The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 16 – Michigan vs Maryland
March 3 – Michigan vs Maryland
Lucky me. Once again I was blessed with the opportunity to sleep in. Remember, I went to sleep at like 2 a.m. My wife got up with the kids probably around 9 a.m. I slept until 11:20 or so. Now, once you have kids you never sleep straight through the night. It’s impossible. There is an internal clock that is always going off at random times. This could be for a number of reasons. I blame it on the times of waking up at 4 to 4:30 to give the kids a bottle; or, when I worked at a liquor distributor and had to wake up around the same time. Nevertheless, I slept in! I woke up and had a shower. I ate some potato soup with the family, and proceeded to watch “The Kitchen”, on Food Network. Look….. I either watch sports or food shows. That’s what I live by. You can judge however you want.
I left for the game at 2:15, for the 3:45 tip in College Park. Well it started sleeting basically. So I-295 was a lot of fun. People really can’t drive in any type of weather. It could be too windy, too cold, too hot, too sunny or too dark. It doesn’t matter people suck at driving, especially in this area. I picked up my credential at a location on campus and then parked in the parking garage. The walk was about five minutes or so to the arena. I have arrived. I grabbed a water, two cheeseburger sliders, some tortilla chips, and then made my way to my seat. I was just happy that I was in the building. Keith Sneddon, a communications director for men’s basketball for the University of Maryland, squeezed me in. It was much appreciated. It was Maryland’s 100 years of basketball celebration. There was a ton of legends in the building. Gary Williams, Tom McMillen, Steve Blake, Drew Nicholas, Lonny Baxter, Tony Massenburg, and Melo Trimble just to name a few. It was a huge game and nationally televised. Michigan had their own celebration planned.
The game was pretty back and forth throughout. Michigan eventually took the lead for good midway into the second half. They started making some three’s late and that is what put the terps away. The crazy part about this game was that both teams starting five’s scored in double figures. Ignas Brazdeikis was the player that Maryland struggled with the most. At 6’7 215, he showed an ability to attack the rim and draw contact, or pull up for jumpers. Darryl Morsell just couldn’t do enough to stop him. Iggy beat him off the dribble regularly. Iggy fed into the crowd big time. They were chanting “you are ugly”, during foul shots. Mark Turgeon had the PA announcer tell the students not to do that cheer. They listened, but were still booing and verbally going at him all game. Iggy was blowing kisses and acted like they weren’t loud enough. He finished with 21 points and seven rebounds. The big Jon Teske had the task of slowing down Bruno Fernando. He made Bruno work and was a real obstacle for Bruno down low. Teske is developing his jump shot and starting to add some range to it. He made one three pointer out of six attempts, but the potential is there. He needs to add some lift and arc to his shot to do so. Zavier Simpson is a player that was transported from like 1940. He is a throwback point guard. Zavier is a past first guard and a lockdown defender. He rarely looks to score. When he does score it’s likely from a running hook shot to the right side of the basket. Now this hook shot is not Kareem’s. Kareem would catch the ball in the post, maybe make a move or dribble and go up. Simpson is literally driving from the perimeter to a specific spot and then kissing the ball high off the glass. It’s some crazy muscle memory voodoo going on there. Like seriously, how much has he shot that shot? (Patrick Ewing reference). Simpson made like three or four in the game and they were all clutch shots near the end of a shot clock.
To me the game was attainable for Maryland. The one player that they really ride or die by struggled mightily. Anthony Cowan could not buy a bucket. He was 4-15 from the field and 1-7 from three. That is not going to get it done. He also had 4 turnovers and four fouls. It just wasn’t his day. Bruno was effective like his usual self. He had twelve points, ten rebounds and six blocks. No shot is safe around him in the paint. He can cheat and be exposed in the post at times though. Overall Maryland just didn’t play disciplined enough on defense. They were bad in the pick and roll with Simspon, and Iggy just cut them up on drives.
After the game I debated going to the press conference, but it was about 6 p.m. on a Sunday and I had pizza waiting for me at home! I met up with my Dad to give him a ride back to his vehicle back at our church in Glen Burnie. He rode to the game with a group that goes to Maryland games from our church, Faith Baptist Church. We walked to the garage on campus, waited a solid 15 minutes to get out of it and then waited another 15 minutes to get off campus. After all of this and talking about the game with my dad on the ride home, I arrived at my house around 7:35. This big basketball weekend for me was capped off with some truffle fries, pizza and whiskey and coke. SOLID WEEKEND.
Side Note – Red Panda was the halftime entertainment. ELECTRIC CITY.