Posts Tagged ‘James Padgett

11
Nov
09

Know Your Starters: James Padgett

(Aw, stuff. Now it’s getting serious. To delve into the rotation players and the benchwarmers, begin here.)

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So, here we are. By process of elimination, the starting center for your Maryland Terrapins is James Padgett! Dude, did you know he’s from Brooklyn OMG he’s from Brooklyn that’s in New York City dude!

I always love it when I can figure something out by process of elimination. Nine out of 10 baby mamas agree: it’s just a solid way of handling your business.

But in any case, that’s where we find ourselves. Jordan Williams is too green, Steve Goins is too injured, Dino Gregory is too suspended. But you know? I don’t mind. I’ll go to war with James Padgett. At 6’7″ and 210, he’s not the biggest dude in the world, and he could stand to get stronger, but he’s still tough in there. He played nervous in the preseason, although I think he got that out of his system. We’ll see on Friday, of course.

The pleasant surprise with Padgett is that he has moves. Imagine that — a big guy who has hands! Footwork! An offensive game! The biggest part of his game, though, is dirty work. He’s Windex on the glass, and you know what? I heard we have some other shooters on the team who are not shy with the chucking. Padgett could fit perfectly in that regard. At Lincoln High School (did you know that’s in Brooklyn?!?!?!) he played Robin to Lance Stephenson’s Batman, so he’s fine with that unsung role. And hey, he got enough singing even in the unsung role to get to Maryland, so he’s gotta be good at it. He’s also very beardy, so he has that going for him.

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What? There can't be TWO James Padgetts.

I think he’s eventually gonna take a more complementary role to Gregory, maybe Goins, and, eventually, Williams, but for now he seems to be the man. I’m thinking at least 20 a game at the outset, probably average a 5 and 7 or something like that. Nice.

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)

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
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.

25
Aug
09

Basketball schedule released, me want to talk hoops

Anyone interested in talking basketball great me too. As long as the words “Tobias Harris” don’t appear then I’m good (seriously…we’re not getting him…plus, am I the only one who thinks of Mortal Kombat when he hears the name Tobias? I’m a weird guy.)

Right, basketball. So on the heels of the college b-ball schedule release (check out Maryland’s here — note Villanova, Duke twice, and a possible showdown with Lance Stephenson’s Bearcats on Nov. 24) ESPN puts out a nice little ACC primer/preview today. I was starting to get a little agitated as I read through — no mention of the Terps anywhere! Sean Mosely was listed as the ninth out of 10 “key players” in the conference, and when we get down to the “10 Freshmen We Can’t Wait To See” section, nary a Jordan or James mention to be found! That’s bullcrap, dude. You know what freshman I can’t wait to see, ESPN? Your mama. Your big, stupid, sweatstained, bus-pass-having mama.

But then, what do I see on the righthand side but Jay Bilas’ rankings. And guess who he’s got number three? Let’s take a read:

The Terps had a very good season, but will be better with some bulk and talent inside. Greivis Vasquez is one of the best guards in the country, but his emotional play seems to get more press than his skills. Vasquez is a complete player whom I believe is underrated. Add James Padgett and Jordan Williams to returnees Dino Gregory and Jerome Burney, and Maryland is not playing shorthanded in the paint this year. And no team will outwork this bunch. The Terps should be back to Garyland’s expected standards this season.

Not bad, Jay. You know, for a Dookie. Color me placated.

24
Mar
09

Beeramids and chicken salad: The Maryland basketball 2008-2009 year in review

Here’s a funny story. I was at a friend’s house in Baltimore County over the weekend, a few hours before the Memphis game, and there was another guy there who was wearing a Maryland sweatshirt. We had the following exchange:

— Guy: Terps playing today?
— Me: Yes.
— Guy: But wait a second. I thought you could only lose once.
— Me: Yeah, that’s right. Maryland won their first game.
— Guy: Naw, man. They lost to Duke, remember?
— Me: That was the ACC tournament.
— Guy: Huh.
(Guy pauses for a few seconds)
— Guy: The ACC tournament, though, is the big one.
— Me:  Well.  How do you mean?
— Guy: That one’s got Duke AND North Carolina in it. So that’s the biggest tournament.
— Me: Well, this one has both those teams in it, too. And it’s for the national championship. The ACC tournament is only for the ACC championship.
— Guy: So then, the ACC one is more important, right?
— Me: (Looking around for ejector seat button)

That’s really not appropos of anything, except maybe a reminder that some fans, probably including me, just take all this way too seriously. There’s always the guy out there who just likes to wear the sweatshirts. So good for you, Guy.  If you’re reading…..you’re not reading.

Anyway, so as you may be aware here a full four days after the fact, the Terps did lose to Memphis 89-70 in the second round of what is, in my humble opinion, the most important of the college basketball tournaments. So now, it is only natural to ponder the season that was. Allow me to stroke my chin ponderously while gazing at an indeterminant point on the wall of my office.

