Up first? The guards.
Led by Anthony Cowan Jr. (who you can read about in a more extensive piece here) Maryland will need to replace the NBA-bound Kevin Huerter and the former Terp and current St. Louis Billiken Dion Wiley heading into the season.
Luckily for head coach Mark Turgeon, the cupboard is far from bare, with a number of highly-touted and skilled young guards at his disposal. But how will everything shake out for Maryland? Let’s take a look.
While Jalen Smith garners all the headlines, incoming four-star guard Aaron Wiggins is just as deserving of the hype. Following a recruitment that saw the 6-foot-6 guard flirt with powerhouse programs like Arizona and Kansas, Wiggins steps foot in College Park with a chance to make an immediate impact for coach Turgeon.
Blessed with impressive handle and the ability to score in multiple ways, the Greensboro, N.C. native looks mature beyond his years. And while the aforementioned Smith has more buzz surrounding his potential, it shouldn’t shock anyone if Wiggins ends up having a more impactful freshmen campaign.
Oh how quickly new and shinny toys make us forget about the gifts we just got.
A four-star recruit in his own right, Morsell returns to Maryland looking to improve upon a debut season that had its far share of ups-and-downs. Thanks, in part, to injuries and a thin bench, Morsell ended up starting 21 games for the Terrapins in 2017-’18, posting a respectable 8.7 points and two assists per game. On the flip side, however, the 6-foot-5 Baltimore-native struggled mightily from beyond the arc, making only three of the 25 3-point shots he attempted.
Luckily, one could say that there is palpable buzz around the sophomore improving in that area ahead of the upcoming season:
Maryland sophomore Darryl Morsell made four three-point shots in team's final game overseas. That's more made shots from distance than he made all of last season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) August 12, 2018
You could make a very valid argument that Ayala, another four-star recruit (I’m sensing a trend here), deserves to be under the “key contributors” section.
Much like Wiggins, he comes to Maryland after considering a number of high-major offers from the likes of Syracuse, Ohio State, Cincinnati, and Indiana.
And also much like Wiggins, there’s a lot to like about the 6-foot-5 freshmen when you review his tape:
But Ayala feels like the heir apparent to Anthony Cowan, while Wiggins looks more the part of two guard of the Terps present and future. And for that reason alone, I’ve given the slightest of edges to Wiggins when it comes to cracking Maryland’s starting five.
That said, between the two talented freshmen, coach Turgeon looks set for the foreseeable future at the guard position.
-Serrel Smith Jr.
I’m sorry, what’s that? There’s ANOTHER freshmen guard on the Terrapins roster? Good lord.
Originally an Ole Miss signee, the three-star Florida product was granted his release following Andy Kennedy’s departure from the Runnin’ Rebels program.
Maryland was the only high major to offer Smith, however, he did receive interest from prominent mid-majors Wichita State, Temple, Rhode Island, and Memphis.
I don’t have any doubts that Smith is a talented player who could contribute this year for Maryland. However, with a deep lineup of guards ahead of him, including two freshmen more likely to contribute, a redshirt wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world for his development.
Checking in at 6-foot-4 and only 170 pounds, Smith will need to fill out his frame to survive the rough and tumble Big Ten — something he could focus on while learning during practice should the coaching staff decide a redshirt is in his and Maryland’s best interest.
Can we get a little love for the walk-ons?!? Reese Mona, Andrew Terrell, and Travis Valmon will all likely primarily contribute on the practice court.
With a combined 24 points during last season between the three of them (Mona-15, Valmon-9, Terrell-0), the three reserves and practice bodies have found other ways to contribute to the university.
Thanks to his proficiency in trick shots, Terrell was dubbed “the next Steph Curry” by Maryland’s independent student newspaper The Diamondback.
Reese Mona was actually given a real opportunity to crack the Terps rotation when he received 15 minutes of playing time in a late February game against Michigan. Despite having a perfect night from the floor (okay, he only attempted one shot, but still!) he saw no action in Maryland’s one game cameo at the Big Ten Tournament.
And as for Travis Valmon? Well, Google didn’t have anything interesting to tell us so we’ll just assume he’s busy doing Travis Valmon things. Get after it young man!