There may be something cooking down at College Park and the pot is labeled Mens Maryland Basketball. Strap yourself in Terp fans, I think we are on the brink of a two year ride. It appears mens basketball is back at a high level in Terpland. Mark Turgeon has gathered quite a fistful of talent down there. His biggest challenge is going to be finding team chemistry. Predicament being, he may actually have two-fistfuls of talent.
Only four players left from Gary Williams recruitment crew – Padgett, Howard, Faust, Len. Add Turgeon recruits Mitchell, Allen, Layman, Cleare and addition of Dez Wells………..you have the recipe for a pretty good ball team. They are young. The only two legit upperclassmen “starters” are James Padgett (Sr.) and Pe’Shon Howard (Jr.). Tough to pick a starting five ………..and that’s a good thing. The addition of this Dez Wells cat was a surprise to me. Caught me off ex- Xavier “guard”. I wasn’t up on the potential of his acquisition. SO, last week when I heard of “The Decision” to let Wells play without sitting out a year and he was “available” for the Kentucky game – my first thought I cannot print, my second thought was - WOW, Terps have a shot.
Alex Len (Lenny), has turned into a beast. He has bulked up, appears he has strengthened and found his hands, his shot is smooth and he looks hungry……..watch out Mason Plumlee. Faust has followed suit. Johnny Holiday reported Faust was shooting 500 jumpers a day in the off season……..watch out ACC. Padgett brings intensity and experience. Pe’Shon looks like he may have to be the Mr. Reliable/settle things down guy. That’s if and when the Wells/Faust run and gun goes rampant. This Jake Layman young lad appears to be a shooter and Seth Allen can fly. Then there’s the addition of the two trees down low - ”Baby Shaq” Cleare and this Charles “Barkley mold” Mitchell cat. Turgeon has 8 potential starters. It looks promising.
Did you see the Kentucky game? Ugly first half, except for Lenny. Lenny had an All-American performance, sophmore debut that night. The team almost came back. Encouraging second half – haven’t seen ball like that at Maryland in quite some time. Game tested comparison – Duke beat Kentucky last night, fairly handily – BOOOOOOO! Did you see the Morehead State game? Another rough start, then talent prevailed. Turgeon was trying to find that groove. It seemed as if every whistle there were at least two new guys coming in. Sometimes he was making 4-player substitutions. It is probably going to be that way up until January. Tough job – weeding out the talent that runs well together. Gee, nice problem to have, huh?
Terps who trotted – Terrell Who? That be – Stoglin. Smooth scorer, kept Terps alive at times last year……..not a fan of Mark Turgeons……see ya Terrell……..suspended or not. I believe his attempt at turning pro fell short. He may be headed to Europe. Ashton Pankey – I think he headed back up New York way, Manhattan College? Mychal Parker – could not find info. Turgeon is settling in. He has gathered and is molding some of these “blue chippers” to send out a message of a new force in the ACC.
I think this is “Only the Beginning” – Chicago. They are young. They are talented. As Turgeon said, “We are going to win some games.” When a coach says that – he doesn’t mean the low end of “some”, as in ten wins. The Coach is talking - we have a good chance to be a force. It is far to early to speculate, but let’s have fun and call it now…….Top 3 of ACC and onto the Sweet 16 this season. Final Four in 2013-14. They need a “go to” guy. They need the freshman beef (Mitchell and Cleare) to step up. They can’t lose Lenny. The pot is a brewin’ in Terpland and the recipe looks good.