Here’s my bottom line on the season: the 2008-2009 Terps made chicken salad out of some serious chicken shit. Really, think about all the chicken shit that got shoveled their way this season — bad losses, more bad losses, one historically bad loss, one Washington Post expose on their coach, a steady torrent of recruiting questions, and a public catfight with the athletic department. Oh, and let’s not forget the walking triple-double-slash-smackdown-episode-slash-reporter’s-wet-dream that is Mister Greivis Vasquez.

When it’s all listed out like that, you can see how much chicken shit it really is. That’s enough chicken shit to warm your house for seven winters. But that’s what makes this season so great. Gary circled the wagons, dug the bunker, and whatever other cliche you want to use to get them into his patented underdog mentality. It wasn’t what I would call a magnificent stretch run, but they slew just enough giants to reach the tournament and the 20-win plateau, and even won a game in the postseason.

But at the same time, I feel like we weren’t far away from eating a bunch of chicken shit sandwiches. If we could go back in a time machine and redo this season 10 more times, they probably would miss the tournament seven or eight of the times. And that is discomfiting.  I am discomfitted by that.  It’s like back in college when you finally get that Beeramid to stand on its own in all its magnifience, but it’s two in the morning, and everyone’s all hammered and stumbly wumbly, and that is one shaky Beeramid, so everyone just snaps a quick cellphone picture and slowly backs away before it all comes tumbling down.

But you know what?  That’s okay, to a point.  Drama is part of the fun of sports.  But on the other hand, I think we can stand to take another look at the Beeramid in the sober light of the morning. I think that bad boy could use a little buttressing. Some fair questions need to be asked. One of those questions is about the questions themselves. When did being a fan and being a critic become mutually exclusive? I’m tired of anyone who questions or criticizes the Terps getting torn down for not being “a true fan,” or being “a Gary hater,” or having some kind of hidden agenda, as if there’s a bunch of archvillains out there who went through four years of journalism school just so they could finally have their chance at tearing down the University of Maryland basketball team. Come on. The Terps have to address their recruiting problems. If they get tired of hearing that, they should do something to address the issue…and the good news is, it seems like maybe they are, so that’s good. And sorry all you lockstep Gary jingoists, but his coaching has been uneven these past few years.  It just has.  Please consult the records.  Players have come and gone, but the roller coaster ride continues. Wild underachievement, followed by wild overachievement, lather, rinse, repeat. His teams often seem too high-strung, especially in crunch time. Lately, he hasn’t always gotten the most out of his players, especially the bigger guys (Caner-Medley, Garrison, Holden, Gist, Ibekwe, Osby, Bowers, Mardesich, Fofana, Dupree, Burney). He’s a great in-game coach, especially against the Carolinas of the world, but where is that great in-game coaching against the Morgan States and Clemsons of the world? How good is it in March if you can’t also bring it in January? How good are your motivational skills if your team’s back has to apparently be against the wall in order for your messages to be effective?

These are all fair questions. And just to be clear, I love Gary. He’s my coach. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. But you know what? It’s fair to ask these questions of a program and coach that want so badly to be considered among the sport’s perennial elite. With high achievement comes high expectations and high standards. I don’t think people should object to fair questions like these. That said, I really liked what East Coast Bias had to say about Gary recently. Gary is Maryland and Maryland is Gary. When he pumps his fist toward the student section, that is nothing but good, old-fashioned solidarity. It’s downright freaking inspiring. It’s the effortless leadership that shows through in the way he coaxed and prodded this group to a successful season. Imagine what can be done if the team is suddenly willing and able to apply his lessons consistently.

Next season could be big. It looks like vaunted recruit Lance Stephenson is leaning toward Kansas, but they’ve still got bigs Jordan Williams and James Padgett all saddled up and ready to (hopefully) ride to the rescue in the frontcourt. Vasquez is testing the NBA waters, but honestly my gut says he’ll be back. Hayes and Milbourne will be senior leaders. Bowie, Mosely, Tucker, Burney, Goins and, of course, the intriguing Jin Soon Kim will all be a year older. Suddenly, a fairly young and shallow squad could be fairly experienced and deep. If we can put it all together, we could go a long way.

It just sucks that I have to wait seven months to see. In the meantime, I’ll savor this basketball season for a while. Questions abound, as they always do, but in the end, it was actually a pretty special year. I’ll remember this group for being scrappy and for never doing things the easy way, always insisting on snatching something from the jaws of something else. But no matter. They got it done, and congrats to them.  Pass the chicken salad.

23
Oct
08

Jordan Williams says he’ll play for Terps

Good news on the basketball recruiting trail. For a change.

It looks like coveted big man Jordan Williams has committed to the Terps.  If everything goes according to plan — and lately, that’s a BIG if for us when it comes to recruiting — the 6’9″ Connecticut product will join next season’s frontcourt as a freshman along with James Padgett. Williams is ranked 16th and Padgett 21st in Scout.com’s national rankings for 2009 centers.

Williams seems to have a good head on his shoulders, but given the team’s recent run of bad fortune, bad apples, and seeming inability to close the deal with recruits, perhaps you’ll forgive me if I hold off on popping the bubbly. But no matter how you slice it, it’s a welcome piece of good news. Goterps.




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