The Washington Times - December 12, 2008, 10:51AM

If you threw every member of Maryland’s band of not-entirely-proven sophomores into a lot back in mid-October and could have just one of them, a lot of folks probably would have chosen Cliff Tucker.

In retrospect, the correct answer over the first quarter of the schedule was Adrian Bowie, though Dino Gregory‘s looked good, too.


(Elsewhere, Jerome Burney is hurt and Braxton Dupree‘s role has shrunk significantly in the last week).

That leaves Tucker, who is still playing but no longer starting. Since playing time is a zero-sum game, someone had to lose something with Bowie playing well. That someone was Tucker.

Toss in the presence of freshman Sean Mosley and his own so-so play, and Tucker is struggling to see significant time.

“I think you press some in the situation he’s in, but you have to play,” coach Gary Williams said. “It’s not complicated. Adrian got out there on the court and played well. Sean gives us a lot of energy when he’s out there in the game. He’s going to get better because he plays hard all the time.”

There’s some language to parse there, that’s for sure.

But before anyone wants to unnecessarily apply any psychoanalytical mumbo-jumbo to those comments, it’s obvious Williams would be crazy to not play Bowie extended minutes at this point. And Mosley’s versatility provides a few more options at this stage than Tucker.

That said, five players didn’t reach double figures in minutes in Sunday’s rout of George Washington. Even with Burney’s injury opening things up inside, Tucker is still the most obvious choice of the bunch to create a bigger role before the season is through.

Of course, there is still the matter of Bowie and Mosley. Tucker can’t do anything about how they play, but it’s clear matching their output will make a difference for the Texan.

“Cliff’s got to look at that and react to that,” Williams said. “He will, and when he does, he’ll be fine.”

—- Patrick Stevens