Posts Tagged ‘Dino Gregory

11
Nov
09

Know Your Rotation Guys: Jordan Williams

(Oh, crap. Only three days til basketball season. An out-of-town conference put me behind the 8 ball, so I gotta step this up. Read the previous Rotation Guys post here.)

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I’m going to do something crazy and put the “bottom line” summary at the top. I know it’s crazy someone bring me my meds omg.

Anyway, here goes: Jordan Williams could end up being the best out of Maryland’s four current big men, but as of now, he’s probably the worst. However, he is also their second-least injured and/or ineligible post man, so he’ll get plenty of run. That pretty much sums it up.

Assuming Dino Gregory does in fact get an extended suspension, Williams is probably gonna be one of the first, if not the first, guy off the bench. (Either him or Bowie is my guess.)

The 6’10”, 260 pound J-Will — can I call you J-Will? — is well-known to Terp fans. He’s a freshman from Torrington, Connecticut. Our first legit center prospect since, what, Mike Mardesich? Ryan Randle? He captured a lot of peoples’ attention — including mine — in a grainy YouTube video, in which the opposing crowd chanted “What’s a Terp?”, to which Williams responded by sprinkling their court with shards of backboard glass. Please allow me to post that video for the eleventy hundreth time. Nice.

So the guy is strong. The guy is tall. The guy is tough in the paint. He defends the rim. He can dunk, and, unlike some of our other recent big men, he seems to have no reservations about doing so. What’s the downside? As of now, the downside is that he’s mainly upside. He’s got a high ceiling, but he doesn’t seem especially close to it. There are concerns about a general lack of college-level athleticism, and the fact that he’s not shredded like Mr. Olympia.  I think, to some extent, that will resolve itself as he plays his way into top shape. His somewhat limited offensive arsenal is a larger question mark. (Padgett is probably ahead of him in both these areas, hence the reason why he’ll probably get the starting nod.) Here’s an interesting and promising nugget on his offense, though: he is silky smooth from the charity stripe. He went 5-6 against IUP, so that bodes well for his future development as well as this season, in which I’m guessing he’s gonna get hacked a lot.

Bottom line: probably 15-17 minutes a game for Williams out of the box. As previously mentioned, early part of the schedule, if Dino is suspended, could be good seasoning time for Jordan. I’m high on this guy. Once he gets into the swing of things, I think he’s gonna be a player for us, and I see that happening sooner rather than later.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

10
Nov
09

Know Your Rotation Guys: Dino Gregory

(The miniseries continues. Read the previous installment here.)

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I can’t wait for the Dino Gregory era down low.  Sure, he wasn’t a world beater last year, but he came on late and worked hard on his game over the summer.  What’s not to like? 

Suspen-what?  OHHHHHHHHHHH.  The sus-PENNNNN-sionnnnn.

Right, right, right, right, right.

Well, that puts a bit of a damper on the expectations now, doesn’t it?   So as we wait, and wait, on news (and the season starts Friday, so it can’t be THAT much longer), I am of two minds on this.

On the one hand, it’s unfortunate. Duh.  I wasn’t really buying all this talk that he had become some kind of offensive force in the offseason (although I’m sure he improved somewhat), but even so he was the consummate puzzle piece for the team.  He was all hustle, all heart, all dirty work.  No glory, no nothing.  When you’ve got the piercing electric guitar that is Greivis Vasquez, you need a bass player to round out the sound.  Dino has shown he can do that.  He could be the Bobby Dahl to Vasquez’s C.C. Deville.  So in that sense, his missing time (if, in fact, he does) is unfortunate.

But on the bright side, it’ll give the young bucks some seasoning time.   Worst case scenario on Gregory seems to be that he’ll miss the fall semester, returning in December.  So he’ll miss some big games (Cincinnati, Villanova, Indiana, etc.), but won’t miss a second of ACC action.  So hopefully, this gives Padgett a chance to hone his game, and Jordan Williams a chance to play his way into top shape, and suddenly we’re a frontcourt to be reckoned with when we open against Florida State.  I predict Mike Gminski repeatedly saying things like “these young guys aren’t freshmen anymore,” and so on.

So maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, especially if Dino really did work on his game that much over the offseason, and if he stays in shape during the extended suspension that I presume is forthcoming. In the meantime, I’ll slot him in as a rotation guy.

04
Nov
09

Unstoppable Starts Here! Dino Gregory Could Be Latest Ineligible Terp

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Listening to the Terps’ 75-54 exhibition win last night over the mighty Crimson Hawks of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, you never would have guessed that Maryland had, or ever had, anyone on their roster named Dino Gregory.  And that’s noteworthy why, you ask?  Quit bothering you with this stupid exhibition bullcrap, you say? Well, hold on to your hats; this is curious because the Terps do have someone who goes by that name. Look, here he is. And what’s more, he was supposedly the team’s fifth starter entering the season.

