Nik Caner-Medley remembers his struggles at the end of last season, when some teams double-teamed him and his outside shooting became erratic. He didn't score more than 13 points in any game in March.
The junior spent the summer honing his mid-range jump shot and refining his post game and footwork. Caner-Medley yesterday displayed his improved offensive moves before a smattering of fans during Maryland's intrasquad scrimmage at Comcast Center.
"Between this year and last year, we're so much further ahead of the game than we were," said Caner-Medley, who scored 28 points. "We're real confident with the offense. We know a lot of the second, third and fourth options in it, as opposed to just the basics."
Maryland Coach Gary Williams has been pleased with the development of Caner-Medley, who attended two camps this summer and made 10 of 16 shots yesterday.
"He should be confident," Williams said. "He went through a period last year when he wasn't confident. He worked hard this summer. You have to earn the right to be confident."
Last year, Maryland played its best basketball when big man Jamar Smith recorded double-doubles. With Smith departed, Maryland is without a consistent threat at the center position. One positive thus far has been the play of James Gist (Good Counsel), a 6-foot-8 freshman with bulging calf muscles who will complement Travis Garrison and Ekene Ibekwe in the front court.
On defense, Gist was feisty and disruptive. On offense, he was at times explosive, igniting the crowd with several resounding dunks. At times, he also attempted short jump shots, a habit Williams would like Gist to avoid.
"His range," Williams said, "is taking the ball to the basket."