It’s presumed that James Padgett or Jordan Williams will start tonight’s season opener for Maryland against Charleston Southern.
After all, the two split time in the absence of Dino Gregory during the Terrapins’ exhibition game.
That situation – a freshman big thrown in so quickly – got me thinking about the last time it happened.
It’s been a while. A long while.
Sixteen years in fact.
That’s right, the last time a freshman forward started in Maryland’s opener, it was none other than Joe Smith and Keith Booth back in November 1993 when the Terps upset Georgetown at the old Cap Centre.
Interestingly, only three other freshmen have started a Maryland opener since that Booth/Smith combo.
Cliff Tucker drew a start two years ago, mainly because James Gist and Landon Milbourne had to sit out because of the aggravating “non-sanctioned event” rule.
And then Eric Hayes and Steve Blake started in their respective debuts because Maryland needed a point guard immediately. Hayes has turned out to be a solid four-year player, and that Blake guy did OK for himself as well.
A look back at how all those guys did in their debuts
2007-08 vs. NORTH FLORIDA
Cliff Tucker: 8 points, 7 rebounds, 28 minutes
2006-07 vs. HAMPTON
Eric Hayes: 2 points, 5 assists, 20 minutes
1999-00 vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Steve Blake: 4 points, 6 assists, 26 minutes
1993-94 vs. GEORGETOWN
Joe Smith: 26 points, 9 rebounds, 38 minutes
Keith Booth: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 39 minutes