It was a busy last week for the Maryland Basketball program.
Last Friday Kevin Anderson officially resigned from his position as athletic director, Thursday the Big Ten announced conference schedules, today Maryland announced it would be playing Marshall during 2018 non-conference play, and also today, Kevin Huerter announced he would enter the draft without signing an agent.
Kevin Anderson Leaves Maryland
After taking a six-month sabbatical, Kevin Anderson has stepped down as Maryland athletic director. This comes as no surprise, as there were reports in the fall that the explanation for Anderson’s extended absence was that he had been fired. On October 16th the sabbatical was announced, and Damon Evans has led the Athletic Department since.
Maryland will commence a national search for a new athletic director next week, with Evans among the candidates that will be considered.
Followers of the Maryland Men’s Basketball team will be keeping a close eye on this search as the new candidate will oversee fund raising to potentially build a new basketball-specific practice facility. Additionally, many Terps fans (this author included) have called for Maryland to remove coach Turgeon from the head coaching position. While this does not seem likely at the moment, Turgeon will almost certainly retain his job as long as Maryland does not have an established athletic director.
Maryland would benefit greatly from a swift and emphatic hire, but this search process will likely be protracted across the summer. More updates to come.
Maryland’s 2018-2019 Schedule Begins to Take Shape
The Big Ten announced each teams’ list of conference opponents for the 2018-2019 schedule on Thursday. Maryland has not scheduled many high level opponents in the non-conference portion of its schedule in recent years, so accruing quality wins in conference play is crucial for the Terps to make it back to the NCAA tournament.
Bearing this in mind, Maryland is lucky to be facing nearly all their top competitors both Home and Away. Maryland will play against Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin both at home and away. Of the six teams Maryland plays once, only Michigan State came close to the postseason.
The NCAA selection committee has proven in recent years that win totals alone will not get a team into the NCAA tournament and losses to quality opponents will not hurt their case, so it is in Maryland’s best interest to schedule as many tough games as possible.
Maryland has also started to move away from its weak out-of-conference scheduling. CBSSports’ Jon Rothstein reported this morning that Maryland will host Marshall during non-conference play. Marshall won the Conference USA Tournament, and beat Wichita State in the First Round of the NCAA tournament before losing to in-state rivals West Virginia.
Marshall, who finished the 2017-2018 season ranked 105th in Kenpom, is a good addition to the Terrapins schedule. Head Coach Dan D’Antoni has the Rambling Herd moving on an upward trajectory, and if they can build off of their success last year this game will help the Terps resume come march – win or lose.
Last season the Terps played three games against similarly rated teams in non-conference (Bucknell, New Mexico, and St. Bonaventure) and their non-conference Strength of Schedule (SoS) was incredibly low. Coach Turgeon and his staff will need to continue scheduling quality opponents in order to bring Maryland’s non-conference SoS up to par.
Kevin Huerter the third Terrapin to declare for the draft
This afternoon Kevin Huerter entered the NBA draft, but did not sign an agent. Huerter joins fellow Terps Bruno Fernando and Justin Jackson in the draft pool. Jackson signed an agent so he will not be able to return to University of Maryland, but Huerter and Fernando have until May 30 to withdraw from the draft and return to school.
There is reason to believe that Fernando will remain in the draft; many mock drafts suggest Bruno will be drafted around the end of the lottery. Huerter on the other hand is less likely to leave school this year. ESPN currently lists the sharpshooting wing at #20 in their 2019 mock draft, but Huerter has not appeared in the first round in most mock drafts.
If Huerter does leave Maryland for the pros, the Terrapins will be severely lacking in three point shooting. Huerter shot nearly 42% from range last season, making 73 three point shots; this amounted to 32% of all Maryland’s made threes. Combine Huerter’s efforts from deep with Dion Wiley’s, who graduated and will transfer away for his final year of eligibility, and Jared Nickens, who graduated, and Maryland would lose 170 of their 229 made three point shots – a whopping ¾ of all their three point makes. What’s more, this does not account for Justin Jackson, who only made 10 three point shots before his season ending injury. Jackson connected on 44% of shots from deep in his freshman season, making 46 threes.
Mark Turgeon has already started moving to fill this void. Incoming freshman wing Aaron Wiggins comes to College Park with a reputation for long-range shooting, and Turgeon has been recruiting Pittsburgh’s Parker Stewart, who will be transferring after Pitt fired former head coach Kevin Stallings. Stewart led the Panthers in three point shooting at 39% and was second in three point makes with 71. Whether Huerter goes to the NBA or not, Stewart would be a great add for the Terps with Wiley, Nickens, and Jackson all gone for sure.