Posts Tagged ‘Gary Williams

05
Nov
09

Know your rotation guys: Adrian Bowie

(For the previous installment of Know Your Rotation Guys, click here.)

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If Gary Williams wants to start a small lineup, Adrian Bowie could be a starter. However, just for fun let’s slot him to the rotation area for now.

When I think about Adrian Bowie, I think about X factor. When he’s on, the team seems to fire on all cylinders. He’s got charisma out there on the court — when he’s got the ball, people seem to sit up a little straighter. Eric Hayes is great, but his game isn’t to score…any substantial points from him are gravy and that’s just the way it is. So to prevent Vasquez from trying (and, sorry to say, often failing) to go 1 on 2 every possession, we need another scoring option. Sean Mosely is emerging in this area, but Gosh willing, Adrian Bowie will provide that option for us as well.

With Bowie’s great quickness and athleticism, it’s relatively easy for him to slash to the hoop and to defend other guards in the conference. I’d go so far as to say he’s the only pure slasher on the team (with Vasquez being more of a “pure scorer”). His weakness has always been the shooting. In the team’s exhibition victory over IUP early this week, he had an efficient and encouraging effort, getting 8 points on 3-6 shooting to go with 6 assists, 2 boards, 3 steals, and no turnovers. That’s called stuffing the stat sheet. He missed both of his three attempts, though.

After training hard over the summer with Cliff Tucker and Dino Gregory, he feels his all-around game is more efficient and just better. To sweeten the deal even further, Bowie bleeds Maryland red, black, white, and gold. Seriously, it’s disgusting, I’ve seen it. Bowie literally grew up washing Walt Williams’ socks as a Terps ballboy.

Last season, he averaged 18 mpg and 6 points. I see those and all his other numbers going up. He came on late last year and showed some poise under pressure, scoring in double figures in each of their last three games, including a 12 and 7 in the tournament win over Cal. The season is ultimately going to come down to Vasquez and the bigs. Everyone knows that. But every good team needs an X factor, a do-it-all guy. That’s Adrian Bowie.

(Photo credit: Christopher Blunck/Inside Maryland Sports)

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?

03
Nov
09

Know your rotation guys: Jin Soo Choi

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

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By now, many fans know the legend of Korean Jin Soon Choi.  Unless, of course, you live in North Korea. Or inside a burlap sack.  A  beautiful, glorious burlap sack.  Either way.

He is the artist formerly known as Jin Soo Kim.  He is the first Korean to play in Division I and in the NCAA tournament.  And he is probably the most celebrated and enigmatic non-Vasquez personality on the Maryland basketball team.

The 6’8″ Choi, who spent some of the offseason playing for Korea in the FIBA Asia championship (they finished seventh), committed to Maryland in 2007 after Gary Williams watched one workout and made him an offer on the spot. Choi once allegedly hit 17 of 20 threes in a workout, and has drawn comparisions to Reggie Miller and Dirk Nowitzki (the latter from Williams himself).  He’s quick for his size and has good handle, but his big weapon is that long-distance stroke. The Terps haven’t had a money-in-the-bank perimeter shooter since Drew Nicholas (or maybe Mike Jones, if you’re feeling charitable), and this squad, so heavy on penetrators, could use a sniper to loosen up opposing defenses.

Jin Soo has basically been a folk hero at Maryland since he first set foot on the court. The big blue ox he rides around the campus also helps, as does his willingness to challenge any machine who would seek to supplant the works of man. Whenever Choi got into a game last season, the crowd went wild.  He blocked a shot once and I thought Comcast Center was going to shoot into orbit.  Unfortunately, though, his stats aren’t quite as eye-catching as his back story; in 6.5 mpg last year, Choi shot 24 percent from three and 29 percent overall.  This year, in the team’s second scrimmage, he netted two boards and zero points on 0-6 shooting in 32 minutes, prompting Gary Williams to opine thusly:

It’s got to be more than a jump shot…it’s got to be a complete game. You have to bust your butt on the defensive end of the court. You have to be a good passer at that three position that he’s playing right now.

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So basically, the guy camps out behind the three-point line and that’s about it.  With so many guys having a legit shot at PT this year, especially in the wing spots, that’s just not gonna get er done.  He did a little better in the first scrimmage — 3-10 for 10 points, five boards, two steals — but still not setting the world on fire.

