Five questions about the Terps

College Basketball

March 31, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec

Five questions about the Terps

Several key questions linger for the Maryland basketball team heading into next season:

Who will be back?

John Gilchrist almost definitely will not, as he'll likely declare early for the NBA draft, but aside from him and the graduation of unheralded seniors Mike Grinnon and Darien Henry, the Terps' roster will be similar. Nik Caner-Medley, Mike Jones and Ekene Ibekwe had been rumored to be going elsewhere, but all three said in the past couple weeks that they'll definitely be back. The coaching staff, however, could get a facelift. Assistant Mike Lonergan has been named head coach at Vermont and even if senior associate coach Dave Dickerson doesn't get the Tulane job, other opportunities are out there for him.

Can Sterling Ledbetter develop into an effective point guard?

For the most part this season, Ledbetter played good defense, made solid decisions and was able to get the Terps in their offense. Ledbetter is an improved jump shot and a little more experience away from coach Gary Williams feeling pretty good about the point guard position.

Can Ibekwe, James Gist, Will Bowers and Travis Garrison become consistent inside forces?

If they all make significant improvements, the Terps will have the inside depth to rival the national championship season, when Lonny Baxter, Chris Wilcox, Ryan Randle and Tahj Holden made Maryland one of the nation's biggest teams. Gist has the most upside and no Terp has improved as much as Bowers. All four, however, need to get stronger and work on their hands so they can grab the ball and finish around the basket.

Will D.J. Strawberry return to his old form?

Jan. 17 was the day many believe that the Terps' season began to unravel. That's when Strawberry, the team's best defender and most versatile player, suffered a season-ending knee injury in practice. If Strawberry is healthy again -- and early reports have him returning on time -- the Terps should be a much better defensive team and will see their energy and effort level rise immediately.

How much talent will other Atlantic Coast Conference teams lose?

If North Carolina, Duke and Wake Forest lose underclassmen to the pro ranks, the Terps could be the most experienced team in the ACC next season. The Tar Heels, who could lose the majority of their rotation, stand to be hit hardest by defections to the NBA. North Carolina State will have to prove it can win without Julius Hodge, and graduation will gut Georgia Tech.

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