His scouting report made me a lot more excited about this signing, apparently the upside is there in abundance (from Dave Telep's Blog).
"The Maryland Terrapins added Alex Len from the Ukraine to play center this fall. For all I knew, Len could have been sitting in the green room at the NBA Draft and I wouldn't have been able to pick him out of a lineup but I knew someone who could: Fran Fraschilla.
He's carved out a huge niche at ESPN dealing with the international players, in addition to his college basketball responsibilities. It was no surprise that he knew about Len and had watched him on film. Often times, when a team adds a big -- Len is 7-foot-1 -- oversized expectations come with the signing. In Len's case, according to Fraschilla and his connections, the Terrapins signed a player with a chance to play and contribute early but we shouldn't saddle him with Enes Kanter-sized expectations.
"He was a good European prospect," Fraschilla said. "He had an intriguing performance against Jonas Valanciunas in last year's under 18's. He didn't dominate but he showed he could compete. He's the perfect kid to go to college. This kid is a college player, he's not an NBA (lottery) prospect right now at this point; he's a nice European prospect with a little skill and agility but he doesn't have the bulk to overpower anyone at 7-1."
Fraschilla thinks that the chance to play early will benefit his development as much as a college strength and conditioning program will.
Maryland fans should expect a player who will see time as a freshman and develop over time but it wouldn't be accurate to burden Len with expectations of NBA stardom as we're apt to do with Europeans who are supposed to be microwave success. Give this guy time. The Terps were likely to sign him under the Gary Williams administration, but when Mark Turgeon took over, he reconstructed the relationship with Len -- a part-time resident of Washington D.C. For their troubles they've added a player who will get his chance early and often in the Terps lineup.
"He's draftable down the road if he develops," Fraschilla said.
There's a distinction to be drawn from Len and guys like Kanter and Steven Adams (New Zealand/Notre Dame Prep). The latter two are/were regarded as NBA lottery picks. Len needs bulk, reps and body work if he's to approach the draft. Expectations should be reasonable, not unrealistic, for Terrapin fans"