After deciding to declare for the draft late in the spring, Kevin Huerter had to make a difficult decision.
Huerter went from draft afterthought to eventual top-20 selection after an eye-opening combine performance. He was expected to return going into the event, showing up without an agent and leaving with the entire league on notice.
Despite the attention and talks of a first-round guarantee, Huerter still took until the early-entry withdrawal deadline to make his decision. It seems like an easy choice in hindsight, with Huerter being selected 19th overall by the Hawks, but he was pulled back to College Park by the allure of an improved team.
“I knew if we go back, we would’ve had a special team that could’ve won a couple of games in the tournament, which is something I always wanted growing up,” Huerter told Glenn Clark on Thursday. “I wanted to play in the NCAA Tournament, I wanted to get to a Sweet 16, get to an Elite Eight, get to a Final Four. So to kind of give that up and kind of make the decision myself to move on instead of graduate was tough for me because I also liked the school a lot ... I just wanted to win more.”
With Huerter and Justin Jackson leaving for the draft after two seasons, the only member remaining from the Class of 2016 trio is Anthony Cowan Jr. Cowan will have a chance to be the headliner for his junior season, starring alongside rising sophomore center Bruno Fernando.
“Anthony has come a long way the last two years, especially leadership-wise,” Huerter said. “And that will hopefully be something he figures out is, nobody at this level can do it by himself. And he’s got a bunch of good freshmen coming in, Bruno’s obviously coming back and and different guys that’ll be looking to get more minutes this year. And he’ll obviously be at the top of everybody’s scouting report.”
Huerter will turn his attention to making a name for himself at the next level, but he won’t forget how his time in College Park prepared him for this opportunity.
“It’s definitely something I’m gonna look back on and realize how beneficial Maryland was for me,” Huerter said.
In other news
Keep voting for the best point guard in program history. With a couple days left, Steve Blake still holds a lead over John Lucas.
Neither of the Terps selected in this year’s draft will be represented, but there will still be three Maryland basketball alumni in the NBA Summer League. Huerter is still recovering from surgery, though he told Clark that he hasn’t felt pain in a while. Jackson will practice with the Magic, though likely won’t play.
We’re still moving across the offensive line this week. Holding it down at center is Brendan Moore, who finds himself on the Rimington Award watch list for the third straight year.
The Big Ten’s athletic directors proposed a weekly mandated national college football injury report to the NCAA Football Oversight Committee last month. The proposal came on the heels of the legalization of sports betting and could be coming down the pipeline, though there’s no timeline at the moment.