The Life of a Freelance Basketball Scout – Game 3
November 23 – Marshall @ Maryland
This was my first trip to College Park this season. The traffic was fun as usual. Only took me an extra 15 minutes or so than if there was no traffic. It was pretty cold too, like low thirties range. I’m just glad I had a solid parking pass so I didn’t have to walk as far. That’s not always the case, since the priority normally goes to the “Big Dogs”. Maryland always takes good care of the media and I have always been treated well also. Not to mention they have solid catered food every time. This time was Chick-fil-A….. always a crowd pleaser.
I also was blessed with a seat with the NBA scouts so that was cool. One ex-NBA player was in attendance. He showed up a few minutes into the game. It was none other than local Eleanor Roosevelt high school product Delonte West. He has not been in the news in the past couple of years, after the rumors of him having some issues and possibly being homeless. I did not speak to Delonte. And to the chagrin of my pastor and friend Tim that was there in attendance, I never asked if Gary Williams recruited him to go to Maryland. If I see him again maybe I will spark a conversation, but this time I didn’t want to bother him! I’m not sure exactly why he was there but there is a player on Marshall (Jarrod West Jr.) with the same last name. Either way Delonte was just enjoying a game of basketball very quietly.
So the game was extremely one sided. It was supposed to be close. Maryland won 104-67. They led by over 40 at a point. Marshall loves to get up and down the court. They are led by Jon Elmore and C.J. Burks. Coming into the game they averaged 44 points a game combined. Well this night they had 16 total. Elmore struggled with his shot and really had an issue with Maryland’s length. He made many passes while in the air leaving his feet. Some were on target but several were tipped leading to loose balls or turnovers. Elmore has a great feel for pick and roll play and is a solid shooter off the dribble and from 3. Tonight was just not his night. C.J. Burks showcased an ability to score off the drive. He finished a few tough layups off the glass using his length to convert. Burks has a quick first step and also is a solid a shooter from 3. Both of these guys are candidates for the Portsmouth Invitational. Almost certainly not drafted. They could have very successful careers overseas or get shots in the NBA G-League.
Side note Jannson Williams could be a guy to keep an eye on. He came into the game averaging like 5 points. He finished with 21 and eventually fouled out. The 6’9 forward showed an ability to hit the 3 off the catch and shoot as well as finish some alley-oops at the rim.
Maryland thrived in this high octane game. Maybe we will see this more often. It would be exciting for the fan base and would also showcase the squads athleticism. Maryland was hitting from 3 point range as well. If they can shoot anywhere near as well as they did they will be a factor in the Big 10. Eric Ayala was impressive and showed confidence in his shot. Something he was struggling with earlier in the season. Anthony Cowan was his normal spark plug self. He had countless wide open lanes to the baskets for lay ups. It was like Marshall just parted the Red Sea for him. Bruno Fernando showcased his best pro skill all night. He had 16 rebounds. He boxes out well when focused and he can elevate better than any player on the floor for rebounds.
This game was supposed to be like a 6 or 7 point game. Marshall is a very good team and on this night of Chick-fil-A and a Delonte West sighting, they were no match for Maryland.
Maryland will have a much different style game on its hands when Virginia come to town Wednesday night. We all know Virginia is a grind it out, slow pace, methodical type of team. They are the polar opposite of Marshall. It will be very interesting to see how Maryland responds.
One last thing…… Turgeon did not seem thrilled that the Terps drew Virginia in the ACC – Big 10 challenge….. but, hey at least it’s at home.