Team Chemistry the Only Issue that Can Sink Maryland

Posted by Alex Moscoso on October 21st, 2015

Maryland hosted its version of Midnight Madness at the Xfinity Center last Saturday. There is much to celebrate in College Park this preseason as the Terrapins, flush with talent with as many as five future NBA players taking the court, are the favorite to win the Big Ten. With so much professional talent on the roster, it’s no wonder that the smart money is on Mark Turgeon‘s squad to make a significant postseason run next March. This October’s situation is in stark contrast from where this program was just a short 12 months ago. Plenty of stories have already been written about that turnaround, but less has been written about the one issue that can undo all of the hype. Team chemistry among a group still learning to succeed is the one thing that can trip up this Maryland team’s aspirations of conference and national banners.

Melo Trimble looks to lead preseason favorite Maryland to a Big Ten title and Final Four. (David J. Philip/AP)

Melo Trimble looks to lead preseason favorite Maryland to a Big Ten title and Final Four. (David J. Philip/AP)

We can’t talk about potential issues with team chemistry without first talking about the individual players — an incredibly talented group of players, mind you. Maryland returns Melo Trimble, Jake Layman and Damonte Dodd from last year’s conference second place squad. Trimble was the breakout star, leading the team in scoring (16.2 PPG) and assists (3.0 APG) as a freshman. Layman is a lanky, athletic scorer with tremendous upside, coming in third on the team in scoring and minutes a year ago. And Dodd has proven himself as a capable defensive presence in the post, showing even more signs of improvement this season. Additional returnees Michal Cekovsky, Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens make up a deep bench for Turgeon.

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Ten Offseason Storylines From the Big Ten

Posted by Brendan Brody on October 15th, 2014

We’re about a month away from Big Ten basketball once again being a part of our lives. Things at the B1G microsite have been quiet since then, but that doesn’t mean nothing has happened since last April. So here’s a quick refresher to get everybody back up to speed since we last saw Wisconsin lose a heart-breaker to Kentucky in the Final Four. These 10 offseason storylines are in no particular order, but they will impact what will happen this season.

Frank Kaminsky came back to school for his senior season to lead a veteran Wisconsin team with a chance to go back to the  Final Four. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

Frank Kaminsky came back to school for his senior season to lead a veteran Wisconsin team with a chance to go back to the
Final Four. (AP Photo/Alex Gallardo)

  • Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker Returned to School: Postseason souting reports had Kaminsky going everywhere from #15 to #45 in the NBA Draft, even after a regular season where he led the Badgers in scoring and contributed NCAA Tournament averages of 16.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG on 55 percent shooting from the field. Dekker probably could have pursued NBA riches as well, but they both came back to Madison, making the Badgers — with two other returning starters in Josh Gasser and Traveon Jackson — an almost unanimous conference favorite.
  • Gary Harris and a Quartet of Michigan Players Didn’t: Things aren’t quite as rosy in East Lansing or Ann Arbor as far as preseason outlooks go. That’s because to the surprise of almost no one Gary Harris departed for the NBA after his sophomore year. This means that the Spartans will be without three of their four double-figure scorers from last season’s Elite Eight team. Meanwhile, Michigan is rebuilding things from scratch after the early NBA departures of sophomores Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III, and Mitch McGary. None of the trio was ever a sure thing to jump to the pros, but things got especially wonky when it was learned that McGary would be suspended for the entire 2014-15 season due to a positive drug test during the NCAA tournament. Another Michigan gut punch was the transfer of Jon Horford to Florida, leaving the Wolverines with almost no experience on the front line heading into this season.

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Morning Five: 05.16.14 Edition

