The Maryland frontcourt took a major hit on Friday when it was announced that four-star center Trayvon Reed would not enroll at the school due to a recent arrest.
Now that Reed won’t be a Terrapin, there are some questions surrounding the current cast of Maryland’s big men. The Terps currently have Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, Jonathan Graham, and Evan Smotrycz down low, but Graham and Smotrycz are seniors this season. They also have Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter Jr., who will have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns to the court for the 2015-2016 season.
While the loss of Reed isn’t a plus, he may not have had a huge impact in his freshman season. Cekovsky is being billed as the likely candidate to start at the five to begin the season. The Slovakian big man is an incredibly athletic player that should provide coach Mark Turgeon with a ton of versatility. He can finish at the rim, and has some range for a big man. Cekovsky is also a pretty talented passer.
As talented as Cekovsky may be, the Terps still need to add a big man or two in the 2015 or 2016 recruiting class or even through the transfer market. Carter and Dodd will both be juniors by the time the 2015-2016 season rolls around. Turgeon and his staff may be able to hold off until the 2016 class. The transfer route could be an option, seeing as Turgeon has seen tremendous success with guys like Dez Wells, Carter, and Smotrycz in the past.
Maryland doesn’t have offers out to a ton of big men, and certainly not to any that are very likely to commit to the Terps. Former Westtown School center Georgios Papagiannis was considered a very strong possibility for Maryland, but is now headed overseas to play professionally. Wisconsin center Diamond Stone is the crown jewel of the 2015 class. Despite Maryland being in on Stone from the very beginning, it’s unlikely that the top 10 recruit will be coming to College Park. The likely candidate is certainly looking like Ohio product Esa Ahmad, who is more of a stretch four. Ahmad stands 6’7, but will need to put on some weight if he wants to be a power forward at the collegiate level.
Ramping up the pursuit of big men in the 2016 class and transfer options are likely the best bet for Turgeon. Unfortunately, transfer options are limited in August. Well at least guys that will be able to play this coming season.
We’ll have more on potential transfer options and the latest on the recruiting trail in the coming weeks.