Now, clearly, Choi’s case is more complicated than others.  He moved to the U.S. when he was 14, and has a lot to overcome. His English remains limited, and he calls academics his biggest challenge so far in the states.  He does have family nearby, including a brother who graduated from Maryland in 1999, but I can only imagine that this continues to be a huge transition, on and off the court. Off the court is self-explanatory. On the court, he simply seems uncomfortable against D-1’s stronger, tougher players, none of whom look like, act like, or, uh, share any discernible cultural attributes with him. 

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This adjustment could take years, if it ever happens. Fortunately, on the court, there may be a relatively easy solution. Choi needs to bulk up.  A lot.  He needs to be, like, frying Snicker’s bars in bacon grease.  Gary should hire a nagging Jewish mother to follow him around:  “Jin Soo, eat something!  Why don’t you take a little bread with that?  You’re skin and bones!”   A little more mass would give him confidence and reduce his getting-pushed-around quotient.  Choi apparently has added muscle and is up into the 200 lb. range, but he’s gotta keep it up.  No one expects Charles Barkley, but when you’re 6’8″ and you’re gonna play the three, you can’t be all reedy like that.

I think coaching also plays a large role for Choi.  Hopefully they’re helping him with more than just learning the offense or explaining the definition of “pick and roll.” There’s psychology at work here.  Hopefully they’re helping Choi feel more included and comfortable around his teammates, which ultimately translates into more confidence in the face of his opponents.  It’s not that Choi plays scared.  It’s just that when you grew up on the other side of the world, anything that can help you feel more at home is gonna be welcome.  I know I’m not saying anything the coaching staff doesn’t already know.

Bottom line:  if we can develop him in a meaningful way, we’ve got a player. Otherwise, he’s in danger of becoming a sideline novelty.

(Photo credit: UMTerps.com)

30
Oct
09

In both preseason polls, Maryland in a rankings sweet spot

The AP and ESPN/coaches preseason polls are both out. Maryland tops the “other schools receiving votes” category in each, meaning they’re the consensus #26 team heading into the season.

Most teams and coaches go to great lengths to make clear how little these polls mean to them. Methink they doth protest too much, in fact. And that’s another reason why Gary Williams is so great. He tracks the polls and he’s not afraid to show it. Gary is also delightfully shameless when it comes to playing the “no one respects us” card with his players. This ranking serves up that option on a silver platter for the Terps, while at the same time quietly placating Gary. At least a little. In other words, he can play the “no one respects us” card without having to worry about whether it’s actually true. I likey.

19
Oct
09

Maryland Madness: A recap in pictures…that I took from my TV

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As the football team gets increasingly left for dead, more and more Terp fans are turning to basketball to soothe their wounded pride.  And after Maryland Madness last weekend, the hoops season is officially underway. The men’s team isn’t getting a ton of respect in the preseason polls, but that’s OK. We’re a better team when we’re undervalued. The women’s team is full of freshmen but are expected to be relatively solid.

Based on the limited knowledge you get from Maryland Madness, both teams looked fine. I watched the coverage on TV, and here are some photographic highlights.
 
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Freshman crop of women’s talent was introduced.
 
IMG_2185 Senior Emery Wallace, who is out for the season with injury, did a lengthy sideline interview anyway.  For some reason.   Good evening, Emery. 

 

IMG_2199Sorry, Jerome.  Nice of the team to give him a spot on the strength and conditioning staff.  He’s a kinesiology major, so this would be a nice feather in his professional cap. 

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And now……the head coach of YOUR Maryland Terrapins….oh oh oh OH oh…

  
IMG_2213He got all teary during his speech…he really seems to expect big things this year.

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Surprise! Vasquez took the mike. “You’ve all gotta support us no matter what, OK” he said. No, Vasquez. I will agree to no such thing.

17
Jun
09

thank goodness for greivis

“I love him,” Williams said yesterday as he sat at the conference table in his office at Maryland.

“I love Coach,” Vasquez says often.

Mike Wise, Washington Post, 6/17/09

And I love both of those guys.

All I have to say is thank goodness for Greivis.  For all his trash talking and middle fingering, Vasquez is the heart and soul of the Terrapins, not to mention that he’s also most of their offense.  I breathed a sigh of relief yesterday when Vasquez withdrew his name from the NBA Draft.  It would have been a shame for him to go undrafted and lose his eligibility, stranding the Terps without a leader and with a big hole in the back court.

In his column, Wise alluded to the fact that Vasquez will use this draft snub as motivation to run faster and jump higher.  I disagree with that assessment.  Greivis is the one guy that doesn’t have room for more motivation.  Whether you love or hate him, you can’t question this guy’s drive.  He literally willed the team into the tournament last year.