Posted by nvr1983 on May 16th, 2014


  1. Pundits have been proposing ideas on how to increase scoring and make college basketball more entertaining for years. One of the most common suggestions has been to reduce the shot clock from the current 35 seconds towards the NBA standard of 24 seconds. The ACC might not be willing to go that far, but they will be using a 30-second shot clock during exhibition games this coming season and give its feedback to the men’s basketball rules committee. We doubt that we will see this in regular season games for several years at the earliest, but it will be interesting to see how this plays out and how teams adapt to the changes.
  2. Speaking of the ACC, they will be moving the ACC Tournament from its traditional Sunday afternoon slot–the one it has been in since 1982–to Saturday night in prime time. According to the ACC the reason for doing so is to move into the 8:30 PM time slot on ESPN on Saturday traditionally the conference formerly known as the Big East as well similar spots on Friday night. Although the conference is not saying it publicly we would not be surprised if the NCAA also encouraged them to move it forward to give the Selection Committee more time to finalize its seeding.
  3. The NCAA released its APR scores on Wednesday revealing that eight schools–Alabama State, Appalachian State, Florida A&M, Houston Baptist, Lamar, San Jose State, Central Arkansas, and Wisconsin-Milwaukee–will be ineligible for the 2015 NCAA Tournament. None of these names comes close to having an effect on the national title picture so Mark Emmert won’t get called out at the 2016 Final Four by any of the players from these teams, but there are a couple of notable things about this group. The first is that three of the schools are from the Southland Conference meaning that over 20% of the conference cannot play in the NCAA Tournament. The other is that Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which won the Horizon League Conference Tournament last year after going 7-9 in conference regular season play will also be ineligible. Outside of that we have to wonder how much some schools are getting players to graduate or not count against their score just to keep themselves eligible rather than helping the student-athlete. We assume that some schools are already doing this and that the ones that are failing to meet the scores probably just are not doing a good enough job of it.
  4. If you were expecting Georgia Tech to be competitive in the ACC this season you might want to adjust your expectations after Robert Carter, who averaged 11.4 points and 8.4 rebounds as a sophomore despite suffering a torn meniscus in January. Carter, who was the star of Brian Gregory’s first recruiting class at Georgia Tech, has not announced where he is planning on transferring or even his reason for transferring, but the school has already come out and said that he will not be allowed to transfer to Georgia. With several players graduating and Carter transferring, Marcus Georges-Hunt will be the only one of its top five scorers from last season returning this season. On the bright side for Gregory, he already has an extension through 2018 that he signed at the end of last season and we doubt that Georgia Tech would be willing to buy out the rest of his contract.
  5. Jermaine Lawrence will transfer from Cincinnati to be closer to his father, who is suffering from an undisclosed illness. Although Lawrence’s performance last season (2.8 points and 2.7 rebounds per game) might not seem like much of a loss he was the second-highest-rated recruit during Mick Cronin’s time at Cincinnati as he was a consensus top-25 recruit. Lawrence is expected to transfer to a school closer to his home in Springfield Gardens, New York (basically New York City) and given the way that transfer waivers have been granted we would expect him to be able to play next season if he chooses to do so. With his pedigree and his options close to New York City he should have plenty of options about where to head to next.
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ACC M5: 01.28.14 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on January 28th, 2014


  1. Sporting News: While it isn’t the point of this article, it’s totally ludicrous that Lamar Patterson was left off the Wooden Award watch list. He’s shooting over 55 percent on twos, 40 percent on threes, and 80% from the charity stripe. Oh yeah, he’s also Pittsburgh’s best passer and a capable rebounder. It’s a shame his snub took place right before his worst game of the season, a game in which Mike Krzyzewski set out to shut Patterson down by blitzing him on screens and draping 6’8″ Rodney Hood over him for most of the game.
  2. Tallahassee Democrat: With so many teams in the ACC, unbalanced schedules abound and the rollercoaster of difficulty week-to-week is even wilder than in past years. That means that the same week Duke heads to Pittsburgh and Syracuse for road games, Florida State embarks on a three-week stretch as the probable favorites in every game. The other interesting news from Corey Clark is that Florida State is applying for a medical redshirt (for a sixth year of eligibility) for Kiel Turpin, who’s been injured all year. Even if he wins the argument for a sixth year, Turpin has an uphill battle for playing time ahead of him with Michael Ojo and Boris Bojanovsky progressing every day.
  3. Gobbler Country: For Virginia Tech‘s new athletic director, “fixing the basketball problem” may actually also involve physically renovating Cassell Coliseum, a building that is now nearly 50 years old. There’s still a decade to decide on a course of action (and see how Clemson’s renovation of Littlejohn Coliseum goes), but there’s no denying that a swanky new arena can inject some excitement into an apathetic fan base. Having to bus to a nearby city would almost certainly have the opposite effect for the short-term, however.
  4. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Big news out of Georgia Tech, as Robert Carter is undergoing tests to see whether he will be healthy in time to play this season. Obviously, his return would make the Yellow Jackets an entirely different team, as he was nearly averaging a double-double before hurting his knee. While Brian Gregory may not be popping up in many hot seat articles just yet, his current lack of success will heat that seat up in a hurry.
  5. CBSSports: Jon Rothstein took a look at Virginia and its balanced attack. Last year Akil Mitchell and Joe Harris were two of the statistically most dominant players in the ACC, and this year, at least on the surface (per game stats), they’ve both taken steps forward. But the team is actually a lot better thanks to additional steps forward from Malcolm Brogdon and more minutes for Mike Tobey. It’s much harder to game plan around four or five legitimate options than two.
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Georgia Tech and Notre Dame Exhibit Holes in Saturday Match-up

