Turtle Power: Meet The New Maryland Terrapins
It's an uncertain season for Maryland basketball fans.
After a share of the ACC regular season title and a knee-buckling loss to Michigan State in the NCAA tournament, the Terps have done some major housecleaning.
Greivis Vasquez is a Memphis Grizzly. Landon Milbourne is playing in France, and Eric Hayes is playing in Spain. To be certain, Terps fans will need time to get accustomed to watching a team without those three on the floor.
But the changes go beyond last year's three team leaders. Reserves David Pearman, Jin Soo Choi and Steve Goins have also departed, meaning the Terps now welcome six—count them, six—new players into the fold.
I figured I'd go ahead and introduce them all at once, slideshow-style.
For more detailed profiles and information on every Maryland basketball player, as well as unfiltered news and commentary on all Terps teams, visit us at www.shell-games.com or follow us on Twitter @terpsblog. For more on the players featured in this article, click on the Shell Games player tags at the end of each slide.
1. Haukur Palsson
I covered Palsson in some detail here, but in a nutshell, this Iceland product has the key ingredients for success but will need some seasoning on the pine before he can make any meaningful game contributions.
This 6'6", 215-pound small forward is known for his basketball IQ and sharp shooting stroke, but he also has the size (and, apparently, the willingness) to defend effectively and even bang a little under the basket.
This is only Hawk's second year in the states, so there will be a learning period off the court as well as on.
He's not going to light up a stat sheet any time soon, but he is unusually versatile for a Euro player and could eventually be a valuable sub off the bench.
(For information and updates on Palsson throughout the season, visit us here.)
2. Berend Weijs
This transfer from Harcum junior college in Pennsylvania essentially takes over at backup center for the departed—and disappointing—Steve Goins, who himself transferred to Troy in the offseason.
A native of Amsterdam (to continue the melting pot theme), Weijs is very fast for his size, has long arms and possesses serious shot-blocking skills—he once blocked 15 in one game for Harcum.
On the downside, his offensive game is nil, and with only 205 pounds on his 6'10" frame, this guy is in serious need of bulk. Someone get this guy a sandwich. Maybe many sandwiches.
Assuming he fills out in Maryland's strength and conditioning program, he could be an asset for Maryland's up-tempo style of play and could potentially get some time at power forward to complement Jordan Williams.
(For the latest news and updates on Berend Weijs, visit us here.)
3. Ashton Pankey
This 6'8", 220-pound Bronx native promises to one day be a strong contributor for Gary Williams.
Ashton Pankey is long, strong and athletic. He cleans the glass, and he gets his hands dirty.
Ash doesn't have much in the way of scoring; luckily, the Terps probably won't need much offense from him given the rest of the rotation (although a turnaround J on the block would be nice).
If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps you are remembering sophomore James Padgett, Maryland’s other 6'8", 220-pound New York City power forward. These two are alike in terms of size, game and basically every other possible way. It will be interesting to see ultimately how (or if) these two integrate into the team.
The million-dollar question for Pankey, though, is not whether he is Padgett's doppelganger. It's whether he is fully healthy. He missed his entire senior season of high school after requiring surgery to repair a broken foot. Details on his recovery have, to this point, been a little sketchy. Following the strange and mysterious injury sagas of Goins and Jerome Burney, Terp fans can be forgiven if they’ll believe a full recovery when they see one.
When Maryland plays its first real game Nov. 8, it will have been about 14 months since Pankey played competitive ball.
(For the latest "Hankey Pankey" on Ashton, if you will, check us out here.)
4. Terrell Stoglin
Stoglin, the first of the "big three" players to join the Terps this offseason, is a point guard who can score. But don't let visions of John Gilchrist dance in your head.
Chris Paul is his basketball role model, and that sounds about right—Stoglin is a point guard first, but he can also get his whenever he needs to.
Boy, can he ever. Stoglin averaged 27 points a game during his senior season to set a new scoring record for prep schools in Tucson, Ariz. He is also the second-leading scorer in state history, behind only some guy named Mike Bibby (and ahead of guys like Richard Jefferson).
Stoglin is primarily a shooter but will put the ball on the floor as well. Based on reports from those who have watched him play, he seems like one of those guys you could blindfold and spin around at midcourt, and he'd still know exactly where the basket was.
Given that there is no "true" point guard among Maryland's incumbents, Stoglin could get playing time sooner rather than later. But at only 6'0" and 165 pounds, his size could be a limiting factor.
(For regularly updated news and info on Stoglin, visit us here.)
5. Pe'Shon Howard
Pe'Shon might be the emotional successor to Greivis Vasquez—for better or worse.
Howard, a Los Angeles native, may have a little more of the playground in him than some of Maryland's other new arrivals. He's flamboyant, he loves to play off the dribble and in transition, and his passing can be brilliant.
Perhaps most reminiscent of Vasquez, however, is his outstanding court vision, which really helps on those no-looks.
Again, like Vasquez, Howard sometimes chooses the flashier—and more difficult—play over the one with the best chance of actually working. You take the good with the bad, I suppose. At 6'2" and 195, he has just decent size; his speed and quickness are also on the good-not-great side.
Howard himself seems aware of—and receptive to—the Vasquez comparisons. After all, he picked Greev's old No. 21 soon after arriving in College Park. Not exactly a proclamation to stay under the radar.
Bottom line: Like Stoglin, Howard is a combo guard who leans toward the one and as such could see a lot of the floor this season given Maryland's dearth at point guard.
(For all the Pe'Shon Howard news you can handle, visit us here.)
6. Mychal Parker
And now for my favorite new Terp of 2010-2011.
Mychal Parker is a buttery smooth basketball player. Silky and athletic, but nasty at the rim: the classic ACC wingman. He's one of those guys your eyes just naturally follow around the court.
He is listed as a small forward, but the 6'6", 195-pound Parker can also play the two. He averaged 21 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists his senior year of high school, so he can definitely fill the stat sheet.
Mychal has a nice jumper, but his real strength is getting to the basket, where he can most definitely finish it.
Others have compared him to LaRon Profit or Landon Milbourne, but I don't see it. So I'll just think of him as the first Mychal Parker. However, one somewhat troubling trait he seems to share with Milbourne is the tendency for his competitive fire to flicker at times during the action.
Though he may have the most all-around talent of the new arrivals, he may not be the first to see substantial playing time, given that Sean Mosley, Adrian Bowie and Cliff Tucker are entrenched in front of him. But if his number is called, I believe Parker has as much of an ability as any of the new arrivals to come in and contribute right away.
(For all the Mychal Parker news that's fit to print, now and throughout the college basketball season, visit Shell Games by clicking here.)