Terrell Stoglin poured in 25 points Sunday during Maryland's critical 87-80 victory over N.C. State, stealing a little bit of the spotlight from Grievis Vasquez, who was on hand at Comcast Center to see his jersey go into the rafters.
Of course Stoglin didn't take down the Wolfpack all by himself. Jordan Williams scored 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds, but we have come to expect strong performances like that from the sublime sophomore big man. Those two, along with a little help from Dino Gregory, helped keep the Terps' at-large hopes from flat-lining with another ACC loss.
With four regular-season games (including tonight's showdown with Florida State) and the ACC tournament left to play, Maryland faces long odds at making it back to the NCAA tournament in its first year without Vasquez. But next year, Williams and Stoglin could be a dynamic duo that makes the Terps contenders in the ACC.
The emergence of Stoglin has been a silver lining in a 3-3 February for the Terps. He was named the ACC's Rookie of the Week after averaging 25 points and 7.5 assists in his past two games, and his 8-for-14 shooting performance on Sunday helped open up the paint for his new tag-team partner.
That aggressive, unrelenting style has added a necessary dynamic to the Maryland attack, and Jordan Williams seems to appreciate the fact that he might not have to carry the offensive load all by himself anymore.
It seems unlikely the Terps will be dancing when next month rolls around, but I see plenty of potential for next season should Williams return. And I think he will. He's had a fine sophomore season, but he hasn't been so dominant that he is a sure-fire lottery pick. Plus, with an NBA lockout looming just like in the NFL, you will see fewer players leave school early for the pros.
By sticking around in College Park for another year or two, Williams will get to send his jersey to the rafters to join Vasquez's and perhaps even pen a greater legacy than his finger-wagging former teammate. Vasquez was a very good (and extremely entertaining) player, but the absence of a deep NCAA tourney run keeps him off the Mount Rushmore of Maryland hoops. Williams has a chance should he choose to stay.
And if what we've seen from Stoglin the past couple of weeks isn't a mirage, Williams might have the sidekick he needs to chisel his mug on the mountain assuming he doesn't mind sharing the spotlight a little bit.
*This blog post has been updated since first published.