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2015-16 Big Ten Preview: Maryland Terrapins Backcourt

Melo Trimble isn't the only guard on the Terrapins roster that opponents will have to worry about.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The Maryland Terrapins have reloaded with quality guards entering the 2015-2016 season as Junior College transfer Jaylen Brantley enters the fold as well as Duke Blue Devils transfer Rasheed Sulaimon. Both guards will pair up with Melo Trimble, who is one of the best guards in the country and ranked as 'BT Powerhouse Best Player' in the Big Ten.

Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon has a great problem in front of him as he tries to find playing time for so many talented players this season. Let's take a look at Maryland's backcourt.

The infusion of talent at the guard position for the Terrapins is very much needed as Dez Wells entered the NBA and given the fact that the last time everyone saw the Terrapins on a basketball court on live television, they had countless turnovers against the West Virginia Mountaineers trap defense in the NCAA tournament.

Simply put, the Terps had trouble dribbling the ball up the court against West Virginia. And once Trimble was out of the game in the middle of the second half due to a head injury, the Terps had no answer to replace him. With Brantley and Sulaimon added to the roster, those troubles should change.

Guards in Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens didn't fare too well in the dribbling department either. Both are expected to play major roles in their sophomore years as Wiley should have the ball in his hands more to take the pressure off of Trimble and Nickens is expected to create his own shot as well.

Nickens is a guy who has a lot of untapped potential. He's a guy who is somewhat of a hidden gem for this team and during his freshman year, Nickens was the best three point shooter on the roster regardless of what the statistics say. When the Terps were going through a drought in scoring over the course of a game, Nickens was almost always one of the guys who would bring a spark back for the team.

With Nickens being expected to take the ball up the court from time to time would provide an element that would be very hard for opposing defenses to prepare for. It would certainly keep opposing defenses honest.

Out of all of the guards listed, there is one guard who has not been mentioned yet, which is Varun Ram. He averaged less than three minutes a game and under a point last season but those numbers do not reflect the contributions he brought to the team last season.

Ram brought grittiness and hustle to the roster and if the Terps intend to go very far, they will need someone like Ram as every good team in any sport needs a player who is willing to fight night in and night out. It helps with chemistry and it sets the tone in practice as well. Ram played a critical role down the stretch in the second round of the NCAA tournament last season against Valparaiso Crusaders by stripping the ball on defense as time ran out.


The starters at point guard and shooting guard will be Trimble and Sulaimon respectively. At the backup point guard position, Brantley and Ram will see time there. In terms of the backup shooting guard position, Wiley and Nickens will see flexible minutes.

It is important to note that Sulaimon will play at both guard spots on occasion. Wiley and Nickens depending on their growth could see a little bit of time at both positions as well. However, shooting guard will be a place where Wiley and Nickens will see a lot of time.

Maryland could go small and run a three guard set with their talent in the backcourt over the course of a game where Trimble will be free of his point guard duties to give him more leeway to attack on offense. Things might get a little bit uncoordinated early on in the season as the five guards to continue to learn how to play with one another.

But at the same time, its nice to see that Trimble won't be the only lethal threat in the backcourt. The backcourt has a lot of depth which is something the Terps haven't seen since the 2001-2002 season.