Feb 8, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon directs the team against the Florida State Seminoles at Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
With Tuesday’s transfers, Maryland’s rotation is a little thinner than desired. With two extra 2014 scholarships now, there’s no doubt that coach Mark Turgeon will look to add players through transfers. Guard Nick Faust’s transfer is the only one I see that is not a need due to the incoming freshman class. The point guard position, however, is the biggest priority. I break down what is next going forward and three potential replacements for guard Roddy Peters and center Shaquille Cleare.
Maryland experimented with Faust and guard Dez Wells last year at the point when guard Seth Allen went down at the beginning of the year. That was a failure and hindered Maryland’s full potential at success. With the departure of Peters, the Terrapins are thin at the point guard position. Allen is still the likely starter, but we all know that he is more of a shoot-first point guard. Freshman sensation Romelo Trimble has the ability to thrive at the point position, but he is still a freshman and will likely need some time to adjust before being thrown into the fire. As great of a story guard Varun Ram provided last season, he is not a backup you want to rely on. Maryland should look at an Antonio Barton-type transfer for this year. Three potential immediate replacements to fill the position are:
- Chris Evans (Sacred Heart): A rising senior, Evans is a guy that may be a stretch for Maryland because he was suspended from Sacred Heart for the final month of the season due to a “violation of departmental and team policy.” Basketball-wise, Evans, a big guard at 6’3”, is a player that was third on his team in scoring, averaged 28.3 minutes-per-game and 11.3 points-per-game. Evans is a guard that likes to get into the paint, and does a great job at it. Evans can offer Maryland a change-of-pace slasher that will force defenses to play alert at all times. Evans is a constant threat, but turns the ball over just as much as he records an assist (averaging 1.8 turnovers and assists-per-game). That is certainly a statistic that sticks out to the staff and makes him less attractive than the other options. Nonetheless, Evans can certainly do good things with the ball and would be a good addition for Maryland.
- K.C. Ross-Miller (New Mexico State): Ross-Miller is the most attractive option in this list because he played at a good school and put up decent numbers. Miller would be an ideal situation because he would be a rising junior and would provide guard depth for two seasons. What I like most about the junior is his sound ball-handling skills and pass-before-shoot mentality. Miller averaged 8.3 points, 3.5 assists and 1.9 turnovers per game in 27 minutes. Although the turnovers may be a little high, his assists would rank first on the team (Seth Allen has the highest average with 3 assists per game). Miller was suspended for the remainder of the season due to his role in the New Mexico State-Utah Valley matchup on February 27, but I wouldn’t say he has disciplinary issues or baggage. My concern with Ross-Miller is that he may be a little hesitant to come into a situation where he has little chance to compete for a starting job. But if Maryland can reel him in, they would offset the Peters departure.
- Ian Chiles (IUPUI): IUPUI was not the best team by any measure, but Chiles was the highlight of the team, averaging 15.8 points-per-game, 3.2 rebounds-per-game and 1.8 assists-per-game. Chiles is a great shooter and does a great job using his body in the paint area. If Chiles were to become a Terp, he would immediately give the second-team a scoring threat. When Peters was on the floor, the offense looked dead and lifeless at times, and Chiles would do a great job energizing the offense and putting points on the board. Maryland has the assets that will take pressure off Chiles and compliment his strengths. His highlights can be seen here.
Cleare’s transfer gives the staff a big question mark. Cleare was a guy that had all the hype coming in and failed to consistently produce. As much as I love the guy, I agree that a fresh start is what he needs to succeed, and I’m rooting for him all the way. In terms of replacing him, I’m not sure the staff will exactly, especially with the addition of 7-footer Michal Cekovsky in the 2014 class. Maryland now has forward Charles Mitchell, forward Damonte Dodd, forward Jonathan Graham, Reed and Cekovsky. A Mitchell transfer would be the biggest blow to Maryland since Jordan Williams announced he was going pro. If Mitchell does transfer, which I don’t think will happen, here are two guys Maryland will look at:
- M.J. Rhett (Tennessee State): Rhett is a 6’8” shot-blocker that has a decent offensive game. In almost 33 minutes a game, Rhett averaged a near double double, averaging 10.9 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. The talent level in the Ohio Valley certainly is not equivalent to the Big Ten, but Rhett would be a good compliment to Charles Mitchell down low. Rhett possess good ball-handling skills and runs the ball well on the fast break, but it’s his athleticism that makes him special. Rhett’s highlight tape consists of numerous dunks, but this guy can soar. He is much better offensively than defensively, but he is still a great all-around player that can make a difference on a Division I roster. Rhett also provides senior leadership and a good work ethic, both attributes that can help this team grow in the offseason. If there is one guy out there that can fix the problems down low that isn’t on the roster, Rhett is certainly your guy. His highlight tape can be seen here.
- Sommy Ogukwe (Liberty): Ogukwe is not someone that pops out when you look at numbers. As a junior, Ogukwe averaged four minutes, 0.7 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. The good about Ogukwe is that he is a true post-player with decent post moves. Ogukwe would be a guy that would solely provide depth through a walk-on position. Would he be a guy that eliminates the post problems for Maryland? No, but he gives Maryland depth, something that Shaquille Cleare’s departure hurts. Some highlights can be seen here.
The transfer wire for immediately eligible big men is very thin and many of the stronger transfers will sit out next year. If Maryland is also looking for guys not eligible immediately, remember Chris Obekpa (St John’s), Nick Banyard (New Mexico), Adam Lacey (Manhattan), and Nolan Berry (Butler).