Maryland basketball kicks off its season against American on Nov. 11. Until then, we’re profiling every member of the team.
Jared Nickens, guard/forward
Weight: 205 pounds
High school: Monmouth Junction (N.J.)
Jersey No.: 11
How Nickens got to College Park
He of the same high school as Kyrie Irving and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Nickens’ college decision came down to Oregon State and Maryland. The Terps gained the advantage in Nickens' recruitment once Oregon State head coach Craig Robinson was fired a month before his commitment date. Nickens came in with Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley, a group that’ll be extremely important for this year’s Maryland team.
Nickens struggled to begin his freshman campaign. He was 6-of-30 from the field going into the Terps’ matchup with then-No. 13 Iowa State. Nickens was 6-of-10 from the field, including three three-pointers for 15 points in 20 minutes of play. In a game where Melo Trimble, Dez Wells and Jake Layman were a combined 13-of-36 from the field, Nickens was the key to an upset victory.
(Alternate career highlight: the Running Man Challenge.)
Nickens started at small forward for the Terps’ exhibition game against Catawba, though that doesn’t ensure he’ll start going forward. Freshmen Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson will likely push him for that spot all season, so Nickens will have to show improved play on both sides of the floor to remain a starter.
Over 80 percent of the shooter’s scoring production comes from beyond the arc, and opponents are starting to tighten up on him defensively. To be effective this season, Nickens will have to show an improved driving ability. Defensively, Nickens will look to use his length and newly added muscle to help out on the boards.
What a dream season might look like
Nickens develops a capable crossover, breaks some ankles on defenders closing out too hard, and gets back to shooting 40 percent from deep. You can never have enough shooters, and Maryland needs Nickens to knock down some shots.
Next player in the series
The next guy is the man this year. It’s his team — and his future — at stake.
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