So why did Gregory not only not play, but have his very existence expunged from the broadcast as if he were a “Fire Snyder” sign at a Redskins tailgate? Well, now we have our answer. Actually, some people were informed minutes before the game. But I was not. For I have no access, you see.

But now that I’m informed and fully awake, I’m going to be serious for a second here.  Gregory was suspended and barred from Comcast Center last night because of some previous team violations (alleged to be academic misconduct) that have yet to be resolved. The school isn’t commenting, citing privacy rules. This is not boding well. This could mean significant lost time for Dino.

If Gregory does miss real games, it would not be the first time for a Maryland athlete. Maryland QB Josh Portis was caught cheating, had to sit out the 2007 season, and never recovered. He transferred. And of course, in January 2006, Maryland guard Chris McCray was deemed ineligible for the rest of his senior season. This wasn’t some reserve who dropped off the radar; this was a big gaffe. He was the team’s leading scorer and they ended up missing the tournament. Earlier this year, the artist formerly known as Jin Soo Kim was declared academically ineligible before being reinstated a few days later.

This is to say nothing of the Tyree Evans or Gus Gilchrist eligibility fiascoes.

McCray, Kim/Choi, Evans, Gilchrist, Portis, and maybe Gregory. That’s a decent team right there.

I never had the feeling Maryland players and programs weren’t taking school seriously. (Although graduation stats are pretty poor, they’re improving and potentially misleading. But that’s another post.) But it seems fair to ask whether there is a disconnect somewhere. Isn’t someone accountable for making sure players know the rules and get their butts to class? It seems like someone keeps dropping the ball when it comes to making sure players understand expectations (and consequences). And it seems like this stuff happens at Maryland more than other schools. Is that just me? Either way, how many more times do players need to lose eligibility because of some ultimately silly mistake before we stop shooting ourselves in the foot?

02
Nov
09

Know Your Rotation Guys: Cliff Tucker

(Hello, and welcome to “Know Your Rotation Guys.” It’s a hybrid offspring of our previous series “Know Your Benchwarmers,” which can be found here. No further explanation needed, I imagine.)

Tucker

I kind of think about Cliff Tucker as the invisible man in the Terps’ rotation. I also like to refer to him as the guy that was caught laughing on the sidelines with Braxbum Dupree at the end of a loss last year.

Tucker averaged 12 minutes a game last season in his sophomore campaign, and with Sean Mosely and Adrian Bowie (not to mention Vasquez et al) really coming on at the end of last season (and with Mosely emerging in the offseason as the Terps’ next offensive option behind the seniors), I don’t really see that number going up. He could get a little time in the post, but again, I don’t think Tucker, at 6’6″, would be in line for that over Milbourne, Jordan Williams, Gregory, and Padgett.  Gary Williams has hinted he’ll play three or even four guards at once.  So that’s my guess as to Tucker’s role this season.  He’s the “we’re gonna go small now” sub-in.

Tucker had some big games last season. He also had some bed-crappers. His two biggest games, both statistically and psychologically, were the 18 and 22 points he got against UNC last year. But in the Jan. 24 Duke debacle, he played 17 minutes but only scored two points on one shot. In the March 13 Wake Forest win, he played 12 minutes but only scored 2 points on 1-3 shooting. So yeah…he really was invisible at times.

And there are the character questions. Aside from the laughing incident, which caused a minor stir on the blogosphere, there was the DNP-coaches decision that he sustained against Miami, after which he (and his mother!) complained to the media about his utilization on the team. There were accusations that Tucker wasn’t giving it 100 percent, and wasn’t getting it when it came to the program and its objectives.

Throughout the season, his minutes were all over the place, ranging from 1 to 29. Obviously that’s not all his fault, but it does speak to the inconsistency of both his performance and his role last year.

As for this season, Tucker worked hard on his game over the summer. Along with Bowie and Gregory, Tucker attended a special camp to improve his ball-handling with Pro Hoops Founder Jay Hernandez. No word on whether they shared spiced meats in the hot TUB. (Sorry, archaic SNL reference.) They emphasized his ball control while running at full speed, as well as his “confidence” as it relates to “taking guys off the dribble.” This all hints at the way he anticipates being used — as part of a smaller, quicker, run-and-gun lineup.

In a way, Tucker mirrored the team last year. Capable of greatness and gret underacheivement. Gifted but tempermental. No floor, no ceiling. Roller coaster. And so on. But if he can get a more solid role within this small ball lineup, that should have a stabilizing force on him and the team. We shall see.

(Photo credit: MEAC/SWAC Sports Main Street)

29
Oct
09

Know Your Benchwarmers: Steve Goins

(Welcome back….to “Know Your Benchwarmers.” This is the third in a series designed to get you acquainted with your 2009-2010 Maryland Terrapin ballers. I’m starting with the reserves so that you, the reader, can make an informed decision on who to root for in garbage time. Read the previous installment here.)

