Maze Ready for Bright Lights, Cameras
"If you are what you say you are, a superstar, then have no fear, because the camera's here," he sings.
Pretty soon, he'll be playing in front of the big cameras and the bright lights. And judging by his performance this year at Hucthinson (Kan.) Community College, the brash junior college point guard seems like he's posied to be the star he considers himself.
Maze, the dynamic 6-foot-3 playmaker from Suitland who committed to Maryland this winter, averaged 20.7 points 4.5 rebounds and nearly seven assists per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the field overall and 72.9 percent from the free-throw line. This week he was named Jayhawk Conference player of the year and was named all-Region IV. He also seems likely to become a first-team junior college all-American.
"I know that I did well. I'm not too pleased with the way it ended. I wanted to make it to the national tournament," says Maze, who led Hutchinson to a 23-9 mark before the Dragons fell to Coffeyville in the Region VI quarterfinals. "Hutch got back to the old days. We went 12-4 in the conference and the year before, I think, they won six games."
Maze has come a long way since his days at Oklahoma, which were limited by a nagging foot injury – he says he was never better than 75-percent healthy there – and a slowed-down offensive system that conflicted with his frantic playing style.
"My game's a lot better. I get better all of the time because of one thing – I love the game of basketball and I stay in the gym," he said.
Maze will finish up at Hutchinson academically this spring before heading to College Park for the beginning of summer school. He paid close attention to the Terps' up-and-down season and can't wait to put on a Maryland jersey and begin to help the program turn things around.
The thing that will help me next year is I'll be playing with better players, with guys like Vasquez and Hayes, who can hit shots when you get them the ball," he said. "I think they fought hard and I know they're a little disappointed in what happened this year, but they're competitors, like Vasquez. I can't wait to play with him. He plays with a lot of heart and he just wants to win. All I can do is picture myself out there playing with him."
"When I come in, I'm just coming in there and playing with a chip on my shoulder. I always think I'm the best player in the gym, so hopefully some of that will rub off on the other guys," he said.
Maze hasn't played with fellow incoming guard recruit Sean Mosley but has heard lots of good things about him. He's plenty familiar, of course, with his Hutchinson teammate Ken Bowman, a verbal commitment whom Maze said is still planning to join him at Maryland. He's also played with highly touted big man recruit Gus Gilchrist.
"Gus, to me, is a pro. He's got the size, he's got the big hands. He can post up, he can shoot the jumper, he can rebound. He's definitely going to be the key to the success that our team has. I'm so excited to play with him."
A couple more notes from Hutchinson's athletic department:
Maze had five games of 30 or more points, scoring 34 twice this season against No. 7 Arkansas-Fort Smith and Colby. He had 16 games of 20 or more points. Maze became only the third Blue Dragon point guard to have 200 assists in a season, finishing with 218. That's second on HCC's single-season list and ninth on the Blue Dragon career assist list.
Maze had a combined 30 assists in the 2007 Quarterback Classic on Nov. 1-3. Against Brown Mackie on Nov. 2, Maze broke the school record for single-game assists for the first time when he had 13 assists. The sophomore transfer from Oklahoma topped that mark with an incredible 16 assists against Barton County on Jan. 23. Maze had nine or more assists in a single game nine times, a feat no other HCC point guard has ever accomplished.
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