By Jakob Engelke
2:45 PM EDT, July 21, 2011
Pe'Shon Howard isn't the only Maryland men's basketball player who has been turning heads this summer.
Howard became an Internet sensation this past week and even earned some airtime on ESPN’s "SportsNation" Tuesday thanks to a highlight reel of his play in Washington’s famed Goodman League. But another Terp -- forward Haukur Palsson -- has been quietly putting up some big numbers this summer, albeit not in the U.S.
Palsson is currently playing in FIBA’s U-20 Division B European Championship in Sarajevo, and his numbers so far in the tournament, which started July 14 and ends July 24, have been impressive.
In five games playing for Iceland, Palsson has averaged 34 minutes, 23.8 points and 10 rebounds while shooting better than 41 percent from both inside and outside the 3-point arc. Out of the tournament’s 215 players, Palsson ranks third overall in points per game, fourth in rebounds, fifth in double-doubles (3) and first in 3-pointers made (3.6).
His success on the court hasn’t translated to victories for Iceland, though. His native country only has one win in the tournament and sits in fourth place, out of five teams, in Group D. In the only win -- a 97-84 rout of Belarus -- Palsson scored a team-high 33 points.
These numbers have to provide a small glimmer of hope for fans.
Maryland boasts a strong backcourt with returning players Howard, Terrell Stoglin and Sean Mosley and incoming recruit Nick Faust, but the Terps don't have much strength in the frontcourt due to the departure of last year’s starters Jordan Williams and Dino Gregory.
With the Terps’ lack of interior size -- the team has only one true center in 6-foot-10 Berend Weijs -- Palsson, listed at 6-6, must do his best Landon Milbourne impression at power forward.
So what do you think? Are these numbers encouraging? Will Palsson become a legitimate threat for the Terps next year?
Jakob Engelke, a University of Maryland student, is an intern at The Sun and covered Terps basketball for The Diamondback in 2010-11. Our interns will contribute guest posts to Baltimore Sports Blitz this summer. Contact Engelke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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