Posted by CD Bradley on January 12th, 2014

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. When the schedules initially came out, Notre Dame and Georgia Tech expected to look very different in their third ACC game than they did on Saturday afternoon in Atlanta. For the Irish, things started to devolve in the preseason with the redshirt of Cameron Biedscheid, who then announced his transfer to Missouri after Christmas. Then Jerian Grant, a preseason All-ACC selection who led the Irish in points, assists, and steals, was lost for the season due to an academic issue. Then on Saturday, frontcourt reserve Tom Knight didn’t make the trip to Atlanta due to a sprained ankle.

Georgia Tech's defense on Eric Atkins and his Notre Dame teammates (Getty)

Georgia Tech’s defense on Eric Atkins and his Notre Dame teammates were crucial in Saturday’s win. (Getty)

Georgia Tech has health issues of its own. First freshman point guard Travis Jorgenson tore his ACL in the Yellow Jackets’ fourth game. Then sophomore Robert Carter, who was averaging 10.3 points and 9.3 rebounds per game (with a 29.8 defensive rebounding percentage, sixth best in the country), suffered a torn meniscus. Sophomore point guard Solomon Poole, the team’s top backcourt reserve, missed the game on Saturday with a migraine. As Georgia Tech coach Brian Gregory put it, “It was two teams who were trying to re-discover themselves with guys out.”

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Duke’s New Starting Lineup Pays Dividends

Posted by Brad Jenkins (@bradjenk) on January 8th, 2014

Tuesday night in Cameron Indoor Stadium, Mike Krzyzewski gave another chance to a starting lineup that had started four consecutive games back in November. Amile Jefferson and Rasheed Sulaimon replaced Josh Hairston and Tyler Thornton, playing well enough to earn a combined 64 minutes in Duke’s 79-57 win over Georgia Tech. After an evenly played first half, Rodney Hood’s second straight 27-point game and the Blue Devils’ energy level rolled past a Yellow Jackets team trying to adjust to playing without Robert Carter, Jr., in the wake of his meniscus injury.

Rodney Hood Scores 27 Again As Duke Beats Georgia Tech (photo:

Rodney Hood Scores 27 Again As Duke Beats Georgia Tech

The last Duke game featuring sophomores Jefferson and Sulaimon as starters turned out to be the worst defensive Duke performance in at least a dozen years, a narrow 91-90 home win over Vermont in the sixth game of the season. After that contest, in an effort to establish a tougher defensive identity, Mike Krzyzewski inserted seniors Hairston and Thornton into the starting lineup. The Blue Devils made measurable progress defensively after the change, but for Duke to reach its full potential as a team this season, the more talented sophomores will need to be on the court more than the solid but offensively limited role players.

