In the first two mens’ basketball games of the season, two Maryland freshmen have received significant minutes. 6’8″ South Korean forward Jin Soo Kim has been playing 17 min/gm, while 6’4″ Sean Mosley has been getting 14.5 min/gm. The two players have combined for 10 pts and 5.5 reb/gm, but those efforts were against cupcake opponents.
Tonight’s game against Vermont will be their first real test, and a real test of Gary Williams’s will. When asked about who the starters would be before the Bucknell game, Williams said that it would be Vasquez, Hayes, Milbourne and “whoever practices the best [that week].” Williams has been notoriously stingy with playing time for freshmen in the past. Tonight will be the first opportunity for Kim and Mosley to prove their worth against a decent opponent, and they better make the most of it.
The Terps have had difficulty getting production from freshmen due to Williams’s approach to minutes. The college game has changed a lot during Williams’s career, and in my opinion he’s been slow to adapt to the need for recruiting and playing freshmen in order to replace talented players that go pro (Wilcox), flunk out (McCray), or loose their minds (Gilchrist). Williams’s comments and dedication to playing these two freshman in the first two games indicate that he might be willing to change his approach. In fact, the Terps are running a special on Comcast SportsNet called “The Proving Ground” before tonight’s game.
I hope Kim and Mosley show Gary that freshmen can contribute right away. In today’s college basketball, there is no time for “rebuilding”. Talented players generally don’t stay with the program for four years. Williams needs to start winning with the talent he has each year.