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Big Ten Basketball Previews: Maryland

The Turge is Dead, Long Live the Turge

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Wait, what sport did I sign up for?
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2022 In Review

It was supposed to be a strong year for the Terps. They returned lots of talent and added prized transfers Qudus Wahab and Fatts Russell. After a disappointing 5-3 start. Mark Turgeon gave a couple middle finger salutes to everyone and peaced out. Danny Manning took over to decidedly average results, and Maryland finished 15-17. Not exactly “Maryland’s best team yet under Turge” as predicted by, uh, us.

Danny Manning got shot into the dumpster fire of the sky, and incoming is former Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard. Willard has done a pretty good job putting together a roster after losing several key players, including Russell, Wahab, and Eric Ayala. He’s also gotten some good recruits for next year, so Maryland fans are feeling good, even if this year is rocky.


PG Jahmir Young, 6’1’’ Senior: Jahmir Young is a transfer guard from Charlotte who can flat out score in pretty-much any way imaginable, except posting up Big 10 front court goons. He will get hot and single-handedly win some games. But, he is a ball hog (“volume scorer” in today’s parlance).

MaximumSam: Just want to add, Torvik really likes Young’s game, and he wasn’t just a scorer but also was a plus rebounder and passer at Charlotte. He excelled at getting to the foul line and converting - he shot 89% from the stripe, and was good from everywhere else, too. He’s a great addition.

SG Donald Carey, 6’5’’ Senior: Carey is a transfer from Georgetown. Maybe this was a trade for Qudus Wahab, who transferred from Georgetown to Maryland back to Georgetown. Anyway, Carey profiles as a strong shooter - hitting 39% from three and 91% at the stripe. A full transfer backcourt isn’t ideal, but these are two strong seniors.

larry31: Straight from Inside the Hall, an Indiana basketball website - “Georgetown transfer Donald Carey averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals last season for the Hoyas. At 6-foot-5, he has the prototypical size for a two-guard in college and is a career 39 percent 3-point shooter.” I was looking for his stats and figured I would just grab the quote directly because I am lazy. Dependable, reliable, consistent. Not gonna wow you like Jahmir Young but will be a solid glue-guy.

SF Hakim Hart, 6’8’’ Senior: Hakim Hart is an experienced wing that came to Maryland with Donta Scott. He is a very efficient and underrated player. At 6’8”, he does not have great ball handling skills, but is the best distributer on the team.

MaximumSam: Hart is an interesting player, who had a pretty low usage last year but shot an absurd 69% from two. Usually that kind of number is reserved for guys playing underneath the basket. It will be interesting to see how Willard handles him: “why isn’t Hart shooting more” was a common refrain last year.

PF Donta Scott, 6’8’’ Senior: Donta Scott is an experienced front court player (2019 class) with strength that can score on the perimeter. Maryland is thin in the front court and Scott has limited height, but will be asked to play out of position at center when playing small ball.

MaximumSam: Scott is another guy who may benefit from a new coach. He profiles as forward with a strong inside/outside game, but he only shot 29% from three despite having the second most attempts on the team. That’s down from 44% in 2021, so Willard will have to decide if this guy has the green light or not and hopefully get him in better positions.

C Julian Reese, 6’9’’ Sophomore: Julian Reese is a front court player coming into his second year. He was lanky last year and constantly got into foul trouble by getting pushed out of position, limiting his effectiveness. Apparently, he has bulked up and should be able to maintain position offensively and defensively. The talent is there and he is expected to make a big leap this year. If he doesn’t, Maryland will finish in the bottom half of the league and not make the NCAA tournament.


SG Ian Martinez, 6’3’’ Junior: Martinez came in last year after spending his freshmen year at Utah. I expected a lot from him based on his advanced stats there. He disappointed. Rumors are he was injured and never got to mesh with the players during the summer and fall before entering the 2021-2022 season. And last year was a shitshow with Turge leaving mid-season. Reports are that he is significantly improved. He is one of those players that has potential to really take off, and if he does, Maryland will find itself in the tournament, finishing in the top half of the league standings, likely no higher than 6th.

PF Patrick Emilien, 6’7’’ Senior: Emilien is another transfer, this time from St. Francis Brooklyn and before that Western Michigan. He appears to be of the “live body” type of transfer, because Maryland have few experienced big men on the bench. He did rebound and score a bit for St. Francis, but they were almost the worst team in basketball, so that’s not saying much.

larry31: He hustles, defends, and rebounds, but is a offensive liability. He is expected to provide minutes and fouls for the thin front court.

PF Pavlo Dziuba, 6’8 Junior: Another option in the frontcourt, Dziuba is a former four star recruit who played a year at Arizona State before transferring to Maryland. He barely played last season and is mostly known for being from Ukraine. Unknown if he can be a contributor for the Terps this season.

SG Ike Cornish, 6’6 Freshman: Another former four star recruit, Cornish redshirted last season. Does the fact that Maryland was a disaster and Danny Manning was coaching for his life mean Cornish was galactically terrible? No idea. If you are picking up that Maryland depth pieces are very much a work in progress, then a gold star to you.

C Arnaud Revaz, 6’10 Junior: Revaz is a tall person from Switzerland. He appeared in two games last year and five games as a freshman. I was once in Switzerland and had a horse steak. This is the extent of our Revaz knowledge.

CG Jahari Long, 6’5’’ Junior: Long is a Willard follower, transferring from Seton Hall. He played sparingly as a freshman, then had a season ending injury after just five games last year. He’s the kind of guy who may never play, or might be a key part of the bench. The Magic Eight Ball is hazy on him.

SF Noah Batchelor, 6’6’’ Freshman: The first true freshman, Batchelor is a three star recruit from Maryland who originally committed to Memphis. Seems unlikely he will contribute much this season, but hey, have you looked at the competition.

