Maryland Basketball: Transfer market paying dividends for Terps

Feb 6, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Robert Carter (4) drives against Purdue Boilermakers guard Johnny Hill (1) during the first half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 6, 2016; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Robert Carter (4) drives against Purdue Boilermakers guard Johnny Hill (1) during the first half at Xfinity Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

There’s been quite a bit of movement amongst players in the Maryland basketball program.

However, the transfer market is paying dividends for the Terps.

Following the 2013-14 season, there was a mass exodus in College Park after a 17-15 campaign under coach Mark Turgeon. The group of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare, Nick Faust, Charles Mitchell, and Roddy Peters elected to transfer out of the program.

As deflating as it was to see many players leave, Turgeon definitely didn’t sulk and found suitable replacements.

During the 2014-15 season, guard Melo Trimble came in and took over Allen’s role. It was actually more of a natural fit because Allen was more successful as an off-the-ball scorer rather than a floor general. Trimble has ran Maryland’s offense to perfections during his two years in College Park.

Cleare never really gelled with the Terrapins, so it wasn’t a huge loss when the former four-star recruit departed. Damonte Dodd ended up as the team’s starting center last season and received help from Michal Cekovsky, Jon Graham, and Evan Smotrycz at times.

The biggest addition proved to be that of forward Robert Carter.

It was an odd turn of events given that Mitchell elected to transfer to Georgia Tech and Carter decided to join the Terps up north. It was a trade of sorts, and it certainly has benefited Maryland.

Carter had another one of his marquee performances on Saturday against Purdue when he scored 19 points (7-of-10) and grabbed seven rebounds in a 72-61 Maryland win.

The former Yellow Jacket scored eight of his points in the second half and had more than a few spectacular plays.

With 14:01 left in the game, Carter and Trimble ran a beautiful pick-and-roll. Carter set a pick for Trimble on the perimeter and Trimble dished the basketball back out to Carter, who blew by freshman Caleb Swanigan on a pump fake and threw down a one-handed dunk.

The play gave Maryland a 37-36 lead at the time.

Just moments later, Carter received the ball in the low post from forward Jake Layman. Carter ended up blowing past Purdue’s Issac Haas and converted a very tough sky hook.

Carter is just such a versatile player as he can be just as effective from the perimeter as he can in the low post.

On the other hand, guard Rasheed Sulaimon was also a tremendous addition by Turgeon.

Sulaimon was dismissed from the team at Duke, but would be immediately eligible this season as a graduate transfer. That certainly made the senior guard that much more appealing to opposing teams around the country.

Turgeon had recruited Sulaimon when he was at Texas A&M and Sulaimon was starring at Strake Jesuit in nearby Houston. Once the Maryland staff did their necessary homework on Sulaimon, it seemed like a no-brainer to bring him to College Park.

Sulaimon has immediately stepped in as the team’s starting two-guard and has had several big games at Maryland.

However, Saturday’s win over the Boilermakers may have been his most impressive.

Sulaimon scored 21 points (7-of-12) and grabbed 10 rebounds in what turned out to be his first career double-double. The former Blue Devil stepped up to the challenge when the Terps need him the most.

Trimble didn’t exactly light the world on fire, despite still ending up with 14 points on the evening. Sulaimon netted 15 of his 21 points in the second half to help Maryland fend off a feisty Purdue squad.

Much like he has been all season, Sulaimon was a leader on the court and led by example with his heroic effort.

For example, after throwing the ball away on Maryland’s previous offensive possession, Sulaimon secured the defensive rebound off a miss by P.J. Thompson. Sulaimon then pushed the ball up the court and laid it in to give the Terps a 33-32 advantage.

The most impressive play came with just 1:23 remaining and Maryland leading 58-53. Sulaimon got the basket as Carter was setting a pick. Sulaimon elected to go away from the ball screen and blew by Raphael Davis for the clutch layup.

He was also fouled on the basket and made the free throw to put the Terps ahead 61-53. Sulaimon even flexed his muscles to the Maryland bench after he converted the layup.

Carter and Sulaimon have been so essential to Maryland’s success this season and Saturday’s game was no different.

Turgeon continues to search out departing talent from other teams and he’s certainly got a proven track record. The list includes Carter, Richaud Pack, Smotrycz, Sulaimon, and Dez Wells.

The transfer market definitely has been kind to Maryland to say the least.

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