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Anthony Cowan looks to take a hold of Maryland basketball’s offense in 2017-18

Time for a look at the Terps’ point guards.

NCAA Basketball: Maryland at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our 2017-18 basketball preview. This week, we’re breaking down our roster preview by position, starting with the point guards.

Maryland basketball enters 2017-18 with some question marks, but point guard shouldn’t be one of them. After Melo Trimble spent his first two seasons running the point, the introduction of Anthony Cowan to Maryland’s offense pushed Trimble off ball and allowed Cowan to bring the ball up from day one. Cowan’s the man this time around, and he’s returned to his high school number, No. 1, to try to regain his confidence and scoring touch as well.

One of the major problems with last year’s Terps was the lack of consistent playmaking once Cowan and Trimble went to the bench. Maryland lost last year’s backup point guard, Jaylen Brantley, to transfer—though he won’t play for UMass after discovering a heart condition—but bring in another playmaker in his place. True freshman Darryl Morsell will play a bulk of his minutes backing up Cowan, acting as the bench’s primary facilitator.

Behind those two, are four walk-ons representing the only other point guards on the roster in Andrew Terrell, Travis Valmon, Reese Mona and Alex Tostado.

The starter: Anthony Cowan, No. 1

Hometown: Bowie, Maryland
High School: St. John’s
Year: Sophomore
Measurables: 6’0, 170
2016-17 stats: 10.3 ppg, 3.7 apg, 3.9 rpg, .424 FG%, .321 3pt%, 1.2 spg, 0.2 bpg.

Cowan reprises his role as Maryland’s starting point guard, this time with a year of experience under his belt. While all the attention was on Justin Jackson this summer, Cowan quietly joined a Kenner League summer league team to get more experience against tough competition. With Trimble gone, Cowan will be relied much more heavily upon to push Maryland’s offense.

Last season, Cowan was relied upon primarily as a facilitator, with scoring as a secondary objective. Cowan already started to prove himself as a distributor and defender last season, now it’s time for him to take the next step as a scorer. For his part, he was still Maryland’s third-leading scorer, with 10.3 points a night, but will need to up his three-point stroke to be more effective this season after shooting around 32 percent from beyond the arc last year. He’s already off to a good start, and was Maryland’s leading scorer, with 17 points in its closed-door exhibition win over Wake Forest.

Trimble used 28.6 percent of possessions last season with 28.4 percent of his possessions ending in a shot, compared to Cowan’s 21.3 percent possession percentage with 17 percent of those ending in a shot, according to Kenpom. Expect both of those numbers to increase for Cowan this year, ideally, with minimum effects to his efficiency.

The backup: Darryl Morsell, No. 10

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland
High School: Mount Saint Joseph
Year: Freshman
Measurables: 6’4, 205 lbs

We’re no stranger to Morsell here, and—having seen him a couple times firsthand— expect him to figure heavily in the terps guard rotation. He’s a big, strong guard with good court vision and a solid shooter.

Morsell was primarily a drive-and-kick distributor and also an upgrade for the bench unit’s defense. He’s quick on his feet and, while Cowan’s a peskier defender, Morsell appears more technically sound on that end. He also helps bring toughness to the team, and adds another solid rebounder at the guard position. He came off the bench in the Terps and tied as Maryland’s third-leading scorer with 10 points in its scrimmage against the Demon Deacons.

He’ll make some freshman mistakes while he’s out there, but Morsell will be largely counted upon to help lead Maryland’s bench unit.

The walk-ons

This is a group of guards that won’t play a lot but features some interesting players. With two freshmen, a sophomore and a junior, this is crop of ball-handlers whose presence will be more felt in the locker room and in practices, but gives Maryland more bodies at the position.

Andrew Terrell, No. 24
Year: Junior
Measurables: 5’10, 190 lbs

Terrell returns as the Terps’ favorite bench presence and professional towel waver, and I mean that in the best way possible. Terrell won’t see the floor unless it’s a blowout, but Maryland loves to have him in practice and on the bench. He’s around to bring an energy and levity that can’t be quantified.

Travis Valmon, No. 20
Year: Sophomore
Measurables: 6’2, 175 lbs

Valmon was the leading scorer in the battle of the walk-ons against Wake Forest, with six points in limited action. Put the Georgetown Prep alum on scoring watch if his name gets called in a blowout.

Reese Mona, No. 12
Year: Freshman
Measurables: 6’2, 180 lbs

Mona announced his walk-on commitment in February, reuniting him with Cowan, his former high school teammate. With Cowan at Maryland, Mona averaged 10.7 points a game for St. John’s and secured a second-team all-conference selection in the notoriously tough Washington Catholic Athletic Conference. Mona also played in the Capital Classic’s local all-star game.

Alex Tostado, No. 25
Year: Freshman
Measurables: 6’2, 178 lbs

Tostado was a late add to the Terps’ roster and gives Maryland another body on the bench. He spent the last season at Montverde Academy, the same school fellow freshman Bruno Fernando went to for the 2015-16 school year and 2019 Maryland commits Makhi and Makhel Mitchell still attend. The Guadalajara, Mexico, native is the seventh foreign-born Terp on this year’s team.