Saturday, February 29, 2020

Do the 2020 Terps Have What it Takes to Go Back to Atlanta?

Let’s talk Terps, shall we? Let’s. Talk. Terrrpppssss! Let’s Gooooooo Mary-LAND… 

For my money this has been the most exciting season in a long time, perhaps since the Greivis era when we thought the Terps could make a deep run in the tournament. In the 2009-10 season, the Greivis-led Terps (with Eric Hayes, Sean Mosely, Jordan Williams, Landon Milbourne, remember those guys?) went 23-8, 13-3 in the ACC and lost to Michigan St. in the second round of the tournament on a last second 3-pointer. Man that one stung. Michigan St. went on to a Final Four run and I always felt that that Maryland team could have done the same but alas, it wasn’t to be.

In 2015, the Terps, in their first year in the Big Ten (or B1G, which, side note, has 14 teams) went 26-5, 14-4 B1G and also lost in the round of 32, this time to West Virginia in a game that wasn’t real close. That Terps team also gave us lots of thrills, led by then freshman sensation Melo Trimble and tough-as-nails senior Dez Wells. 

Do we dare get our hopes up this season for a return trip to Atlanta for the Final Four? … Site of the 2002 Final Four, where my favorite team of any kind ever, the Juan Dixon-Lonny Baxter-Chris Wilcox-Byron Mouton-Steve Blake-Drew Nicholas-and-I’ll-throw-in-Tahj Holden Terps, coached by Gary Williams, I miss him, closed the whole deal, running through, ahem, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Connecticut, Kansas, and Indiana in the process. I could write 3,000 words without Googling much about that team, but suffice to say they provided memories for a lifetime for Terps fans; but since that time, we’ve been searching and hoping for similar magic.  

By the way, in writing this, I keep going to Wikipedia to remember some names and records and then I remember other things from other seasons, especially THAT 01-02 season. Here’s a video I made from the last game ever at Cole, where Ron Herbst and I went to pretty much every home game. Scroll to about 4:20 to see me and Herbst choking up about the Terps as the curtain closes on the regular season and Cole Field House. Go to this one and scroll to about the 1-minute mark to see Herbst with Scott Van Pelt, with hair, standing outside Cole. 

OK, snapping back to 2020, where I’m 50 (Jesus) and don’t broadcast Terps pre-game shows anymore (I did that for a couple seasons) or drive down to CP for games as much anymore (because life?) but I still make watching Maryland basketball appointment TV,  and still text things like “we’re gonna lose” or “I’m freaking out” or “why can’t good things happen for us?” during games to Terps fan friends. 

But here’s the thing or A thing about the 2019-20 Terps: good, fun, magical things ARE happening to and for this team and it’s past time to recognize that and have fun with it and appreciate it, even if writing this long about Maryland basketball for the first time in about a decade for me is likely to jinx them but that’s just a chance I’m gonna have to take.

If your heart can handle it, it’s been a really fun and memorable season. And here, let’s stop for a moment to recognize that if you only put stock in how far your team goes in the tournament in order to evaluate whether or not it was a ‘good’ season, I think you miss out on the joy and the fun of a great ride. One team will win the Final Four, but even if Maryland loses in the first round of the tournament (OK that would suuuuck), it’s been a lot of fun and thrills already to follow this edition of the Terps. According to this article in the Washington Post, they’ve won 7 games this season after trailing at the half, and in three of those, they trailed by 14 or more points. None was more surprising or shocking or thrilling or fun (if you stayed up, @bruce smith, sorry) than the 74-73, did-that-really-just-happen win at Minnesota on Wed. night. For the love of Bentley’s that was fun (I was always more of a Sante Fe guy, didn’t actually go to Maryland, by the way, went to JMU went Lefty got there, I did take one graduate school course and then dropped out to go work at Advantage Int’l; got a B in statistics, so there’s that). 

Anyway, right now, as I write this, ESPN is setting up shop in College Park for a GameDay Terps-a-palooza at Xfinity Center (I miss Cole Field House), Maryland is ranked 9th in the nation with a 23-5 record and sits stop the BIG 14 with a league record of 13-4. In the latest Bracketology they are predicted to be a 2 seed but still have 3 tough games - home vs. Michigan St. and Michigan and at Rutgers (17-1 at home) remaining. 

