It is a new era for Maryland Terrapin basketball as Gary Williams announced his retirement after 22 successful years of running the program. Mark Turgeon comes in from Texas A&M to take over for Williams, but has his work cut out for him this season with only eight scholarship players on the roster.
The headline of this offseason for Maryland was all the losses the program endured. Besides losing three seniors, leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Williams declared for the NBA Draft while sophomore-to-be Hakur Paulsson opted to sign a professional deal overseas. On top of that, incoming freshmen Sterling Gibbs and Martin Breunig asked for, and were granted their releases from the commitments they originally made to Gary Williams. That leaves the Terrapin roster looking mighty thin since Turgeon was unable to add any additional recruits once he was hired.
Four of their top five scorers are gone, leaving speedy point guard Terrell Stoglin as the top returning point producer. He had a terrific freshman campaign and will likely be the team�s go-to player. Sean Mosley and Pe�Shon Howard figure to join Stoglin in the starting backcourt. Mosley has underachieved since arriving at College Park but brings some physicality and defensive prowess to the wing. Howard is due for a potential breakout season and is also capable of running the point, which he will have to do since there is no backup for Stoglin.
Since the frontcourt situation is such a question mark, Turgeon could elect to go with a four-guard lineup since the top-four players on his team are all guards. That includes freshman Nick Faust who comes in as a major talent with a well-rounded game on both ends of the floor. After briefly reneging on his commitment to Maryland when Williams retired, Faust stuck with Maryland and will be counted on to play heavy minutes right off the bat. Sophomore Mychal Parker only appeared in thirteen games as a freshman, but came to Maryland as a top-60 recruit and should get plenty of opportunity to live up to his high ranking.
As for that front line, well to put it bluntly, it pretty much sucks. James Padgett was the ninth man on the team last year but is the most experienced player. Berend Weijs (6-10) played sparingly and lacks any real physicality in the paint. Ashton Pankey has not stepped on the court for a real game in two years. He missed his senior season of high school due to a leg fracture and redshirted last year.
I am not doubting that Turgeon will be able to carry on the tradition and winning atmosphere Gary Williams built at Maryland. However, the lack of depth will be killer this season, especially if even one player gets dinged up for an extended period of time. The Terrapins will probably have to go small more often than not and will get beat up inside by bigger, more physical teams.
Player to Watch: Terrell Stoglin, PG
An ACC All-Freshman Team selection a year ago, Stoglin will be the centerpiece of the Maryland program for the next three seasons. While he has some young, talented players around him like Howard and Faust, Stoglin�s extended playing time as a freshman will make him the maestro this season.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Alabama (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/18 vs. Wichita State/Colorado (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/20 vs. Temple/Western Michigan/Purdue/Iona (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)