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Maryland basketball’s 3 NBA alumni all had productive seasons

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This is the Maryland Minute(s), a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

Memphis Grizzlies v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The 2018-19 NBA regular season was a big one for the trio of Terps in the league, with Kevin Huerter making a name for himself in an impressive rookie season, while Alex Len and Jake Layman both had the best years of their career.

Huerter and Len, teammates on the Atlanta Hawks, ended their season Wednesday night, while Layman enters the playoffs with the Portland Trailblazers.

Here’s a look at each of their seasons:

Kevin Huerter

Coming into the league as the 19th overall pick, expectations were uncertain for Huerter in his rookie year, especially since he missed the Summer League due to a finger injury.

Huerter was largely recognized as a shooter before his debut, but he proved to be much more this season with his posterizing dunks and playmaking ability. His production was slow at the start of the season with limited minutes, but once he moved into the starting rotation in late November, he began to shine.

“Overall I think it was a success for me,” Huerter said of his season in his exit interview on Thursday. “If you were to tell me the year that I had back when we were in the preseason and I was kind of just going through stuff mentally for the most part, I would take what I did this year in a heartbeat.”

The rookie’s best game of the season came on January 11, when his 29 points led the Hawks to upset the 76ers 123-121.

He also made national headlines on March 4, when Dwayne Wade surprised him with a jersey swap after the last Hawks-Heat matchup of the year.

Among rookies, he finished with the fourth-most three-pointers made (136) and the fifth-best three-point percentage (.385). He also had the sixth-most assists (214) and ranked 11th in scoring (9.7 points per game).

Alex Len

Through his first five years in the NBA, Len averaged 6.8 points per game and struggled to carve out a role for himself. But he finally found his footing this season with the Hawks, averaging 11.1 points per game. He especially hit his stride towards the end of the year, averaging 14.5 points in March and 18.8 points in April.

“This season was great, probably the most fun I’ve had in a while,” Len said in his exit interview. “The more I shot, the more comfortable I got and started making [three-pointers] in the game, and my confidence just kept growing and growing.”

Jake Layman

Similarly to Len, Layman never seemed to get comfortable in the start of his NBA career. Through his first two years, he averaged a measly 1.6 points in just 5.85 minutes per game.

He showed positive signs through the first three months of the season, including a 24-point game against the Phoenix Suns in December, but his true breakout came in the second half of the season.

After averaging 4.8 points through December, Layman notched 9.5 points per game for the reset of the season for a 7.6 season average.

Layman had 19 points in the Trail Blazers’ last game of the season, and he’ll look to carry that momentum into the playoffs. A strong playoff performance could be a big boost, as his contract is up this summer.

In other news

No. 2-ranked Maryland women’s lacrosse defeated No. 5 Northwestern 17-13 on Thursday night. Caroline Steele led the Terps with five goals in a weather-delayed contest.

The Washington Post’s Emily Giambalvo wrote about Maryland’s No. 1-ranked quidditch team. Check it out here.

Tennis star and Maryland native Frances Tiafoe visited Maryland football’s spring practice on Thursday.

While it hasn’t been officially announced by the program, reports suggest that Maryland football will play Kent State in 2021.

And if you haven’t already, check out my feature on Tre Watson and his unique path to the NFL Draft.