Maryland men’s basketball is back in action Tuesday night and it could not come at a better time for a school that undergone so much turmoil and pain over the past few months.
In the first game of their 100th season, the Terps take on the Delaware Blue Hens in their season opener at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Xfinity Center.
Maryland has welcomed six freshmen to this team and they are looking to play a huge role in the Terps’ success right from the start.
There is tons of talent within the top recruiting class in the Big Ten and perhaps no one is more talented than former five-star and McDonald’s All-American forward Jalen Smith. Smith has all the skills needed to make him one of the best big men in the country.
Smith’s 22 points and six rebounds in the lone exhibition against Lynn University showed just how effective Smith can be for the Terps this year.
Along with Smith, Maryland has gotten two very talented guards in Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon is expecting Wiggins to fill in for Kevin Huerter at the shooting guard position while Ayala is expected to split time at point guard with Anthony Cowan.
Turgeon even called Ayala the team’s best passer outside of Cowan and with those two at the wheel of Maryland’s offense this team should be scoring a lot.
The Terps also saw late additions to their recruiting class like guard Serrel Smith Jr. and forwards Ricky Lindo Jr. and Trace Ramsey.
Smith Jr. is a born scorer who can get whatever shot he wants on the floor while Lindo and Ramsey need a little more work before they can make an impact on the floor for this team.
Lindo Jr. got minutes with the starters in their exhibition but failed to make a big impact, only scoring four points.
These freshmen aren’t the only people Turgeon is relying on for a successful season, though.
Maryland is returning two starters in junior Anthony Cowan Jr. and sophomore Bruno Fernando and these two are the biggest keys to Maryland’s success.
Cowan Jr. is one of the nation’s best point guards and he is looking to have an even bigger year than last year; a year where he was the team’s leading scorer with 15.8 points per game. There is nothing holding him back from that this year after Huerter and Justin Jackson left for the NBA.
Cowan Jr. is the only Terp listed on the Preseason All Big-Ten Team.
Fernando also has the option to enter the draft, but ultimately made the decision to stay in school and improve as a player in College Park.
That was a great decision for both Fernando and the school as Fernando and Smith could be one of the nation’s best frontcourts if they play at the level both players are capable of playing at.
Sophomore guard Darryl Morsell is also looking to make a huge jump from last year. Morsell is expected to join Cowan, Wiggins, Fernando, and Smith in the starting lineup.
Morsell has been working on his shooting over the offseason, according to Turgeon, and it seemed to pay off in the exhibition, as Morsell made two three-pointers after making a total of three last season.
Ivan Bender and Andrew Terrell are the team’s two seniors. Bender is expected to see minutes behind Fernando and Smith while Terrell is only expected to see minutes in blowouts.
Redshirt sophomore Joshua Tomaic is expected to see more minutes this year and was even the first player off the bench against Lynn University, showing just how much Turgeon likes Tomaic’s style of play.
Tomaic, a Spanish native, plays great defense and is a great passer so it is not hard to see why Turgeon wants him on the floor more.
Maryland is currently projected to finish sixth in the Big Ten but with all the talent on this team, it would not be a surprise to see this team break into the Top 25 during this season.
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