Mar 20, 2015; Columbus, OH, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon during the first half against the Valparaiso Crusaders in the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports
The level of uncertainty was rising in College Park for Mark Turgeon‘s Maryland Terrapins. A handful of players decided to leave the program, leaving many to assume a slow transition from the ACC to the Big Ten. But, it appears that Turgeon knew what he was doing all along. The Terps won 28 games and finished second in the conference a season ago. They also earned their first NCAA Tournament berth in five years.
Last year, the Terps snuck up on people. This time around, not many people are sleeping on Maryland basketball. This year’s squad has the potential to be the best we’ve seen in College Park in quite some time. With most of the key players from a season ago returning, as well as the addition of a trio of transfers and a 5-star big man, Turgeon has the Terps in prime position to make a national championship run.
The talent is certainly there. Let’s see if they can live up to the hype. Here’s what to expect from Maryland basketball in the 2015-16 college basketball season.
PG Melo Trimble
SF Jake Layman
G/F Dion Wiley
Trimble Player of the Year?
Jan 22, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) drives to the basket against Indiana Hoosiers forward Troy Williams (5) at Assembly Hall. Indiana defeats Maryland 89-70. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Trimble was one of the nation’s most impressive freshmen last season and he’ll be counted on early and often this season. The Terps better get as much as they can out of this kid, as he’s likely to jet for the NBA after this season. If Maryland really is as good as advertised, Trimble will be a large reason why. He’s one of the best players in the country, as well as one of the best leaders, even though he’s only a sophomore.
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Can Stone Have a Major Impact?
Since Diamond Stone has arrived in College Park, there have been high expectations for him. Stone was a consensus top-10 prospect in this past recruiting class. He’s gifted enough to make plays both inside and out, as well as on the defensive end. The biggest unknown is how well he adjusts to the college game. Some freshman get it quicker than others. Maryland is hoping Stone gets it right away.
Reviving Sulaimon’s Career
Who would’ve guessed that after Sulaimon was dismissed from the Duke basketball program, he would soon be donning a Maryland uniform? Well, that’s the reality of things and it still seems a bit weird. Sulaimon began to get lost in the shuffle behind the Blue Devils’ stars, but now, he gets another opportunity to show what he’s all about for a team with legitimate championship aspirations.
The Terps boast arguably the most complete roster in the country. They are right up there with the perennial powerhouses like Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and Duke. There’s no doubt that the pieces are in place, but it’s just a matter of how they all fit together. With a solid core, which features a mix of youth and experience, Maryland looks to be in line for a huge season.
Maryland is at least a top 5 team in most preseason rankings. Expect them to stay within that range for the duration of the season. There is just entirely too much talent on this roster for them to slip up before the postseason. The Terps may start off slow, but as the season progresses, they will get stronger.
Maryland will earn either a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament, ultimately advancing to the title game for the first time since 2002. This team has the potential to be special.
Prediction: 29-2, Big Ten Champs, National Champs