Here are some things I love about this team:
Anthony Cown’s grit. Cowan is the Terps’ senior starting point guard, he’s started every game since he got to College Park; he’s the kind of player who opposing teams must feel like is in his 10th season… and he’s a joy to watch. Cowan is undersized at a listed 6-feet (I doubt it) and he’s lightning quick, fearless, and the team’s undeniable leader. He has made some HUGE shots this season, none bigger than when he took over at Michigan State and made three threes in the final minutes to lead the Terps to a big win. Cowan’s downside is that he sometimes gets a little cold from the floor and his size can, at times, hinder his ability to finish at the basket after he beats his man off the dribble, which he can do to pretty much anyone. I love Cowan, he’s our guy, maybe just maybe, in the same way that Juan Dixon was our guy in 2002. In that season, Dixon, at a certain point, just took over and decided that Maryland basketball wasn’t going to lose anymore. I hope Cowan can do that for the 2020 Terps.

The evolution of Jalen Smith, aka Stix. Fun fact… my nephew Jake Abel worked out with Stix and a private coach when Jake was about 12 and Stix was 10. At the time, Jake was a sharp-shooting guard and Stix was a gangly, well, 10-year-old. Jake is a wonderful young guy and a playground hoops beast I am sure, but will go on to success in life in ways not involving basketball. Stix is now 6-10 and ripped and became a superstar before our eyes this season. He’s not skinny any longer and he’s not just a leaper, shot blocker, rim protector and low-post guy; the big man has a soft touch, shoots 36% from 3 and can handle himself anywhere on the court. My only complaint about Stix is that sometimes he doesn’t DEMAND or get the ball enough. Of all of the Maryland players, he is the clearest NBA prospect and will likely leave this season and get drafted somewhere in the teens. Which is fine, because he should leave to pursue a professional career, but it is unfortunate (for fans) that we don’t get to see guys like Stix continue to develop in college anymore. 

Who doesn’t love Darryl Morsell, our ‘glue guy?’ Morsell has a lot of Byron Mouton in him, doesn’t he? Plays sticky D, hustles at all times and seems like a great team guy. His game-winning 3 at Minnesota will go down as one of the greatest endings to a regular season Maryland game in history, that was so cool. And Morsell just seems like the kind of guy every championship team needs; the kind of player that guards the other team’s toughest player and steps up in key moments. Morsell isn’t a pure shooter and might be a tad undersized as a forward, but perhaps it doesn’t matter; he’s got a ton of heart and he’s fun to root for. 

There’s really only 3 more players on this Maryland team who Turgeon trusts, and they are Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala and freshman ‘he might be great’ Donta Scott. Each has had big moments this season and have drifted in and out of prominence. Wiggins might be the biggest X factor. He’s a streaky shooter who is also, by the way, 6-6 and a solid defender but shooting only 37% this season, which isn’t great. Wiggins was on NBA first round watch lists when the season started… he might become that guy and I’m sure he feels he still has a lot to prove. This is not entirely a bad thing. So… if Wiggins can find that stroke down the stretch, he makes Maryland really hard to beat. 

Ayala… very solid sophomore guard who sometimes is great and sometimes disappears but Maryland obviously needs him to take pressure off Cowan in terms of ball handling; and Donta Scott is the kind of guy who will likely emerge next year as a star; right now he’s like the fourth option on offense but I just get the feeling that Donta Scott has a ton of game we haven’t seen yet. 

Finally, let’s talk about Coach Mark Turgeon and the Turg era. Do we like this guy? Do we believe in him? Guess how many seasons Turgeon has been at Maryland? Four or five, right? Wrong, it’s been 9. Nine! The knock is that he hasn’t made a deep run in the tournament. And the fiery Gary Williams, who took Maryland to the promised land, was never going to be an easy act to follow. But let’s give some credit where it’s due; Turgeon has kept Maryland mostly ranked and relevant during his tenure and has brought some big-time players to College Park. 

I have issues with end-of-game and end-of-half execution sometimes, but coaches only can do so much. At the end of the day, or game, it’s the players who have to make plays. The way Morsell and Cowan and Stix and Ayala and Wiggins and Scott have done this season. They’ve battled and you have to give credit to Turgeon for keeping his team fighting even when they get down -- and for some reason they regularly get down -- and then battle to the end, and win a whole lot more than they lose. 

