Top 68 Team Previews: #44 Maryland Terrapins
Alex Len could have a big year for the Terps.(TerpsInsider.com)
By Luke McCann
Tuesday, October 02, 2012
Last Season: 17-15 (6-10)
Key Losses: Terrell Stoglin, Sean Mosley, Mychal Parker
Head Coach: Mark Turgeon
Projecting Starting Lineup
PG: Pe’Shon Howard Jr.
SG: Logan Aronhalt Sr.
SF: Nick Faust So.
PF: James Padgett Sr.
C: Alex Len So.
Key Reserves: Shaquille Cleare Fr., Charles Mitchell Fr., Jake Layman Fr.
Mark Turgeon is in his second year at the helm for the Maryland Terrapins. For Turgeon, the Terrapins fanbase has high expectations as he has brought in a solid recruiting class and a core of players returning who have both talent and experience.
Pe’Shon Howard will take the starting point guard position as he works his way back from injury. Howard averaged 6.5 ppg and 3.7 apg. While Howard has shown promise, he will need to improve his decision making and cut down on his 3.2 turnovers per game. If Howard is healthy, it should help the Terrapins get off to a smooth start as they attempted to slowly integrate the talented incoming freshman into the rotation. To go along with Howard in the backcourt is Logan Aronhalt. Aronhalt transfers in from Albany for his senior season which should be an instant boost in scoring from the wing position. As a junior at Albany, Aronhalt averaged 13.9 PPG and connected on 60 of 169 attempts. Turgeon will rely heavily on his upper classmen backcourt to provide consistent play by keeping turnovers down while running the offense efficiently.
At small forward, the Terrapins will return Nick Faust. Faust averaged 8.9 PPG as a true freshman and is poised to have a breakout year as he now has a year of experience under his belt with Turgeon and the new system in place. Faust has the ability to establish himself as one of the best small forwards in the conference and his stats could jump tremendously now that the shoot first Stoglin is out of the way. Down on the blocks, the Terrapins will turn to James Padgett. Padgett is a senior who has steadily improved over his career while at Maryland but has a limited amount of upside. Padgett will be backed up by star incoming recruit Shaquille Cleare. Cleare was ranked #30 overall in the ESPN Top 100 rankings for the class of 2012 so Padgett will have to start the season out solid to keep Cleare from taking over the starting position. Cleare is a future start for Maryland and it will be interesting to see how Turgeon handles balancing the talented freshman’s minutes as the Terrapins fans will be wanting to see the young talent early and often.
At center is sophomore Alex Len. Len had to sit out some early games last year but when he got his chance it was well taken advantage of. Len averaged only 6.0 PPG and 5.4 RPG and struggled as the season went on and the competition got stronger. If Len can improve his strength in the offseason so that he can get better position in the post and absorb contact around the rim, he will be a load to handle. Len has a great skill set, he can run the court well and has a good mid range came that he can utilize off the faceup. Also, Len will need to improve on his 58% free throw clip as he will be finding his way to the line at the end of important games. He could end up being one of the best big men in the country as the ACC has lost many big guys so his competition may not be as difficult this season.
Overall, Turgeon has some talent and a good mix of experience. He should have the Terrapins in the NCAA tournament discussion when March rolls around. It may depend on how he can utilize some of the incoming freshman off the bench and get them to buy into being role players. Maryland fans should be excited about the future of the program.