Maryland Basketball: Complete Roster, Season Preview for 2013-14 Terrapins

Ryan CuriFeatured ColumnistNovember 5, 2013

Maryland Basketball: Complete Roster, Season Preview for 2013-14 Terrapins

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    Mark Turgeon's Maryland Terrapins were disappointing a year ago, with the season ending in the NIT Semifinals. After four straight NCAA tournament appearances at Texas A&M, Turgeon has failed to make the NCAA tournament in either of his first two seasons in College Park.

    The Terps lost Alex Len to the NBA and Pe'Shon Howard who transferred to USC. Still, they will have three of their top four scorers back from a year ago, including leading scorer and former Xavier Musketeer Dez Wells.

    Maryland is projected to finish sixth in the new 15-team Atlantic Coast Conference. Duke, North Carolina and Virginia are the league's top returning teams, while new members Syracuse, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh will strengthen and add depth to the league.

    In the following piece, we will take an in-depth look at Maryland's roster, rotation players, key newcomers, key returning players, possible season scenarios—both good and bad—and finally a prediction of how the Terrapins' season will go. 

     

Key Newcomers

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    Roddy Peters

    Checking in at 48th in the Rivals rankings, Turgeon was able to convince Peters, a local kid from Washington D.C., to play for his Terps over teams like Kansas and UCLA. The 6'3" Peters is a combo guard who will be an added bonus off the Terrapin bench.

    Peters is full of confidence and for good reason. He is capable in all areas of the game. He can score off the dribble or pulling up for a jumper while also involving his teammates. Peters is a capable defender and will be a versatile option to play both guard positions. 

     

    Evan Smotrycz

    After two seasons playing for John Beilein's Michigan Wolverines, Smotrycz sat out the 2012-13 campaign while redshirting for Maryland. At 6'8", Smotrycz is your typical stretch 4, who even saw minutes playing center while in Ann Arbor.

    Smotrycz averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds while making 44 percent of his free-throw attempts as a sophomore. Smotrycz did so in 21.1 minutes, splitting his time as a starter and reserve for Beilein. With young forwards Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III coming to UM in 2012, Smotrycz decided to leave.

     

    Jonathan Graham

    Maryland added another former Big Ten player recently in former Penn State big man Jonathan Graham. Graham, whose father was a former Maryland player, is currently awaiting word from the NCAA on whether he will gain immediate-eligibility play in 2013-14.

    Graham, a redshirt junior, averaged 3.9 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.7 minutes as a redshirt freshman in Happy Valley. His playing time, and therefore numbers, decreased last season, as Penn State forward Ross Travis had a breakout season. Graham should be hearing from the NCAA sometime in the near future.

Key Returners

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    Dez Wells

    After being kicked off Xavier following a promising freshman season, Maryland was happy to latch onto Wells who can play the 2 or 3 position. Last season, Wells averaged 13.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 28.6 minutes. He also committed 2.8 turnovers per contest.

    Wells will once again be the team's top option offensively, though he'll need to improve upon his decision-making with the ball. Wells is built like a brick wall, and by playing aggressively, he should be able to get to the free-throw stripe more often. Wells converted on 71 percent of his attempts from there a year ago.

     

    Nick Faust

    Playing on the wing next to Wells will once again be Faust, who averaged 9.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal as a sophomore, while playing 25.8 minutes on a nightly basis. Faust also had trouble with his handles, turning the ball over 2.2 times per contest.

    Faust shot 35 percent from long range last season, improving on a 27 percent clip from his freshman year. At 6'6", Faust and the 6'5" Wells present sizable options at the wing positions. Look for those two to each improve upon their numbers from a year ago.

     

    Seth Allen

    With no more Pe'Shon Howard on the Terrapin roster, Allen should do a majority of the ball-handling as a sophomore. During his freshman year, Allen averaged 7.8 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal in 22 minutes. He, too, committed 1.9 turnovers per night.

    Allen should grow and improve as a sophomore in a more comfortable role. Hopefully, he worked on his shooting during the summer months, as Allen made only 39 percent of his shots last season and only 31 percent of his long-distance attempts.

