Over the last three seasons, University of Maryland’s basketball team has lived and breathed by one name: Melo Trimble. It was Trimble’s team, and rightfully so. He compiled a 79-25 record and led the Terps to three straight NCAA Tournaments, which included Maryland’s first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2003. Coming off a 24-9 record last year, with early exits in both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments, the team looks to bounce back after losing their star player to the NBA.
Leading from the backcourt now are sophomores Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Both Cowan and Huerter will return to their previous roles as point guard and guard slot, respectively, and sophomore Justin Jackson, who led the team in three-point shooting (44 percent) last year, will move down to small forward. These three-second year players serve as the powerhouse for a young team, as they are the Terps’ top three returning scorers. Students love cheering on these new star players. “I love watching Justin Jackson play,” Dross said. “He really knows the game well and will do well for Maryland this year.”
Also returning for their senior seasons are Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley, two players who have spent four years on Maryland’s team. Nickens, who has looked extremely confident handling the ball this season, brings depth and a great ability to shoot three-pointers when needed. Wiley, who was plagued with injury last season, looks a tad less impressive than he was pre-torn meniscus, however seems to be getting back in the swing of things. “I am not a big Maryland fan, but I can say it’s hard to come back from an injury like Wiley had,” senior Mitch Schuster said.
However, it is not all about the returners. Coach Mark Turgeon has a new crop of newcomers in the game this year in forward Bruno Fernando and guard Darryl Morsell, both top-100 commits. Fernando, who is a whopping 6’10”, made an appearance in the Big Ten preseason media poll, preventing Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson from being a unanimous freshman of the year preseason pick. Morsell, who stands at 6’4” will also backup Cowan as point guard.
Also joining the team is graduate transfer Sean Obi. Obi, who transferred from Duke after spending all of last season on the bench, had quite the career before his move to Durham as he averaged near double-double as a full-time starter his freshman year at Rice. Additionally, the Terps activated forward Joshua Tomaic, who redshirted and sat out his first year after signing late two seasons ago. Maryland’s new players are what students are looking forward to. “I am excited to see what Maryland does with all of these players who we haven’t really had a chance to see play yet,” sophomore Molly Gleicher said.
For now, it seems like it is too soon to tell how changed this Terps team is without their golden boy Trimble. As a sports team from the D.C. area, fans should not have high hopes to begin with, and this season is no different. The Terps were picked to finish fifth in the conference by the Big Ten media poll, tied with Michigan, and to have the seventh-highest championship odds, according to BT Powerhouse. With Michigan State having their name bounced around to win it all at No. 2 in both polls, the Big Ten has their work cut out for them this season. Maryland is one of three schools in the conference receiving votes, and will play seven games against the four ranked schools during conference season, starting with No. 20 Purdue on Dec. 1.