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Locksley: Why Hills is a QB Maryland 'can win games with'

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Locksley: Why Hills is a QB Maryland 'can win games with'

The Perry Hills that entered last year’s 38-31 victory over Iowa in relief of injured quarterback C.J. Brown is not the same Perry Hills that you’ll see in this year’s edition of the game, set for Saturday at 3:30 in Iowa City.

Hills is more dynamic as a runner, breaking out of that more classic pro-style offense and embracing the read-option that Brown employed most during his time under center. The result? He has amassed 51 carries in his last two games, nearly five times more than the 11 he totaled during his first two starts of the year before being benched.

He was asked while speaking to the media on Wednesday how he felt after this stretch of time carrying the ball that has been unlike anything else in his career so far.

“I feel good,” he said, drawing a chuckle. “There’s the bangs and bruises, but nothing that I can’t handle. I’m doing the things to get my body back -- cold tubs to get my legs back, just doing the necessary things so I can continue to do those things.”

MORE TERPS: INJURY LATEST AS MARYLAND PREPS FOR IOWA

Maryland seems to have found its best-case scenario with Hills in a read-option system. Interim head coach Mike Locksley has opened up the offense and added in wrinkles to spice some things up moving forward.

That has included using cornerback Will Likely as a running back and inserting quarterback Shane Cockerille in various packages as another dual-threat runner.

But, ultimately, it comes down to Hills, Locksley says.

“The thing that really stands out about him is the grit that he shows and he’s a kid that will leave it all on the field for you,” he said. “As we continue to work with him and we stabilized the position with him and we’re building it around what he does well, trying to emphasize his strengths.

“He’s made some plays for us, but we’ve got to also make sure that he takes better care of the football and if we can get that done, Perry is a guy that we can win games with.” 

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

Maryland basketball had two players drafted in one night for the second time in three years Thursday night when the Denver Nuggets picked Justin Jackson with the No. 43 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jackson was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that brought the No. 41 overall pick, Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt, to Denver.

After his freshman season, in which he averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, Jackson declared for the draft without an agent, but elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season. But he'd play just 11 games before being shutdown for the year with a torn labrum. His draft stock was hurt, but obviously not totally erased.

He had surgery in January and ended up being the first Terp to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft back in March. Though Jackson's recovery kept him out of the NBA Combine, teams were still intrigued by what they'd seen from him in the past to be willing to take a flyer.

A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Jackson has the skill to play anywhere between the two or the four in the NBA, and the length to guard all kinds of players.

With Kevin Huerter headed to the last-place Atlanta Hawks, Maryland basketball's two draftees are slated to join last season's two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

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NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter was drafted No. 19 overall Thursday night by the Atlanta Hawks.

He's the Terps' highest draft pick since the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Len fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Huerter played two seasons with Maryland, averaging 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as a Terp. He's best known for his knockdown shooting ability, as he knocked down 46.6 percent of his shots from the field, including 39.4 percent of his three-point shots. During his sophomore season, he was better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from deep.

Back in April, when Huerter first declared for the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, it was widely assumed he was just testing the waters to get feedback from NBA scouts and would return to school for his junior season. But an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine saw his hardly existent draft stock skyrocket. Almost overnight, Huerter's name was popping up in the first round of mock drafts, and now what seemed like a no-brainer decision to return to school wasn't so clear.

On May 30, he announced that he would leave his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and hire an agent. He recently had surgery on a torn ligament in his hand, but is expected to miss only two months and make a full recovery by the time the 2018 NBA season starts.

With the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter should pick up right where he left off shooting in college, but can also provide high basketball IQ and sneaky athleticism. He and Trae Young join Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.

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