Thursday, April 30, 2009

Money and Sports

The NCAA issued the regular profit in the wilderness regarding sports related spending by colleges. The report confirms what had been reported in other prior reports that spending continues to spiral out of control, rising more than 11% annually while overall spending by universities' rose less than 5%, and that all that increased spending does not earn a net profit in revenue.

The report did indicate that there seems to be a modest correlation between increased spending in football and basketball. For instance spending an additional $1 million increases, on average, a football program's winning percentage by 1.8% and increases the chances of getting into the top 25 by five percent. Not exactly a great return on investment. A more interesting factor is that general expenditures seem to help basketball and football programs but spending big money on a coach has no correlation to a program winning at a better rate.

You can read an article on the report here.

NFL Draft
Maryland did well in the draft with five selections includine wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey being the 7th overall pick to Oakland. Heyward-Bey certainly has talent but the Raiders clearly reached picking him that high and he probably has the highest potential to be a draft bust of the top 10 players picked. It doesn't help that Heyward-Bey is going to the most dysfunctional organization in professional football. Still Heyward-Bey will get a nice fat contract and Maryland can use that fact to help in recruiting. Since Vernon Davis was selected sixth overall in 2006 Maryland's two top 10 selections are only bettered by Ohio State, USC, LSU and Virginia.

Corner Kevin Barnes did very well getting picked in the 3rd round by Washington. He'll fit in well with the Redskins who have some needs in the secondary. Starters Carlos Rodgers and DeAngelo Hall have not been the most reliable corners and the aging Fred Smoot barely able to cover slot receivers Barnes will likely find a large role like rookie safety Chris Horton did last year.

Seventh round selections were guard Jamie Thomas, TE Dan Gronkowski and LB Moise Fokou. The five selections were tied with North Carolina for most among ACC programs. Fokou, a former transfer and walk on player, is a great story. 

Friday, April 24, 2009

Terps Add Elite 2010 Guard

Shooting guard Terrence Ross of Montrose Christian gave a verbal commitment to Maryland. The junior cannot sign a letter of intent until November but if Ross stays at Montrose his commitment is probably reliable. The 6'5" guard teams with Arizona point guard Terrell Soglin to form an intriguing backcourt of the future for Gary Williams. If you listen to Montrose coach Stu Vetter who has coached many great players over the years none of the players he has coached possessed the package that Ross possesses. At 6'5" Ross has great length for a guard and has tantalizing athletic ability. He runs the floor very well and has an above the rim game that can be breathtaking at times, but Ross isn't just a athlete and is a dangerous from 3-point range or slashing to the basket. If Ross sounds like the complete package he almost is, though he needs to work on his ball handling and defense. Vetter thinks that Ross could be an elite NBA level prospect with some work and will be a fixture for Montrose in the fall. It seems that Ross, originally from Oregon, formed deep bonds with the Montrose family after traveling across the country to gain experience playing at one of the elite high school basketball programs in the nation. The desire to stay close to his new found family at Montrose helped sell playing basketball in College Park to Ross. With Maryland needing some momentum to get the important 2010 recruiting class off to a solid start the landing of a talent like Ross is just what Gary Williams needed. With Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne being seniors this coming season Ross may get a chance to come in and play immediately as a freshman in 2010. For more on Ross there is a nice profile from the Washington Post below.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

News and Notes

Basketball
It looks like forward Braxton Dupree's time as a Terrapin is over. The sophomore will transfer to another school leaving a scholarship open for 2009 regardless of the draft decision of Greivis Vasquez. It was clear about half way through the season that Gary Williams had given up on Dupree and that his days in College Park were numbered. I think Dupree's biggest problem was they he never adjusted his mental game for college basketball after relying on dominating high school based merely on his physical ability. Too passive and afraid of making a mistake he could never demonstrate any consistent production. It is a shame because I felt Dupree had the skills to be an effective player but it became clear that he wasn't going to turn things around at Maryland. Perhaps he'll have luck at his next stop.

It was also announced that Maryland will play Indiana in the ACC/Big Ten "Challenge" next season. Maryland will be coming off a trip to Maui so a game on the road against a rebuilding Indiana team could be a good thing for the Terps.

