Each and every year, somebody gets left out.
There's always a deserving player who gets omitted from the national player of the year conversation because his team underachieved, or at the very least, a guy who gets robbed of first- or second-team All-American honors because his school didn't make the NCAA tournament.
Even if it wasn't his fault.
This year that player will probably be Jordan Williams.
There aren't many big men in the country who are having as good a season as Maryland's 6-foot-10, 260-pound sophomore forward. Along with 17.6 points, Williams is averaging 12.1 rebounds for the Terrapins. Only two other players (Morehead State's Kenneth Faried and Siena's Ryan Rossiter) are snaring more boards per game than Williams.
"What an incredible talent," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said after the Panthers beat Maryland earlier this season. "He's easily one of the top low-post players in college basketball."
And he is also one of the more productive players in Maryland history.
Williams set a school record in Saturday's victory over Clemson by recording his 13th consecutive double-double. The previous record of 12 was set in 1974 by former Terrapins great Len Elmore. Overall, Williams has reached double figures in both scoring and rebounding in 17 of Maryland's 19 games.
"It's very cool," Williams told reporters after the game. "I never came in expecting to get a record my sophomore year, or at all. It's a great honor to be in the same category as Len Elmore."
As a freshman in 2009-10, Williams averaged 9.6 points and 8.6 boards. He spent last summer competing in pickup games against current NBA and college stars such as Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Nolan Smith and Austin Freeman.
When the fall semester began in August, Maryland coach Gary Williams noticed a change in his young star.
"His body is different," the coach said earlier this season. "He's a better athlete and has dropped about 10 pounds. He's got more muscle now. I can see it in some of his moves that he's a lot more confident when get gets the ball.
"He's had some success, so he knows if he does certain things it will work."
Some of the sophomore's best games have come against the top opponents on Maryland’s schedule. He had 25 points and 14 rebounds against Villanova and 23 points and 13 boards against Duke. The Terrapins, though, lost both games.
At 12-7 overall and 2-3 in ACC play, Maryland needs to get hot fast to have any chance of making the NCAA tournament. No matter what happens, though, Williams will always be able to say he had one of the best seasons in school history, even if there was no hardware to show for it.
(Last week's rank in parenthesis)
1. Duke (18-1, 5-1) – Since losing to Florida State on Jan. 12, the Blue Devils have won three games by an average of 18 points. (1)
2. Florida State (15-5, 5-1) – The Seminoles rank ninth in the country in rebounding. (2)
3. Virginia Tech (13-5, 3-2) – Prince Parker, a 6-foot-6, 262-pound backup tight end on the football team, has been added to the roster. (3)
4. North Carolina (13-5, 3-1) – The Tar Heels have won six of their last seven games. (5)
5. Boston College (14-6, 4-2) – The Eagles shot just 35 percent in Saturday's loss at Florida State. (4)
7. Virginia (11-8, 2-3) – The Cavaliers ranked 305th out of 346 Division I schools in rebounding. (10)
8. N.C. State (12-7, 2-3) – Ryan Harrow had seven assists in Sunday's win over Miami. (11)
9. Clemson (13-6, 2-3) – The Tigers have two home games this week. (7)
10. Georgia Tech (9-9, 2-3) – The Yellow Jackets haven't won a road game all season. Four of their next five contests are at home. (8)
11. Miami (12-7, 1-4) – Malcolm Grant and Reggie Johnson combined for 43 points in Sunday's loss at N.C. State. (9)
12. Wake Forest (7-13, 0-5) – The Demon Deacons don't play again until Saturday, when they host Virginia. (12)
Ryan Kelly, Duke – The Blue Devils forward followed up an 11-point effort against North Carolina State with a career-high 20-point outing in Saturday's win over Wake Forest. Before his last two games Kelly had only reached double figures twice all season. His recent surge is a positive sign for a Duke squad that has been struggling for offensive production in the paint.
Kendall Marshall, North Carolina – The Tar Heels' backup point guard continues to post eye-popping numbers despite playing a limited number of minutes. In his last seven games, Marshall is averaging 6.2 assists in just 19.5 minutes. Marshall, a freshman, is averaging 4.6 assists on the season.
Mustapha Farrakhan, Virginia – The Cavaliers guard is making the most of his senior season. Farrakhan is averaging 18.8 points over his last five games. His overall average of 13 points per contest doubles his 2009-10 mark (6.5).
Miami on the road – Sunday's 72-70 loss at North Carolina State marked the 12th straight ACC road defeat for the Hurricanes, who are now 1-4 in conference play. Miami showed some fight by erasing a 17-point deficit, but Frank Haith's squad couldn't pull through in the end. "It's tough, because we don't deserve this," guard Malcolm Grant told reporters after the game. "We're all good, young guys."
Boston College – The Eagles have had a solid season under first-year coach Steven Donahue, but they've been exposed a bit as of late. Boston College has lost two of its last three games. One of the defeats came in a one-point setback at Miami, and then the Eagles were blown out 67-51 Saturday by Florida State. Things could get even tougher from here. Boston College's next three games are against Duke, North Carolina and Virginia Tech.
Injuries – The ACC has taken plenty of jabs for its mediocrity – and rightfully so. Still, think of how much better the league would be if not for significant injuries to these key players: Kyrie Irving (Duke), Tracy Smith (North Carolina State), Mike Scott (Virginia), Dorenzo Hudson, J.T. Thompson and Allan Chaney (Virginia Tech).
THREE TO WATCH
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, Tuesday – The Hokies will remain in the NCAA tournament hunt as long as they beat inferior teams on the road. It's not easy. Just ask North Carolina.
North Carolina at Miami, Wednesday – The Tar Heels have been saying all season that they're close to turning the corner. It better happen soon.
Florida State at Clemson, Saturday – If the season ended today the Seminoles would be ACC champions.