The 2011-2012 Maryland men’s basketball team was not selected for either the NCAA tournament or the NIT. It was the second year in a row that they did not make either of those tournaments. The Terps sharing the ACC regular season title with Duke in 2010 seems like a distant memory and there’s no telling how much longer it will take to get back to a situation where Maryland is a force to be reckoned with in college basketball.
However, the Terps can breath a sigh of relief knowing that at least their superstar from the past season will not be leaving them after his sophomore year like Jordan Williams did. Instead, Terrell Stoglin will be back as an upperclassman after considering entering the NBA draft. The guard was named second-team All-ACC in 2011-2012 and his average of 21.6 points per game was bested by nobody in the conference.
Stoglin has proven he can score, but the fact that he was on a bad team and couldn’t help them win more than 6 conference games may have prevented him from being named first-team All-ACC. It is easy to look at Maryland’s 17-15 record this season and question whether or not Stoglin has that winning gene. He wasn’t able to single-handedly overcome Maryland’s lack of talent as sophomore, and even as a junior he will likely need a better supporting cast if he wants to dance in his first NCAA tournament. This means all eyes will turn to Nick Faust.
Faust made the ACC’s All-Freshman team this year and is likely the biggest question mark on Maryland’s roster because his tremendous upside and glaring weaknesses. He was the number 37 recruit out of high school, according to ESPN, and came in with a lot of anticipation surrounding him. Stoglin, by comparison was only the number 97 recruit the year before. Faust also is a Baltimore native, setting him up to potentially receive that special treatment from the fans reserved for homegrown talent like Juan Dixon and Sean Mosley. However, the Terrapin faithful quickly learned that Faust does not have that shooting touch from the field you would like to see in a guard. They also watched him shoot 61.9 percent from the free throw line on the season. On a positive note, Faust was the team’s third leading scorer and one of his dunks this year made SportsCenter’s Top 10.
If Faust can work on his jumper, he could be a nice Robin to Stoglin’s Batman. However, Stoglin and Faust aren’t the only factors. Like Faust, Alex Len will be under the microscope with people waiting to see if he can be a consistent center. James Padgett already proved his consistency this year and both his and Pe’Shon Howard’s roles will be to continue playing to their strengths and not try to do too much. Then there is the team’s highly ranked recruiting class, who could be the deciding factor in whether or not Maryland gets out of its slump. All in all, it will be interesting to see what Mark Turgeon cooks up in year two, after a forgettable year one.