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Maryland forward Robert Carter ready to make game debut for Terps

It's been a long time coming for Carter – and for a couple of other Maryland newcomers.

Sammi Silber

Though Maryland's game against Southern New Hampshire on Friday night may mean not mean much as an exhibition game on paper, it'll mean more to the Terps' new players: Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon, junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley and freshman Diamond Stone.

But it might mean the most to Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter Jr., who last played a college basketball game on March 13, 2014.

"I always dream about playing basketball. It's what I dream about at night," Carter said.

Despite sitting on the bench all of last season per NCAA transfer rules, the 6'9 forward claims that the time off hasn't affected him.

"I don't think I got rusty, I didn't have time to get rusty," he said. "I played a lot, just not on TV."

To keep his conditioning, and adjust to guarding smaller guards, Carter's put himself against some of Maryland's quickest players.

"I try to guard Varun [Ram]. I don't think I've seen anyone quicker than him," Carter said.

"He sees someone this big coming at him, and his eyes sort of light up," he laughed. "But my eyes light up too because I'm getting better."

Media polls have been high on the Terrapins all summer, floating them amongst perennial heavyweights, but scarcely on top. That changed Thursday morning, as ESPN ranked Maryland No. 1 ahead of North Carolina, Kentucky and Kansas, respectively.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon hasn't let it become a distraction, but also understands its meaning.

"There's been a lot of hype," Turgeon said. "Fortunately for me, I don't read a lot of it, but I think our kids, our players embraced it during the summer. I think our program embraced it."

What's been hyped for months will be on full display at Xfinity Center on Friday at 7:30 p.m., as the Terrapins host the Penmen, who don't have a player over 6'8 on their roster. Maryland small forward Jake Layman stands at 6'9.

"I know coach wants to try to play big, as much he can, having two big guys and then me at the three," Layman said. "But if it gets to the point where we have to go small, we will."

Twenty-four hours until speculation becomes reality.