There is plenty to like about "small ball." You try to use your players' quickness and moves to break down opponents. It's all built around spacing to allow your guys to do their things.
But here's the thing about small ball. It can wear you down. That's why it hurt Maryland when Hawk Palsson decided to leave school to play professionally overseas. The Terps needed all the experience they could muster, and Palsson -- who can scrap inside and shoot the 3 -- figured to be part of the rotation.
Maryland's problem this season is not just a lack of size. It's a lack of depth.
I interviewed new Maryland coach Mark Turgeon and wrote a story referencing all of this for today's paper. Here are some Turgeon comments that did not appear in the story:
"I think we’ll play a small lineup. I think we’ll play four guards. I don’t think we’ll play it as much as we would have played it (with Palsson and others). There’s just not enough depth. We have Mychal Parker, who would be another guard. It’d be hard to play five guys at four spots and keep them fresh through the whole season."
Maryland fans will be pleased to learn that Turgeon believes forward James Padgett is improving.
"I’ve been pleasantly surprised with James Padgett. Ashton Pankey is getting in shape. He’s pain-free in his knee so I think we do have a little bit of depth there that I didn’t think we’d have if we’re lucky enough to have Alex (Len) in our rotation," Turgeon said.
My story today focuses largely on Len, the 7-footer. He's intriguing, right?
"He averaged a lot of blocks for the Ukrainian national team in the championships over there. So I do think he can do that," Turgeon said. "I’m hoping Berend (Weijs) can do that, too. I do think he (Len) can be the last line of defense for us and allow us to do more pressure on the perimeter and he can protect the basket. That’s our hope."
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