Well, this certainly makes Super Bowl Sunday a little more interesting in CP.
Without question, Maryland guard Cliff Tucker’s decision to discuss his frustration with how the season has unfolded opens up a whole new set of simmering issues for the Terrapins.
First of all, will Tucker transfer at the end of the season? It sure sounds like that would be floating through his mind. He said he’d met with Williams to talk about things, and most people wouldn’t take their frustrations public without exploring other avenues and knowing exactly where they stand.
So even if we can’t see how he and everyone else practices on an every-day basis, it’s hard to look at his solid rep (No. 89 overall prospect in the class of 2007 according to rivals.com), his unmistakable athleticism and his shrinking minutes total and not think a transfer is a possibility.
Based on what everyone is privy to – notably several losses during which Maryland’s starters simply wore down in the second half – it’s easy to understand why Tucker would be upset. Would anyone who has watched their minutes sliced by a third for a team that is struggling more than a year ago be happy?
Two, there is another voice offsetting Williams’ on what is probably the greatest mystery of the Terps’ season. Injuries and conditioning and talent helped explain the status of just about everyone on the roster. Who could argue that Adrian Bowie and Dave Neal earned their starting gigs? Or that Braxton Dupree often struggles when provided an opportunity?
Tucker’s situation, though, always seemed more nebulous. Williams talked about the importance of consistency last month, and he reiterated to me today that the guys who practice best and play hard are the ones who earn playing time. Tucker emphatically said he does just that in practice while emulating an opponent’s best guard while playing for the scout team.
Three, is any sort of move already expected? Maryland loses one scholarship player (Neal) after this season and has two signed for next year (Jordan Williams and James Padgett). That puts the Terps at the NCAA-maximum 13, yet star swingman Lance Stephenson made a visit to College Park last night.
Clearly, Maryland is still looking at available players for next season. But someone would have to go to make it happen, either via a transfer or an early departure for the pros (with Greivis Vasquez the only logical possibility for that route).
Obviously, this is just one more thing to hover over the Terps for the rest of the season. As always, there’s never a dull moment in College Park.