws.  If Jordan had hit 75% from the line, than he would have scored 11 ppg.  I'm not expecting 75%, but I am expecting over 60%.  If he does that, JWill only needs a little more than 2 baskets per game more than last season.  Do you still think it is impossible? James Padgett Maryland's most important returning player is James Padgett.  You read me correctly. Padgett needs to make "the leap" next season. Padgett averaged 1 rebound for every 3.42 minutes played.  Williams pulled down a board every 2.88 minutes.  Not bad for a guy who played sparingly.  By way of comparison, Dino Gregory averaged a rebound every 5.88 minutes.  That's frighteningly awful.  Dino played over Padgett because he played better defense and could shoot FTs.  Working on defense and FT shooting should be Padgett's summer job.  Plain and simple. Padgett can be the Chris Wilcox to Williams' Lonny Baxter. Granted, Padgett will be a poor man's Chris Wilcox, but let's face it, I love Lonny Baxter, and Jordan's ceiling is much higher.  I'll take a rich man's Lonny and a poor man's Wilcox for my frontcourt any day. If Padgett doesn't start next year, the Terps will struggle.  Mark my words.  If he doesn't develop, than the Terps won't compete.  We can't go to battle starting Dino every night.  We will get abused in the paint. Dino Gregory I like Dino.  I don't mean to abuse him.  I love his hustle.  I love his fight.  He is just not skilled enough to start in the ACC.  Terp fans can be proud of Dino as a bench contributor.    That's who he is.  We can't pretend differently. Now, Gary Williams has run the three guard set for the last three years.  Next year, he will have another big man in Ashton Pankey who could conceivably work his way in to the lineup to form a traditional frontcourt.  I'm not betting on it.  Considering the fact that Padgett was more highly touted and played sparingly AND Gregory is a senior who knows the offense and defense; it hard to imagine Pankey earning a spot a small forward. It's far more likely that Gary sticks with the 3 guard set with either Cliff Tucker or Mycheal Parker playing the "big guard".  But that is a story for another time.
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]
Author: Jeremy | 3/29/2010 7:25:27 PM | Tags: gary williams, jordan williams, lonny baxter, chris wilcox, joe smith, terps |