Football
Maryland had a scare when starting running back Da'Rel Scott injured his knee last week after getting hit by CB Nolan Carroll. Scott will miss the rest of the spring but the injury isn't considered serious. On a side note I think Carroll will benefit from the change to press coverage Maryland is switching to after having corners lay off receivers almost 15 yards under Chris Cosh. Carroll isn't exactly smooth in his back peddle nor does he have blazing speed but he is big and physical.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Terrapins in Draft

Heading into the 2009 NFL draft there are a number of Maryland players who are in good position to be selected. Two Terps that figure to be drafted in the early rounds are WR Darrius Heyward-Bey and CB Kevin Barnes. Heyward-Bey has been all over the board on various mock drafts and could go as high as the top ten or as low as the end of the first round. His physicals skills are well documented but his hands and route running might make him drop. Barnes has really done well since running a great 40 time at the combine and posting a great score on the Wonderlic test. His game film shows that he is a tough and physical corner who will fit in very well as a nickle back in the NFL.

After that offensive linemen Edwin Williams and Jamie Thomas figure to be in the 5th or 6th round according to projections. The offensive line underachieved all season but the running game was often impressive enough to give interior linemen like Williams and Thomas some NFL prospects. There is a long article about OT Dane Randolph and his chances of getting drafted next weekend. Randolph certainly looks the part at 6'5" and 300 pounds and the article points out that he has good speed and strength. The problem that Randolph has is that he is stiff in pass blocking and lacks the footwork and agility to pass block speed rushers. That is why he and fellow Terrapin Scott Burley won't get drafted.

Tight end Dan Gronkowski also has a chance to get drafted in the late rounds. Gronkowski is a good blend of blocking and pass catching but lacks the dynamic playmaking ability that teams crave in tight ends these days. He could get a chance with a team that needs a backup or runs two tight end sets regularly.

If all five players get drafted it will be the most Maryland players taken in the draft since 2004 when safety Madieu Williams led a group of five players taken after Friedgen's last ten win season.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Washingtonian likes TW

The Washingtonian magazine named Turtle Waxing as one of the best local sports blogs. Don't believe it? Just click here. Many thanks to the readers over at the Washingtonian. It has been over four years since I started Turtle Waxing and the recognition is appreciated. Now about Brasserie Beck being #61 in your restaurant rankings...

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Moving on

Now that the basketball season has ended most teams are waiting to see who will stay and who will declare for the NBA draft. In the ACC Wake Forest has been hit the hardest so far. James Johnson will not return next season and Jeff Teague will also enter his name for the draft, though he won't hire an agent. If Teague stays in the draft, as he is likely to do, then Wake Forest will be much weaker at the wings than they were this season. Brandon Costner of N.C. State will also not return to the Wolfpack next year. Miami's Dwayne Collins will also enter his name in the draft. Besides seniors Tyler Hansbrough, Danny Green and Bobby Frasor North Carolina will also probably lose Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington. The Tar Heels have Deon Thompson returning, one of the softer post players in the ACC, and a very promising freshman in Ed Davis. Right now freshman Tyler Zeller doesn't look to be ready to contribute on a consistent basis. The Tar Heels will need immediate and significant contributions from their heralded recruiting class.

Roy Williams finally won a championship with one of the best four year players in college basketball since Tim Duncan. The current Tar Heels are an odd champion. There isn't really much that is likable about this group. Their coach is one of the biggest phonies in the game, Hansbrough may be a raging bull on the court but has all the personality of a muppet, Danny Green dropped his dancing routine but is still a buffoon, the way Lawson played towards the end of this season makes you wonder how much effort he really expended his first two seasons, it seemed to be a group without any soul. The NCAA tournament run by Carolina was impressive in some ways but how can this be a great team when they lost to Maryland and Boston College in the same season? In retrospect the out of conference schedule that North Carolina played was mediocre at best. I don't think UNC's win in the title game exonerates the ACC's dreadful performance in the post season. In some sense this championship gets Roy Williams off the hook. His bench coaching has been questioned regularly by even many North Carolina fans the past few years. As opposed to the first three seasons of Hansbrough's career this group of players had the maturity and experience to almost lead themselves to a championship. Williams will never get more from a group of players than the sum of their talent, he just isn't that kind of coach, but then again neither was Dean Smith. It is fortunate for Williams that he recruits better than just about any coach in college basketball and he may be learning how to not hamstring them in the tournament unlike all those failures when he was coach at Kansas. If Roy has figured things out look for him to add to his total of two titles unless Coach K can get his recruiting mojo back.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Terp Recruits Impress

