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The Testudo Times early-summer 2019 mailbag

Answering some questions as the college sports offseason begins.

Alexander Jonesi

It’s June, and the 2018-19 Maryland sports season is just about over (save for five track athletes competing for a championship this week). Summer content here means plenty of stories about the upcoming football season, the NBA Draft, Terps in pro leagues and hopefully some fun features.

But I thought we’d start by answering some of your burning questions. Thanks to those of you who tweeted at us. Here’s what we’ve got.

This seems like a good place to start. We’ve all seen the top-10 way-too-early rankings, and even before the roster filled out, we knew this would be the year Maryland finally had a ton of production coming back.

So what are the expectations? Every fan’s answer will be different, but I think most want to see Maryland serious contention for a Big Ten regular-season title. They want to see a run in the Big Ten tournament and a second-weekend appearance in the big dance. And a marquee win or two along the way (whatever those might be) won’t hurt.

Maryland can have a good season without checking all of those boxes, but nine years into Mark Turgeon’s tenure, fans are itching for something to celebrate. Barring injuries, the talent should be there to make it happen.

Rapid-fire mailbag questions! I like it.

1. I’ve always said Maryland can realistically become the kind of program Michigan State currently is — consistently solid, with the chance to contend for a division championship in an up year (you’ll remember that the Spartans have a Playoff appearance under their belts). Can Locksley recruit well enough to build a team that can achieve that? I think so, but we’re probably still safe to make other plans for conference championship weekend this season.

2. Anthony Cowan Jr. checked in at No. 5 on this list of Cousy Award contenders, so the answer is yes. His slump at the end of this season made a lot of people forget what he’s capable of, and while he still struggles with turnovers and consistency, every coach in the country would love to have a playmaker of his caliber. Maryland’s got plenty of other pieces, but its ceiling and floor are both higher with the senior point guard on board.

3. Gonna be honest ... I didn’t have a fashion sense in 2005. I was 8. So it’s hard for me to answer a question about those OG grey sweatpants, much less report on whether they’ll be released anytime soon. But for your sake, I absolutely hope so.

Nope. I think Canada’s fine with taking a year off right now; he’s been in four places in four years, has two schools paying him and dealt with a lot in College Park. He’ll get a really good job before long. Durkin will probably be out of coaching for a while; based on the reaction to his mere presence at Alabama late last season, it’ll take plenty of time for his reputation to recover. He’s still young enough that I imagine he finds a landing spot in a few years, though.

Maryland is a couple scholarships heavy, and McLean played with the second-team defense in the spring game, so he clearly wasn’t stacking up great. He’s graduated from Maryland (even after enrolling a semester late) and can explore other options for his final season. His entry into the portal was first reported last week, and McLean announced his departure Monday. We don’t know where he’ll end up, but we know it won’t be Penn State.

I know the Pride runs student buses to Penn State and Rutgers. But I don’t think anyone organizes such a thing for other fans or alumni (which, as of two weeks ago, is my new demographic). Someone will correct me in the comments if I’m wrong about this.

It won’t be about this in particular, but one idea I’ve always had is to write some sort of long-form feature about every single thing that goes on during a home gameday. From the tailgates to the Terp Alley welcome, to the stadium workers and ushers, to everyone in the press box, to the players and coaches and beyond. I remember an ESPN Magazine (rest in peace) issue built around this concept and think about it from time to time.

This would take a lot more planning and work than I ever had the chance to put in as a student, but we’ll see if there’s a way to make it work this fall. It’d be cool to shine a light on some parts of a gameday that not everyone knows about, especially if we can tell a story through it.

I’m gonna call to the bullpen for this one. Here’s Lila, who covered wrestling in 2018:

While there hasn’t been any public news about recruits for the 2019 class, since being announced as the head wrestling coach Alex Clemsen has done a lot to increase the visibility of the program, which should in turn make Maryland a more attractive prospect for top wrestlers. On May 3, Clemsen held a camp in Missouri — his home state and old recruiting stomping grounds, as well as a hotbed for wrestlers. He held another in Missouri earlier this week and is also hosting a joint camp with former coach Kerry McCoy this summer. Additionally, Clemsen has done or scheduled interviews with some of the most well-known wrestling websites, including Flo Wrestling, InterMat, Track Wrestling and The Open Mat.

1. Let’s be happy today and say yes. The Terps went 2-3 out of conference this season, including a 26-12 win at George Mason. An optimist would say that there should be just enough coming back to sneak one in, and that Clemsen can turn inexperienced wrestlers into winners. Either way, though, you’ll need safety goggles to watch the Big Ten duals.

2. I think there’s a chance. New coaches generally come in on four- or five-year contracts, and we’re four years into the Julie Wright era. I don’t know her exact contract (there’s always FOIA, but Maryland has been ... notoriously not great with those), but if it’s up at the end of this month, the school could just decline to renew it like it’s already done with Daria Panova.

If the Terps can get some continuity, there’s a chance they could make a run at it sooner rather than later. This year’s squad had only four seniors, and assuming Maryland doesn’t lose any juniors or commits to the pros—we’re 10 rounds in and none have been drafted—the 2020 team will have both depth and experience. The starting pitching will be a question mark with Hunter Parsons graduating, but after the team as a whole improved this season, there’s reason for optimism here.

(Also, we’ll be rolling out a State of the Program series throughout the summer, so this question will be answered even more in-depth sometime soon. Stay tuned.)