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ACC M5: 01.08.14 Edition

Posted by Matt Patton on January 8th, 2014


  1. Gobbler Country: And I’ve fallen for SEO devilry! An article titled “Can Syracuse Go Undefeated” turned out to be an incredibly cautious Virginia Tech preview. But I’ll take a stab anyways: no. That said, the Orange may have a better chance than anyone originally thought in the preseason, but their home scare over the weekend against Miami proves that it just takes one off night against a good team (which is bound to happen). The ACC is weaker than expected this year, but Syracuse hasn’t played a murderer’s road of a schedule — I don’t see the Orange finishing with fewer than three losses in conference play.
  2. Tar Heel Blog: Speaking of a game Syracuse might lose (and soon), North Carolina is heading to upstate New York this Saturday to play a game where anyone who claims to know the outcome is lying. Between Syracuse’s home court advantage and the Tar Heels’ frequent zone struggles, I’ll take Syracuse. But this article is about the recent national media attention on North Carolina’s academic issues. Since the New York Times put the program on the front page last week, Bloomberg, Businessweek and CNN have joined the hunt.
  3. Baltimore Sun: Mark Turgeon is a more optimistic man than I. Somehow losing on the road to Pittsburgh by 20 made him more positive than when he was started league play with two straight wins. That game only made his team’s flaws seem more deeply rooted. His offense often stalls and struggles taking care of the ball; the defense is prone to giving up big runs (often thanks to the previous point); and, his best two players have a great habit of disappearing. I’m not particularly confident that the turnover problem will go away anytime soon, but he can try to run the offense in a way to force Dez Wells and Jake Layman to be more aggressive.
  4. Charlottesville Daily Progress: Who’s ready for the inevitable Virginia egg-laying tonight at home against Wake Forest? The Cavaliers are trying to compete with North Carolina and Notre Dame for the ACC’s most volatile team. The fact is that Virginia needs to go undefeated at home in ACC play (with a good record on the road to boot) to stand a chance at making the NCAA Tournament. But that means they have to score enough points to win, and they may have to beat the Demon Deacons with Joe Harris at less than 100 percent. Flip the coin and you have a Wake Forest team looking for its second road conference win in the Jeff Bzdelik era. Should be fun to watch.
  5. Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Robert Carter‘s injury sounds a lot worse than it did. Meniscus injuries are some of the weirdest injuries in sports. Sometimes players are back literally hours after surgery; sometimes not for months. Brian Gregory tabs Carter’s prospects of a return this season as “very doubtful.” Carter was a huge part of Georgia Tech’s rotation, and the team’s two offensive outings since losing him haven’t been promising. After posting an abysmal 87.0 points per 100 possessions against Maryland, the Yellow Jackets followed it up with a mere 92.9 points per 100 possessions against Duke’s porous defense. Both of their opponents also managed effective field goal percentages over 55.0 — that’s not a good look on either end of the floor.
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ACC Team Previews: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by EMann on October 18th, 2012

Throughout the ACC preseason, the ACC microsite will release a preview for each of the 12 ACC teams.  Today’s victim:  Georgia Tech.

Brian Gregory’s first season at the helm of the Yellow Jackets was a struggle in more ways than one, although not all of this was due to things Gregory could control. Because of Georgia Tech’s renovation of the Alexander Memorial Coliseum to the new McCamish Pavilion during the season, Georgia Tech was forced to split its home games between the Atlanta Hawks’ Philips Arena (all ACC games and premier non-conference games) and the Gwinnett Arena in the suburbs (five non-conference games).  Being homeless, however, surely does not account for all of Georgia Tech’s struggles during the 2011-12 season. Paul Hewitt didn’t exactly leave the cupboard full of stars when he was let go after the 2010-11 season, and Georgia Tech’s best returning player, Glen Rice, Jr., battled disciplinary issues all season and was suspended for three games at the beginning of the season and six at the end before being kicked off the team in March.  Tech managed only a 4-12 finish in league play (with its only win of note a victory at NC State), and finished 11-20 overall (beating VCU, but losing to the unholy trinity of Kennesaw State, Mercer, and Fordham), polishing off their season by scoring only 36 points in the ACC Tournament’s first round against Miami.  Fortunately for the Yellow Jackets, things cannot really get much worse, and the team returns all five of its starters.

Brian Gregory searches for answers in his second season in Atlanta.


Georgia Tech adds five new players to its roster this season, and has’s 19th-ranked recruiting class coming to Atlanta. Four of these players are freshmen, led by five-star 6’9” center Robert Carter, in addition to four-star 6’6” small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt, three-star 6’3” shooting guard Chris Bolden, and unrated guard Corey Heyward. They are all Georgia natives. Georgia Tech also adds Kentucky transfer Stacey Poole, Jr., who will become eligible after December 17. Carter, a top 25 recruit, should immediately compete for starter’s minutes with returning center Daniel Miller. The other players are likely to add depth and compete with the incumbent starters (none of whom were particularly efficient offensively) for minutes this season. Read the rest of this entry »

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ACC Summer Recess: Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Posted by KCarpenter on July 12th, 2012

Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Georgia Tech.

Where They Stand Now

Georgia Tech Head Coach Brian Gregory Has His Work Cut Out In Atlanta

Last season was a season of transition for Georgia Tech. After the firing of longtime coach Paul Hewitt, Brian Gregory took over a program that had spent the last few years slowly slumping to the bottom of the ACC. As the Yellow Jackets prepared a new home court, his team was left without a true home, forced to make use of Phillips Arena along with a few other venues. A new coach, no home court,  and a legitimate talent deficit made it no surprise that Georgia Tech faltered. In a season when their best moments come in December and January, Georgia Tech didn’t have a lot to celebrate as conference play went on. Still, the future seems promising for Georgia Tech: McCammish Pavillion is finally set to open and Gregory will better know what to expect from his team in the second year.

