The Sum Of All Fears

12/13/2007 11:33:47 AM The Terps stink. We have been deluding ourselves. We see flashes of possibilities. Only 10 turnovers against Boston College! The Terps hit 9 three pointers against Morgan State! Cliff Tucker has a great stroke! Unfortunately, when you add it all up; it amounts to nothing. The whole, unfortunately, is not equal to its parts.

Sure, there are individual players with talent. After all, what's not to like about James Gist? He can jump out of the building, he can finish on the low block, and he can step out and make the open jumper if called upon. Eric Hayes was born to play point guard, right? Cliff Tucker is an exceptional athlete.

Just because you throw these players together and put them in the same uniform does not mean that they are a team. The performance that they turned in last night, is what you would expect from 12 players who had just met 2 hours before tipoff. No one knew what to do. Was there a game plan?

I think there are probably 100 or so teams in the NCAA that could beat Maryland right now. I'm not kidding or exaggerating. Someone please jam a fork in my eye!

The 2007-08 season has quickly degenerated from a season of promise and anticipation into one of sorrow and fear. Sorrow because of how bad the next 3 and half months will be, and fear because we have yet to see the worst of it. Are you ready for a 30 point demolition at the Dean Dome? How about two double-digit losses to Duke?

I have diligently followed this team since the 1980's and the program has not been in such a state since 1991. In those days, it was Probation and the Len Bias tragedy holding the team back. Gary Williams came to the rescue.

Who will rescue Gary now? These are his players and for the most part, they can't play together. They are not a team. If you look at the recruiting classes since 2003, the low basketball IQ from our players is mystifying.

A friend of mine wrote to me before last night's game that he thought Gist needed to step up and be more assertive in order for Maryland to be good. Here was my response:

Gist can't take control. He can't create off the dribble, so he needs to get the ball delivered to him in spots that he can be effective. Without solid guard play: good passing (which we have) and good shooting (which we clearly don't); other teams can collapse on the interior and make it difficult for Gist to do his thing. Not being able to consistently hit from the outside is killing us. We have fixed the turnover problems for the most part, but no one can hit a J coming off of a screen or off the dribble (maybe Tucker). Hayes is a catch and shoot guy only. That is fine for a point guard in Gary's system but it is not going to be enough in the flex offense which requires constant movement. Juan Dixon was the perfect fit for the system. Why Gary has deviated from that winning formula is beyond me. I love Vasquez, but he is too slow to run the curl play that Dixon made famous and he is a terrible three-point shooter. He is a better fit as a point-forward (a la Ginobili with Spurs). Tucker may be that guy, but he doesn't know the offense well enough yet to be relied upon. If he can step up, there is hope for this team because of the talent level and the number of bodies we can throw at teams. Otherwise, we will be 16-12 overall and 6-10 in the ACC. I just threw up in my mouth.

After last night's debacle, the point I made about Juan Dixon really hits home. Why hasn't Gary Williams recruited players who fit into the flex offense better? Why do we have two slow guards in an offense that requires movement? Juan made a living off that little curl play. There hasn't been anyone at Maryland who can run that play since he left. Why? Gary is too smart and too successful for this to have occurred year after year for five straight years. I need an answer

I fear more of the same. Are Sean Mosley and Gus Gilchrist false messiahs too? If so, the program can't take sustain itself much longer. We realized last night why the alumni sections of Comcast have been so empty. No one wants to come and pay to watch a pick-up game. Our fans deserve to watch a team that knows how to play together. For that we will have to wait. For now its the beginning of our winter of our discontent.
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