It's crazy to think that the Maryland Terrapins will be honoring their 2015-16 seniors on Thursday, March 3 against the Illinois Fighting Illini, but with the regular season winding down and conference tournaments looming on the horizon, it's apparent that it's time the senior Terrapins be recognized for their time in College Park.
Head coach Mark Turgeon has been with the program for almost five full seasons now, and labeled as a strong X's and O's head coach, but didn't receive the same accolades on the recruiting trail. Throughout the years, coach Turgeon has essentially silenced the critics on the recruiting trail and has developed those players into quality, long-tenured players in the Maryland program.
With senior night quickly approaching, let's take a trip down memory lane on the four seniors who will be honored on Thursday.
Anzmann, a 5-11 175-pound guard recorded his first career points against Marshall on December 27 and notched his first career assist against St. Francis on December 4. Anzmann has been a fixture in the Maryland basketball program even on the women's side. Before getting on board with the men's program, Anzmann participated on the women's basketball scout team.
The 5-9 guard has set himself up for a successful future outside of the game of basketball. The defensive specialist is known for having a 3.99 GPA while majoring in neurobiology and physiology, but may be more recognized nationally as the player who saved Maryland's season in the 2015 NCAA tournament. Ram's crucial block in the waning seconds of their second round tournament win against Valparaiso helped the Terrapins advance to play West Virginia in the next round.
Ram saw some meaningful minutes come his way thanks to the slow development of former Marshall point guard Jaylen Brantely. Heading into the season, the backup point guard spot was seemingly Brantely's, but it was Ram who became the go-to-guy to give Melo Trimble a spell. His offensive skill set was never one to drop the jaws of Terrapins fans - his career high of eight points came earlier this season against Bowie State - but his energy on defense and his constant enthusiasm for the game resonated not only with his teammates but with the Terrapin community.
Sulaimon became one of the more polarizing players in Terrapins history when coach Turgeon recruited him to join the 2015-16 roster. With a former Duke Blue Devil coming into the Terrapin program, the reaction from Terps fans was to be expected. The talent on the roster without Sulaimon was national title worthy, so of course the dismay of Sulaimon was there from the start.
Not only did he win over the Maryland community in such a short time, but Sulaimon also won over his teammates as he became the voice of the team and the leader that can galvanize the Terps when they began to unravel. His ability to allow Trimble to play off the ball has been a blessing for the development of the team. With the lack of a consistent backup point guard, Sulaimon's ability to orchestrate the offense from time to time has made Trimble a more dangerous scorer.
His role at Duke was that of a defensive specialist with an accountable offensive repertoire when called upon to make an impact in the scoring column. He appeared in 20 game last season for the Blue Devils before ultimately being dismissed from the program. Sulaimon is one of five Terrapins averaging double figures in the scoring column (11.7) and has been an integral part in Maryland's success this year.
In his fourth and final year, Layman has become the brunt of frustration amongst Terrapins fanatics. In a team full of college stars and potential NBA draftees, Layman has become the scapegoat for when times get tough despite averaging a solid 10.7 points and five rebounds per game.
On a team full of capable scorers, Layman has elected to make a consistent effort on the defensive end - see the full court pressure this past Saturday spearheaded by Layman's length. Layman's tenacity on the defensive end allowed for the Terps to make a final push and make the final score respectable.
Layman has become a major fixture in the history books. His point total ranks him 27th in school history and is also 27th on the rebound list. Layman appeared in all 35 games a season ago where he averaged 12.5 points per game. His 8.4 point per game average his freshman year in 17 starts jumped up to 11.7 points per game in 28 starts.
It feels like there could be a more players celebrating senior night on Thursday against Illinois - potentially all five starters could be playing their last game at Xfinity Center. In an unreal, 180 degree turnaround, Rasheed Sulaimon has transformed himself from villain to team leader. His intangibles and defensive presence have been exactly what this team needs, especially after losing a player like Dez Wells.
Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann will forever be a fan favorite and the block in last year's tournament, while perhaps unfairly, Jake Layman will probably go down as a good overall player but one that fans wish they would have seen more in a four year span. Perhaps that feeling is unjustified, as lineups and roles have changed throughout Layman's tenure. When analyzing a player's career, the overall impact on a basketball game should trump the scoring development throughout a four year span. Yes Layman didn't light the box score on fire with his point totals, but the impact on all facets of the game should resonate with Terps fans as his career winds down.