On Sunday, CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein sat down and did a Q&A with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, discussing a lot of topics. You should definitely go check it out if you haven't yet.
There were some interesting pieces of information in Rothstein's piece, but one of the most surprising tidbits came when Turgeon was talking about transfer Richaud Pack from North Carolina A&T, who is eligible to play immediately.
From Turgeon, as quoted in Rothstein's piece, when asked about Pack:
He's good at coming off screens which I like but the biggest thing I've noticed is he's a better ball handler and passer than I thought. He gets into the teeth of the defense and makes plays for other people. I didn't know that I was getting that when I signed him. That's been a good part of his arrival.
Back up point guard, perhaps? Seems like Pack will be able to do a lot of different things for Maryland this year, in addition to being another veteran presence on a team with a lot of freshman. Speaking of freshman, Melo Trimble!
Romelo Trimble is as critical to Maryland next year as Tyler Ennis was to Syracuse last year. One of nation's most important freshmen.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 20, 2014
With the departure of Seth Allen, Trimble, who was already expected to have a big role even with Allen on the roster, is now vital to Maryland's success in 2014-2015. But might someone else be playing some point guard this season? Turgeon touched on that in Rothstein's piece as well:
Now we've got all summer and all fall to practice. And Dez has gotten so much better at it. He has been through a lot. He wants to win. He's competitive. He was loyal to Maryland and he was loyal to me. We have a mission. We want Dez to be a first-round draft pick next year. The more we can teach him about being a point guard, the more it can enhance his chances at the next level so he can play multiple positions for a team.
Wells is a very talented player, but he's going to have to show an ability to play point guard to likely be a commodity in the NBA. I like Dez running the point at times and think he can certain be effective playing that position. Hopefully he can further refine those skills so he can potentially take some of the pressure off of Trimble.
So after observing Maryland, who does Rothstein see as their starting five?
Early prediction on Maryland starting five --- Romelo Trimble, Dez Wells, Jake Layman, Evan Smotrycz, Michal Cekovsky....— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 20, 2014
I think that's a pretty good guess. Rothstein said Cekovsky is a "steal" for Maryland and really thinks he can make an impact. With Reed recovering from his foot injury, I think that puts Cekovsky in an even better position to start at the beginning of the season. He will add a lot of height and length that Maryland has missed since Alex Len left for the NBA. And as Andrew noted in his piece about Cekovsky, he has a great face-up game, and moves extremely well with the ball, considering he's seven feet tall.
He also said freshman Jared Nickens has put on a lot of muscle and is expected to be Layman's backup.
Jared Nickens has gained 11 pounds of muscle. Looks completely different than he did in HS. Will backup Jake Layman at SF for Maryland.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 20, 2014
Maryland got a MAJOR steal in Michal Cekovsky. 7-footer is skilled and boasts a face up game. Going to play major minutes as a freshman.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) July 20, 2014
With that starting five, you'd then have Nickens, Pack, Reed, Dodd, Wiley and Graham as your primary guys off the bench. Not bad.
Since we've talked a lot about some of the new folks, here's what numbers they'll be wearing next season, recently updated on UMTerps.com:
- First and foremost, Dez Wells will now be #44, honoring a friend as he takes Shaq Cleare's old number.
- Michal Cekovsky will be rocking #15.
- Jared Nickens will wear #11.
- Richaud Pack will be reppin' #20
- Trayvon Reed is going with #0
- Melo Trimble will be #2
- Dion Wiley has chosen #5
- Robert Carter, who can't play until next season due to transfer rules, will be #4.