Can basketball players be too nice? That's a question that has certainly crossed the minds of Maryland forward James Padgett and his coaches.
Padgett, unfailingly polite and quiet-spoken off the court, has developed some polished post moves and enters Saturday's Georgia Tech game second (to North Carolina's Tyler Zeller) in the Atlantic Coast Conference in offensive rebounds at 3.5 per game.
There is a nagging sense that the junior could perhaps do more. Coming off a big game in Tuesday night's win over Miami, Padgett averages 9.1 points and 5.7 rebounds. He actually averages more offensive rebounds per game than defensive boards -- a fairly unusual statistic.
"The time he's most aggressive is when the shot goes up," coach Mark Turgeon said today. "You always just have to bring it out of him."
Said Turgeon: "I don’t hang out with James, so I don’t know if he's one of those guys that doesn’t step on an ant. I'm sure he is."
He just might be.
Padgett said he's long been told that he's too passive on the court -- that it doesn't look like he's playing hard.
"Evertbody tells me I’m too nice," he said.
He knows he needs to be more aggressive. But you have to play basketball by feel. You have to mold your talents to the specific circumstances of games.
Padgett said it doesn't quite work to simply turn up his game speed a notch. He's liable to commit too many fouls.
So what he's trying to do is find a balance betwen staying within himself and playing harder.
"I haven’t perfected it yet," he said.