The Maryland basketball program has added transfers of all sorts under Mark Turgeon. So as college basketball's rough equivalent to free agency kicks off right about now – with scores of players from around the country announcing their intentions to move to new schools – it makes sense to look into the Terrapins' possible paths forward on the open market.
[Disclaimer: This is highly speculative and meant as a thought exercise. Testudo Times has had no contact with any potential Maryland transfers and has done no substantive reporting to this point on their future plans. Treat this as a look at potential on-court basketball fits for the Terps, not a deep look into the psyche of student athletes we don't know.]
Just in the last three years, Turgeon's added transfers of many stripes. Dez Wells came from Xavier in 2012, and he had a waiver to play immediately after a cloudy expulsion from Xavier. Logan Aronhalt, from Albany, was immediately eligible as a graduate transfer. Evan Smotrycz (from Michigan) and Varun Ram (Trinity College) joined up around the same time, and they each had to sit for a redshirt year as underclassmen who hadn't yet earned a degree. Jon Graham transferred in from Penn State two seasons ago and was allowed to play straight away on a legislative relief waiver. Before this past season, graduated transfer Richaud Pack came onboard immediately from North Carolina A&T.
Is Turgeon about to strike again? Probably, if he wants. With all-world prospect Diamond Stone and newly eligible forward Robert Carter (another transfer, indeed) joining a roster that already has (probably) Melo Trimble and (probably) Jake Layman, Maryland is going to be good next year. The Terps are probably going to be a top-five preseason team, and they'll be the odds-on favorites to win the Big Ten. So graduate transfers looking for a one-year joyride should find Maryland highly attractive. So might younger players with multiple years of eligibility remaining.
A handful of local natives are reportedly on the way out of their current programs. Whether any of these players have an interest in returning close to home or playing in College Park is known to few, no matter what many say. But a few of them do make a fair amount of on-court sense for Maryland.
Damion Lee, 6'6 wing, Drexel
Lee just finished his junior season at Drexel, but he's going to graduate in June and then leave Philadelphia. He'll be eligible to play right away elsewhere by virtue of his degree. Since Lee is: a) really good, and b) out of Calvert High in Baltimore, the Terps make sense as a possible landing spot. Turgeon would almost definitely want Lee, as would any coach in the country.
The list of teams Damion Lee COULDN'T help next season in some way or another isn't a very long one.— Patrick Stevens (@D1scourse) March 30, 2015
Lee is outstanding, so he'll be highly sought after. He averaged 21 points in the Colonial Athletic Association last year. That figure would take a pitfall on a team as loaded as next year's Terps, but he'd still be a big part of the offense, because he's still going to be outstanding. Lee had a 118.4 ORtg last year (which is outstanding), coupled with an 11 percent turnover rate (which is outstanding) despite dominating possession and putting the ball on the floor often. He shot 39 percent on three-pointers and almost 90 percent from the foul line, and he can play defense. He could play either small forward or shooting guard for Maryland. If he's interested in coming through town, the Terps won't mind.
Stanford Robinson, 6'4 guard, Indiana
Robinson has shot pretty badly for a shooting guard, and he didn't have a place in a crowded Hoosier backcourt. So he's transferring, and taking his 33 percent effective field goal rate with him. Robinson averaged just 3 points in limited time last year, but he's athletic enough to be a good defender. Maryland is thin at shooting guard, with Dion Wiley the only pure two-guard on the roster right now. So even though Robinson hasn't been great, he could make some sense. He's also from Landover.
Except, here's the thing: The NCAA has rules discouraging players from transferring to other schools within their conference, and the Big Ten has a sort of draconian extension that charges players with a one-year eligibility loss if they try to play for a second league team, which can only happen with the approval of the player's former program. So this kind of thing is hard to see happening, even if it makes positional and geographical sense.
Robinson will have to sit out a year wherever he lands.
Tariq Owens, 6'10 forward, Tennessee
Owens had a tough year and played very little for the Volunteers despite being the only player in their rotation taller than 6 feet 8 inches. Owens is from Maryland, but ESPN says the Terps never offered him a scholarship. Jeff Borzello reported he'll explore transfer possibilities. Maryland has the local angle here if Owens indeed transfers, but he's hardly a need. With Carter, Stone, Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky and Ivan Bender, Maryland should have five frontcourt players with more than another year of eligibility remaining. Owens would have to sit out a year.
Hundreds of players from around the country will transfer before next season begins, so this is really just a small sample. But these players are the general prototypes Maryland might, conceivably, look into – wings, guards and forwards with ties to the area who can either play right away or can't. Transfer season offers a lot of possibilities.