#55 Maryland Men's Basketball 2013-2014 Preview

Maryland Terrapins

2013-2014 Overall Rank: #55
Conference Rank: #8 ACC

Maryland Team Page#55 Maryland Men's Basketball 2013-2014 PreviewBuy Maryland Basketball Tickets

It has been four years since the Maryland Terrapins finished higher than seventh in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season. For this most recent group of players, Maryland basketball was about being overmatched and wallowing in mediocrity: a far cry from what fans were used to. Last year's squad was again disappointing. Even with some talented underclassmen and one of the best big men in the nation, the Terps finished below .500 in the conference and were looking up at more teams than were looking up at them. And that was the last season of the "easy" ACC. Now, Maryland and company welcome in three newcomers who are familiar with bigtime basketball: Syracuse, Pittsburgh and Notre Dame. The conference is going to be absolutely brutal this year (and this is before Louisville even makes the switch over!) and Maryland is going to need to have everything fall into place in order to avoid another losing season in-conference.

2012-13 Record: 25-13, 8-10
2012-13 Postseason: NIT Semi-Finals
Coach: Mark Turgeon
Coach Record: 42-28 at Maryland, 292-187 overall

Who’s Out:
Coach Turgeon and Maryland spread the wealth around a great deal last season. Ten different players averaged double figure minutes and played in at least 36 games. He also mixed up the starting lineups quite a bit, and played around with rotations. Perhaps this was because he believed in all 10 men; or perhaps it was because he truly believed in none of them. A normal basketball rotation is not nearly that deep or that even. This coming year, he will at least have to make some alterations though, since a few of these 10 will not be returning. The main loss is center Alex Len. The big Ukrainian left school for the NBA. Although his game was still progressing, he was one of the most formidable centers in the country, especially on the offensive end. Besides Len, Maryland will also be without James Padgett and Logan Aronhalt, who were seniors, and guard Pe'Shon Howard, who transferred to USC to be closer to home. While Padgett and Aronhalt were solid if unspectacular, the departure of Howard may actually be to the Terps' benefit. Howard somehow garnered the fourth most minutes on the team even though he shot 24 percent from three and 29 percent from the field overall.

Who’s In:
Entering the fray are a couple of well-projected freshmen prospects, point guard Roddy Peters and center Damonte Dodd. More importantly though is this team was very young last season. Even Alex Len was only a sophomore when he decided to leave. Coming back for more, and hopefully taking steps forward, will be sophomores Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman and Charles Mitchell, and juniors Dez Wells and Nick Faust. All these guys were part of Turgeon's ten-man rotation. As you can see, Maryland relied heavily on underclassmen last year, a trend that may continue for at least one more season. The two key guys are the juniors though, Wells and Faust. Neither is a great outside shooter although Wells has a better shot selection and topped 50 percent from the floor both as a sophomore for Maryland and as a freshman at Xavier. Faust, on the other hand, made the All-ACC freshman team and improved on all his numbers from that point to last season. The two will need to take their respective games up another level though to account for everyone who has left.

Who to Watch:
Sophomore center Shaquille Cleare has the awesome name and the awesome game; he just needs to get playing time and confidence while he learns his skill. A top 30 prospect nationally out of high school according to ESPN, Shaq was a project in 2012-2013. Playing behind Alex Len and getting his minutes yanked around did not help but his play did not warrant Coach Turgeon to keep him in for long stretches of important contests. He collected too many fouls considering his time on the floor (averaged 12 minutes per game) but he got a lot of action, seeing the floor in 37 games, and picked his spots well, shooting 58 percent from the field on limited attempts. If Cleare is able to slide in and pick up some of the slack left by the departing Len, Maryland could be in good shape. That is asking a lot of the young man though. He needs to stay on the floor before he can even think about becoming an All-ACC type of player.

Final Projection:
In the gauntlet that is the new, expanded ACC, Maryland will have their hands full. There may be a couple bad teams this season but most of these squads are experienced and used to winning. The Big East transfers especially will be looking to come in and leave their mark, claiming they belong in the best basketball conference in all the land. The Terrapins are still a young team but return guys who played a lot last season. Their coach is also a long-time head man and will know what to do with them. Their ceiling may be middle of the conference though unless one of these guys turns into a superstar that isn't apparent on the roster at the moment.

Projected Postseason Tournament: NIT

Projected Starting Five:
Seth Allen, Sophomore, Guard, 7.8 points per game
Nick Faust, Junior, Guard, 9.4 points per game
Dez Wells, Junior, Forward, 13.1 points per game
Jake Layman, Sophomore, Forward, 5.5 points per game
Shaquille Cleare, Sophomore, Center, 3.7 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 70.7 (88th in nation, 4th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 64.0 (108, 5)
Field-Goal Percentage: 46.4 (36, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.5 (11, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.8 (212, 7)  
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (165, 9)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.9 (220, 9)
Rebound Margin: 8.6 (5, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.5 (61, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 15.0 (294, 12)

Madness 2013 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#45 Roddy Peters


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