The Verdict Is In: Terps Not Ready For Prime Time

11/20/2007 10:35:45 PM The stat sheet will tell it all: too many turnovers and gawd awful three point shooting are killing this team. Missouri shot the ball almost 20 more times than Maryland. Since the object of the game is to score the most points, a differential like that will almost always translates into a win for the team holding it. There are only two statistics that can explain shot differential: turnovers and offensive rebounding. We aren't good at either, but the turnover situation is grave. It is the worst that I have ever seen and I have been watching Maryland basketball for 25 years. It simply cannot continue if this team is going to win any games against quality opponents this year.

Perhaps even more alarming is that Dick Vitale repeatedly said tonight that this Terps team was the least talented team we've had in 10 years. (Considering the fact that 10 years ago we went to the Sweet Sixteen, I think he was referring to the team we had the year before Joe Smith arrived. In case you forgot, Chris Kerwin was prominently involved with that squad. That means he thinks this is the least talented team we've had since 1992-93. That's 14 years!).

Say what you want about Dickie V. (I can't stand him personally), but he does know talent. With all of his "Diaper Dandy" blather; he has seen his share of good young players. He doesn't think we have any. Yikes!

Since I have only actually seen one game on TV, I am not exactly the best judge of talent here. But since I am writing this post, I am going to do some judging anyway.

Eric Hayes, besides borrowing my 6th grade haircut, has been horrible. Yes, he was more aggressive tonight, but the stat sheet does not lie. He could not hit a three to save his life and he dribbled the ball off his foot three times. That would be funny if he wasn't our primary ball handler and best shooter! That is just not getting it done. He was brought in as the second coming of Steve Blake and at this point, that sounds like a cruel joke. I don't think Steve dribbled the ball off his foot three times in his entire career. So far, Hayes gets an "F minus" and frankly, I am having serious doubts as to whether or not he is a D-1 caliber player.

Greivis Vasquez has been erratic to put it mildly, but I know that he has the talent. He demonstrated it time and again last year. In my view, he has been victimized by poor decision making and a shooting slump. Of course the two are related (bad decision making often leads to bad shots). My guess is that he may be overcompensating for what is missing out on the floor. It is either that or he has regressed from last year which I doubt is the case.

Landon Milbourne doesn't appear to be able to create his own shot. All of his points come from put backs and I have yet to see an ounce of aggressiveness from him. In the long line of Maryland swing men (Exree Hipp begat Rodney Elliott who begat Laron Profit who begat Terrance Morris who begat Byron Mouton who begat DJ Strawberry), Milbourne looks like the worst of the bunch. I know it is early but every one of the guys above were better at this stage of their careers.

James Gist needs to shoot 15 times per game, not the 10 that he has been averaging. Everyone on the team knows this, yet it does not happen. Why? The reason, I believe, is that Gist doesn't create opportunities. He either catches the ball on the low block and uses a post move to get to the hole, or he is knocking down the open jumper. In either case, he requires a distributor to get him the ball. The problem is that defenses are collapsing into the paint because Maryland can't hit anything from outside. This means that Gist can't bail us out of a shooting slump. To be effective, Maryland needs to be hitting it from long range to give Gist some operating room. He can't create offense when things break down. He is just not that type of player.

Boom Osby has been the most consistent player to date. But, here is the problem: he can't be our go to guy. He is a role player. If he is our first or second choice in the half court, we will continue to lose.

The Freshman have not shown me anything that points to consistent offense. Dupree has shown flashes and so have Tucker and Bowie. But they are all far away from being able to contribute consistently.

The first step is to cut down on the turnovers. Gary has his work cut out for him. It could be a long year.
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