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Of all the reserves we’ve highlighted so far, Steve Goins is easily the most well-known. And with good reason. When you’re 6’10”, there’s no hiding. In his freshman season last year, Goins saw action in four games, averaging three minutes of PT per game. During that time, he pulled down four rebounds and scored two points (*coughuhthatstotalcoughcough*). So that’s good! Great job, Steve.

Here’s the downside with Goins. In a team last year that played Big Dave Neal at center, it’s a bit of a head scratcher as to why Goins couldn’t seize the moment. Hey, I love Big Dave Neal as much as the next guy, but we all know his physical capabilities were limited. He was listed as 6’7″, but that measurement must have been taken either right after Big Dave woke up, or while someone was still actively dreaming. Following last season, Goins announced he was going to transfer, only to change his mind at the last minute.

Now, here’s the upside. After returning to Maryland, Goins apparently promised to raise his game. With the transfer of Braxbum Dupree and Jerome Burney’s unfortunate career-ending injury, the path to PT could be a lot clearer for Goins. He had surgery over the offseason and is working his way back into shape on the court. He had a tweak of the knee during a scrimmage a few days ago but it doesn’t seem terribly serious, and he got eight points and seven boards during the game, which is more than what Jordan Williams got.

(UPDATE: So I guess the injury did turn out to be fairly serious. Consider the rest of this post contingent upon Goins’ recovery. Hey, thank you so much.)

Now obviously, Williams, Dino Gregory (tentatively scheduled to start at center, we’ll see if that holds up), and James Padgett are expected to get the bulk of the work in the low post this season, and rightfully so, but Goins could be valuable depth. Six-ten doesn’t grow on trees after all.

Overall, the book on Goins is the same as it was when he first came to Maryland: he’s a late bloomer. He’s a project. He’s raw. He didn’t start playing until his freshman year of high school and wasn’t really recruited until his junior year — a pretty glaring fact considering that scouts these days are following large women into the delivery room. In terms of his game, it’s the same story that other Maryland big guys have had (see Braxbum, Mardesich, Garrison, etc.) — i.e., he’s got a nice touch for a big man but isn’t especially tough or athletic. But his supporters insist he can be a player, and he seems like a nice enough guy. Any fan of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is good in my book. Now if he can just take the smoothness and mix in a little ruggedness, that’ll be two good tastes that go great together.

(Photo credit: UMTerps.com)

19
Mar
09

NCAA first round: Vasquez and Maryland upset Cal, 84-71

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YEAH TERPS! What a game! This reminded me of the Michigan State win from earlier this year. Diving after loose balls, everything going in the basket. Everything was clicking.

This was a pretty evenly contest game until a HUGE swing at around the 10:30 mark of the second half. With the Terps nursing a two-point lead, Vasquez finds a wide-open Eric Hayes in the corner for a three. Cal didn’t convert on its possession, Hayes tracked down a rebound, and Dino Gregory (who played a great game) sent a touch pass to Landon Milbourne for another three. In the span of about 25 seconds, the lead went from two to eight. In total, it was a 9-0 run over 1:54.

In the last 10 minutes, Cal just couldn’t get anything consistent going. Interesting that they didn’t foul in the closing minutes. They just knew it was Maryland’s day. The Terps were unquestionably the better team today.

Play of the game came at the seven minute mark after Bowie missed a free throw and a scrum ensued. Bowie picked it up and, using the eyes in the back of his head, found Vasquez alone under the basket for an And-1. That was when everyone — both teams, both coaches, everyone — seemed to realize that it was all coming up Maryland. Vasquez was clearly the MVP, with a 27-6-2. Jesus. He has grown a ton over the last month or so.

The whole Terps team is peaking. Right now. What can they do against Memphis? Memphis looks to be tough right now as well, although they struggled a little against Cal Northridge in the first round.

First half recap of Terps win is below and here, if you’re interested.

Memphis up next on Saturday. We’ll be out of town, though, and won’t be blogging right after. Sorry, Mom.

GO TERPS!

(photo credit: Reinhold Matay — Associated Press)

13
Mar
09

Yeeee-haaaaaa!!!!!!!!

With no regular player over 6′ 7″, the Maryland Terrapins beat Wake Forest 75-64 tonight to all but assure themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament.

That was a fun sentence to type.  THEY DID IT!  MARYLAND’S GOING TO THE DANCE BABYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had my doubts, but they got it done.  It was a solid 40-minute effort and they didn’t fold under pressure.  Vasquez that crazy guy I love to hate, he came through.  As did Sean freaking Mosely (his block to force that Wake shot clock violation in the early second half was my play of the game), Big Dave Neal, Dino Gregory, Eric Hayes, everybody.  And how about that zone?  They shut down Teague and frustrated the bigs.  Great win.  Great win.  THEY’RE GOING DANCING!!!!!!

I think I’ll let the pictures take over now.  I’M GOING STREAKIIINNNNG!!!!!!!!!!!

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