PF Caelum Swanton-Rodger, 6’10’’ Freshman: The other member of the freshman class, Swanton-Rodger is from Canada and was unranked on the 247. You’re guess is as good as mine here, so let’s hear from Kevin Willard. “He is a high-motor center who is extremely active around the rim and on the defensive end. He’s very effective in pick-and-roll situations because of his athleticism around the basket.”


Larry31: Quick summary for those OTEers that have very short attention span (most of you), like that of a fruit fly:

1a) Season projection - borderline tournament team, finishing 6-10 in the conference

1b) Turge literally stopped recruiting after Makhi and Makhel Mitchell committed in 2017 as members of the 2019 class, along with Hakim Hart and Donta Scott, and then didn’t make it past December before getting kicked off the team. The cupboard was left bare by Turge and Willard did what he could in the transfer portal. Good starting five, unproven bench.

2) Willard is a clear improvement over Turge - better coach, better recruiter.

More detailed version: As mentioned above Turge literally didn’t bring in any high school recruits of note since 2019 when Hakim Hart and Donta Scott arrived along with the disgruntled and forever transferring Mitchell twins (Maryland-to-URI-to Arkansas). He started relying very heavily on the transfer portal after the 2019 recruiting class. Willard currently has the 21st ranked recruiting class for 2023 with three wing/guards committed: 4-stars Jaimie Kaiser and Darren Harris-Smith, and underrated 3-star Jahnathan Lamothe. Notably, all three are sought after and from the DMV. This has Maryland boosters thrilled. Especially a Team Takeover AAU guy like DHS, who would have been a sure-fire Villanova commit prior to Jay Wright’s retirement. Willard is targeting two bigs to fill out the class. They are in pretty good position with Papa Kante and landing him plus another equally talented big would propel Maryland into a top-10 recruiting class. Most likely they land a good 4-star recruit like Papa Kante and a high 3-star to end up with a top-20 class.

Anyone who read my Maryland basketball reverse hot seat articles knows that: 1) I was very cool on Willard, referring to him as bald Turge, and 2) OTEers are spiteful assholes, consistently voting Rick Pitino as their top choice for Maryland’s vacant coaching position. Now, I am very optimistic about Willard. Why did I flip-flop on Willard, like JD Vance has flip-flopped on Trump?

Looking more in-depth, Seton Hall is a very tough place to win. The facilities, location. and lack of P-5 football money really hamstring a basketball coach at Seton Hall. Willard had basically the same success as Turge, but under much more difficult circumstances. All reports consistently characterize Willard as an excellent coach (he is a Pitino protégé) who is very good a developing players. As part of his negotiations with Maryland, he has a specific budget for his coaching staff. Top assistants Tony Skinn, David Cox, and Grant Billmeier are very solid recruiters and coaches. Skinn worked previously with Willard at Seton Hall before leaving for OSU. Willard subsequently lured him away from OSU to reunite with Willard at Maryland. Cox was head coach at URI for four years. Both Cox and Skinn have strong DMV ties. Willard brough Billmeier to Maryland from SHU. Also, Willard’s enthusiasm and energy are a welcome contrast from Turge who seemed to barely tolerate being at Maryland, which has really endeared the fan base to Willard.

Given Willard’s coaching acumen, combined with his ability to fill out his staff with his top choices, will result in Maryland most likely exceeding (relatively low) expectations this year.

Boiler89: I’ll comment on the coach since I’ve watched my fair share of Xavier’s Big East games living in Cincinnati. Willard runs a solid basketball program. He’s a decent, but not great recruiter. Same thing for in game coaching and developing talent. Willard consistently put out good seasons at Seton Hall and I like him as a head coach. But he also isn’t a program changing coach - not that this should be a deal breaker for Maryland. Maryland should be back to competing in the Big Ten soon. If not this year, next. For them to do more than that though, Willard is going to need the resources that Maryland has to offer to lift up his coaching. Which is possible with the DMV region for recruiting. I just don’t see Willard making an immediate huge splash this season. They could claw into the bubble conversation and that would be a major success for year 1.

MaximumSam: Transfer caveats always apply, but Kevin Willard looks to have a pretty competitive starting five for his first season. The bench is a major issue, and hopefully someone emerges or else the starters are going to be on life support come March. It isn’t crazy to see this team taking some big swings in the B1G and making the tourney, though if the all new backcourt struggles, so will the team.

Other Takes

Inside The Hall: Willard is playing with house money this season as expectations are low in College Park. If the Terps reach the NCAA tournament, it will be a major success. And if the team only reaches the NIT (or worse), fans will look ahead to future seasons where recruiting is off to a solid start. Maryland already has three commitments in the 2023 class, including a pair of top 60 players in Jamie Kaiser Jr. and DeShawn Harris-Smith. If Willard can get efficient production from Carey and Young, Maryland will be a dangerous team, particularly at the XFinity Center.

Daily Hoosier: Willard is a good coach, but arrives without the luxury of knowing the other league programs in depth, and most of his roster is unproven at the high major level. Young put up nice numbers at Charlotte, but there isn’t much history of mid-major stats tracking to high-major when a player transfers. Carey is the only player on the team with a proven history of making 3-pointers at a high rate. This doesn’t appear to be a team that will have much firepower, size or depth, which could make year one a major challenge for Willard, who needed five years to get things going at Seton Hall.

Land Grant Holy Land: I don’t see this being a tournament team, and I would be surprised if they hit 15 wins again. It will be important for Willard to really nail down recruiting the DMV, as it is a hotspot for some of the top recruits in the country. DeMatha High School alone produces DI talent seemingly every season. The future is likely bright, but this season could be a long one in College Park.