I mean, what do we want from the teams we root for? To win every game? To be invincible champions? That would be nice but it isn’t real, that isn’t how this works. So what Turg has delivered is a high quality team that fights and wins a lot more than it loses. He’s put a team on the floor that has delivered some amazing memories and wins; a team that seems to really love playing together and might just be GREAT or historic. This team might be good enough to go to Atlanta. And they might not, because that’s sports. So I’ll take it, and if you love Maryland basketball, you should be excited about this team, and appreciative of the job that Turgeon has done. He, and they, have earned it.  


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Little League, Big Dreams

Little League, Big Dreams

Few experiences I’ve had in sports - from playing on great and awful teams as a kid to witnessing Super Bowls and Final Fours as an adult - measure up to the intensity of the championship game I coached, and lost, in the Roland Park Baseball League this week. And as in business and life, you often learn more from the mistakes and the tough losses than the wins, so I thought I’d share.

Allow me to set the stage. I coach my 10-year-old son’s team in the American League of RPBL, which is for kids who are mostly 11 and 12 (some are still 10 and some turn 13 during the season). This is in an interesting age group because you have kids who have already hit their growth spurt and look like man children; and those (like my son) who are still on their way up. As a result, you witness comical confrontations like a four-foot-seven, 75-pound pitcher facing a five-foot-eight, 165-pounder hitter. Often enough, the little guy wins.

This season our Vikings were the little guys, mostly younger kids for this group. But we had talent and solid pitching, and enjoyed a winning season, finishing 8-5-1 and in fourth place in a 12-team league. We went on a run in the playoffs, winning two games and advancing to the championship game against the Falcons, a team largely composed of older, bigger kids. They were 13-2 overall and the No. 1 seed.

It was an epic Little League game, with parents and family and friends lining the newly built and beautiful Roland Park Baseball home field in Mt. Washington. If you haven’t seen it, this field is right out of a Norman Rockwell painting; it’s perfect, tucked away in a wooded lot with with an outfield fence in right, towering yellow foul poles, dugouts, and even an old school scoreboard.

The night of the game, I saw, for the first time, the charity brick I had purchased to honor my late grandfather. It read, “In Memory of Daniel Abel, Baseball Fan.”

I got a little chill when I saw it - my grandfather was our family’s first baseball fan. He must have listened to thousands of Orioles games on a transistor radio. He took his kids - my dad and his brother - to the welcome parade when the Orioles came to Baltimore in 1954. When my father showed up to see his grandson’s game that night, I showed the brick to him. He didn’t know I had purchased it. And, wearing his City College reunion baseball cap, he just nodded in appreciation and said thanks. I felt good.

And then it was time to play the game. Our boys played hard and well, and thanks to some great defensive plays and opportunistic hits (and walks) we took a 4-2 lead ino the bottom of the the sixth, the last inning. But as fate would have it, that’s when the Falcons’ bats came alive. With one out in the bottom of the inning, the Falcons had tied the score, 4-4 and had runners on second and third, with first base open.  

I convened with my assistant coaches and we agreed to intentionally walk the next batter to load the bases and create a force out at home. Now this is a good, no-brainer move in a Major League game, where the level of play and nuance of the game is understood by all to be at the highest level. But in Little League… let’s just say that’s the first intentional walk I’ve called for in 8 years as a youth baseball coach. I felt a little like Buck Showalter and a little like a guy who just took away a shot at glory for the kid who was about to hit. There’s also the knowledge that the kids and parents are watching how I’m handling this situation and myself and I needed to show appropriate composure and sportsmanship, even though I’m grinding away inside.

But that’s sports and that’s life. You have to make decisions and live with the outcomes.

Back to the game. With runners on every base and the season on the line, our pitcher Max found his fastball and location and struck out the next batter. The crowd erupted. Maybe we’d get out of this. The next batter came up and he did it again with three fastballs that were nearly impossible to hit. On to extra innings!

The intensity grew as both teams had to rely on pitchers who weren’t nearly as experienced as the ones who preceded them. In the bottom of the 8th, with daylight dwindling, and the fans and kids nearly bursting from anticipation and tension, the Falcons loaded the bases and pushed a run across on a soft ground ball that eluded our pitcher and first baseman. Their team piled on one another in joyous celebration. Our kids and fans could only watch.  

