Team: Maryland Terrapins
Head coach: Kevin Willard (first season)
2021-22 record: 15-17 (7-13)
Season finish: No postseason
Players returning: Julian Reese, Donta Scott, Hakim Hart, Pavlo Dziuba, Ian Martinez, Ike Cornish, Arnaud Revaz
Players departed: Eric Ayala, Marcus Dockery (Howard), Qudus Wahab (Georgetown)
Key additions: Jahmir Young (Charlotte), Donald Carey (Georgetown), Jahari Long (Seton Hall), Patrick Emilien (St. Francis Brooklyn), Caelum Swanton-Rodger, Noah Batchelor
Last season was pretty much a disaster for the Terrapins, as they underachieved with a talented roster and parted ways with head coach Mark Turgeon. Now, guys like Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell are gone, and new coach Kevin Willard will be looking at some returners and a few transfers to help get Maryland back into the fold of the Big Ten.
The big three returning for Maryland are Donta Scott, Hakim Hart and Julian Reese. Scott and Hart were the third and fourth leading scorers for the Terrapins last season, and Reese showed flashes of what he can be in the conference and on this team. Now, with all three having expanded roles, the numbers and minutes of those three should stand out.
Scott and Hart averaged 12.6 and 9.9 points per game, respectively. Scott also averaged 6.2 rebounds per contest. Reese averaged a modest 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. With Ayala and Russell gone — a duo that combined to average 30 points and nine boards — they will need transfers like Jahmir Young from Charlotte and Donald Carey from Georgetown to step in and become immediate contributors.
The depth will be called into question on this team. They will have to have guys like Ian Martinez, Ike Cornish and Pavlo Dziuba step up in productive roles or they will really struggle late in games and when the starters inevitably get tired and banged up throughout the season.
Jahmir Young. Young is similar to last season’s Maryland transfer guard Fatts Russell, as he is a guy that can go get you a bucket at any time. He is an in-state kid, hailing from the historic DeMatha Catholic high school in Hyattsville, where the likes of Markelle Fultz, Jerami and Jerian Grant, Quinn Cook, Victor Oladipo and Hunter Dickinson, amongst others, all played their high school basketball.
At Charlotte, Young averaged 16.7 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Young also started in every game he played in since he was a freshman for the 49ers. Last season as a junior, Young averaged 19.6 points and 5.9 boards.
He mentioned that once he withdrew his name from the NBA Draft, he was already committed to Maryland, and a large reason for that was coach Willard. With experienced guys like Scott, Hart and Reese coming back, Young can be a relief for Willard as someone who can start immediately and average 15 points a night for the Terrapins.
Donald Carey is another guy who could prove to be an X-factor on this team for many of the same reasons.
With a new coach coming in and a solid group of transfers, the season has some hope for the Terrapins. Unfortunately, this squad resembles last year’s a lot, and while there was a lot of talent, they struggled with consistency. I think this team will have similar problems. The depth is also something to be concerned about, and even though Willard was a great hire and is a great coach, expectations should always be tempered when talking about a first-year head coach — unless you are at Duke or North Carolina.
I don’t see this being a tournament team, and I would be surprised if they hit 15 wins again. It will be important for Willard to really nail down recruiting the DMV, as it is a hotspot for some of the top recruits in the country. DeMatha High School alone produces DI talent seemingly every season. The future is likely bright, but this season could be a long one in College Park.