Like the Championship team of 2002, this year's Maryland Basketball team is big and deep. The interesting thing is that it has the potential to be as talented. Think about it, big, deep and possibly talented like our championship team. Wow.Let's take a quick look at a specific player who will help make that possible. We have Melo Trimble, the pg county freshman who is playing like one of the best point guards in the country who can be an NBA guy. But I'm not talking about him. Or Dez Wells, the Naismith 50 finalist who might be an NBA guy. Or Jake Layman, the 6'9 crazy athlete with a nice jump shot who was co-Big Ten player of the week who can be an NBA guy. Or our 7 foot freshman,Michal Cekovsky, who is better now than Alex Len was at the same time in his career (Len was an NBA lottery pick).
Orrrrrr . . . Richaud Pack, the seasoned transfer playing his last year of eligibility and silently guiding this team with defense and calming smarts. Or Dion Wiley, another Prince George's County freshman guard who can shoot, has size, and is confident. Or Evan Smotrycz, a 6'9 shooter....or Damonte Dodd, our starting 6'11 center who defends the rim...or 6'9 hustle guy Jonathan Graham.
I'M TALKING ABOUT JARED NICKENS. The 6'7 freshman who's been starting at the three while Dez Wells has been hurt. I'm not saying he's better than Dez overall, but he handles the ball better and has a better stroke than him right now (note his Juan Dixony release). Here's a video from a weekend tournament last year against solid high school opposition over 3 games:
If you don't love him throwing the subtle jab at the west coast while talking about how it's "fun" to play against the best competition, then you don't love hoopin'. While Dez is physically gifted, he gives occasional glimpses of season's past with a spazz out here and a wtf was that there. Nickens is a glimpse of the future, filled with mega cool and specific to basketball talent.
That's not to say that we shouldn't look forward to Dez returning. He's a beast and we need him. But the more I see Nickens either making 3's or almost making 3's coupled with his lack of turnovers and enjoying defense, I'm starting to wonder how bad of a thing to the program Dez's injury is.
And he was supposed to be our best player.
Whoa - Maryland is back in a big way.Go terps.
Special guest post by the luminary John Beckham