During the preseason, SB Nation labeled the University of Maryland men’s basketball team “overnight national title contenders,” but faithful Terp fans know the struggles that led the team to their current success.
Firmly stamped into the Mark Turgeon era, the Terps opened this season nationally ranked at No. 3. This comes after a disappointing 2013-14 season, missing out on the top two recruits (Aaron and Andrew Harrison) and the transfers of four out of five starters.
Undeterred by the hiccups, last season Coach Turgeon ushered his team to a 28-7 record. He gained his success behind prized recruit, McDonald’s All-American, Romelo “Melo” Trimble.
After a four year drought, the Terps finally made the NCAA tournament in 2015. A fall at midcourt, during a second round match with West Virginia, led to Trimble being kneed in the head by a teammate. The training staff removed Trimble from the game with concussion-like symptoms and the Terps eventually lost the game.
Despite the slip up last year, this year things are falling in place for the Terps. The early exit in the tournament might have been the tipping piece keeping potentially NBA-bound Trimble in school for another year. This then led to Turgeon’s second McDonald’s All-American in two years, Diamond Stone.
Prior to Trimble and Stone, the University of Maryland had not seen a McDonald’s All-American since 2003 (Mike Jones). Turgeon also ushered in two key transfers to go along with his All-Americans. University of Georgia’s Robert Carter, Jr., transferred in as a junior and Duke University’s Rasheed Sulaimon transferred in as a grad student.
These four players give Turgeon a balance of experience and talent to go along with his talented senior, Jake Layman. The five round out a team as good on paper as any team in the nation. Now it is time to see if Turgeon’s on-paper offseason success can turn into post season success etched in hardware.
Currently the Terps sit nationally ranked at No. 2 with a 22-3 record. They continued their at home win streak Tuesday night against Bowie State University, with a final score of 93-62. They plan to go for 28-0 at home since joining the Big Ten Saturday against Wisconsin.
No. 2 University of Maryland vs. University of Wisconsin
Saturday, Feb. 13, 6 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN3
Washington Wizards @ Milwaukee Bucks
Thursday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m. on CSNM and FSWI
*Washington Wizard's John Wall in the NBA All-Star Game @ Toronto
Thursday, Feb. 14, 8 p.m. on TNT
Washington Capitals @ Minnesota Wild
Thursday, Feb. 11, 8 p.m. on FSN and CSM+
Washington Capitals @ Dallas Stars
Thursday, Feb. 13, 8 p.m. on FSSW and CSMA