As for the reports that the Terps have given up on Lance Stephenson, I say good riddance.  I’m sure he’s as talented as everyone says he is, and I admit that I’ve written in the past that he could have been the missing link for a deep tournament run this year.  But let’s face it, the kid would have brought the circus to town.  The last time I wrote about Stephenson I hadn’t realized that he stood accused of sexual assault.  Maryland is first and foremost a respected academic institution.  Would the school want to bring in a kid that stands accused of sexual assault to be the face of the program?  No.  Leave that to the Memphises and Floridas of the world.  It seemed clear that Williams and Stephenson would have been oil and water.  No matter how talented he is, one year with Stephenson could have done more damage than good.

Like last year, the Terps will be coming into this season with front court auditions and holes in the rotation.  Unlike last year, the Terps will come into this year knowing they have a guy that can lead the team to the tournament.  If the rest of the team works as hard as Greivis does, then there’s hope they can make a legitimate run at the ACC.

02
Apr
09

Lance, I want you to let down your defenses

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Gary Williams: Hi, Lance. Hey, thanks again for agreeing to meet me here.

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Lance Stephenson:  Sure. Hey, coach, I just want to say I’m sorry…you know, for putting you through all this. It’s just that…I’m just very confused right now.

Gary: I know you are, Lance. And that’s okay. I’m not mad. You know I would never pressure you.  That’s the last thing I would ever do.

Lance: You have no idea what it means to me to hear you say that.  Because, you know, one day, you feel so sure of yourself.  Everything was, you know, set up. Life was finally — finally! — coming together for me. And then I saw you in the stands the other night, and, well, all the old feelings just came rushing back.

Gary: When you say it was all coming together — you mean Kansas, right? You were going to go to Kansas?

Lance (looks down demurely): Yes. Yes, Gary. I won’t lie to you. I was going to go to Kansas. But then you were there! In the stands! I…everything just unraveled.

Gary: And that’s okay, Lance. It’s okay to have these feelings. Hey, I know a lot of schools are interested in you. Who wouldn’t be? You’re an amazing guy, Lance. You’re a 6’5″ guard with huge ups and a perimeter game to boot. You can get into the lane whenever you want. Does it hurt me to see these other schools wooing you? Sure, it hurts. Of course it hurts. I’m a human being, after all. Never forget that. But even so, despite all that, I want you to know, Lance…that I’m here for you. I’ll always wait. You know what’s been going on with me lately. I just haven’t been right. Don’t you see that you’re my big chance to turn it all around? You could be the one who saves me, Lance. I see myself complete in your eyes.

Lance: Wow, coach. I mean…wow. Hearing you talk like that, well, it makes me want to sign a letter of intent right here, on this table. But then I look at your team, and I see…I see…

Gary: What is it, Lance. You can tell me anything.

Lance: I just can’t stop myself from thinking about Greivis.

Gary: What? Greivis Vasquez?

Lance: Yes, coach. You know what Greivis I’m talkin about. Don’t insult my intelligence. Don’t you do that to me, Gary!

Gary: Okay, no, you’re right. I’m sorry. Yes, he does play the same position as you. And he’s a senior next year. So maybe playing time will be limited for you. At least the first season.

Lance: But what if I’m only there for one season? I have my future to think about, too. Everyone keeps telling me I’m a lottery pick, that I could be a lottery pick right now if the rules allowed it. So I can’t make you any promises beyond one season.

Gary: And I know that, Lance, I really do. I swear on my mother’s grave.

Lance: Don’t swear on your mama’s grave, Gary.

Gary: Okay, sorry, you’re right again. You’re always right, Lance.

Lance: I don’t care for swearing…especially about nobody’s mama.

Gary: Right. So I know you could go after one season. I know it. And that’s okay. Did I ever say you had to commit to me for more than one season?

Lance: Well…

Gary: Come on. Did I?

Lance: No, Gary. You didn’t.

Gary: Right. And that’s the kind of guy I am. I don’t know what Bill Self told you, or what the St. John’s guy told you, but I do know what I told you. And what I can promise you. And I can promise you this: if you come to Maryland, we will make it work. We’re gonna make beautiful music together, Lance. Just you wait and see.

Lance: I want to believe you, Gary. It’s just…I just need….I just need a little more time.

Gary: Fine, Lance. Take all the time you need. Late signing period is April 15 to May 20. Take all the damn time you need.

Lance: Don’t swear at me!

Gary: Waiter! Double chivas on the rocks, please!




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