Season Preview: Maryland
Last Season: 24-9, NCAA 1st Round
Key Losses: Melo Trimble, Damonte Dodd, L.G. Gill
Key Additions: Darryl Morsell, Bruno Fernando, Sean Obi
The Maryland Terrapins have been really good in the regular season the past few years. They have been a 6 seed or better in the last 3 NCAA Tournaments, yet haven’t made it past the Sweet 16. Each year it seems the preseason outlook for Maryland has been great, but they haven’t quite been able to get over the hump. This has led to some talk that head coach Mark Turgeon has found himself on the hot seat to start the 2017-2018 campaign. Losing All-Big Ten point guard Melo Trimble won’t help his cause moving forward, but luckily the Terps return some really talented young sophomores who look to make some noise in the Big Ten.
Moving into this season, Coach Turgeon has one of the better Sophomore classes in the country in Cowan, Huerter, and Jackson. Cowan showed flashes last year of being a steady floor general capable of putting his teammates in a position to score. Huerter is lights out from deep and will spend the next three seasons frustrating opposing fanbases with his rock solid fundamentals. The third of this trio is 6’7” forward Justin Jackson. A preseason 1st team All-Big Ten selection and projected 1st round draft pick, Jackson is one of the most versatile forwards in the country. He is an inside-outside type forward that any coach loves to have on their roster. Expect the Terps to run their offense directly through Jackson a majority of the time. In the frontcourt are the foreign towers in Bender and Cekovsky with elite shot-blocking freshman Bruno Fernando off the bench. Add in Duke transfer Sean Obi and you have a pretty solid frontcourt in College Park. Where Maryland will have trouble is in backcourt depth. They are going to need guys like Dion Wiley to step up and Jared Nickens to find his shot from behind the arc.
As mentioned above, Justin Jackson is a legitimate 3 or 4 who can play multiple positions on both ends of the floor. He will be a matchup nightmare for many opponents. This team will only go as far as Jackson can carry them. Can he stay out of foul trouble he will play 30+ minutes on a nightly basis and should lead the Terps in scoring and rebounding
Projected Starting Lineup:
PG: Anthony Cowan
SG: Kevin Huerter
SF: Justin Jackson
PF: Ivan Bender
C: Michael Cekovsky