Greivis Vasquez didn’t need a stat sheet. The previous hour and a half was instructive enough.
He’d watched James Padgett collect a bunch of rebounds, score on a plenty of putbacks and, well, basically clean up a fair number of messes under the basket during yesterday’s scrimmage.
“Even though James wasn’t on my team, he rebounded the ball pretty well,” Vasquez said. “That really bothered me a little bit because he’s going to take my spot and lead the team in rebounding. I’m just playing.”
Vasquez, of course, is referring to a year ago, when he became the first player in Maryland history to lead the team in points, rebounds and assists.
The senior won’t complain, though, if Padgett pieces together some games in the mold of yesterday’s performance —- 17 points and 11 rebounds.
A lot of Padgett’s offensive work was on second-chance points, but the Brooklyn native showed some offensive polish that came off as a bit of a surprise for a guy who was a defense-and-rebounds player at Lincoln High School in Brooklyn.
Playing with Lance Stephenson will do that.
“He never saw the ball last year,” coach Gary Williams said.
Williams has told the tale of Joe Smith frequently this preseason as a caution to not judge Padgett prematurely. Smith played AAU ball with Allen Iverson, thus limiting his offensive opportunities.
Smith, of course, made an immediate impact as a freshman and was the top pick in the NBA Draft after his sophomore season.
“Joe came in a much better shooter than I thought,” Williams said. “James isn’t a shooter like that, but he’s really quick around the basket. You can see that when he goes against Landon [Milbourne] and Dino [Gregory].”
The Terps only hope it remains the same when he goes against outside competition as well.
—- Patrick Stevens