Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon will have one more interior option at his disposal on Friday night when the Terrapins take on UConn, as Penn State transfer Jonathan Graham has been granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA. Graham, the son of Maryland great Ernie Graham, averaged 2.8 points and 3.1 rebounds during his career at Penn State.
“We’re excited for Jonathan that he is immediately eligible for the upcoming season,” Turgeon said in the release. “Our administration did an outstanding job working diligently on Jonathan’s behalf.”
Graham joins a front court rotation that, while talented, can use the extra body. Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz, sophomores Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare and freshman Damonte Dodd will be asked to do much of the “heavy lifting” inside for the Terps, with Mitchell (5.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg) being the more productive of the two returnees.
So where will the 6-foot-8 junior fit into the rotation? CSN Washington’s Daniel Martin believes that the new rules limiting contact will be a factor:
As far as his possible impact, Graham likely brings length, energy, and physicality to practice and extra depth to Maryland’s front court.
Turgeon has raised concerned about the new officiating styles being implemented this season, which could lead to more fouls and cause coaches to dig deeper into their benches.
Last season Maryland led the ACC in both offensive and defensive rebounding percentage, but that was with lottery pick Alex Len in the middle. With Len out of the picture, Maryland’s inexperienced front line will need to be productive from the start if the Terrapins are to reach the NCAA tournament.