Maryland sophomores try to escape shadows Walsh, Bristol fight for playing time

November 18, 1992|By Don Markus | Don Markus,Staff Writer

COLLEGE PARK -- Here's a quickie quiz for University of Maryland basketball fans: Name the remaining members of last year's freshman class. Well, name two.

Time's up.

Unless you are a blood relative, or a close friend, it's doubtful that the answer was quickly forthcoming. John Walsh, one of the four players left from last year's Forgotten Five, isn't surprised.

"I don't know if we were overlooked," Walsh, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward, said Monday before practice. "The freshman group this year came in with great esteem. People find them a lot more exciting than us."

They provided some excitement in last night's 104-63 exhibition victory over Akrides Haarlem of the Netherlands at Cole Field House. Senior Evers Burns led Maryland with 25 points and tied for the team high with 11 rebounds, and senior guard Kevin McLinton scored 16.

None of this year's freshman class started the exhibition, but three hit double figures. Johnny Rhodes scored 14 and had a team-high five steals. Exree Hipp had 13 points and five rebounds, and Nemanja Petrovic added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"The freshmen are freshmen, they make a great play and then they just forget," said Maryland coach Gary Williams. "But I was happy with our effort."

Though Rhodes is expected to start at shooting guard, the small forward spot is up for grabs and there is playing time to be had behind McLinton at point guard. Of the sophomores, Walsh and Wayne Bristol have the best chance to be part of what Williams hopes to be a nine-man rotation.

"We're still trying to get our best five players on the court," Williams said Monday. "By the second exhibition game, we want to see what the pecking order will be."

Early on, it appeared that Hipp would start at small forward. Though that could still happen, the 6-7 Hipp has struggled recently with his shooting. It has opened the door for Walsh, who played well in a limited role as a freshman.

"John usually plays better in games than in practice," said Williams. "Those are the kinds of guys who drive you crazy."

Walsh underwent surgery to have a disk removed in his lower back after last season and didn't play again until August. The injury caused him to scrap an off-season weight-training program.

"It set me back a lot," Walsh said of his injury, operation and rehabilitation. "I didn't play at all over the summer, and that's usually the time people like me get better."

Walsh began preseason practice tentatively as Hipp drew a lot of attention because of his 40-inch vertical leap and overall athleticism. But Hipp "has hit a lull, like all freshmen do," said Williams.

With 7-for-8 shooting in a 22-point performance Saturday, Walsh suddenly finds himself in contention for a starting job. He looked tentative last night, missing the two shots he took from the field and scoring only one point in 10 minutes.

"Right now, it's early and Coach Williams wants to find the best combination," said Walsh, whose playing time increased the second half of last season after Garfield Smith sustained a season-ending knee injury. "I was around last year, so I have a little bit of an advantage."

Bristol showed flashes last season of being a front-line Division I player. The 6-1, 176-pound guard led a furious comeback in the second half of a loss at Louisville, scoring nine points in 10 minutes. He just missed a game-winning three-point shot against Florida State.

But there were times when he looked like any other freshman: out of control. One of the best athletes on the team, Bristol is coming off one of his best weeks of practice, capped by a team-high 24-point performance in the intrasquad scrimmage.

"What he has to do is cut down on the glaring mistakes," said Williams. "If he stays within himself, he's a pretty good player." Bristol, who had eight points in 16 minutes last night, said: "I know what I can do. It's a matter of me showing our fans."

AKRIDES-HARLEM -- Wise 5-13 2-3 14, Edmondson 3-6 2-4 8, Thomas 2-6 2-6 6, Piket 1-8 2-2 4, Emanuals 1-3 2-2 5, Muybens 4-8 3-4 11, Kales 4-11 6-6 14, Glas 0-2 0-0 0, Cairo 0-0 1-1 1, Kroder 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 20-28 63.

MARYLAND -- Walsh 0-2 1-2 1, Burns 10-17 5-8 25, Kerwin 3-7 2-2 8, McLinton 7-13 2-3 16, Bristol 3-4 2-2 8, Hipp 3-9 7-8 13, Simpkins 0-2 2-2 2, Rhodes 5-9 1-2 14, Petrovic 5-7 1-2 11, Lucas 0-3 1-2 1, Rainge 0-2 3-4 3, Shultz 0-1 0-0 0, Thibeault 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 37-77 27-37 104.

Halftime--Maryland, 52-24. Three-point goals--AH 3-12 (Wise 2-5, Piket 0-3, Emanuals 1-3, Kales 0-1; M 3-5 (Rhodes 3-4, Hipp 0-1). Rebounds--AH 28 (Wise 7); M 59 (Burns, Kerwin 11). Assists--AH 11 (Emanuals 6); M 19 (McLinton 4). Total fouls--AH 23, M 22. Fouled out--Cairo, Petrovic. A--4,172.

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