Evan Smotrycz, Senior, Forward, No. 1
Stats: Averaged 11.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game for the Terps last year. Two seasons ago he sat out after transferring from the University of Michigan.
High School: Reading Memorial High School
Hometown: Reading, Massachusetts
How did he get to College Park?
Smotrycz went to Michigan and started 24 games for them as a freshman and played in all 35 of them. He scored double figures in nine of those contests. Smotrycz averaged a little over six points and a little over two rebounds per game for the year. During his sophomore campaign, Smotrycz once again played in every Michigan game and started 18 times for the Maize and Blue. He helped lead Michigan to a 24-10 and a share of the Big Ten regular season title, which they had not done for almost 30 years. Smotrycz transferred to Maryland following the season, sitting out a year before stepping on the court last season.
Smotrycz's best game as a Terp came when he had 15 points and a career-high 13 rebounds with five dimes against Boston University back on December 21st.
Smotrycz returns from his foot injury and becomes a force at power forward for the Terps. He boxes out players that have another 20-40 pounds on him and grabs boards on the offensive and defensive ends. He plays solid defense and wears out opposing teams' big men by running around screens and knocking down three after three. He thrives with Melo Trimble on the court and averages 20 points and 10 boards per game, becoming the Terps most-consistent and dangerous front-court player since Jordan Williams. And to top it off, he drops 34 points against his old squad Michigan on Maryland's Senior Day February 28th.
At Maryland Basketball media day, Mark Turgeon said that the doctor said Smotrycz would be out for six weeks. The issue with foot injuries is that they can be easily re-aggravated (see Ming, Yao). It will be important to monitor his minutes until he is back to full strength. Fortunately, Maryland has a lot of cupcakes on the schedule early on and they won't miss him in games against Monmouth, N.C. Central and USC Upstate. I expect that Smotrycz will return and start for most of the season at power forward. His production on offense should go up slightly with the Terp's new motion offense and Melo Trimble's effective passing at the point guard position. Defensively, he will be asked to match up and tangle with some massive and very skilled forwards.
Only six players in the Big Ten averaged at least 12 points and 6 rebounds per game last year. It will not be easy for Smotrycz to get buckets inside but his efficient shooting should allow him to space the floor and draw opposing bigs away from the basket. I think that Smotrycz will have similar numbers to last year and he will probably average around 10-15 points per game. I am not sure where the rebounds will come from for this team and I don't see Smotrycz grabbing 15 boards a game, but it's not out of the question for him to average seven rebounds or so a game. The key to the season for Smotrycz will be his health and how he manages battling bruising power forwards night in and night out in the Big Ten.