Dino Gregory wasn’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.
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