Who’s Gone: Aaron Wiggins (Guard), Daryl Morsell (Guard), Jarius Hamilton (Forward), Galin Smith (Forward) Chol Marial (Center)
Who’s Back: Donta Scott (Forward), Eric Ayala (Guard), Hakim Hart (Guard), James Graham III (Guard/Forward), Marcus Dockery (Guard), Arnaud Revaz (Forward)
Who’s New: Fatts Russell (Guard, Transfer – Rhode Island), Ian Martinez (Guard, Transfer – Utah), Qudus Wahab (Forward, Transfer – Georgetown), Xavier Green (Guard, Transfer – Old Dominion), Pavlo Dzbiua (Forward, Transfer – Arizona State), Simon Wright ( Forward, Transfer – Elon), Ike Cornish (Guard/Forward, Freshman – Baltimore, Md.), Julian Reese (Forward, Freshman – Baltimore, Md.)
A perfect storm of recruiting in the off-season transfer market has resulted in almost a complete makeover of the terrapin hoops roster for the 2021-22 season. Some of those names gone are big ones, though. Aaron Wiggins was a potential All-Big Ten/All-America candidate this year but chose to move on to the NBA. Daryl Morsell, who personified the tough-as-nails nature of Maryland basketball during his four years in a terrapin uniform, transferred out of the program to Marquette to be the backcourt centerpiece for new head coach Shaka Smart. The good news? Eric Ayala, Donta Scott, James Graham III, Marcus Dockery, and Hakim Hart are back from that defensive-minded core last season. Better news? Mark Turgeon and staff did a stellar job in utilizing the record-breaking transfer market to re-build the terps roster in the offseason. Maryland snagged Rhode Island transfer Fatts Russell and former Georgetown big man Qudus Wahab and filled two immediate needs on the roster. Both players are potential All-Big Ten/borderline All-American quality talents and change the entire makeup of a squad that was, at times, overmatched at those positions last year. The transfer market also brought Ian Martinez and Xavier Green from Utah and Old Dominion respectively. Both look to make an already dynamic guard rotation even deeper.
While the huge transfer haul has gotten most of the headlines for this team, the two-man freshman class of Ike Cornish and Julian Reese (baby brother of Lady Terrapins standout Angel Reese) may arguably be one of the better classes in the Big Ten. Cornish’s ability to stretch defenses and Reese’s post versatility may go a long way to embedding both of them solidly in Coach Turgeon’s extended rotation by the regular season’s end.
Pre-Season Hot Take:
This is one of the deepest teams of Mark Turgeon’s Maryland Basketball tenure. There’s a LOT of length and versatility on this roster, which could spell tough sledding for Terrapin opponents on the defensive end of the court. Qudus Wahab and Fatts Russell are two pieces that could really open up the court for the plethora of skilled forwards and combo guards we have on the roster. Early returns indicate that Xavier Green could be more of a factor in the rotation than initially thought, which would make an already deep guard rotation even more formidable. the same could be said for freshman forward Julian Reese, who has blown away early expectations during early camp. There’s a lot to like about what the Terps have brewing this season. There have even been rumblings about this team being a trendy darkhorse for a Final Four run. The talent to do so is definitely there. I think the will and grit to make a run for a chance at the national championship is there, too.
Maryland Basketball looks to be a lot of fun for everybody this season!