Maryland's basketball rotation figured to be a bit of an accordion this season.
Sure enough, what once looked like it could be a steady 10-man group with at least eight logging double digit minutes has found itself a bit constricted. And that's especially apparent in the frontcourt.
James Padgett is averaging 5.3 minutes as a sophomore. Berend Weijs, who played in Maryland's first 16 games, appeared in just four of the last 11.
Some of it is simple math. Jordan Williams is averaging 33.7 minutes in league play. Dino Gregory isn't far behind at 31.1 minutes. Assuming the Terps don't go especially big, it leaves about 15 minutes for Padgett, Weijs and freshman Hauk Palsson.
"They work extremely hard, but me and Dino have been playing extremely well, so it's been hard for them to get into the rotation," said Williams, whose Terps meet Florida State at Comcast Center on Wednesday. "James and Berend have been playing great. They help me and Dino out a lot at practice. They're both great players. They really are. It's just a matter of me and Dino playing 35, 36 minutes in a game, there's not that much room. It's just how it works sometimes."
Both Padgett and Weijs have found their roles becoming increasingly predictable. Padgett will spell Williams once or twice a game, and sometimes collect more minutes if Williams wanders into foul trouble.
Meanwhile, the wiry 6-foot-10 Weijs has played only 17 minutes since Jan. 15 --- including a dozen minutes against Longwood. He logged three minutes against Clemson and had one-minute cameos at the tail end of blowouts of Virginia and Wake Forest.
"We've been able to keep Jordan and Dino out of foul trouble," coach Gary Williams said. "They're our best inside players. They're going to play as many minutes as they can. Now, that can all change tomorrow night with Florida State's size, foul trouble. You never know."
The difficult task, theoretically, might be keeping both Padgett and Weijs sharp.
It's Padgett's second straight year as a deeper frontcourt reserve, and Weijs has played all of 10 minutes in conference play.
"You try to keep those two guys ready, especially James. James has played very well in practice," Gary Williams said. "The next step for James is to do the same thing in the game when he gets in there, and he has been in there. It's big that he does that."
From a player's perspective, the reserves' preparation doesn't seem to be an issue.
"I wish you guys could see how hard they worked in practice," Gregory said. "They guys go hard every day helping us out and getting us better. Even though they're not playing, it doesn't make them play any less harder. They still come out with the same passion in practice."
As for Weijs, the coach remains convinced the junior college transfer will be a vital piece for next year's team once Gregory departs.
"I think Berend is going to be a very valuable player for us next year," Williams said. "I have no doubt in my mind he's really going to help us next year, and he might have to help us tomorrow night. We'll see, with what he's done in practice, if that can carry itself out onto the floor."