It's a new era in College Park. On May 5th 2011, legendary head coach Gary Williams stepped down after 22 years as the head man at his alma mater. Williams finished at Maryland with an overall record of 668-380. Enter new head coach Mark Turgeon. Turgeon spent the last four seasons as the head coach of Texas A&M, leading the Aggies to four consecutive NCAA tournament births. Before his time in College Staion, Turgeon built a great program at Wichita State. Unfortunatley for Turgeon, he will have his work cut out for him in his first year at Maryland. Leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Williams left after his sophmore season and was drafted in the first round by the New Jersey Nets. Rising sophmore Haukur Palsson left Maryland over the summer to persue a pro career in Europe. The 2011 recruiting class also fell apart upon Turgeon's arrival. Point guard Sterling Gibbs decomitted from Maryland and signed with Texas, and former power forward commit Martin Breuing decided to head out west to the University of Washington.
Guard play will be the strength of the Maryland basketball team this season. Terrell Stoglin returns as the team's starting point guard and leading scorer (11.4 ppg). Pe'Shon Howard showed great promise at the two guard position last season. 6-4 seinor Sean Mosley was looked upon last season to pick up some of the slack left behind by Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes. Mosley had a dissapointing 2010-11 only averaging 8.1 ppg and was a non factor in several key games down the stretch. The Terps need Mosley to step up as a leader on off the court if they are to be sucessful this season. Freshmen Nick Faust will a see a lot of minutes from the 2-guard position. Maryland could display a four-guard lineup at times this season. Guard play will be key in Maryland finishing higher than its 9th place projection. The talent is there but depth is a major issue.
The Terps were dealt a big blow in March when ALL ACC big man Jordan Williams declared for the NBA draft. Williams averaged 16.9 points and 11.8 rebounds last season. Maryland also needs to replace departing 6-7 seinor, Dino Gregory and Haukur Pallson. The returning frontcourt was not very productive last year. 6-5 sophmore Mychal Parker came into College Park last season as the highest rated member of the five-man recruiting class. Parker only saw action in 13 games, averaging 6 minutes per contest, and only 17 points all season. 6-9 redshirt freshman Ashton Pankey provides the Terps with a long wingspan and could be a valuable contributror on the defensive end. The biggest question mark facing the Maryland froncourt will be the availability of 7-1 Alex Len. Len comitted to Maryland over the summer and was a human highlight real during Maryland's annual Midnight Madness event. The NCAA has not yet ruled on the eligibility of the talanted center from Ukraine.
Maryland will open the 2011-12 season at home on November 13th against UNC Wilmington. The Terps will face a tough out of conference slate with games against Illinois, Notre Dame, and a road trip to Atlantic 10 favorite, Temple. In the ACC, Maryland will face Duke and North Carolina twice. The front half of the ACC slate features home games with Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, and Virginia Tech, as well as a road game at NC State. The back half of the schedule is much more difficult with two games against the Tar Heels, and thee of the last five games away from home.
After Duke and Carolina, the ACC is wide open in 2011-12. With four new coaches and several teams in rebuilding mode, there will be plenty of oppertunities to pick up wins. However, the issues of depth and inexperience at Maryland can not be ignored as the Terps will likely be worn out late in the season. Turgeon has done an excellent job on the recruiting trail for 2012 and beyond so the future of Maryland basketball looks bright, but the Terps will likely take thier lumps this season. I'm calling 5-11 in the ACC which will be good enough for a ninth place finish.
by Drew Goodman
Fantasy Player to Watch
Terrell Stoglin may win the award for the highest percentage of a teams' shots attempted in the ACC this season. Stoglin was an offensive force last season and assuming his role doesn't change with a new coach, Stoglin will likely be a fantasy force again this season.