Some of our players shed a tear or two but we all felt so proud. We had over-achieved and played well. But it definitely hurt. We were right there and came up just a tiny bit short. After the game and the handshakes with our worthy opponents, I gathered the kids to congratulate them on a game and season well played.

We stood, our little circle of kids and coaches, just a few feet from the third base line, with dozens of parents and friends behind us. I felt so proud but also a deep sense of disappointment for them as they looked up at me. Those faces. So earnest and young. Some with tears, some who were already over it. Some who probably didn’t know how to feel and were waiting to take their cue from me.

Honestly, at first I didn’t know what to say. After most games, we’d recap what we did well and what we needed to work on. But now the season was over and there was nothing left to work on, it was over.

I scanned the kids for a moment waiting for the right words. I felt the emotion rushing in me.

“I love you guys,” I said. Then we went out for pizza and ice cream.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Getting Back to Business

OK it's been about 5 years and I figure, kinda like Jimmy Chitwood in Hoosiers, that it's about time I start blogging again. This space was reserved mostly for commentary about the state of Maryland basketball, but seeing as how it's baseball season, let's just dive into some Orioles talk, shall we? Then if I can get some writing momentum going, I'll check in with you on the Terps for the 2017-18 season, when the Melo-less Turtles try to find a new identity and reclaim a regular spot in the top 25.

The view from our family seats in 328.
As for the Orioles, I am hopeful for a winning and entertaining season. In the Buck Showalter era, at least we have a competitive team that has been near or at the top of the AL East standings the last five years. And that's saying something for a team and fan base that endured 14 consecutive losing seasons (1998-2011). Fourteen years of losing!

After that many years, anything resembling a decent team should bring tears of joy to our collective, Orioles-loving eyes. But such is the human condition that as soon as you experience a bit of a good thing, you want MORE. Getting to the playoffs 3 of the past 5 years has been fun, but most fans now want the Os to take the next step and make a World Series run.

Me? Of course a World Series would be nice, I mean it's been since 1983, which is, wait a sec... 34 years ago... but I also like to enjoy the ride. I have a 13-game ticket plan and what I really want, when I take my family of 4 to a ballgame, is to watch a team playing games that matter. When your team is 15 games out by the All Star break, it's not a ton of fun to sit around watching and hoping that maybe they'll go on a 27-game winning streak and get back into contention.

And so I am truly thankful for the seasons we've had the last five years. They've been exciting and suspenseful and thrilling. Yes, also crushing and disappointing, but that's life, right?

Since I'm just starting to get my groove back on this thing, perhaps I should say less than more. I'd like to share a few links to baseball writing I've done the past few years, mostly in the Baltimore Business Journal and the Baltimore Sun, about the need to take a break and watch baseball; or hate on the most beloved Yankee of the last 50 years. Here they are:

Make Opening Day Your Real Resolutions Day

Opening Day Should be an Actual Holiday 

Good Riddance Jeter 

Lessons in Leadership from Buck

Allow me to end this post with a quick parenting failure story. The other day my son Alec, who is 9 and an improving young baseball player, said to me, "Dad, what do you think the chances are that I can make the Major Leagues?"

I should say at this moment that we are jokesters but also realists in our house. Alec is funny and sharp; he gets sarcasm, has a YouTube channel devoted mostly to Trump parody videos, and watches more Simpsons episodes than he should. All of this is to say that I thought he could handle (and was aware of) the truth. So I said something like, "Oh, I don't know, about 1 in 5 million... you know it's not happening, right?"

Oh man, wrong answer. He curled into a ball and wept tears of disappointment. I almost cried too. What had I just done to my child? He's 9... I could let him have the dream a little while longer but NO, I had to go and drop realism on him like a Chris Davis moonshot to right.

Here's Alec, 9, pitching in his first game. 

Well, after my feelings of guilt and his feelings of disappointment subsided, we went outside and had ourselves a catch. I went back to throwing him pop-ups and grounders and he went back to pretending he was in the Major Leagues.

And that's the thing about baseball, you can always sit around and hope... for the next season, the next game, the next play, the next hit, the next out. But it's better to just live in the moment and hope to see a good game and if all else fails, just go outside and play catch.

Welcome back my friends, I'll be back soon.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Enjoying this Magical, Memorable Orioles Ride of 2012

What a story the 2012 Orioles have been.