Who’s Leaving?

The nice part about having a young team is that you don’t have to worry about losing a lot of players to graduation. The Yellow Jackets will lose Pierre Jordan and Nick Foreman, a pair of back-up guards who each averaged about 10 minutes a game in the past season, but that’s the only toll from graduation. Sophomore big man Nate Hicks has transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University. Hicks didn’t get a lot of playing time in Atlanta, averaging a paltry 7.7 minutes per game. The biggest departure is the dismissal of Glen Rice, Jr., from the team. The troubled swingman was benched at the end of his freshman season by Paul Hewitt and served a pair of suspensions last season under Gregory. He was finally dismissed from the team after a run-in with the law that featured Rice driving under the influence while one of his passengers discharged a gun.  Rice was the leading scorer and rebounder for Georgia Tech, but his off-the-court troubles certainly seem serious enough to make his departure seem like the best option for Rice and the team.

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ACC Weekly Five: 07.11.12 Edition

Posted by KCarpenter on July 11th, 2012

  1. ESPN: Things aren’t getting any easier in Atlanta. Georgia Tech has already lost an incoming player to injury for the coming season. Corey Heyward, a local standout who recently spent a year at Hargrave Military Academy, suffered an ACL tear in his left knee that will likely keep him out of action for the 2012-13 season. Though Heyward expects to have surgery in the coming weeks, the standard recovery period for an ACL injury can be as long as a year – it’s doubtful that Tech will take a chance and bring him back too early.
  2. News & Observer: Continuing to win the prize for “best summer job,” coach Mike Krzyzewski has gone to Las Vegas to coach Team USA and prepare his ridiculously talented incarnation for the Olympic games in London. The Duke coach’s adaptable approach seems to be well-suited for a team that has lost many of the stars from the 2008 gold medalist from the Olympic Games. Whether drawn from his own philosophy or inspired by the positional revolution underway in the NBA, Coach K seems ready to put his best players on the court, regardless of position, and let the rest of the world worry about how to defend that.
  3. Fayetteville Observer: In jumping to quick conclusions months before any of the teams even start practicing, Bret Strelow may win the week’s big prize. Of course, barring any big surprises, he’s probably right on the money. Strelow predicts a three-team race for the top of the ACC, with traditional powers Duke and North Carolina trying to fend off an upstart North Carolina State team that is bringing in highest-ranked freshman class in the conference. Of course, the sad part about this prediction is that it’s not particularly predicated on the strength of any of these three teams, but rather on the weakness of the rest of the conference. As it stands, many perennial contenders such as Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Maryland have fallen on hard times with no easy fix or game-changing recruits on the horizon. Until this changes, it seems like a lot of the hoops power in the conference will be centered almost exclusively on a very small triangle in the Piedmont region of North Carolina.
  4. News & Record: Let’s keep our eyes on the future and keep our eyes on the spring of 2013. Who will be on next years All-Freshman Team? Well, the News & Record has you covered. Looking at several years’ worth of high school scouting data and past All-Freshmen Teams, the Greensboro paper puts forth a few predictions with the caveat that this is a very silly exercise. On paper, picking Rodney Purvis, Rasheed Sulaimon,  and Robert Carter to have big years seems like a fairly safe prediction. I’m a little more intrigued by the presence of Maryland’s incoming big man, Charles Mitchell. By all accounts, Mitchell is a fine player, but he might only be the third best freshman center for Maryland next season, behind Shaquille Cleare (a top 50 player while Mitchell doesn’t crack the top 100) and potentially Damonte Dodd. Daring choices are to be applauded, however, and I’m anxious to see how Mitchell plays in the coming year.
  5. CBS Sports: You know what our problem is? Not looking far enough ahead into the future. The 2012-13 season will surely be interesting, but only thinking about that seems a little short-sighted, no? Of course. So logically, let’s turn our eyes to the ranked recruiting class of 2013-14. A quick look at the top 10 has North Carolina on top of the whole nation, largely by virtue of already two players already committed to play when most players that age have yet to make a firm decision. Still, I suppose this is a good sign for the (admittedly distant) future of the conference.
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