Article written by Rob Giannotti at www.inthegymrange.com
Last Season Record: (28-7): Lost in NCAA Tournament 3rd round to West Virginia (69-59)
Head Coach: Mark Turgeon: Entering 5th season as Head Coach
1. Richard Pack (Power Forward) Avg: 5.8ppg, 3.3rpg
2. Dez Wells (Guard) Avg. 15.1 ppg
- Diamond Stone (Center) rivals.com #6 ranked player in the country
- Jaylen Brantley (Point Guard) 3 star recruit
- Rasheed Sulaimon (Forward) Senior: Transfer from Duke, Sat out last season
Key Returning Players:
- Melo Trimble (Shooting Guard) Sophomore: Avg. 16.2ppg, 3rpg, 3apg (pictured below at McDonald’s High School All-American Game, 2014)
- Jake Layman (Power Forward) Senior: Avg. 12.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 45 made 3-pointers)
- Jared Nickens (Guard/Forward) Sophomore: Avg. 6ppg, 1.4rpg
- Dion Wiley (Guard) Sophomore: Avg: 4.1ppg — Out at least 4 months of season (Torn Meniscus in knee)
Perhaps since 2002 when Juan Dixon and ex coach Gary Williams led Maryland to the NCAA championship with a win over Indiana, no higher expectations have been placed upon the program then the 2015-2016 Terrapin team. The end of the William’s era led to a downfall for the program and as well as the first couple years of Turgeon’s tenure. Then in 2014 Turgeon hit the recruiting trail and landed a player who he hopes can do what Juan Dixon did for Gary Williams.
The player. Melo Trimble. Trimble burst onto the scene in a big way last year by averaging 16.2ppg, 3rpg, 3apg. He might be the most pure scorer in all of college basketball. With all the attention opposing defenses will put on Trimble, it is imperative he becomes a better playmaker for his teammates, especially after the loss of graduated guard Dez Wells. With that being said, look for Trimble to be on a host of analysts pre and post season all-america teams as he’s made my All-American first team. (to view my first team with summaries of each player, click (Rob’s PRESEASON COLLEGE ALL-AMERICA TEAM) at www.inthegymrange.com)
Joining Trimble in the starting lineup will be Sophomore G/F Jared Nickens. At 6’7″ he has the ability to play inside as well as on the wing where he will provide the Terps with the capability to get hot from the 3-pointline. The loss of G Dion Wiley to a torn meniscus( out up to 4 months) will hurt Maryland, however Sturgeon brought in highly touted junior college G Jaylen Brantley, who will presumably see Wiley’s minutes on the floor. Senior F Jake Layman really came on strong last season and will be counted on for inside scoring. That is not all he can do. The 6’9″ player connected on 45 three pointers last season as this can really open up the court for the rest of the players to drive in the lane. A welcome addition for the Terps used to be an arch enemy.
Rasheed Sulaimon, a transfer from Duke will give Maryland another quality athlete on the floor. Sulaimon comes with baggage however (alleged sexual assault). He was the first Duke player to ever been thrown off a Mike Krzyzewski coached team in the legendary coaches career. If he can stay on the straight and narrow, he provides very good defense and a slashing to the basket offensive game. Landing in College Park this fall is the nation’s number 1 center recruit, Diamond Stone. Expectations are sky high for the possible 2016 NBA Draft first round pick. If Stone can come in and help Layman it will give the frontline a huge boost.
FINAL FOUR IF:
This is the most talented Maryland roster since the 2002 championship team and has perhaps its 2 most talented players since then in Trimble and Stone. If Brantley, Nickens and the rest of the backcourt can help out Trimble with shouldering some of the scoring load, it will only boost the prospects of this team. Layman has proven his worth in the Big Ten by having a fantastic 2014-2015 season. If Stone lives up to the hype and provides low-post scoring, rebounding, and defense the Maryland Terrapins might just possibly at the end of the season be Big 10 champions and a serious Final Four candidate.