Maryland basketball’s season ended on Thursday with a 74-63 loss to Xavier, shifting the Terps into offseason mode as 16 teams keep competing for the NCAA Tournament title.
As with any offseason, there are decisions to be made by several different parties. The roster that finished out this season won’t be the same one that starts the next one in College Park. Here are a few things for fans to keep track of as we transition into football spring practice, spring sports season and some consistent warm weather.
(This list is only for basketball-related things, but feel free to mention what other topics deserve our attention in the comments.)
Melo Trimble’s draft decision
This is easily the most important thing going on for Maryland this offseason. Trimble’s going to declare for the draft sometime soon. That won’t be a surprise, because he’s allowed to keep his name in the draft until 11:59 p.m. on May 24. He’ll go to the draft combine before then, and will need to make a decision for a third straight offseason. It was pretty clear he wanted to leave last season, but he came back after receiving negative reviews at the combine. After a better finish to the season than what he had a year ago, Trimble’s stock still might not get any better if he stays a final year. It’s not an easy call, and won’t be something Trimble or anyone close to him takes lightly.
Mark Turgeon’s added four graduate transfers in his six seasons as Maryland’s head coach, having varying degrees of success with Rasheed Sulaimon, Richaud Pack. Logan Aaronholt and LG Gill. Maryland could use frontcourt help (getting to that in a sec), and if Trimble’s gone, a veteran guard or wing couldn’t hurt.
In addition, Maryland has a few players who seem like potential transfer candidates. Both Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley struggled to find roles with the team this season, with the former finishing last in percentage of minutes played on the team and the latter in fourth-to-last. Each seems like a potential candidate to search elsewhere if he has enough credits to graduate. This is just speculation, though, so they could be very happy in College Park and not at all looking to leave.
Can Michal Cekovsky get completely healthy?
Cekovsky was a big missing piece for Maryland down the stretch. The Terps weren’t a backup center away from a deep run, but Cekovsky was the team’s only threat down low on offense, and provided solid defense. He projects to be Maryland’s starting center next year, but his inability to stay healthy has to be a concern for Turgeon. Cekovsky was sidelined by injuries all preseason, then during the beginning of the season, and then missed the rest of it due to a broken ankle.
With Damonte Dodd graduating, Cekovsky should be Maryland’s starter as a senior. If he’s healthy, the Terps could have their first legitimate low-post scoring threat in a while. But he’ll need some time to get himself healthy again, and he’s yet to have a whole year when he’s been both productive and healthy.
What does Maryland have in Bruno Fernando and Darryl Morsell?
After signing a class of five players last time around, Turgeon and his staff didn’t have much room to work with for the 2017 recruiting class. But they did a productive job filling the two spots they had.
Maryland signed Bruno Fernando, a four-star center from Florida, and Darryl Morsell, a four-star guard from Baltimore. Fernando figures to see more immediate playing time, as the Terps will need as many reinforcements as they can get. Morsell will have room to grow, and his role may depend on whether or not Trimble stays.
Maryland needs more frontcourt depth. Where’s it going to come from?
Even if Cekovsky, Fernando and Ivan Bender are all healthy, Maryland’s frontcourt situation is iffy. Justin Jackson enters the season as the team’s only true power forward. This ties back into two points from up top. Jackson’s going to be Maryland’s power forward in 2017-18, but he could leave for the NBA as soon as after that season. A transfer of the regular or graduate variety could help there, as could a surprise commitment. But Maryland would only be able to take on another recruit or transfer this season if Trimble goes to the NBA or someone transfers away, neither of which are guaranteed to happen.