Maryland men’s basketball was eying a deep run in the March Madness just two months ago. Instead, the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments were canceled and in-person recruiting was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The program then lost its top two players, with point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. graduating and forward/center Jalen Smith declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. Backup forwards Ricky Lindo Jr. and Joshua Tomaic both transferred, leaving the front court even thinner after the 6’10 Mitchell twins departure mid-season. Maryland has struggled to land top recruits (the program’s 2020 class ranks 13 out of 14 schools in the Big Ten) and grad transfers, but is still working to fill the holes left in the roster.
“We battle, we work. I can’t imagine a staff working harder at recruiting than we do. We get after it. And we’re trying to identify 2021s, we’re trying to finish up next year’s team,” Turgeon said in an interview earlier this week with Baltimore’s 105.7 The Fan. “It’s been a little bit more difficult for me than I anticipated, but we’re trying to add a piece or two still for next year’s team. And if we’re able to get a couple quality guys we should be really good again.”
As Turgeon noted, Maryland has made progress with recruits for the class of 2021. The coaching staff has been pursuing top prospects such as four-star small forward Benny Williams (who included the Terps in his top-four), five-star small forward Aminu Mohammed, four-star power forward Julian Reese and five-star center Charles Bediako, just to name a few.
The roster outlook for next season still remains uncertain, however. So we decided to give you a complete update on what that looks like at the moment, taking the offseason moves and misses into account.
Morsell is expected to be a key senior leader on the floor for the Terps next season. Listed at 6’5, 200 pounds, the Baltimore native switched between the three and four positions in 2019-20, often guarding the opposing team’s best player. In addition to scoring 8.5 points an outing, he improved in several areas last season as he averaged 2.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 33.3 percent from deep — all of which are career highs.
Wiggins announced on April 22 on social media that he would be returning for his junior season. He is expected to carry a much bigger role than he did in 2019-20, in which he won the Big Ten Sixth Man of the Year award. The 6’6 athletic wing had a solid 2019-20 season, but at times he was very inconsistent. He looks to make a huge jump next season with a chance to move to the next level. He averaged 10.4 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, while shooting 37.7 percent from the field and 31.7 percent from three, which was nearly 10 percent less than his freshman campaign.
Ayala had an up-and-down season for Maryland in 2019-20. The 6’5 guard averaged 8.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists as a starter as he dealt with some shooting struggles. But he showed enormous potential in some games, such as when he had 19 points on 60 percent from the floor and 75 percent from deep, along with seven rebounds, against Michigan in what turned out to be the last game of the season. He’ll look to improve his shot in 2020-21, but regardless, he has the vision and composure needed to likely take on primary ball-handling skills for the Terps.
Scott is expected to take on an even larger role in his sophomore season in 2020-21. He was impressive his freshman year, starting in all but 10 games, which were early on in the season. Although Scott did not put up crazy statistics, averaging 5.9 points and 3.6 boards per game, he had some big plays for the Terps and made a huge jump as a player towards the end of the 2019-20 season. The 6’7, 225 pound, forward will play a pivotal role Maryland next year.
Marial is without a doubt the biggest mystery heading into next season. He had moments where he showed potential last season, but he was never fully recovered and back to game speed after having surgery for stress fractures in both legs following several years without consistent minutes due to injury in high school. The South Sudan native would have really benefitted from working with Director of Basketball Performance Kyle Tarp and scrimmaging with his teammates this summer, as his development will determine how much of a factor he can be for the Terps in 2020-21.
Serrel Smith Jr.
Smith had a rough second season with the Terps, averaging only 1.5 points and 7.6 minutes per game, while shooting 25 percent from the field. The 6’4 guard was one of the players who struggled the most shooting the basketball last season. Smith will be one of the more experienced players on the 2020-21 roster, his junior season. The St. Petersburg, Florida, native will likely see time off the bench behind the likes of Ayala, Morsell, and potentially others if he does not improve his shooting.
