The thought crossed Mark Turgeon's mind about a few players this season, including James Padgett.
Had the time arrived to narrow the rotation from 10 players to eight?
With Padgett, the possibility was even more apparent. The senior played a combined 21 minutes over three games, and his role was in danger of disappearing altogether.
"He was definitely one of them," Turgeon said. "I sat down with James a couple weeks ago and said 'Hey, man, we don't have a lot of time left. Let's make the most of it --- start being a better leader.' He just went silent [when he wasn't playing]. 'Just get yourself back involved in leadership and let's see what happens.' I'm happy for James. Two and a half good games in a row."
Indeed, Padgett is coming off his best two conference games of the season, averaging nine points and 3.5 rebounds last week against Florida State and Wake Forest.
It's solidified the Maryland frontcourt rotation as Turgeon sought consistent, reliable minutes --- particularly on defense.
And the fact it is coming from the Terps' lone fourth-year senior is a bonus.
"As my career comes to an end, he said he'd like me to have a lasting effect on the program saying I was part of the team that helped turn it around," Padgett said.
Padgett's revival comes as a bit of a surprise. He played 31 minutes at Florida State, including nearly all the second half. His 26 minutes in Saturday's rout of Wake Forest was his third-highest total of the season.
Padgett, never the loudest guy, said he didn't get too down as his playing time dwindled. And in recent weeks, he's made it a point to invest additional time before and after practice.
"When you're not playing as much as you'd like, things seem to not go as well," Padgett said. "I always kept high spirits because there's always a lot of basketball to be played. Anything can happen."
And it has entering Maryland's game at Virginia Tech on Thursday.
"He's just smart defensively," Turgeon said. "He's always in the right spot. He follows the game plan. That's comforting. Charles [Mitchell] scores a little bit easier than James [and] rebounds a bit better than James. If you could put them together, you'd have a heck of a player, but you can't."
If Padgett continues producing as he has of late, that won't be an issue to Turgeon and the Terps.
--- Patrick Stevens