Maryland basketball is receiving the most amount of buzz this offseason and for good reason. But, there’s still question marks for a team expected to be one of the top two ranked teams in the country to start.
Don’t get me wrong, Maryland is going to be good. But, it’s going to take some time for the Terps to figure this thing out. Yes, the Terrapins return Melo Trimble and Jake Layman while adding Rasheed Sulaimon, Diamond Stone and Robert Carter. But, let’s not forget what Maryland lost.
The Terps lost their best player and the heart of their team in Dez Wells. Wells provided Maryland with a ton of intangibles plus the best offense the Terrapins showed last season centered around Wells. More importantly it centered around Wells playing in the post and surrounding him with four shooters.
When Evan Smotrycz –another departure – came in to play the center position, moving Layman to the four spot and having Wells, Trimble and Jared Nickens on the court, Maryland looked their best. Layman stretched the floor allowing Wells to work close to the basket, using his craftiness to finish at the rim.
What happens this year is still up in the air. Will head coach Mark Turgeon play his five best players to start the game, which will force Layman to move to the small forward spot and have two post players in Robert Carter and Diamond Stone? Or will he bring Carter off the bench and play Nickens at the shooting guard and Sulaimon at the small forward?
This is where it will take time, and Maryland fans will have to be patient. It won’t look pretty to start the season, but the idea is for it to look beautiful come March. If Turgeron can find a rotation that works, in my opinion he needs to get Layman playing the four as much as possible, Maryland will live up to the hype. It’s also vital to know Turgeon has never had a top-25 offensive ranked team per KenPom.
The next big question mark is what Rasheed Sulaimon does Maryland get? Does it get the freshman version of him, where it looked like he’d be a first round pick and was great for the team? Or do they get last year’s version where he sulked and was obviously full of uncertainty? If they receive the freshman version of him, Maryland would no doubt be one of the two best teams in the country. However, he can be volatile, which is something to keep an eye on.
Again, Maryland is going to be good next year. But, if you’re a Terp fan, have some patience. It may take some time with this team.