Hart saw more time than many expected in his freshman season as he averaged 6.2 minutes a game, including 10.7 per game in the last three contests. Turgeon and his staff are high on the 6’6 guard’s potential, and they’ll look for him to make better decisions as he likely takes on more minutes next year. Hart averaged 1.6 points per game in 2019-20 as he struggled to shoot the ball with a 22.2 percent field goal average, often forcing shots.
Mona is heading into his fourth year with the Terps as he walked-on to the team before the 2017-18 season. The 6’2 guard is currently not under scholarship, though that could potentially change depending on who else transfers to Maryland. Mona only saw time off the bench in 10 games last season, but he was effective, shooting 3-for-3 from deep, mostly at late points in lopsided games. Mona is one of two players heading into their fourth season with Maryland, along with Morsell.
Hamilton is the only transfer target Maryland has landed this offseason. He averaged 9.5 points, 4.3 rebounds and 25.8 minutes per game, while shooting 42.8 percent from the field and 28.1 percent from deep, as a sophomore for Boston College in 2019-20. At 6’8, 234 pounds, Hamilton should give the Terps some key front court depth — though he is still waiting for an eligibility waiver from the NCAA.
Dockery, who verbally committed to Maryland on Oct. 18, 2018, is a 6’1, 175 pound, combo guard out of Washington, D.C. He is ranked a three-star recruit and played his junior season at Bishop O’Connell High School in D.C., the same school the produced former Terps legend Melo Trimble. Dockery is rated ESPN’s No. 6 player in the 2020 class out of D.C. and the No. 18 combo guard in the nation by the 24/7 Sports Composite. He played his senior season at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.
Smart, who committed to Maryland on Feb. 23, is a 6’3, 200 pound, combo guard out of Skokie, Illinois. Now ranked a three-star, Smart made more of a name for himself when he averaged 24 points a game in his senior season, but he was largely uncontested in a less competitive league. Of the two incoming freshman guards, Smart will likely see less minutes, especially if Turgeon opts to play Ayala at the point guard spot.
Carlik Jones — Radford to Louisville
Jones would have been a phenomenal option to replace Cowan in 2020-21. The 6’1, 180 pound, point guard averaged 20.0 points, 5.5 assists and 5.1 rebounds for Radford in 2019-20. Jones statistically improved every season at Radford and he was seen to be the top graduate transfer by some analysts. He put Maryland on his final eight list of potential landing spots, but decided to head to the ACC and the Cardinals.
Bryce Aiken — Harvard to Seton Hall
Aiken would have been another great option to replace Cowan next season. The 6’0, 175 pound, point guard averaged 16.7 points, 1.7 assists and 1.6 rebounds for Harvard in 2019-20. A New Jersey native, Aiken said his decision came down to wanting to play for his home state, though the Terps were one of his top three contenders.
Jordan Bruner –– Yale to Alabama
Bruner would have been a solid option to replace Jalen Smith next season. The 6’9, 205 pound, forward averaged 10.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the Bulldogs in 2019-20. He was one of the top graduate transfers in the market, especially as a big man. With the lack of front court depth and size that Maryland has, it was heavily going after Bruner. The Columbia, South Carolina, native put the Terps in his final three but chose Alabama over Maryland and Baylor.
Rapolas Ivanauskas — Colgate to Cincinnati
Maryland losing out on Bruner was somewhat expected, but the same can’t be said for Ivanauskas deciding to transfer to Cincinnati in the American Athletic Conference. We have no way of knowing how hard the Terps’ staff was going after the 6’10, 230 pound, grad transfer, but he was a promising option after averaging 13.1 points (43.2 percent FG), 7.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 2019-20.
David DeJulius –– Michigan to Cincinnati
Maryland reached out to DeJulius within hours of him announcing his intention to transfer. The 6’0 point guard averaged 7.0 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists, while coming off the bench behind Zavier Simpson in his sophomore campaign. DeJulius played for current Maryland assistant coach DeAndre Haynes during his freshman season at Michigan when Haynes was the Wolverines’ assistant coach, but that relationship was not enough for DeJulius to name Maryland on his final four list.
