Thursday, March 13, 2008

Accentuate the positive

The team seemed positive and upbeat at the practice yesterday to kick off the ACC Tournament. Dave Neal threw a ball off a the backboard for a dunk and Boom Osby hit a half court toss in two of the lighter moments of the session. Given the dire situation the Terps find themselves in going into the post season they need a leader on the team to demand more consistent efforts from his teammates. From some of the quotes in recent articles Boom Osby and Greivis Vasquez may be trying to fill that need.

In the Washington Post Osby had this to say:
You just can't accept anything from anybody. If a guy is going to throw a pass away, you have to get in his face and say, 'We can't have that crap anymore.' All the freshmen and sophomores, they have played all year. They know what to do. For them to give a half-effort or not understand a play, it is just too late for that.

That is fairly tough rhetoric but I think some of the more passive members of the team need a player to demand they perform up to their skill level. Juan Dixon famously chastised Chris Wilcox in the 2002 NCAA Tournament when he felt he wasn't playing well. A team needs that kind of check coming from someone other than the coaching staff. There has been a suggestion that some players were concerned about hurting a teammate's feelings if they took playing time away from someone else. Think of how ridiculous that is. James Gist is a nice guy and a good player but he isn't really a leader. Vasquez relayed, in a Diamondback article, an incident earlier in the season in which Eric Hayes rebuffed an attempt by the senior to demand that he start playing better. Certainly players will talk back to one another but it is worth noting that one of the most passive players on the team had little problem talking back to the more experienced senior captain.

For his part Vasquez had this to say:
I'll tell everybody, if one of you guys think I'm trying to do too much, then maybe one of you guys can step up and try to do too much, too.

It would be nice if someone took him up on his challenge, starting tonight.

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