Williams: ‘We'll find our way back' to Top 25

After failing to crack the AP Top 25, Gary Williams feels Terps were disrespected

Duke, Michigan State, North Carolina, Virginia Tech – the list of teams ranked in the AP Top 25 preseason basketball poll. That’s four teams Maryland defeated during their 2010 season, now ranked ahead of them heading into 2011.

The Terrapins received an overwhelming zero votes towards the poll and head coach Gary Williams feels disrespected. Can you blame him?

“We finished 18th in the country; we lose to Michigan State on a last second shot and all the teams that we beat get votes,” Williams said Monday night after his team defeated Florida Southern in an exhibition.

But Williams gathered himself and replied simply: “It’s okay; we’ll find our way back again.”

Maryland landed at 18th is the USA Today Coaches Poll after falling to Michigan State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. A buzz beater ended their National Championship aspirations, and the loss of their top three seniors caused many to forget about the Terrapins.

While Greivis Vasquez embodied Maryland basketball during his time with the team, and Eric Hayes and Landon Milbourne proved invaluable parts of the team time and time again, this year’s Terps are not lacking talent.

Sophomore Jordan Williams was named a preseason Naismith Award candidate. In his freshman season, the center amassed seven double-doubles, averaged nearly a triple-double down the stretch of the season and shot .980 from the free throw line. Williams was just the third freshman to score 250 points and grab 250 rebounds.

Entering his third season with the Terps, Sean Mosley is taking scoring into his own hands. Mosley will try to fill in for Vasquez, providing scoring, rebounding and defense for his team. The guard averaged over 10 points in 2010 and totaled 44 steals on the season.

The rest of the starting lineup consists of Adrian Bowie, Dino Gregory and Cliff Tucker, all in their senior seasons. Bowie will take on the role left absent by Hayes at point guard, while Tucker will fill in as a swingman and Gregory on the inside.

And while no one player will be playing the role of superman for the Terps this season, a deep, talented roster should make for a balanced team approach. Four-star recruit Mychal Parker and three-star recruits Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard lead the freshmen class, and the acquisition Haukur Palsson from Iceland should make for an explosive bench. They may not be the big names or proven superstars, but there is definitely a sense of confidence among the team that they’re bound for success.

“I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people,” Tucker said. “A lot of people don’t think we’re going to be as good as we were last year just because of the guys we lost, but we know that we can be a great team this year, we can be even better if we really want to.”

The swingman added that the team just needs to continue working hard and improving to reach their goal. And if Gary Williams has something to say about it, this team will return to prominence.

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