Maryland Terrapins, preseason ranked the second best college basketball school in the country, did not meet everyone’s expectations. Coming into November, Maryland was seen as a powerhouse, having an incredibly talented, deep team.
In the post season, Maryland made the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2003 and was pinned against Kansas. The first half of the game Maryland was able to stay close, but second half of the game Kansas inched away with the ending result of 79-63. Maryland could not win this game and advance to the Elite Eight even though Kansas out rebounded Maryland by 15. Rebounding had plagued the Terps all season long and it ended up being the difference in their last game. Maryland had zero excuses when it came to rebounding when they boasted a front line of Diamond Stone, Damonte Dodd, and Robert Carter Jr. That front line should have provided an advantage on the glass not the other way around.
Maryland was not shooting to their potential; they were shooting 20% (5-25) from the 3, and 40% (22-55) field goals. Maryland was not making the shots they needed to, they were cold, while Kansas, the #1 team going into the tournament, capitalized on Maryland’s inability to shoot. Melo Trimble went through a season long slump from behind the arc where he seemed automatic when open during his freshman campaign. His ineffectiveness effected everyone on the team.
I believe that Maryland did not perform to their potential partly because Dion Wiley was injured. Wiley was one of the most underrated players for Maryland last year. Prior to the beginning of the season, Wiley tore his meniscus, and had to undergo surgery, which made him miss the entire season. Part of the reason Maryland was preseason ranked so high, was because of the great depth that they had which included Wiley.
By the end of the season, Maryland only had Jaylen Brantley, Jared Nickens and Dodd coming off the bench, which didn’t give Maryland as much depth as they had previously. Three of the starters averaged 30+ minutes, and the other two starters averaged 20+ minutes. With Wiley, the starters could have been better-rested and less strain on their bodies from constantly being in the game, which would have given Maryland a better chance to beat Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen. Not having Wiley on the court proved to be detrimental.
The biggest reason why Maryland did not win the National Championship is because the team had no chemistry. Going into the season, Maryland gained three transfers, Rasheed Sulaimon, Carter Jr., and Brantley. There were only 2 seniors who had significant time on the court, Sulaimon, who was a transfer, and Jake Layman, the only player who had consistently played for Maryland for four years. The team was not cohesive. Stone, a freshman from Wisconsin, had extremely high expectations coming in as a top recruit in the country; Stone was new to the college basketball scene. Along with teaching Stone how to play at a collegiate level, Turgeon had to teach him to play with a team that doesn’t know how to play together.
The only players prior to the season starting that played together were Trimble, Layman, Dodd, Michael Cekovsky, and Nickens. These five had only played together for 2 years. Dodd and Layman have been playing for 3 years, but the team they played with 3 years ago is completely different. A majority of the 2013-2014 team transferred after a disappointing season (17-15). The team was not cohesive enough to play at a national championship level. If the team
Each game, the team depended on one player to make all the shots. Whether it was Trimble, Layman, Sulaimon, Stone, or Carter Jr., there was always an individual star. If the team could have pulled together as a unit, they would have been unstoppable. However, with the loss of Wiley, low depth off the bench, lack of unity and veteran leadership, poor team chemistry, and a completely new roster, Maryland was unable to have the national championship season they were hoping for.
Although Maryland did not have the season they were capable of, they did make it the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 13 years. After the 2013-2014 season and a list of transfers, no one would have expected Maryland to be as dominant as they ended being. Maryland Basketball is back on the map as a powerhouse in college basketball.
University of Maryland