Monday, October 29, 2007

Scrimmage Report II

The second and final public scrimmage for Maryland took place on Saturday and you could certainly tell from Gary Williams' demeanor that the season is rapidly approaching. This scrimmage was more intense than the the one a week ago and the coach was back to his normal feisty self. He told sophomore Landon Milbourne he would find his way to the bench if he did "that" again after he gambled on a steal and gave up an easy basket. He told Bambale Osby and James Gist that they were good but not good enough to try the ally op dunk that didn't work. On another offensive play he proclaimed after it failed, "There was nothing there. PERIOD!"

All in all it was a good performance by the coach. The fans had a few chuckles and the new players got a sense of how intense you have to focus to play well at the collegiate level. Dino Gregory and Shane Walker were both benched at various times to make that point.

The starting five is probably pretty well set at this point. Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes are really working together nicely and the pair had 27 and 15 points respectively in the scrimmage. Vasquez scored in almost every way, slashing to the baskets, big 3-point shots on the perimeter, steals off the press, foul shots. If he adds a consistent perimeter game this season he will be very hard to shut down. He still plays a little loosey goosey with the ball at times and is too enamored with his no look passes but that is the trade off you have to live with. He is playing at an All-ACC level right now. Hayes has improved his production on offense and certainly has a respectable outside shot. Between Hayes, Gist, Milbourne and an improving Vasquez the fear of Maryland's perimeter woes are a little overblown. This may not be a deadly perimeter team but they will be able to keep defenses honest.

James Gist and Bambale Osby mirrored each other with 15 points and 13 rebounds each. Gist found some time at small forward again and we may see more of that in the early part of the schedule. He is already one of the best perimeter shooters on the team and if Milbourne struggles Williams may use his backcourt depth to shift Gist to the three spot. Osby had himself a nice scrimmage with a couple of classic rejections of Milbourne and Braxton Dupree. He may not be lanky and tall but Boom can play some defense. On offense he just cleans up in the lane and is normally in the right place for an easy assist when one of the guards drives the lane. He forced Braxton Dupree into a terrible shooting performance and also drew a number of offensive fouls by the freshman.

Dupree will be a very good player for the Terps but no one should expect him to unseat Osby as the starter this season. There were a number of times he put himself in a prime position to score under the basket but could not convert. He has soft hands but needs to find a better touch around the basket. He was working on a little hook shot that could be devastating if he learns how to finish with it.

Milbourne struggled to assert himself during the scrimmage. He needs to develop some confidence in his ability. Maryland will need decent production out of him this season. He has the physical tools but his focus sometimes lapses. As Gary Williams suggested he hasn't fully made the transition to a wing player after being more of a power forward for most of his high school career. I think it may be a little rocky for Milbourne early in the year but fans should have patience. He has the skills to be very good with some experience.

Most freshmen have up and down moments as they learn the speed of the collegiate game and the new offensive and defensive sets. Shane Walker wowed everyone in the first scrimmage and has come back to earth a little bit. He still looks to be a factor in the rotation off the bench but he is struggling with assignments and decision making. Dupree had a dreadful scrimmage but has some tantalizing ability. Once he gets himself in the low block he will be very difficult to stop. Adrian Bowie is probably ahead of all the other freshmen in terms of playing time. He is a good ball handler and is very good at slashing to the basket. His court vision needs to improve as he is in a slightly different role at Maryland than the one he played in high school. He'll have to look for his teammates more as there were numerous times he missed Dupree in the low post. His entry passes need some work.

Cliff Tucker seems to be coming along nicely. He was asked to guard Vasquez which was a tough assignment for him. On offense he seems to have a better grasp of the sets than he did only last week. He is getting a better sense of the speed of the game and where he needs to be on both ends of the floor. As he is putting most of his effort into figuring out where he needs to go his offense isn't as advanced but that will come.

Dino Gregory wasn't much of a factor as he experienced some freshman growing pains. Like the rest of this class there will be times he will impress you and other times have you shaking your head. He may not be a factor this season but he has good potential.

It isn't clear what Jerome Burney's roll will be yet. He needs some work on his offensive game but his rebounding and defense are coming along nicely. It would be preferable if Burney could cultivate a decent offensive repertoire so that there would not be a large drop off on the offensive end when he comes in the game. He is very active and a hard worker so we'll have to hope Keith Booth can work with him.

There isn't much need to worry about some of the sloppy play or defensive lapses at the moment. With so many new players and the mix and match style of play at these intrasquad scrimmages there is going to be more turnovers and blown assignments as everyone gets a feel for each other. The defense will come around in the next couple of weeks and when the starters were on the floor at the start of the second period things ran pretty smoothly on offense.

Maryland has a intersquad scrimmage versus Temple coming up and then the only exhibition game of the season on November 7. The season is almost here with the first game against North Florida only two weeks away.

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