Although Maryland has likely lost one of their best talents in Dez Wells for the season, there is still plenty to look forward to in 2012-13 for Terrapins fans.
Maryland and head coach Mark Turgeon still have 3 experienced upperclassmen, 2 up-and-coming sophomores, and 4 freshmen with potential. The big question around the team now is: who will replace the prolific scoring ability of Terrell Stoglin? The answer: Nick Faust(Baltimore, MD).
Faust was an All-ACC freshman last year averaging 8.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game. The 6’6” sophomore guard creates match-up problems on both ends of the court. He is freakishly athletic, and can score from anywhere on the court. Look for Faust to take it to the rim early in games, and if he does opponents are in trouble.
Also returning this year as a sophomore and expected to make a splash is 7’1” center Alex Len from the Ukraine. Last season Len averaged 6.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. On Saturday Oct. 20 Turgeon stated that Len is his only guaranteed starter. Even if Len is the only 7-footer on the roster, that’s quite a compliment coming from the head coach. Don’t be surprised if Len puts up over 10 points and 10 rebounds with 4 blocks a game in his sophomore season.
The big stories of the freshmen class are Jake Layman (Wrentham, MA), and Shaquille Cleare (Houston, TX). Layman is a 6’8” forward, but at just 190 lbs. he will need to bulk up to be an effective forward in the ACC. He has the frame to build upon as well as the physical abilities, so it should be interesting to watch his development over the season. Cleare on the other hand is 6’9” and 270 lbs. Cleare has a combination of power and quick feet that will get him opportunities early in the season.
Senior James Padgett and Junior Pe’Shon Howard are team captains for the 2012-13 season. Padgett is a 6’8” forward with decent abilities. He should record about 10 points and 8 rebounds a game, but he is a team leader, and this young group of talent will need him to be just that. Howard is a 6’3” guard who does a little of everything. Last year he averaged just 6.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and .9 steals per game.
The Terrapins biggest lineup uncertainty is at point guard. Potential points include freshmen Seth Allen and Conner Lipinski, senior Logan Aronault, and junior Howard. Howard will undoubtedly start at point guard, but who will back him up? A combination of shooting guards will have to assist in bringing the ball up, but Allen will get his opportunity to prove himself. If Allen performs, he can earn himself valuable minutes off the bench in his first collegiate season.
A starting line-up which should include; Howard, Aronault, Faust, Padgett, and Len could make some noise in the ACC. The lack of depth is worrisome, but with some freshmen production this could be a solid bubble team come tournament time.