Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Terps are Playing Great Ball Right Now, but I Still Have Some Questions

Some Questions following Maryland 81 Miami 59 (and it wasn't that close)

Is Maryland really legit?
Can they keep this going?
Have they beaten anyone yet who is really good?
Is this the best stretch of Terps basketball since the 2006-2007 team won its last 7 in a row in the ACC?
Does the ACC stink this year?
Will Gary Williams ever get a technical for standing on the court during the game?
Anyone know what this says?
Is there a better finisher around the rack than Adrian Bowie?
Is Greivis finally more productive than annoying?
Is Sean Mosley not a bad man?
Is Jordan Williams the next Ben Coleman?
Will Maryland win at Clemson on Sunday?
Does anyone like Sunday night basketball?
Is Greivis an NBA player?
Should Maryland be ranked, even if they lose at Clemson on Sunday?
Has anyone seen my navy blue 1997 Cadillac NFL Golf Classic fleece?
If Maryland wins at Clemson on Sunday, how high should they be ranked?
Does it bother Gary that no one makes eye contact with him when he turns around and yells at the bench?
Isn't it wonderful to see the Terps get leads, build leads, and put teams away?
Who are these guys?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Makings of a "Pretty Good" Team

Maryland basketball is pretty good this year. They are not great, they are not miserable. They are pretty good. After the convincing win up at BC yesterday, the Terps are now 11-5 overall and 2-1 in the ACC; a league that appears to be down overall this season.

As for Maryland, give the team credit for going up to Boston and taking care of business against a team the Terps said appeared "disinterested" in their post game assessments. The Eagles aren't very good this year and do not count as a marquee win - but an ACC win is an ACC win and Maryland will take each and every one they can get.

After the home loss to William & Mary, I predicted Maryland would go 4-12 this season in the ACC and I now must admit that I was wrong. They aren't that bad. The ACC isn't that good. Maryland can easily put together a 9-7 or 10-6 campaign and earn a bid to the tournament, especially if they keep playing with the passion and hustle they've shown since the start of the league season.

I do have a hard time understanding how it is possible for Maryland to lose at home to William & Mary, but pershaps that loss will continue to serve as a reminder for the rest of the year that the Terps aren't good enough to loaf to a win. BC loafed yesterday and got absolutely pummeled by the Terps.

It was great to see a more balanced scoring attack, especially the punch off the bench from Adrian Bowie - Maryland's best finisher around the rack since Drew Nicholas -- who scored 15; and Cliff Tucker, who looked like a big-time player yesterday with 14 points. Time will tell if Maryland basketball can reassert itself as a formidable program, but suffice to say that this will not be the year it all goes wrong. The Terps are pretty good. We'll see how far that gets them.

It's Official - Juan Dixon to Spain

From the Euroleague website:

Unicaja lands guard Juan Dixon
Juan Dixon One day after the end of the regular season, Unicaja announced the addition of guard Juan Dixon (191, 31) for theremainder of the season. Dixon arrived from Aris BSA 2003, where he was playing until last month. In Eurocup action, Dixon averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 boards and 2.8 assists in 4 appearances in over 27 minutes per game. Before Aris, he was in Washington in the NBA, where he averaged 5.2 points and 2.4 assists in 50 games last season. For his career, Dixon produced 8.4 points and 1.8 assists in 436 games with Portland, Toronto, Detroit and Washington. His best season came during the 2005-06 campaign, when he averaged 12.3 points and 2 assists in 76 games for Portland. Dixon first made a name for himself playing college basketball at the University of Maryland, where he was a teammate of current Euroleague stars Drew Nicholas of Panathinaikos and Terence Morris of Regal FC Barcelona as well as big man Lonny Baxter of Eurocup side Besiktas. Dixon was one of the greatest players in the school’s history. He led the Terrapins to the 2002 NCAA championship, earning NCAA Tournament MVP and Atlantic Coast Association Player of the Year honors along the way. He is still Maryland’s career scoring leader with 2,269. Dixon will make his Euroleague debut with Unicaja with the start of the Top 16.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dixon's Next Stop - Spanish League?

After being released by Greek team Aris, looks like Maryland's all-time leading scorer Juan Dixon might be headed to Unicaja of the Spanish League.

This would be a good move on a couple of fronts. First, Juan needs a job. Second, Unicaja is in the Euroleague, which is at the top of the pecking order when it comes to European basketball.

Here's a link to a story in a Spanish paper, La Opinion de Malaga.

