Ah, nothing like the news of the team's best player returning to lighten up a slow Wednesday. Take it away, Terrell Stoglin:
Back for another season Terpnation!— Terrell Stoglin (@tstoglin12) March 21, 2012
Yes, Mr. Stoglin tweeted just moments ago that he'll return to College Park for his junior year, a huge boost for a Maryland Terrapins team that will be looking to make the NCAA Tournament in Mark Turgeon's second year in College Park. Without Stoglin, who was used by the Terrapins on more possessions than any player in the ACC, that feat was daunting; with the ACC's leading scorer in tow along with major recruiting reinforcements on the way, it's significantly more likely.
For those who are skeptical of tweets proclaiming "still a Terrapin" status - the school has confirmed that Stogs is coming back.
Now, commence partying.
Stoglin returning may not be surprising to some, but it was a legitimate question. The general consensus was that it was too early for him to take the leap to the NBA - he barely reaches 6-0, he lacks pure point guard skills, and he's not terribly athletic, which would make him a tough sell for most teams in the league. His scoring ability is undeniable and nearly unparalleled, but the NBA-washout-waters are full of guys who can fill it up with the best of them. Without a more well-rounded game, it's unlikely that Stoglin has a great chance at NBA ball. But then there were more than a few questions about his relationship with Mark Turgeon, and players make questionable decisions all the time. Luckily for all parties involved, I think Stoglin made the right one.
But that leads into the $64,000 question here: is Stoglin coming back to become a more well-rounded player - and perhaps even log some minutes at point guard - under the tutelage of Turgeon, or will his role be much the same as it was earlier this season: a sensational-but-occasionally-erratic volume scorer off the ball?
I'm happy either way, as he wasn't the problem with Maryland this year even with his occasional poor shots. But simply becoming a "better" volume scorer doesn't change the dynamic for Stoglin's future. If he can refine his point guard skills, though ... well, that might just give him the boost he needs to have a shot at the second level. I don't think Stoglin will ever be the pass-first point guard a former pass-first point guard like Turgeon will desire. But he's a good passer, hopefully a willing learner, and has a severely underrated feel for the game. If nothing else, he can become a smarter player who's more dangerous within the flow of the offense and less likely to disrupt it with poor shots.
The other question this raises has to do with Maryland's scholarship situation. The Terrapins' staff was doing all kinds of due dilligence on the recruiting trail, going after basically every available guard recruit on the board, likely as a backup plan for attrition. With two more departures possible - Ashton Pankey and Mychal Parker - and another player's injury status still a bit of a question mark - Pe`Shon Howard - I doubt they'll cease their guard pursuits. But it certainly makes them a lower priority.
Oh, and one more thing: I have a bit of trouble seeing a fourth year out of Stoglin. It could happen, but I don't really expect it, which means I don't think this decision will have much bearing on what the staff has been working towards with 2013 recruiting. I could easily be wrong, but I'd guess the staff is thinking the same.
Never mind all that: who's up for some #StogMode and Gottemm t-shirts?