Coach: Gary Williams (404-224 at Maryland, 625-357 overall)
Maryland limped into the NCAA Tournament with a losing record in Atlantic Coast Conference play and managed to beat a good California team to make it to the second round. With four starters returning and building off their minor tournament success, Coach Gary Williams’ squad should be poised to make a run at an ACC title.
Key Losses for the Terps: C Braxton Dupree, F Dave Neal
The Terps boast one of the most talented and dynamic backcourts in the ACC. Greivis Vasquez gets most of the headlines, and rightfully so, but there is much more to this group than just Vasquez. Adrian Bowie started 28 games last year and the speedster does a superb job getting to the basket. Sean Mosley stepped into a starting role about half way through the season. He is not a great scorer, but Mosley is a fine defender and Maryland needs all the defense it can get. Cliff Tucker and Eric Hayes will provide plenty of offense while Mosley provides the defense. Hayes lost his starting gig, but he still averaged 10.3 points and 3.2 assists. Tucker only started five games last year, but he has the potential to score a lot more, especially if Coach Williams opts to play the 6-6 Tucker at the four spot on occasion.
Tucker could spend some time at the four spot due to the lack of returning talent up front. Landon Milbourne should be a wing, but the 6-7 senior moved to the post last season and did an admirable job, ranking second on the team in both scoring and rebounding. However, Milbourne is certainly not a true post player. Junior Dino Gregory could be the answer and he certainly improved as last season progressed. Jerome Burney is another option if he can stay healthy, but that is a big if. In the end Milbourne will be starting at the four spot again and Gregory and Burney will have to battle it out with the newcomers.
Who’s In for Maryland:
The Terrapins lacked a consistent big man last year. Dave Neal was the starter at the five spot and he was more of a shooter than a banger under the basket. And he is gone anyway, so Coach Williams certainly needs some big bodies. Jordan Williams should fill that void. At 6-10 and 260 pounds, Williams can certainly fill the big body under the basket role. Williams is a superb athlete who can immediately contribute on both ends of the floor. James Padgett is the only other newcomer, and the 6-8 forward can at least help on the glass as a freshman.
Vasquez thought about heading to the NBA after averaging 17.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.4 steals during his junior campaign. Instead he will stick around and lead the Terps back to the NCAA Tournament. Vasquez was mostly known for his mental mistakes until he proved everybody wrong last year and turned into a decent ball handler who would, for the most part, take smart shots.
Final 2009-2010 Maryland Projection:
With Vasquez turning into a great leader who can be dependable and a whole slew of quality perimeter players to compliment him, the only thing standing between Maryland a decent NCAA Tournament run is the frontcourt. Milbourne will do his part playing out of position yet again, but the newcomers, most likely Williams, need to step up and give this team a reliable scorer and rebounder under the basket.
Projected Post-season Tournament for the Terps: NCAA