Despite Miller's plans, Terps `in good shape'

Williams says team can adjust to transfer with depth, flexibility

Maryland notebook

College Basketball

April 24, 2001|By Gary Lambrecht | Gary Lambrecht,SUN STAFF

COLLEGE PARK - Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams said he has no plans to add another recruit to replace junior forward Danny Miller, who informed the school last week that he intends to transfer.

Sources said Miller, who must sit out for a year under NCAA guidelines before using his final season of eligibility, is headed for Notre Dame. Miller reportedly has told some Maryland players that he plans to join coach Mike Brey in South Bend, Ind. Before taking the Notre Dame job a year ago, Brey coached Miller's older brother, Greg, at Delaware.

"We're in good shape for next year. We're done [signing players for next year]. We're flexible enough. We've got depth," said Williams, who coached the Terps to their first Final Four appearance in school history last month with the deepest roster he has had in 12 seasons at Maryland.

Williams declined to comment directly about Miller's situation.

The departure of Miller, who apparently is in search of a starting job and a shot at the NBA, will solidify a starting role for Byron Mouton, who averaged 9.6 points and 4.0 rebounds after replacing Miller. Mouton, who averaged 22.7 minutes and started the season's final 32 games, will be a senior in the fall.

The departure of Miller, who averaged 4.8 points and 2.6 rebounds, also could make incoming freshman Mike Grinnon a more prominent part of the mix. At 6 feet 6, Grinnon projects as a guard/forward. He lacks Miller's defensive and ball-handling skills, but is considered an outstanding shooter coming out of Oyster Bay (N.Y.) High School.

Shooting was Miller's shortcoming for much of his three years as a Terrapin.

For his Maryland career, Miller shot 45.1 percent overall, 33.1 percent from three-point range and 58 percent at the foul line. When he started all 34 games and averaged 30.8 minutes as a sophomore, Miller averaged only 8.5 points and 2.9 rebounds. In 104 career games, he averaged 5.9 points.

"Byron will be a senior and it will be a great opportunity for him. He'll get his chance [to play more]," Williams said. "We were fortunate this year by having seniors like Mike Mardesich and LaRon Cephas who were happy, even though they didn't play a lot. We shouldn't have to worry about that next year." Williams added that 6-10 junior Tahj Holden probably would play some small forward, what with the arrival of 6-9 junior power forward Ryan Randle from Allegany College and the development of forward Chris Wilcox, who should be an impact post player as a sophomore. Williams also said the Terps should be a quicker squad that presses more and uses more three-guard lineups next season.

With the recent signing of 5-9 point guard Andre Collins, Steve Blake has a more suitable backup, while Drew Nicholas, who filled in capably for Blake for much of last year, can go back to playing more of his natural position as the primary backup to shooting guard Juan Dixon.

Start spreading the news

The Terps will open the 2001-2002 season at Madison Square Garden in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Nov. 8-9.

The field includes Arizona, Florida and Temple, each of which advanced at least to the NCAA tournament's Sweet 16 in March. The pairings should be announced in about two months.

The dates for the annual BB&T Classic at the MCI Center have yet to be announced, although Williams said the Terps will be part of field that will include George Washington, Connecticut and Princeton.

Mardesich shines

While speculation begins as to where senior Terence Morris will be taken in the NBA draft in June, Mardesich made a case for himself as a future pro at the 49th annual Portsmouth (Va.) Invitational earlier this month.

Mardesich, a 7-foot backup center who played in more games (137) and was part of more victories (99) than any other player in Maryland history, was named to the all-tournament team. He averaged 14 rebounds a game, helping K-Plus Services advance to the tournament title game.

The all-tournament team included George Evans (George Mason), Nate James (Duke), Sergio McClain (Illinois) and Damon Thornton (N.C. State).

Don't be surprised if Mardesich signs a rookie free-agent contract and winds up on an NBA roster.

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