Tough act to follow

The 2007-2008 men’s local basketball season (Maryland excluded) served up a big ole sandwich of fun.  UMBC, Coppin State, and Mt. St. Mary’s reached the big dance.  Morgan State went to then NIT.  Navy and Loyola nearly won their conference tourneys.  We enjoyed a collective level of excellence rarely seen in Baltimore area college hoops.

And the sequel may prove just as entertaining. 

Morgan State returns seven from last year’s regular season MEAC champs including Marquise Kately (13.1 ppg).  The Bears are preseason favorites to repeat.  Also in the MEAC Tywain McKie, the reigning conference player of the year is back to defend that title. 

Mt. St. Mary’s is picked by almost everyone to win the NEC.  Towson can only get better and brings in a kid so quick he makes light look slow.  Troy Franklin is worth the price of admission at the Towson Center.

Loyola lost it’s scoring punch from Gerald Brown and is picked 5th in the MAAC, but Jimmy Patsos now has the power to reload instead of rebuild.  He won’t coach at Reitz Arena for much longer.

UMBC may fall the farthest, then again when you’re on top there’s only one way to go.  After winning the regular season and tourney titles of the AEC, the Retrievers lose a lot of scoring.  But Jay Greene still runs the point and defines “in the gym” range.

Back to Maryland now, and again the Terps look set for hard times.  No inside presence and giant holes in their scoring punch leave you wondering how they’ll compete in the ACC.   This however is when Gary Williams is at his best.  He loves the under dog and now 20 years in at Maryland, that kind of challenge rejuvenates the future hall of famer. 

He also has Sean Mosely. 

I asked the Terps freshman last spring when he knew he could really play the game.  He shared a story from the summer going into his sophomore year at St. Frances Academy in which during a pick up game he dunked over Terrence Morris.  That’s 6’8″ former Terp star and European professional Terrence Morris.  As a sophomore.  You don’t have to be a psychic to read those tea leaves.

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