Surprised by Hawk Palsson’s Departure
Patrick Stevens of the Washington Times reported today (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/d1scourse/2011/aug/1/source-palsson-expected-to-pursue-career-in-europe/) that Hawk Palsson is expected to leave the University of Maryland and pursue a professional career in Europe.
As Stevens wrote, Palsson did have a monster showing in the Under 20 European Championships. I’m still rather surprised by this development. Clearly Palsson was going to receive significant minutes with the Terps this upcoming season. With him, there were only 9 scholarship players for Coach Turgeon to work with during his initial season at the helm of the Terps. Many fans of Maryland had believed the 6’6 Palsson would be called on to play-up at the 4, helping a rather thin Front-court.
Palsson leaving does not do much to move the needle on the 2011-12 expectations for Maryland. Frankly, the same could be said if he had stayed. What his departure does do, is further solidify the way Maryland will be forced to play. Coach Turgeon stated last week that he envisions often using a 4 guard alignment. Currently the roster looks like:
Guards: Stoglin, Howard, Faust
SF: Mosley, Parker
Bigs: Padgett, Weijs, Pankey
We know what the issues are going to be for Maryland. With limited numbers, accumulating fouls will be a problem. Every player will be asked to play extended minutes, which means they will likely tire out in the 2nd half of a lot of games. Padgett, Weijs, and Pankey are all athletic enough to help the team on the boards, and as shot-blockers. None of the three figures to contribute much of anything offensively beyond put-backs. Pankey had his Senior year of HS ended with a leg injury, and appeared in just one game last year with Maryland. If he is not physically ready to play, a team with zero depth will be further exposed.
Still, I’m somewhat interested to see this team. Even if they are in the bottom-third of the ACC, I think they have a chance to be entertaining. First, it will be interesting just seeing someone else roaming the Maryland sidelines. Second, that 4 guard lineup could be fun. For Maryland to be competitive on any level (6 to 8 wins in league play), the following is going to have to happen:
1) Stoglin becomes more efficient with the ball, and regularly puts the ball in the hoop. In February Stoglin had a stretch of 5 conference games where he averaged 23 ppg. He needs (and should) score in the mid-to-high teens this year.
2) Howard needs to continue to hit the open 3’s he was making to end last year, and improve when he is playing off the ball. I’d like to see him running the offense when MD is in the 1/2 court, and I’d like to see him use his strength against guards in the paint.
3) Parker was a highly regarded recruit, and can really get off the floor. If the Terps are running and gunning, he has to put up points in transition.
4) Freshman Nick Faust is a Top 50 recruit, and like everyone else, is going to get plenty of minutes. He is going to get an opportunity to put up some points, and Maryland will need him to become assertive quickly.
5) Mosley had a poor Junior year. There is no getting around that. He lacked confidence and it showed as numbers decreased across the board. Most of the Analysts we have spoken to point to the difference of being a 4th or 5th option as a Sophomore, to having the burden of expectations as a Junior. Nobody is going to be expecting much from him, or the Terps this year. Maybe because of that he will just relax, and again find his game.
6) Padgett, Weijs, and Pankey have to rebound effectively, and provide some interior presence. If Maryland can play an entire season with 6’7 David Neal in the post they can play a year with these three better athletes. Yes, Neal used his 263 lbs to get good positioning, and these three will get pushed around at times; but each of these guys can run the floor and jump. Between the three of them, they have 15 fouls, and need to use them.
7) Maryland will have to excel at the basics. Value possessions. Play defense. Get to the line. Score in transition, and in the paint. Share the ball.
Palsson’s departure is a bit of a surprise, and does not help, but really changes little for this coming year. The bigger question is how this impacts Maryland and their subsequent recruiting efforts.
As of today, the ’12-’13 Roster looks like:
Guards: Stoglin (Jr), Howard (Jr), Faust (Soph), Allen (Freshman)
SF: Parker (Jr)
Bigs: Padgett (Sr), Pankey (Jr)
The Terps now have ability to add as many as 6 additional players to the Class of ’12. My guess is that Coach Turgeon and his Staff would like to avoid any class being that top heavy, but I could see Maryland taking 3, or even 4 more players (in-addition to Allen) to join the Terps for that ’12-’13 season. Maryland is involved with a lot of names with the classes of ’12, and ’13. The Terps need to start putting some names on the board. I personally think if Shaquille Cleare commits (class of ’12) we start to see some other dominoes begin to fall.
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.
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