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Maryland Minute 4.15.13: Replacing Alex Len (plus more from the spring game)

Filling Alex Len's minutes, Scott Spinelli gets a look-in at FIU, and Stefon Diggs becomes even more of a leader.

Streeter Lecka

In case you've missed it, clearly the lead story of the day right now: Alex Len will declare for the NBA Draft. And so begins a likely wild offseason.

Replacing Alex Len in Maryland's rotation - Sun
Markus compares Len to Joe Smith and Lonny Baxter, saying that Gary replaced the two of them just fine and so Turgeon should do with Len. Of course, that came when Maryland was at their pinnacle, coming off a Sweet Sixteen with Smith and a national tittle with Lonny. An NIT team is less able to absorb a loss like this. Things might work out okay - maybe Shaq takes a step forward, maybe Smo turns into Ryan Kelly, maybe Dodd is ahead of schedule - but it seems to me a lot to simply assume that it will. It's far from impossible to replace Len, but I suspect it's not going to be exactly easy, either.

And I'm of the opinion that Maryland probably does need to add a body to replace him. I know the counterpoint - that Turgeon shouldn't go after somebody just to add a body, instead taking the long game and building slowly. If this was his first or even his second season, I could see the logic in that. But things have already been built for the past three years; the foundation is, or at least should be, set, and adding another option in the post shouldn't sink the plan (especially with four open scholarships). Hopefully it's a moot point and Josh Davis or Tarik Black (or somebody like Alex Kirk) will end up in College Park, any of which would be good additions even with a settled frontcourt.

Stefon Diggs brings same electricity, new leadership into summer
Edsall's building up not only Diggs' playmaking ability, of course, but also his ability to be a leader. It's his natural personality, seen by his Twitter speech from last year after Rowe went down, and he seems like the type of guy who'll grow into whatever role the coaches set for him. This team's not going to win on just talent, though that'll be enough to make them competitive; it needs leaders, too, and Diggs is probably the most natural one.

Maryland's running back competition heating up
Both Brandon Ross and Albert Reid lit up the spring game and were two of the few bright spots of the day. Ross is still the starter for my money, but then there's Wes Brown to contend with. Get the feeling we're going to see lots of straddle zone-read; gotta take advantage of all those weapons. (Then split out one running back out wide and motion him into the backfield...ah, the possibilities.)

Spinelli in the mix at Florida International
It would be an odd fit for a guy with no Florida ties, but Spin deserves his chance somewhere and he deserves it sooner or later. And he'll get it this year, I'd guess.

When it comes to replacing him, I'm still aboard the "throw money at Russ Springmann" train, but really it's all on Turgeon. Not too many people would've been excited when Spinelli's name came up, but he's Turgeon's right-hand man and clearly the most influential member of the staff. When you're picking Assistant 1A, there really can't be any settling or compromising - it's just too important of a spot.

Hopkins tops Terps on Saturday
Defensive battle at 7-4, and another tough day for Maryland's offense, which has stalled a bit over the past month.