Well, it's official. After losing to some mid-major team Saturday in the first round of the NIT (ugh), the Terrapin men's basketball season is over. In watching the game, it was clear the team gave up following the out-again, in-again debacle with the NIT. Even Gary Williams wasn't himself, often standing silent during timeouts. The players - even those in their final college game - looked on disinterestedly, champing at their gum like lazy cattle as they were carved up before a half-full-at-best Comcast Center.
Having chronicled the many problems with this team in general and its senior "leaders" in particular, and not wishing to further beat that already gluey horse, I thought I'd take a second to look ahead to next season. What's in store for this program as it tries to forget these last two seasons (shock therapy, perhaps) and return to prominence?
According to Rivals.com, Maryland has the nation's 18th-best recruiting class for 2006, including a much-needed point guard in Eric Hayes, shooting guard Greivis Vasquez, and Landon Milbourne, who looks like another Gist/Ibekwe type. Not too shabby, but no murderers' row either, especially when considering Rivals.com ranks UNC, Georgia Tech, Duke, and Florida State's classes above ours, with Wake only one spot below. Is it just me, or do we need to step up the recruiting? I know it's tough to predict future success based on high school (as the 2001 class demonstrated), but I can't escape the feeling we're being lapped.
I'm especially curious about local recruits. Shouldn't Maryland draw interest from every single DC/Baltimore player of consequence? Why doesn't it? Case in point: Rockville's Kevin Durant, considered the nation's #2 high-schooler behind only phenom Greg Oden. Durant didn't even show verbal interest in Maryland. And this seems all too common. (Carmelo Anthony, Rudy Gay, and Roy Hibbert come to mind from recent years.) I know Gary likes projects, but couldn't we land a real, honest-to-goodness blue chip every now and then, especially if he plays in our backyard?
At least we're getting some fresh blood to add to our decent returning nucleus. Color me cautiously pessimistic, until the new class shows whether it can handle the rigors. Here's hoping we get it turned around. Until next year...Go Terps!
Link to Rivals.com story
Maryland Basketball, Sports, College Basketball