Mark Turgeon

Maryland lands commitment from five-star 2018 forward

Leave a comment

Maryland added to its 2018 recruiting class with its second commit, the newest addition being a five-star in-state product.

Jalen Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward from Baltimore powerhouse Mount St. Joseph, committed to the Terrapins, making the announcement on Twitter.

“I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my commitment to the University of Maryland … Go Terps,” he tweeted as part of a long passage.

Smith is listed as the No. 13 overall recruit in the Class of 2013 by Rivals. He joins four-star swingman Aaron Wiggins in Mark Turgeon’s current recruiting class.

Playing for Team Takeover on the Nike EYBL circuit, Smith is averaging 10.9 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks per game.

Maryland lands 6-foot-9 forward from Canary Islands

AP Photo/Jim Mone
Leave a comment

Less than a week after landing a commitment from one of the top available forwards in the Class of 2016 in combo Justin Jackson, Maryland added another piece to that class Tuesday afternoon. 6-foot-9 forward Joshua Tomaic, who attends the Canarias Basketball Academy (CBA) on the Canary Islands, made his pledge to join Mark Turgeon’s program according to the CBA.

A native of Lanzarote, which is part of the Canary Islands, Tomaic joins Jackson, guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter and small forward Micah Thomas as the freshmen in Maryland’s 2016 recruiting haul. The Terrapins also added forward L.G. Gill, a grad student by way of Duquesne.

Tomaic possesses the ability to play away from the basket, facing up to knock down perimeter shots. He gives Maryland another player to call upon in the competition for minutes next season.

Adding options in the front court was key for Maryland this spring, due to the loss of starters Jake Layman, Robert Carter Jr. and Diamond Stone. Those departures left the Terrapins extremely thin in the front court with regards to both depth and experience, with Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky (like Tomaic a CBA alum) being the most experienced returnees and Ivan Bender on board as well.

Depth in the front court won’t be an issue with Maryland’s additions, and the return of point guard Melo Trimble ensures that the Terrapins will be a factor in the Big Ten race next season.

Maryland’s Stone, Trimble to enter NBA Draft

AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

With forward Robert Carter Jr. having already decided to forego his remaining college eligibility, Maryland announced two more important NBA Draft decisions Monday night.

Freshman forward Diamond Stone and sophomore point guard Melo Trimble have both decided to enter the 2016 NBA Draft. However, while Stone will sign with an agent and as a result end his college career, Trimble will not be signing with an agent. Trimble would have until May 25 per the new NCAA rules to withdraw from the draft should he decide to return to Maryland for another season.

Stone’s decision to hire representation isn’t all that surprising, as he arrived on campus as a McDonald’s All-American ranked sixth in the Class of 2015 by Stone averaged 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, and projects him to be picked 23rd in the June draft.

Trimble’s projected to be an early second round selection, a tough spot to land given the difference in contract guarantees (or lack thereof) compared to a first round choice. As a sophomore Trimble led the Terps in both points and assists, averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 assists per contest. Trimble’s scoring average dropped some from his freshman season, when he averaged 16.3 points per game, but this was to be expected given the other weapons at his disposal.

Unfortunately his percentages also dropped, going from 43.8 to 41.4 percent shooting from the field and from 40.0 to 33.5 percent from beyond the arc.

Trimble’s decision is a critical one for Mark Turgeon as he and his staff prepare for 2016-17. While rising junior Jaylen Brantley would have a season of Division I experience under his belt, he played just 8.4 minutes per contest. Should Trimble remain in the draft even more responsibility falls upon the shoulders of incoming freshman guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter.

No. 12 Indiana finishes regular season with a flourish

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

Having already clinched the outright Big Ten regular season title, the question for No. 12 Indiana was whether or not they’d win it by multiple games. No. 14 Maryland represented a worthy challenge, but after getting off to a slow start the Hoosiers found their rhythm as the first half progressed. And in the second half Tom Crean’s team grabbed the game by its throat, going on to win by the final score of 80-62 to win the Big Ten title by two games.

It’s been said before but it bears repeating: the turnaround made by Tom Crean’s team since non-conference play has been highly impressive, regardless of what some say about the strength of Indiana’s conference schedule (KenPom rates Michigan State’s league slate as being slightly weaker, in fact).

The Hoosiers limited Maryland to 41.4 percent shooting from the field and 8-for-24 from three on the day, and they also converted 14 Terrapin turnovers into 20 points. Indiana’s improved effort on the defensive end has been a key in their transformation from struggling team with an embattled head coach during non-conference play to the Big Ten regular season champion. If there was one play in Sunday’s win that can be used as a good example of this, it would be Yogi Ferrell’s diving for a Maryland attempt to roll the ball inbounds late in the second half to save time.

