There was mixed news for the current University of Maryland men’s basketball program Monday as the fanbase celebrated the election of former head coach Gary Williams to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
First, multiple sources reported the program added a late member to their already heralded 2014 recruiting class. Michal Cekovsky is a seven foot Slovakian native who comes to College Park from the Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain.
Cekovsky chose Maryland over offers from Louisville and Arizona according to a report from 247Sports.com (ESPN reported Florida, Florida State, UConn and Oregon had all made offers as well) and is considered a four star prospect by most major recruiting services. Cekovsky is believed to be capable of making an impact for the Terps immediately.
The Slovakian big man joins a recruiting class that includes another incoming big man (Trayvon Reed) as well as wing players Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley and Jarred Nickens. The class was already regarded as one of the best in the country.
Front court play was an issue throughout the season for the Terps after the departure of first round NBA Draft pick Alex Len following his sophomore season in 2012-2013. Rising junior Charles Mitchell averaged 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game to provide the most consistency of the group. Fellow rising junior Shaquille Cleare was hardly a factor in 2013-2014, rising sophomore Damonte Dodd played limited minutes during the course of the season, rising senior Jonathan Graham (a transfer from Penn State) was equally limited in playing time. Rising senior Evan Smotrycz (a Michigan transfer) is listed as a power forward but plays much more of a wing position.
The addition of Cekovsky causes a bit of a scholarship logjam for the Terrapins, as they were already slated to have the full allotment of 13 scholarship players on the roster. There have been rumors of potential transfers (Cleare and rising senior Nick Faust have been the two most popular names involved in those rumors) but nothing has panned out as of now. Another option would be for one of the five incoming freshman to re-classify for the 2015-2016 season.
While Turgeon appears to have solved some of his roster issues heading into his fourth season at the helm of the program, there could be some issues brewing within his own coaching staff.
The Boston Globe reported late Monday that Maryland assistant coach Scott Spinelli was a candidate to join new head coach Jim Christian’s staff at Boston College in a similar capacity. The Baltimore Sun quoted Turgeon as labeling the situation as “serious negotiations” for the job. Spinelli grew up in the Boston area and played collegiately at Boston University. He has recruited heavily in New England during his time at Maryland.
A Spinelli departure would be difficult for Maryland, after assistant Dalonte Hill resigned last season following a third DUI arrest. At the time, Maryland promoted Director of Basketball Operations Dustin Clark to an assistant coaching role and added the program’s all-time leading scorer Juan Dixon as a special assistant to Turgeon.
Maryland’s other assistant coach Bino Ranson has been mentioned as a potential candidate to replace Fang Mitchell at Coppin State.