|Maryland 2005 Season Review|
|Written by Chris Diionno|
|Wednesday, 27 April 2005 12:15|
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Have you ever watched a game with your team, and then see one play or a sequence of events that makes you say, “Yep, that about sums up the season.”? For the Maryland Terrapins basketball team, the play that made me mutter the above phrase came with about eight seconds left against North Carolina in Maryland’s last home game of the year. Down by two with the ball, Mike Jones curled around a pick, caught the inbounds pass and drove to the basket…only to have the shot swatted away by Sean May as time expired.
As the crowd filed out of Comcast Center like they were leaving a funeral, I slumped down in my chair, trying to come to terms with the fact that this was the disappointing end to my last Maryland game as a student. “That block defines their (Maryland’s) whole season,” I said, trying to muster the strength to go home. “How did this happen?” replied my roommate. “We should’ve been so good.”
Wait, how did this happen? It was just last year that this same team made a miraculous run in the ACC tournament to capture their first title in the event in 20 years. They had only lost one senior (Jamar Smith), and all our starters were, at oldest, Juniors. Before the season started, the team traveled overseas to play against some of the Italian pro teams, and performed admirably. They gave up a lot of points, but I made excuses for them, namely that they were playing against pro-level competition and that Gary would fix the defense during the season. And I was distracted because Maryland was actually scoring with the other teams. They were putting up between 90-100 points a game, and for Maryland basketball, that’s a feat. Most importantly, Travis Garrison looked like he was establishing himself as Maryland’s premier low post player, poised to take over the minutes, points, and rebounds that had graduated with Jamar Smith.
Turns out that the defense never got on track and no one ever replaced Smith in the post, and those proved to be Maryland’s undoing all season. The common theme in all of Maryland’s wins this year was that they got great production from the 4 and 5 positions. The problem was that Maryland didn’t get consistent production from those positions and it hurt them down the stretch. When we needed a bucket Gary would try and feed the ball into the post, but there wasn’t anyone there that could convert. We thought that Garrison had the answers in the preseason, but then he started to fade, and Gary stuck with him much longer then he should’ve before giving his job to Will Bowers. Bowers’ emergence at the end of the year was a nice bright spot, and he might be the answer next season, but he wasn’t this year.