Amauri Hardy — UNLV to Oregon
Hardy averaged 14.5 points, 3.3 assists and 3.3 rebounds last season. Of the three point guards Maryland was targeting in the transfer market, Hardy wasn’t the top option, but he nonetheless could have provided key experience and scoring to help fill Cowan’s shoes. He opted to stay on the West Coast and chose Oregon over Maryland, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, Memphis and Michigan State.
Luther Muhammad — Ohio State to Arizona State
Muhammad would have been a great option for the Terps backcourt, especially its defense. The 6’3 defensive-specialist guard started all but six games for the Buckeyes in 2019-20, averaging 7.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steals per game. He dropped 22 points against the Terps in Columbus this past season. Maryland was a team that reached out to him early on, but they did not make it onto his final five list.
Marcus Santos-Silva — VCU to Texas Tech
Santos-Silva would have been another good option for the Terps front court, even if the height wasn’t ideal. The 6’7, 250 pound, forward led the Rams in scoring last season, averaging 12.8 points and 8.9 boards per game. Santos-Silva put Maryland on his list when he cut it down to six, but he ultimately decided to head to the Big 12 instead of the Big Ten.
Olivier Sarr — Wake Forest to Kentucky
With a clear shot at immediate eligibility, Sarr decided to enter the portal after Wake Forest head coach Danny Manning was fired. The 7’0, 255 pound center was highly sought after by top programs after averaging 13.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in a little under 27 minutes to a game to be named a Third Team All-ACC selection last season. Sarr committed to Kentucky Wednesday, opting for a program known for developing pro talent over Maryland.
Adama Sanogo –– Connecticuit
Maryland was pushing for Sanago, a 6’9, 250 pound, four star, to reclassify to the class of 2020 and help fill the void left by Smith’s departure. And with a clear opportunity to start, it seemed like Sanogo might end the Terps’ offseason struggles. Instead, he committed to UConn Thursday over the likes of Maryland, Nebraska and Seton Hall.
Quincy Ballard -– Florida State
Ballard is ranked a three-star and the No. 14 overall player in the class out of New York, per the 24/7 Sports Composite. The 7’0, 240 pound, center would have been a solid complement to Marial in terms of height for the Terps. Maryland was one of Ballard’s final three choices along with Syracuse and Florida State after offering him shortly before his commitment, but he chose the Seminoles.
To be fair, it’s hard to say how much of chance Maryland ever had with Anselem, but they were one of a number of schools to offer the 6-10 big man after he re-opened his recruitment. Anselem, who is ranked as a three-star by the 24/7 Sports Composite, hasn’t made a final decision yet, but he announced May 1 that he will be deciding between Kentucky, Western Kentucky, San Diego State, Syracuse, Arkansas and Seton Hall.
In all honestly, there are barely any options left in the transfer portal that are both eligible to play next season and fit Maryland’s needs in terms of size and production. While there is technically a chance that a perfect match decides to enter the portal, for now Turgeon and Co. seem to have their eyes on convincing a 2021 target to reclassify or finding a lesser-known option in the graduating class. Turgeon has been known to pull a talented international recruit out of his hat, but there hasn’t been any word on that front yet.
You probably haven’t heard of Galin Smith before, and quite frankly, neither had we until Thursday. But Maryland has been quietly pursuing the 6’9, 240 pound, grad transfer out of Alabama, and he has the Terps in his top three along with VCU and Arizona State. If he does choose to come to College Park, it’s unclear how big of an impact he would actually have as he averaged 3.1 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.1 minutes per game in the SEC last season.
Kepnang is currently still a part of the 2021 class, although he has been considered a top choice to reclassify to the 2020 class. The 6’10, 220 pound center is a four-star recruit and is ranked the No. 24 overall player in the 2021 class by the 24/7 Sports Composite. He is another player with great size that could be a solid piece for the currently shallow front court. He currently has 21 total offers and has received a visit from Kentucky head coach John Calipari. He could be a solid get for the Terps and Coach Turgeon.