With the end of the season nearing, the talk about the NBA Draft will become even more rampant, especially when the NCAA Tournament concludes.
Now this may not be something many Maryland fans are thinking too much about. However, maybe they should be.
With the type of exposure Maryland has had this season, their star players are subject to the speculation of entering the draft.
Guard Dez Wells obviously will be in the conversation because he is a senior and will be graduating.
However, there’s a ton more talent on Maryland’s roster than Wells.
Most scouts have been attending Maryland’s conference games and NBA writers have been drawing up mock drafts that include the stars of this team.
Many fans have not pictured this, but guard Melo Trimble, could be a “one-and-done” type of player. While it’s not very likely as he’s not being projected in the first round in many drafts, it’s something that could be in the back of people’s minds.
Forward Jake Layman could skip his senior season, depending on if he wants to test the waters. While unlikely, he has an NBA body and really took that next step this season.
If you were to look at recent history, big men Alex Len and Jordan Williams were the only two players to leave when they had time left at Maryland. Both players left due to the spotlights put on them towards the end of the season and their draft stock was relatively high. Obviously, it didn’t work out so well for Williams as he is out of the league. However, Len is having a ton of success this season with the Phoenix Suns.
Williams was a part of the Greivis Vasquez-led team his freshman year that made the NCAA Tournament, but was knocked out by Michigan State thanks to that heathen Korie Lucious and his late-game heroics. Williams came back and would break Len Elmore’s record of consecutive double doubles and would be a Wooden Award candidate. His sophomore season did not include a postseason, but his individual performance led to him becoming a first round pick for the Nets.
On the other hand, Len was not only an individual monster on the court, but he led the Maryland Terrapins as high as he could in his last year. He came in a freshman the season after Williams left, which really solidified a position many thought Maryland would miss.
In his second season, he led the the Terps to the NIT Final Four. Very similar to this season, that team almost ran the table in non-conference play, but struggled in the ACC, resulting in just an NIT bid. Len averaged almost a double double per game his final season and shined in the NIT, resulting in him being a high draft pick
What is different about this season’s Terps is the chemistry of the team. Layman, Trimble, and Wells have all come together to lead the team as a group. This season has not revolved around one player, but makes it difficult to predict what will happen.
Layman could follow the path of Len and Williams, leaving early and making money, or he could make a new path.
Layman has been raising the eyes of NBA scouts since late last season with his size and abilities. With the spotlight on the team this year, many more scouts have seen him show his flashes of driving in, posting up, and stretching the floor with his three point shot. But what if he didn’t leave early?
Layman and Trimble have a huge choice to make. If they leave early and ride the wave of success this season, they could be in for a chance at the next level. But if they were to return, they would have to be almost certain they could reproduce the kind of season they had this year.