From the moment he stepped foot in College Park, Maryland forward Evan Smotrycz and the Terrapins seemed like a great marriage.
It may only be one game into the season, but that sentiment remains true.
On a relatively young Maryland squad, Smotrycz is one of few veterans that is expected to lead the way. That was clear during Maryland’s narrow loss against Connecticut last Friday. If not for a stellar shooting performance from the former Michigan Wolverine, the Terps don’t have the ability to stay in that game and make their second half run.
In his Maryland debut, Smotrycz finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, and a pair of assists against UConn.
Smotrycz played extremely efficient basketball throughout the entire contest on Friday. Early on, Maryland struggled to find any sense of rhythm offensively. The Terps missed five of their first seven shots and Smotrycz scored 10 of Maryland’s first 16 points.
One of the most impressive parts of Smotrycz’s game is his three-point shooting ability. Over the course of his two years at Michigan, the New England native shot 40.8 percent from beyond the arc and 4.75 attempts-per-game from long range. It was evident coming into this season that he could shoot the basketball. On Friday night, Smotrycz connected on three of his five three-point attempts and really have the Terps a shot in the arm.
It was interesting where Smotrycz’s shot came from. On every single made field goal, the former Wolverine shot the ball from the right side of the court. It didn’t matter if it was close to the basket or a three-point jumper. Smotrycz seemed to have a comfort zone with that specific area of the court. If something like that works for him, it’s a great asset for a player to utilize his strengths and shoot the basketball only where he is comfortable.
Smotrycz’s aggressiveness on the boards and overall hustle were a very pleasant sight to see as well. His nine rebounds were a game high and he fought for every loose ball and 50/50 ball. Smotrycz doesn’t take any plays off and it’s clear that he loves the game and gives it everything he has when he’s out on the floor.
These are all traits that Maryland could definitely use with some uncertainty in the frontcourt. Former Maryland center Alex Len is gone and there will be no replacing his presence on the defensive end. However, Smotrycz can definitely give up the slack offensively and has a good chance to surpass Len’s offensive numbers from last season.
So far, sophomore center Shaquille Cleare hasn’t done much in his brief Terp career and sophomore forward Charles Mitchell doesn’t have the offensive skillset that Smotrycz does. In terms of scoring, Smotrycz is Maryland’s best scoring option in the post.
Obviously, it’s very early in Smotrycz’s tenure as a Terp. However, he is doing all the right things that you want to see a premiere frontcourt player do. He has the ability to be one of the top scoring options for Maryland this season and the sky is the limit as to how good he truly can be.