The caption for the photo of Juan reads:
"Juan Dixon, a former NBA, is number 1 on the list to strengthen the roster of Unicaja"

And here's the English translation of the article (via Google translator, excuse the typos):
AFAEL M GUERRA. Vitoria Unicaja wants to close over the next few days the addition of Juan Dixon, a shooter to strengthen the staff and try to stop the bad gameplay and results. The sporting director Juanma Rodriguez, will try to finish off today and tomorrow's arrival of the escort to the end of the season, once the Efes Pilsen has said he does not want to dispense with Igor Rakocevic, Aito great goal and 'chiefs' of The Guindos to change the team dynamics.
It will not be the only operation that has to do. The club will communicate to Shammond Williams will not renew his contract and that, therefore, from this week ended their contractual relationship with Unicaja. The club will sign a point guard to replace the U.S. with Georgian passport. On his replacement has not been much progress and there are different options on the table.
The operation itself is well on that of Juan Dixon. The sacrifice, as is 'vox populi', will be Taquan Dean. Aito Garcia Reneses has lost confidence in the U.S., to be 'cut' when the talks bear fruit that the entity has already undertaken with Dixon.
The aim is that the former NBA is in Malaga for the premiere of the second round league, next Sunday in Fuenlabrada. Dixon, a converted basis to guard, very scorer, 31, joined to the end of season for Unicaja. The 'Brownie' is free, after last week dissociated Aris Thessaloniki, and is enthusiastic about the idea of playing the ACB and the Euroleague with Unicaja.
Dixon, a base-guard. Born on 9 October 1978 in Baltimore (Maryland), Dixon is an emergency solution to alleviate the crisis. Unicaja has discarded other possibilities, since they had the required quality. And yes shooters who liked Aito Garcia Reneses had no contract and the clubs have agreed to free them. These are cases, as we reported yesterday, Igor Rakocevic and Charles Smith of the Ottoman Efes Pilsen.
Dixon has no experience in the ACB, one of the requirements requested by Aito, but his impressive career and his brief experience in European basketball represent insufficient guarantees.
Dixon has played 436 games in the NBA, averaging 8.4 points and 1.8 assists. It was 'drafted' by the Washington Wizards in 2002, being elected in the first round in 17th place. After playing in Washington, Portland, Toronto and Detroit, returned last year the franchise back to the capital.
This season he found a good contract in the NBA and decided to pack up and start heading for the first time in his career, to Europe. The Greek Aris Thessaloniki tempted him and accepted the offer from helena Dixon. However, it has come to fruition and terminated his contract last week.
Dixon is a 'gamer', a very fast and electric, very talented offensive, good long distance shot and excellent penetrator with both hands. Unicaja must act quickly if it wants to, because in recent days there has been speculation that the Caja Laboral is interested in recruiting him.
If incorporating fruits Dixon, the club will disenroll Taquan Dean, shall indemnify, assume the error that led to its recruitment and pass page. Then Shammond will do the same with Williams. The base signed to replace another 'temporary', Pooh Jeter, their performance has fallen sharply in recent weeks. The entity must now renew the player until the end of course and decided not to execute that option. Going to 'cut' and will also pay an incorporation, in addition to Dixon.
To strengthen the base station there is still no specific names on the table, and yes many alternatives. One of them, without going any further, embodies the basic Singletary, who will 'cut' by the Education Fund this week. Many fronts, two signings, two outputs and a future ahead. Unicaja has launched the Operation Resurrection '.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nice Day

Today's Topics:
Ravens 33, Pats 14
Maryland 77, Florida State 68
Juan Dixon is Out at Aris (not so nice)

Ravens 33, Pats 14
Good day for the region's sports fans my friends, this doesn't happen all that much, so let's enjoy it.
First, let's talk about the feeling of satisfaction that accompanies drubbing the Patriots. The feisty Baltimore fan in me is perhaps most pleased to see our team go to the Boston area and beat the living crap out of their team, very much like what the Red Sox have been doing to the Orioles for the past decade or so; and certainly the Pats had owned the Ravens in the Belichick era. Until today, of course. That was a beat down.

The invasion and outright takeover of Camden Yards in recent years by Boston fans when the Sox are in town has been sickening to watch. They take over our building and root for their team and usually win. It's humiliating. Therefore, I am particularly grateful to the Ravens for going to New England and not just beating the Patriots, but pummeling them. I was nervous for much of the game, like probably every other Ravens fan, but that game was over five minutes in. Ray Rice for 83 yards. T-Sizzle gets to Brady for the strip... and Baltimore had its way with a team EVERYONE in the national media picked to win the game.

The Ravens have had a crazy season. They really only lost badly once - at Cincinnati. Literally every other game they coulda/shoulda/woulda won down to the last few plays of the game. So it was nice to see the Ravens put together a complete effort and do so at the Pats' expense. Now, of course, Joe Flacco is gonna have to throw for more than 34 yards to win in Indy... but that's another discussion for another day. Today is a day to smile and enjoy the win.

Terps 77, FSU 68

An hour or so after the Ravens game ended, the Terps took the court at home vs. Florida State. Florida State came in ranked 19th, with some good wins on their resume - Auburn, Alabama, Marquette, and Ga. Tech. They were 13-2 entering the game. So... definitely a great test for the Terps. But let's be serious for a second here. It's Florida State basketball. The last time they were really legit was when Sam Cassell played there in the early 90s. If you are going to be a good basketball program - and Maryland should be a good basketball program - you don't lose to Florida State at home.

