ACC Summer Recess: Maryland TerrapinsPosted by mpatton on July 19th, 2012
Over the next four weeks we’ll be taking a step back and looking at each team in the ACC to assess where each program — and the conference as a whole — stands before we totally turn our attention to the 2013-14 season later this fall. Today’s target: Maryland.
Where They Stand Now
Unfortunately it appears to be “two steps forward, two steps back” for Mark Turgeon’s Terrapins. Last season Maryland became a darkhorse contender on the backs of a solid coach, Terrell Stoglin, Alex Len‘s improvement, and a very good recruiting class. Then Stoglin was suspended for violating team rules, and perhaps unsurprisingly, the sophomore guard who had many public confrontations with Turgeon last season went pro rather than sit out next year. Maryland also suspended Mychal Parker, who took his talents to Loyola though he probably won’t be academically eligible there. With a disappointing 17-15 season in the rearview mirror, Turgeon’s Terrapins need immediate improvement to keep the suits in College Park from getting nervous. Speaking of suits in College Park, keep an eye on athletic director Kevin Anderson, who was reportedly headed to Stanford before everyone denied the claim and leading to this tepid retraction.
On top of losing Parker and Stoglin, freshman Ashton Pankey decided to transfer to Manhattan to be closer to home. Factor in Sean Mosley‘s graduation (walk-ons Brandon Weijs and Jon Dillard also graduated), and the Terrapins need to replace an average total of 43 of their 69 points from last season.
Stoglin’s departure cannot be overstated from an offensive perspective. It’s true he didn’t excel at the point guard position and frustrated his coach to no end, but he was also one of the premiere scoring talents in the ACC. He was the only bright spot in an otherwise vomit-inducing offense. Without Stoglin’s 21.6 points per game and the attention his presence garnered from opposing teams, Maryland would have been in serious trouble. Mosley didn’t have an exceptional year by any standard — especially his 38.6 field goal percentage — but his intangibles and experience will be dearly missed. For all his offensive struggles last season, he was still the team’s second leading scorer. Pankey and Parker leave much less of an actual void. They both showed flashes of potential, but neither player is irreplaceable.
Maryland’s “Big 4″ this year is Nick Faust, Pe’Shon Howard, James Padgett and Len. Howard is coming off a torn ACL he injured in February. While Howard should be allowed to play most of the 2012-13 season, it often takes players a lot more time before they’re 100%. Padgett goes under the radar but averaged almost nine points and six boards in 2011-12 after not contributing his first two years. He should continue to improve, especially on the glass, and don’t be surprised to see Turgeon leaning on him because of his experience.
Faust and Len are the two players with the most upside. Many journalists and fans love Len: He’s seven feet tall, athletic, and coordinated. But look for Len to need another year before putting him on any preseason all-conference ballots; he’s still very raw offensively, and needs more bulk. Len should continue to be an excellent shot-blocker, and offseason conditioning will only help his stamina. He’ll be hugely important for Maryland in 2012-13, but keep expectations realistic. Faust is ready for a great year, as Stoglin’s departure will likely help him by forcing him to take over. Like Len he’ll has the summer to pack on the pounds and work on his jump shot, which appears to mostly need confidence.
The Terrapins have a very strong class coming to College Park this fall, including Sam Cassell, Jr., Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell and Seth Allen. Turgeon also brought in transfer Logan Aronhalt from Albany, who will be eligible immediately. The five recruits are consensus three- and four-star players, which usually means they’re a year or two away from contributing in a meaningful way. Regardless, expect to see plenty of the incoming freshmen, as the Maryland roster lacks the depth to keep them benched for very long. It wouldn’t be surprising in the least if Aronhalt starts at shooting guard to kick off the season. Next season will be very important as far as Turgeon’s future recruiting. If the team improves, Maryland is in the hunt for several big names in the senior class, headlined by the top five Harrison twins.
It was a tumultuous offseason in College Park, but the Terrapins have a solid young core to build around going forward.