Has not been announced yet. Nor will it be by any means set when the Terps Mens Basketball Team open up exhibition play next Saturday against Northwood. Certainly the tumult over last season's disappointment along with the departure of key players (James Gist, Bambale Osby) and the loss of promising young talent (Gus Gilchrist, Bobby Maze), has dimmed the hopes of the Terrapin fan base for this season. Certainly yes, this team is starved for front-court depth and is plagued with question marks. However, this is Maryland Basketball and a new season is always approached by hope and excitement (regardless of whether or not it is warranted).
Getting back to my point on the potential starting five, there are only three players who are essentially guaranteed: Eric Hayes, Greivis Vazquez, and Landon Milbourne. That leaves two spots open. Keep in mind that the only one of these three capable of playing in the front court is Milbourne, and he is more of a forward/guard combo rather than a pure forward or pure guard. So, of the remaining two Gary Williams will need at least one person to play the power-forward/center position. The last will be determined by whether or not he decides that he wants a traditional lineup with two inside players or go with (essentially) a four guard lineup with only one big man.
What do I see as this year's starting five? Funny you should ask...
1. Eric Hayes - PG - Hayes has already been given the starting point guard role by Gary Williams, and that is not in doubt at this point.
2. Greivis Vazquez - SG - Vazquez has been slowed badly by offseason ankle surgery, but he is a cornerstone of this team and is the best offensive weapon Gary Williams has. Assuming he gets healthy, Vazquez should benefit from being moved off of the point.
3. Sean Mosley - SG - This is where things are a little dicey, because if Mosley is inserted into the lineup then you're leaving yourself with a thinner bench at guard and taking away a spot from the front court.
4. Landon Milbourne - G/F - Milbourne was streaky last season, but he is a tremendous athlete with a work ethic that has been highly praised by Gary Williams. For the second year in a row, he has singled out Milbourne as the player who has put in the most offseason work; no way he doesn't crack the starting five.
5. Jerome Burney - PF/C - Jerome Burney is certainly not a significant offensive weapon, but is a tremendous defensive presence in the paint. Burney came on strong at the end of last season, and based on the alignment that I forsee, the Terps are going to want a big man to just contain the paint and play defense. The scoring should come from the other four.
That's where I see the starting five shaking out -- feel free to post your own projections.
(Photo Credit: Monica Lopossay/Baltimore Sun)