Preseason College Basketball Rankings: #17 Maryland Terrapins

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Coming into this offseason, Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon knew exactly what his team needed. They needed a center and a point guard. So he went out and got both. Not only that, but he got ones that were some of the best in the transfer portal. The two guys he got? Former Georgetown center Qudus Wahab and former Rhode Island point guard Fatts Russell. That’s a pretty good start. The bad news though is that Aaron Wiggins left for the NBA, a loss that was unexpected in College Park. Darryl Morsell is also gone, but he graduated and transferred to Marquette. But even with those losses, the Maryland Terrapins will still be one of the best teams in the country.

Maryland Terrapins Season Preview

The Maryland Terrapins

It was surprising when Qudus Wahab announced late last March that he was transferring from Georgetown. Especially given the fact that he and the Hoyas were fresh off of an improbable run through the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden to win the thing and earn themselves a spot in the NCAA Tournament. But not too long after his initial announcement, he announced that he was not going too far, just under twelve miles over to College Park. Wahab was one of the best big men in the Big East last season, averaging 12.7 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 1.2 BPG. He will have no problem adjusting to life in the Big Ten.

Daron “Fatts” Russell fills the big need that the Terps had at point guard. Russell was First Team All-Atlantic 10 in 2020 and Third Team All-Atlantic 10 in 2021. The former Rhode Island Ram had four great seasons there. Given how strong of a conference the A-10 is, the transition from there to the Big Ten is not as daunting as it may seem, especially for someone as talented as Russell.

Teaming Russell up with fellow guard Eric Ayala, the rising senior who was the team’s leading scorer last season, will back them one of the best backcourt duos if not the best backcourt duo in the Big Ten this season. Ayala is probably the team’s best player now and should pair perfectly with Russell. Hakim Hart is another good guard they have, and he shot almost 60% from inside the arc last season.

Playing alongside center Qudus Wahab will be power forward Donta Scott. At 6’8″ 230 lbs. Scott is a very difficult matchup for opponents due to his rebounding and scoring abilities. He led the team in rebounding last year, averaging 5.9 rebounds per game. Scott also shot 44% from three-point range, which led the team by a wide margin.

The Terps are bringing in a host of other newcomers in addition to the two I already mentioned. Three of them are transfers. Former Arizona State PF Pavlo Dziuba, former Utah SG Ian Martinez, and former Elon F Simon Wright are all coming to College Park. Mark Turgeon is also welcoming two talented freshmen. PF Julian Reese, a top 60 recruit, is one of them. He is apparently a name to watch in future NBA Drafts as the things being said about him have been very positive so far. The other freshman is four-star SG Ike Cornish, who will be yet another good guard for this team.

Projected Lineup

PG – Fatts Russell (14.7 PPG/ 4.5 RPG/ 4.5 APG/ 1.9 SPG at Rhode Island)

SG – Eric Ayala (15.1 PPG/ 4.3 RPG/ 2.2 APG/ 1.2 SPG)

G – Hakim Hart (7.1 PPG/ 3.5 RPG/ 1.9 APG)

PF – Donta Scott (11.0 PPG/ 5.9 RPG/ 2.0 APG

C – Qudus Wahab (12.7 PPG/ 8.2 RPG/ 1.6 BPG)

 

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