Maybe the Terrapins will be pretty good after all. Faced with the possibility of losing all five starters from arguably the most talented team in Maryland basketball history, the Terps received some very good news this week.
No Diamond Stone won’t be returning for his sophomore season, he’s a likely first round pick in the NBA draft next month. Forward Robert Carter isn’t coming back either, he too will be moving on to the next level. Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon are simply out of eligibility. That leaves point guard Melo Trimble.
After testing the NBA waters, Trimble will be returning to College Park for his junior season. Over his two seasons, the two-time All B1G selections, guided Maryland to a 55-16 record, including a return to the Sweet 16 for the first time in 13 seasons.
But that’s not all….. The Terrapins added forward Justin Jackson, moving the Maryland recruiting class into the top-10 nationally (#9). The 6’7″ native Canadian is a consensus 4-star recruit and brings an incredible 7’3″ wingspan. Jackson was verbally committed to Nevada-Las Vegas, but had a change of heart and chose Maryland over Oregon after visiting both campuses.
The Terrapins also added much needed depth in the post with the addition of L.G. Gill. A graduate transfer from Duquesne, the 6’8″ 230 Gill chose Maryland over Marquette and others. A native of Chesterfield, VA, Gill becomes the Terps fourth grad transfer over coach Mark Turgeon’s five seasons in College Park. Gill averaged 10.1 points and grabbed 6.5 rebounds, while averaging 30 minutes per game for the Dukes last season.
2016 Recruiting Class
F Justin Jackson 6’7″ 195 4-star
G Kevin Huerter 6’6″ 170 4-star
G Anthony Cowan 6’0″ 170 4-star
F Micah Thomas 6’7″ 185 3-star
F L.G. Gill 6’8″ 230 (SR- Duquesne transfer)
Note: Maryland has one open scholarship
2016 Returning Terps
C Damonte Dodd 6’11” 250 SENIOR
C Michal Cekovsky 7’1″ 250 JUNIOR
F Jared Nickens 6’7″ 205 JUNIOR
G Jaylen Brantley 5’11” 170 JUNIOR
G Melo Trimble 6’3″ 185 JUNIOR
G Dion Wiley 6’4″ 210 rSOPHOMORE
F Ivan Bender 6’9″ 230 rSOPHOMORE
2016-’17 projected depth chart
C Dodd Cekovsky
F Jackson Gill Bender
F Nickens Thomas
G Huerter Wiley
G Trimble Cowan Brantley
Cover Photo Courtesy @UMTerps
Yahoo’s Jeff Eisenberg has Maryland at number 20 in his rankings for the 2016-17 season.
Had Trimble decided to stay in the NBA draft, Maryland would have been in rebuilding mode with all five starters gone from last year’s Sweet 16 team. Trimble instead waited until the dying hours of deadline day before announcing he was withdrawing from the draft, giving him a chance to solidify himself as a first-round pick next season and giving the Terps a star point guard to build around. The wealth of experienced talent surrounding Trimble last season is gone, but Maryland’s cupboard is far from empty. The heralded Anthony Cowan will ease the pressure on Trimble by providing a second capable ball handler. Jared Nickens, DionWiley and Kevin Huerter should all see ample playing time at wing. Questions abound in the frontcourt, but Maryland will probably rely on L.G. Gill, a Duquesne graduate transfer to help fill the void left by Robert Carter at power forward, while Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky team up to fortify the interior.