On a night Clemson was exceptionally athletic and Maryland’s best offensive weapon was inbounds plays to Dave Neal (no offense intended to Neal, who played rather well at the offensive end and also managed three steals), the most impressive display for Maryland might have come from Jerome Burney.
The same guy who hadn’t played in more than two months.
Burney realized the second he tried a shot from about the foul line it was going to miss, so he soared in and deposited it himself. It didn’t make a huge difference; Maryland closed within 86-64 on the dunk before yielding the last seven points.
But it was a display of athleticism that stood out.
It lent some hope Burney is over the stress fracture in his right foot and might be able to help the rest of the season.
And while it isn’t an end-all, be-all, the use of a 10-man rotation that didn’t feature Braxton Dupree does not bode well for that particular sophomore.
The first two notions go hand in hand. Burney is Maryland’s most athletic big, but injuries have done him no favors over the last three years. A healthy Burney can help, even if it’s to be a nuisance on defense.
Meanwhile, Dupree has not played in four of the last five games, his only appearance in that stretch almost entirely in garbage time against North Carolina.
Only three guys didn’t take off their warmup jerseys last night: Dupree, walk-on David Pearman and freshman project Steve Goins. That sure didn’t seem likely when Dupree began the season as a starter.
But that’s how it’s unfolded. It would seem Burney and Jin Soo Kim both are ahead of Dupree in the rotation, and time is running out this year for the Baltimore product to turn things around.