While Terpnation was undoubtedly excited about the huge improvement on the part of the 7’2″ big man, Terp fans also feared that Len’s improvement would throw him in the NBA lottery next year instead of back in College Park.
In terms of this year, Len has shown that Maryland fans have a lot to look forward to. Len looks stronger, quicker, and has a wider arsenal of moves than he did last year. Len showed that he had potential last year, but also showed that he had a lot to work on. The big men of the ACC out muscled him and out ran him, and pushed him around in the paint.
There was nothing more comforting as a fan of Maryland basketball to wake up at noon on a Sunday, look through your Twitter feed, and see that Alex Len has tweeted three hours earlier that he was “grinding it out in the gym.”
Len’s hard work to bulk up during the summer proved worthwhile last night as he pushed around the Wildcat big men and made his presence more than known in the paint.
Len’s soft touch around the basket is a rare characteristic of someone of his height and athleticism. By playing through Len, Maryland established that they could successfully run their offense through their 7’2″ center. If Len can consistently provide a scoring threat in the paint, then the floor will open up for Maryland’s talented young wing scorers.
Physical gifts aside, Len showed a tenaciousness and a will to win that was not so evident last year. Len seems to have a great deal of confidence entering this season which is a great sign for Maryland. Len clearly has the talent to take over games, and last year it did not seem like he knew that. After last night, I would say that both Len as well as the coaching staff knows very well what he is able to do.
Len is still young, is still new to the college game, and has a lot to learn. However, while Len will probably not play like he did last night every game of the season, Len showed that he has improved every aspect of his game from last year and he is ready to be a focal point of the Terps’ strategy on both sides of the ball.