A few quick Braxton Dupree facts.
* He’s averaging 2.4 points and 2.6 rebounds in 11.1 minutes.
* He didn’t play in six out of seven games at one juncture in the last six weeks.
* He’s ninth on Maryland’s roster in minutes played.
* He’s played 57 minutes since ACC play began.
* We might see a little more of him now that Jerome Burney is out.
It’s little secret that this could be Dupree’s last really good chance to position himself for substantial future playing time. He’s lost a starting job the last two years, and only now is being peeled off the milk carton. Plus, there’s two bigs coming in next year, which will crowd the playing time available.
“It’s a great opportunity for Braxton,” coach Gary Williams said. “I thought he made some good plays against Wake Forest. Obviously, he’s going to get an opportunity now and that’s the key —- to take advantage of the opportunity. This is a big stretch for Braxton with whatever we have left because it’s going to be very competitive for playing time next year inside, so we’ll see how it goes.”
It’ll be interesting, either way. Even if he can contribute eight solid minutes the rest of the way, it would help a frontcourt that’s demonstrated a knack for stumbling into foul trouble in recent games.
Not that it’s a surprising development; any smart team would try to pound away at Dave Neal and Landon Milbourne and hope to force Maryland into playing its reserves. If Dupree can fare better than he did earlier in the season, that strategy won’t be quite so sound.
“Braxton has an opportunity to play more now,” forward Dino Gregory said. “I think he can do it. I’ve played with Braxton since I was nine or 10 years old. I know what he can do, so he just has to go out there and do it.”
—- Patrick Stevens