Sims, Gregory get big win on national TV

Christian Laettner's ‘The Shot,' this was not. In fact, it shouldn't have counted. But none of that mattered in the slightest to future Terp Dino Gregory after he hauled in a 60-foot baseball pass, wheeled and banked in a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to earn overtime and eventually send Mount Saint Joseph's to a 69-65 victory over St. John's (D.C.) Saturday night at American University.


The controversial play may have become the focal point of the night, but it was hardly the only highlight for Gregory and Terp target Henry Sims, who showed their wares in front of a national ESPNU audience.

Gregory, the 6-foot-7 senior power forward and UMD commit, finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks on 5-for-13 shooting, while Sims – the 6-10 junior and top Terps target -- was very impressive as well, scoring 20 points on 7-12 shooting with 12 boards.

Although replays showed that the shot left Gregory's hand after the buzzer and Gregory's foot was inside the 3-point line when he flung it hard off of the backboard and into the hoop, it wasn't much of an issue in the Mt. St. Joe's locker room afterward. St. John's had led for virtually the entire game.

"I think it was a three-pointer. Definitely," Gregory said, smiling as he was mobbed by teammates and Gaels students. "It feels great. It feels great. I'm just so happy right now."

"Man, the boy's foot was twelve feet behind the line at this point," Mt. St. Joe's coach Pat Clatchey joked. "That's basketball. Sometimes you get the breaks, sometimes the breaks go against you … We could have folded about eight times."

"They were asking for [a video replay]," Clatchey said of the St. John's bench. "I would have done the same thing if I was in there shoes."

But high school rules do not allow the use of video replay, and after a few minutes of intense debate, the game was on to overtime.

Sims asserted himself at the start of overtime, scoring the first two baskets on a hook shot and a dunk to give the gales a 61-57 lead. St. John's, which got 40 points from Georgetown commit Chris Wright, managed only one late, meaningless field goal in the extra period, and Gregory sprung out to block two consecutive 3-point tries and seal the win.

Gregory was excited not only to have put up an impressive performance on national TV, but also to have done so in front of a lot of Terps fans in the stands.

"That's what my dad was talking to me on the drive here, about how all the Terp fans were going to be watching," Gregory said.

Speaking of his dad, Gregory's father is 6-9, so there is still hope Dino will gain another inch or two of height before heading to College Park next fall. Right now he's a bit of a ‘tweener' at 6-7, but he showed that he is strong and has great fundamentals in the post, including a pretty baby hook and excellent ability to find the open shooter while being double-teamed.

"He's a little bit [of a tweener]. But he's a good athlete and he's got some some face-up game," Clatchey said. "And he's a winner. He's got a winning attitude. I think his record here is 116-and-15. He's been on three championship teams."

Said Sims, "This is a championship team, and championship teams find a way to win."

Sims is being recruited by an ever-increasing number of top programs, but is most seriously consering Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia, Boston College and Clemson. Florida and UConn have also been in contact with the 6-10 junior, who is beginning to realize some of the potential that had him ranked No. 29 in Scout.com's pre-season top-100.

The lanky forward has outstanding shooting touch for his size, good all-around ball skills and is developing his post moves at a rapid pace. He's had a Terps offer for a while now, and Gregory has been working on him to join him in College Park.

"He's coming closer and closer," Gregory said.

Gregory "and his dad are always telling me that every day after practice," Sims said. "It would be great to play with him and Braxton [Dupree], my two friends, but I can't let that [make] my decision."

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