To Maryland's credit, the Terps came out and played hard from start to finish, controlled the boards against a bigger team and got the win. Great shooting day for a change, especially from 3, where Maryland went 10 for 16. Greivis led the way with 22, Hayes had 17 and Milbourne 13. Looks like Grevis has his game back, he's been very good the last 6 or 7 games, averaging well over 20 points.

Bottom line is that GV is the only truly big-time player Maryland has. When he's playing well, Maryland can win anywhere, against anyone. When he mopes and misses shots and makes bad decisions, the Terps are a pretty mediocre team.

I also liked Gary's rotation better for this game. His 3 big men - freshmen Jordan Williams and James Padgett and Junior Dino Gregory, got 18, 10, and 18 minutes respectively. Bowie and Tucker both got double digit minutes as well. It's a nice mix right now.

Just one day off and then it's Maryland at Wake Tuesday night. A 2-0 start in the ACC would be great to see.

Juan Dixon is OUT at Aris
Because Juan Dixon is my all-time favorite athlete, I bookmarked the Eurobasket page where you can check out the boxscores for his games. Last year, after getting cut by the Hawks, Juan was signed by a Greek team called Aris, which plays in the Greek national league of course; and another league called Eurocup, which competes against other teams from different country leagues.

Juan had some big games, including a 31-point outburst on Dec. 19th against AEK, a Greek power. But after scoring those 31 points in 33 minutes, Juan scored just 1 point in 14 minutes the following game. I thought that was weird.

And then when I looked back to see how he was playing in the first games of the new year, I didn't see any new numbers or his name in the boxscore. Uh Oh.

So a little looking around on the Ineternets revealed that Juan was released by Aris on Dec. 30th.
The post said, in part:

Juan Dixon couldn't conform to the european style of basketball so it was time for him to leave.

Juan Dixon(1.91-SG/PG) and Aris Thessaloniki mutually parted ways today and it was announced via the official site of Aris. The NBA veteran was brought to Aris to provide a much needed scoring touch to the team but his recklessness was too much for his coach to handle and so the decision was made for Dixon to be replaced.

Dixon was the top scorer of Aris in the last few games averaging 14.3 points 4.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 7 games in the A1 league and also 11.6 points 1.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 4 games in the Eurocup but his focus in the game was questionable.

Hmm.... not sure what to think here. Doesn't completely shock me to learn that Juan - after playing 7 seasons in the NBA - perhaps didn't see eye to eye with his new coach. I mean imagine if you are Juan and you've been playing against Iverson and Lebron and Kobe all these years and all of a sudden, your coach is Fotis Katsikaris and he's telling you to pass more to make sure Prodromos Nikolaidis gets a few more looks... you might just play like, forgive me, 'that's Greek to me...'

Because yours truly is a Facebook member of the group previously called "Juan Dixon Fan Club Greece," [now named "Juan Dixon Fan Club"] I posted a question on the board. Please understand that this is/was a fan club started by a Greek league fan named Nikos Sfakianos. I joined it a few weeks back and here's how it is described on FB:

A group dedicated to a great player..JUAN DIXON ....who this year signed with ARIS Thessaloniki GREECE, one of the most famous European basketball teams.several great players played for ARIS in the past: Nikos Galis (the top European Scorer of all times), Roy Tarpley, Gary Grant, Walter Berry, Jose Ortiz, Reggie Theus, Abdul Rauf, Harold Ellis etc.

Prior to Juan getting released, all the posts on the wall of the page were written in Greek; so it was a place for Greek fans to get their Juan fix. After Juan got released, I posted a question, "Can someone please tell me in English what happened with Juan and Aris?"

And here's the reply I got:

Nikos Sfakianos
sure....Well, nobody really knows. Basically during his last 2 or 3 games he scored 20 to 30 points but he missed a lot of crucial shots and didn't pass the ball..as a result the team lost these games. When the coach told him to be a more "team" player and pass the ball...he got it the wrong way or was simply pissed off..so, in the next game he ... See Morepassed the ball all the time (most of the passes were bad) and attemped only 2 shots !!!..in the end of the game the coach complained to him and Juan swore (he said 'Fuck you" )..this is what the Press said..but I think it has to be more than that..the mistake was basically that ARIS signed Jeremy Richardson, Aaron Miles and we also have Kiki Clark and several other good Greek players..someone had tp leave so that we could sign a power forward or a center..unfortunately it was Juan who left..too bad..but ARIS has a great history in Europe and doesn't depend on a player. we will always support Juan and we wish him good luck in his present and future career. thanks for asking Greg. take care !

So, to the extent that we can trust the reporting of Nikos, the head of the Juan Dixon fan club in Greece, that's what happened with Juan and Aris.

Go Terps. Go Ravens. See you next time,