Michal Cekovsky, freshman, forward/center, No. 15
Senior year high school stats: N/A
Who did Maryland beat out? Offers from Arizona and Louisville, interest from Kansas, Minnesota, Wake Forest and Florida.
High School: Canarias Basketball Academy
Hometown: Košice, Slovakia
How'd He Get to College Park?
A native of Slovakia, Cekovsky played for his national U-20 team in at the 2013 Euro Championships. In high school at Canarias Basketball Academy he drew interest due to his agility, coordination and touch for a forward his size. He impressed enough to validate overseas trips from Dustin Clark and Mark Turgeon, committing to the Terps over some major basketball powerhouses, before the rash of transfers that made room for a scholarship.
Averaging 13 points on .452 percent shooting at the 2013 U-20 Euro Championships. Also, coming to America.
Emerging as one of the nations best freshman bigs, winning B1G Freshman of the Year.
Checko - his preferred nickname - should receive major minutes right off the bat, especially with the injury to presumed starting PF Evan Smotrycz out for a month. With Damonte Dodd and Jake Layman looking like the best bets to start in the front court, his only real competition for bench minutes will be with senior Jon Graham. Cekovsky has the highest ceiling out of all the bigs, perhaps the highest on the entire team, so the staff will want to give him every opportunity to grow.
He might not be ready for starter level minutes immediately, and doesn't even have a full grasp on the English language, so it might be smart to temper expectations for a time. They are not exactly the same player, but Alex Len could be a good mirror to Cecko's growth into his role. He won't have to serve the suspension that Len did to start his freshman season, which could mean the transition moves along faster, but it will take time for him to learn exactly how to be an effective player in American college basketball. That said, the agile 7-footer with a nice shooting stroke and range to the arch is a rare talent and could blossom into a force.
Our next player comes from an area that doesn't produce a ton of basketball talent but his high school did produce one NBA player, who played 122 games- starting exactly one - in three seasons (HOU/TOR/NYK).