All the elements are there:
Surprise  - really? we’re good this year?
Excitement - Best winning percentage in one-run games in the history of Major League Baseball.
Suspense - is this really happening? Can it continue?
Hope  - This feels good!; and, hopefully
Joyous Resolution  - no comment

Those who have followed the team at any level know the major plot points: Storied franchise known for winning and doing things the right way - The Oriole Way - falls on hard times to the tune of 14 straight losing seasons. Not just losing seasons mind you, but dreadful, interminable and seemingly pointless exercises in futility.

A revolving door of managers and general managers attempt unsuccessfully to right the ship. A generation of fans loses interest. Caring about the Orioles becomes, for the most part, uncool. Baltimore becomes, fully, a football town, immersed unapologetically in its Ravens, whose swagger and comparative success are completely foreign to the new Oriole Way. 

The 2012 Orioles season begins with modest expectations. Sure, the confident manager, Buck Showalter, has had success in the past - particularly in his second full year with a club. But no one is expecting much out of these Birds.  Their leadoff hitter and arguably best player, Brian Roberts, remains out indefinitely with concussion symptoms. The starting rotation appears thrown together haphazardly – someone’s No. 3 guy here, an unknown Asian import there. And the team’s top position players - Wieters, Jones, Markakis, Hardy - all seem to be a click or two below elite.

Here we go again.

But slowly, methodically, the 2012 Orioles play respectable, winning baseball. Buoyed by a  stingy bullpen of all things, they reach the All Star break five games over .500. But rather than feeling optimistic for the future, the fan base awaits inevitable collapse. We’ve seen this act before.

Undaunted by relatively sparse crowds, the team keeps on winning as the calendar flips to August. A rookie makes a spectacular debut and provides a spark. And now it’s September and the beat of a magical, memorable summer goes on. A team that has called upon not less than 12 different starting pitchers finds itself neck and neck with that most hate-able of enemies - the New York bleepin’ Yankees. And now, after all this time, there can be no question - the 2012 Baltimore Orioles are for real. 

I don’t know that there is some larger lesson to be learned here. One could argue that perseverance pays off; or that a team that has lost for so long is bound to win at some point, etc., etc.  Will we look back on this season as the one when the Baltimore Orioles turned the tide and returned to winning baseball for years to come? Or might it just be a blip; a statistical outlier in an otherwise orderly series of losing campaigns.

Who knows? Does it matter? More than anything what I am personally trying to do as a fan of this team is enjoy the moments, enjoy the ride.

There was that night back in July as I watched the game lying in bed with my son Ethan, who is 8, both our heads propped up on pillows.  After putting on PJs and brushing teeth, our summer routine often included watching Orioles baseball for a few innings together. On this night, the Orioles were down three runs late in the game. J.J. Hardy was up at bat; and I said aloud to Ethan, “we need a 3-run homer right here.” And on the next pitch, damn if J.J. didn’t launch one of his signature line drives clear out of the park. My son stared at me for an instant, mouth agape and eyes wide - “you called it dad!” - and then we high fived and hugged and rolled around on the bed together, celebrating one of those magical surprises that can only be delivered by a clutch three-run homer on a warm summer night.

Those moments, these opportunities, are what’s kept me into it all these years. For reasons having to do with obligation or inevitability, I’ve passed on the love of the game to Ethan and his younger brother Alec, who is 5.

We talk standings and statistics. We look together at averages and discuss the difference between a major leaguer and minor leaguer. We go to the games as a family and scream “Charge!” and buy ice cream.

And who am I kidding? I’m not just happy for them. I’ve invested a lot of time following some seriously bad teams. I have a few friends with whom I text nearly every single game talking about the minutia not just of wins and losses, but of individual plays and at bats all season long. Here, right now, is the payoff for caring. Something Oriole fans thought might never happen again is happening right now. I think it’s worth caring about. I hope my kids can think back on this 2012 Orioles team like I think about the ’79 Os, who went all the way to the World Series when I was 9. I vividly remember that team, those games, and those feelings.

Baseball is a game of failure. Most of the time your favorite player doesn’t hit a home run, or even get on base. I won’t be the first to point out that life is a lot like baseball in that it’s often about suffering; but also striving and enduring, which makes moments of glory and success all that much sweeter. It’s why I can’t stand the entitled attitude of Yankees fans, who don’t seem to take pleasure in small victories – they seem to care only for the big ones. 