Roster and Projected Rotation

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    Roster:

    0 Charles Mitchell, F; 6'8", 260 pounds; SO, Atlanta, Ga.
    1 Evan Smotrycz, F; 6'8", 230 pounds; JR, Reading, Mass.
    2 Roddy Peters, G; 6'3", 195 pounds; FR, District Heights, Md.
    4 Seth Allen, G; 6'1", 190 pounds; SO, Woodbridge, Va.
    5 Nick Faust, G; 6'6", 205 pounds; JR, Baltimore, Md.
    10 Jake Layman, G-F; 6'8", 205 pounds; SO, Wrentham, Mass.
    11 Varun Ram, G; 5'9", 150 pounds; JR, Clarksville, Md.
    12 Conner Lipinski, G; 5'10", 155 pounds; SO, Gambrills, Md.
    15 Spencer Barks, F; 6'9", 225 pounds; JR, Poolesville, Md.
    23 John Auslander, F; 6'7", 220 pounds; SR, Herndon, Va.
    24 Jacob Susskind, G; 6'5", 190 pounds; JR, West Orange, N.J.
    25 Jonathan Graham, F; 6'8", 220 pounds; JR, Baltimore, Md.
    32 Dez Wells, G-F; 6'5", 215 pounds; JR, Raleigh, N.C.
    33 A.J. Metz, F; 6'5", 185 pounds; FR, Leesburg, Va.
    35 Damonte Dodd, F; 6'9", 240 pounds; FR, Centreville, Md.
    44 Shaquille Cleare, C; 6'9", 265 pounds; SO, Andros, Bahamas

     

    Projected Rotation:

    C—Shaquille Cleare

    PF—Evan Smotrycz

    SF—Dez Wells

    SG—Nick Faust

    PG—Seth Allen

    6—Jake Layman

    7—Roddy Peters

    8—Charles Mitchell

    Others: Jonathan Graham, Damonte Dodd, A.J. Metz, Varun Ram

    Bench: Jacob Susskind, Spencer Barks, Conner Lipinski, John Auslander

Biggest X-Factors

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    Shaquille Cleare

    As a freshman, Cleare backed up now-NBA center Alex Len. Cleare averaged 3.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in his 12 minutes off Turgeon's bench. Though Cleare likely won't make the same leap Len did as a sophomore, he will improve with a greater availability of minutes in the frontcourt.

    Cleare, who is from the Bahamas, isn't afraid to mix it up. He is a strong rebounder and plays aggressively, though that could land him on the bench in foul trouble. Charles Mitchell actually put up better numbers as a freshman than Cleare, as they could split minutes at the 5 spot.

     

    Jake Layman

    Another sophomore, Layman will be a perfect backup for Smotrycz. Layman stands 6'8", though over 60 percent of his shot attempts came from behind the arc. He only connected on 30 percent of his attempts from there last season, though that should improve in 2013-14.

    Maryland played three exhibition games in the Bahamas in August, where Layman scored 25 points on two occasions. Layman will stretch the floor from the 4 position, and with plenty of options in the frontcourt, we could even see Turgeon attempt a big lineup for particular oppositions. 

Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios

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    Best-Case Scenario: Sweet 16

    After forming such great rivalries in the ACC over the years, this will be Maryland's last year in the ACC before bolting for the Big Ten. Maryland had plenty of talent to go around a year ago, and though losing a center in Len to the NBA can never be a good thing, attention can be focused elsewhere this season.

    Much like Illinois losing Meyers Leonard to the NBA the season prior, addition by subtraction could be the case here. If the Terps can get back to the Big Dance, but lose early, that won't be enough for their fanbase, but it'd be a step in the right direction before they head to the Midwest a year from now.

     

    Worst-Case Scenario: NIT Bid

    This question has been posed many times: Would you rather win the NIT or lose in the first round (now known as the second round) of the NCAA tournament? In most cases, playing in March Madness would be the right answer but even more obviously in Maryland's case following a deep NIT run last spring.

    If Maryland happens to be one of the first teams left out on Selection Sunday, the Terrapins won't be so thrilled to make a similar effort in the NIT. On paper, Maryland is definitely NCAA tournament-capable. Getting through the new ACC won't be an easy task, but if they can find 10 league wins, they'll be all set.

2013-14 Prediction

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    Prediction: 22-12 (10-8), At-Large Bid, NCAA Tournament Third Round

    Maryland opens its season on Friday, November 8, in Brooklyn, against Connecticut and won't be tested again until December 4 at Ohio State. The Terrapins should be able to get some easy blowout wins in between that time, while getting everyone plenty of early season experience.

    In conference play, the Terps should finish right around their preseason expectations, somewhere between fifth and seventh in the ACC. Reaching 10 wins in league play will help relax the team on Selection Sunday, as they hear a No. 10 seed called out before their name.

    The Terrapins will continue to ride the hot streak that got them into the NCAA tournament and knock off a seventh-seeded opponent, before bowing out in the round of 32 in a close loss. This loss will mark the start of a new era of Maryland basketball, as they will then enter the Big Ten, along with Rutgers.