The Washington Times - April 4, 2009, 12:18PM

Dino Gregorywasn’t exactly an afterthought at the start of the season. After all, there was a free-for-all for frontcourt playing time, and Gregory would have his chance just like everyone else.

Still, this was a guy who played seven minutes against ACC competition as a freshman, and the closest he came to playing in the last 16 games was participating in the pregame layup lines.

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So lo and behold, Gregory actually was the most effective rebounder and shot-blocker on a per-minute basis among Maryland’s regulars.

Gregory averaged 7.8 rebounds per 40 minutes; Landon Milbourne and Dave Neal both checked in at 7.2.  Gregory also swatted 34 shots, second on the team behind Milbourne – but in more than 400 fewer minutes.

Such a development is a credit to Gregory, who didn’t exactly arrive in College Park with the most rugged reputation but adjusted his game accordingly to etch out a place for himself.

He was in some ways the Terps’ most underappreciated player this season – a reflection of his modest offensive performance (2.6 points a game). Still, he reliably played hard (even if he was physically overwhelmed at times) and played particularly well in the ACC and NCAA tournaments at the defensive end.

As a result, a guy who might have been considered a possibility to transfer a year ago heads into next season as the early favorite to start at the five as a junior.

Gregory won’t be an afterthought going forward – and figures to emerge as a more central figure in Maryland’s frontcourt picture as his career progresses.

– Patrick Stevens