Every coach starts the season optimistic. Maryland's Gary Williams is no different.
And part of me – the part who relished the early part of this decade when the Terps were one of the nation's premier programs – is right there with him.
|Greivis Vasquez will lead the way for the Terps this season.
The Terps nabbed a spot in our preseason Top 25, which wasn't a huge leap. They return four starters from a 21-14 team that reached the second round of the NCAA tourney. They're picked to finish 5th in the ACC this season, and are a good bet to return to the Big Dance.
Now comes the tough part for Williams. Fulfilling those expectations.
"The one thing you learn in coaching is nothing's automatic. Just because you return a lot of guys, that doesn't mean we're just going to walk out on the court and all those things are going to happen," Williams said Monday. "I have to grind it as a coach and we have to make sure the guys understand that the more you win, the more individual things you receive as a basketball player."
It should be easier with a couple of the incoming freshmen at his disposal. Forwards Jordan Williams (6-10) and James Padgett (6-8) are two highly touted players who figure to have a crucial role right away. But it doesn't sound like Williams is going to start either one. That'll be junior Dino Gregory, which has been an easy call thus far.
"Because by the end of the year he was one of the better inside players in the ACC," Williams told the Baltimore Sun.
Williams must be feeling good about his team if he's not turning to the freshmen right away. Last year, Greivis Vasquez had to do it all until the end of the season. And now, that's not the case?
That speaks volumes about how he feels about his returning players, and when was the last time he had that feeling?