But us Oriole fans? We have spent a decade and a half in the baseball wilderness, forced to celebrate only the small victories – like the occasional win against the Yanks or Red Sox when our stadium is filled with their fans. Even during one of those recent 69-93 seasons, there were moments of glory and success, but they were fleeting moments against a backdrop of hopelessness.

Here in 2012, however, we have an entirely new and hopeful script. Each game presents an opportunity for success of a type that has everyone who cares about baseball, never mind just the Orioles, paying attention.

How about those Baltimore Orioles?” they say on ESPN and write in The New York Times. Can they keep it going?

We can only watch and hope.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Maryland at Duke, the (probably appropriate) End of a Tradition

Maryland will play at Duke this afternoon, and it will be the end of a long era, one in which the teams have faced each other, home and away, each season, since the formation of the ACC in 1953.

When Miami and Virginia Tech joined the ACC in 2004, followed by Boston College in 2005, the ACC did away with the round robin format to the basketball season and introduced an unbalanced schedule. Prior to the league's expansion, the ACC featured nine member schools, a number that now seems quaint in the era of the super conference, when every team played every other team, home and away, every season.

Then when the ACC became a 12-team league, the conference created a system whereby each team had two 'primary partners' that they'd play home and away every year, and then rotate playing once or twice per year against the other teams. I personally hated the change because it replaced what was a perfect system -- you got to play each team on your court and on their court. But that's ancient history and not worth discussing. With the mid 2000s expansion following shortly on the heels of the Terrapins rise to the national championship in 2002 - and, more importantly, some truly epic battles with Duke during the Juan Dixon era - the ACC made Maryland a primary partner to Duke and UVa.

Over the years, Maryland had some great games with Duke, but none arguably more memorable or important than the ones in the late 90s and early 2000s, with both teams in the top 10. While Duke has maintained its excellence among the nation's elite program since that time, Maryland has been much more up and down, with a few very solid seasons interspersed with some very average, forgettable ones (Travis Garrison anyone?)

There were, of course, the stinging chants of "not our rival" from the Dukies when Maryland would visit Cameron Indoor, a chant meant to indicate that Duke's one and only true rival is and was North Carolina, a program that Maryland replaced at the top of the ACC pecking order for a short time, but not anymore.

And, so, where are we now? With Gary Williams retiring last year and the hiring of Mark Turgeon, Maryland has entered an entirely new era. And, perhaps fittingly, so has the ACC. This is the last year - and today is the last game in the series - where Maryland will play Duke twice a year, every year. Starting next year, the Terps' new primary partner is not Duke or even UVa, but Pitt, a team Maryland has absolutely no history or tradition with - but a very good program that's been among the nation's elite for the past decade under coach Jamie Dixon. Pitt is slightly down this year (15-9, 4-7 in the Big East), but has been to the NCAA tournament the past 8 seasons and hasn't won less than 25 games since the '04-'05 season.

As a Maryland fan, there are two ways to look at this new primary partner. One is to feel slighted by the powers that be in the ACC. After all, the Terps have been a part of the conference since its formation, so why are we the partner to one of the newbies? Is there not one school that we've developed a rivalry with worth preserving? Sadly, or perhaps just interestingly, the answer is "not really." I don't think any Terp fan gets particularly fired up to watch Maryland play UVa (and UVa is a natural rival to Va Tech), and who else was it going to be? N.C. State? Wake Forest? Nah, better to give Maryland and its new coach a new rival, one altogether worthy of respect, and, hopefully over time, the source of a kind of hatred reserved only for teams that it feels so good to beat.

Today, of course, there is the matter of Maryland at Duke. A rebuilding Maryland program without its point guard has little chance to beat the Blue Devils at Cameron Indoor, but one never knows. Perhaps Terrell Stoglin has a career-defining 40-point explosion of a performance in his system, it wouldn't shock me. So I'll be watching. And, while I initially felt that losing the home and home with Duke every year would hurt the Maryland program and its fans, I now feel like it's the right change at the right time.

It will be a good change for the program to stop thinking so much about the Duke games, and more on building the kind of team and program that goes to the tournament every year and competes for the league title. Kinda like Pitt. No use fighting it, bring on the Blue Devils today, and bring on the new era under our new coach next year. Go Terps.