Maryland 2009 recruits James Padgett and Jordan Williams did little to lower expectations next season with their performance in Charm City Challenge. Padgett, playing for the U.S. All-Star team, scored 22 points and was named the game MVP. Williams added seven points, seven rebounds and four blocks and teamed well with Padgett in leading the U.S. team to a convincing victory over the Baltimore All-Stars, 112-86. I've seen Padgett a number of times playing along side Maryland Terps target Lance Stephenson and have been very impressed. He isn't nearly as raw and unskilled as some have portrayed him to be. He has a body that will be able to handle the rigors of ACC play and should be used to a up tempo style of play. Williams had some conditioning and effort concerns going into this season but his senior campaign, in which he averaged 35 points and 20 rebounds, left little to be critical about.

Williams will also play in the Capital Classic this Thursday and Bender Arena. The Capital Classic is a historic event in this area and needs support to continue. I recommend anyone who can attend to help ensure the continuation of this local treasure. If you can't make it you can see it on Comcast Sports at 4pm on Saturday in the D.C. area.


NCAA Tournament Final
Roy Williams will get to play for his second national title in four years. If he wins he will have matched the number of championships that his mentor Dean Smith took 36 years to acquire. I've never been very impressed with Williams as a floor coach but he seems to have the right mix of players this year. If Ty Lawson can control his selfish impulses, Wayne Ellington can keep hitting those outside shots, Hansbrough can be himself and Bobby Frasor can supply the crucial defense and hustle plays he did against Villanova then the Tar Heels are a lock for another title. Still there was enough sloppy play in the final eight minutes of their win over Villanova that UNC cannot be totally comfortable going into this game. They have also shown an alarming tendency to miss free throws down the stretch. If the game is close in the last five minutes I have little doubt that Michigan State's Tom Izzo will out coach Roy Williams.


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Terps get 2010 PG Commit

2010 point guard Terrell Stogin out of Tuscon, Arizona has given a verbal pledge to play for Maryland according to several Arizona newspapers. The Arizona Star wrote that Maryland noticed Stogin when his team played at Good Counsel in Olney, Maryland last year. The prospect of playing in the ACC and a potential to start right away was something that appealed to Stogin.

Stogin is putting up huge numbers in high school and is only about 900 points away from the Arizona state scoring record held by Mike Bibby. He averaged 27 points a game this season as a junior and had several impressive battles against older players like Abdul Gaddy who played very well in the McDonald's All American game last night. Against Gaddy Stogin scored 30 points and drained seven 3-pointers before his team fell in overtime. The left hander is built solidly for a junior and has a nice outside stroke. He is a scoring poing guard but can distribute the ball well too. He has a good handle and can use his strength to get to the basket when needed. Right now Stogin is ranked near the bottom of the top 100 players for 2010 but look for him to climb the list when he starts playing AAU games this summer.

Before you start getting too excited keep in mind that the sleazy Tim Floyd was just hired by Arizona and he had recruited Stogin while the coach at USC. In an interview with the Tuscon Citizen Stogin said he was interested to see who Arizona hired and it was "possible" he could change his mind before the official signing date but that he was "very much" committed to playing for Maryland. That should make you feel a little uneasy, especially if he makes a name for himself this summer, because Floyd isn't going to back off.

Maryland needed a point guard to replace Eric Hayes and/or Greivis Vasquez (who seems to be leaning towards coming back for his senior season) when Stogin would arrive in College Park. From a talent perspective I think Stogin isn't a bad pick up but we'll have to see how committed to Maryland he really is.

You can see videos of Stoglin here and here. He is #20 in green.

UPDATE: Tim Floyd has refused Arizona's offer to be head coach and will remain at USC according to reports.