Ferrell could have easily allowed Maryland to pull this off, or even fake an attempt to go after the ball so Maryland would pick up the ball prematurely. Instead he sold out, and that kind of effort has been present throughout Big Ten play. The senior point guard has been the leader for Indiana, but Ferrell’s had plenty of help in pushing the Hoosiers to the top of the Big Ten. Ferrell finished Sunday’s game with 17 points and four assists, and wing Troy Williams led the way with a game-high 23 points to go along with five boards.

Ferrell is undoubtedly Indiana’s most important player. But if the Hoosiers are to make a deep run in the NCAA tournament, they’re also going to need an engaged Williams. He was that kind of player against Maryland, playing with an energy that makes him a very difficult matchup for many opponents. This comes on the heels of a solid 15-point, seven-rebound outing in the win at Iowa Tuesday night, and over Indiana’s final five regular season games the junior averaged 16.4 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest.

If Williams can continue on this path in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments, Indiana will be a tough out. They’ve received contributions across the board, from stars and role players alike, resulting in the program’s second Big Ten title in four years. And as they showed for most of Sunday’s regular season finale, Indiana has the tools needed to accomplish even more over the next month.

No. 14 Maryland blows past Illinois 81-55 in home finale

AP Photo/Nick Wass
1 Comment

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Melo Trimble returned to form, the seniors excelled in their home finale and No. 14 Maryland played its best game in weeks.

“Just a feel-good night,” coach Mark Turgeon said after the Terrapins hammered Illinois 81-55 on Thursday. “It’s fun to have some like that every now and then.”

Trimble and Jake Layman scored 18 points each for the Terrapins, who never trailed. Maryland (24-6, 12-5 Big Ten) had lost three of four since climbing to No. 2 in the AP poll in early February.

Trimble made half of his 14 shots, collected eight rebounds and added five assists. The standout sophomore guard was 11 for 37 from the field over the previous four games, but in this one he turned it around.

“I really needed that. I just needed to see a shot go down, feel myself so happy again,” he said. “I haven’t been smiling the way I used to in a while. I just had to look in the mirror and see that I had an OK smile. I had to display it today on the court after I made a shot. I just felt good.”

Before the game, Maryland honored seniors Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, Varun Ram and Trevor Anzmann. Layman made 7 of 11 shots; Sulaimon had nine assists and no turnovers; and Ram and Anzmann came from deep on the bench to team for a crowd-pleasing basket in the final minute.

Basically, everyone got into the act.

“We got rolling,” Layman said. “When we’re playing like that, sharing the ball, we’re very hard to guard.”

Jared Nickens and Robert Carter Jr. had 14 points apiece for the Terrapins, who earned a double-bye in the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.

“We feel like we can play with anybody,” Turgeon said.

The Terrapins finished 16-1 at home, the lone defeat against Wisconsin on Feb. 13.

Maverick Morgan reached career highs with 21 points and 10 rebounds for Illinois (13-17, 5-12). The junior center made 10 of his 13 field goal tries, but his teammates were a collective 12 for 44, including 5 for 20 from 3-point range.

Malcolm Hill, who came in averaging 18.2 points per game for the Illini, finished with 10 after making just one basket before halftime.

But it wasn’t so much Illinois’ lack of production as what Maryland did on the other end. The Terrapins made 18 of 27 shots over the final 20 minutes, including 10 of 13 from beyond the arc.

“Obviously what stands out is what they shot from the field in the second half,” Illinois coach John Groce said. “Not only from 2-point range, but obviously from 3. That was as good an offensive performance in a half that we’ve seen live and in person all year.”

Maryland led 33-25 early in the second half before Trimble, Layman and Nickens drilled successive 3-pointers to boost the margin to 17 points.

After Illinois closed to 45-34, Trimble scored six points in a 14-2 spree that put the Terrapins ahead by 23 with 8:33 remaining.

“We did some decent things,” Groce said. “Unfortunately, it came down to shot-making. And they just made a heck of a lot more in the second half.”

Morgan had 13 points and nine rebounds in the first half, but Illinois went 9 for 26 from the field and trailed 31-21.

Illinois missed its first seven shots and trailed 7-0 and 15-7 before whittling the deficit to 19-16. Maryland answered with a 12-3 run that included two baskets by Carter and 3-pointers by Nickens and Sulaimon.


Illinois: The Illini will finish the regular season without consecutive wins in the Big Ten. … Illinois fell to 1-6 against Top 25 teams. … The Illini’s three-game winning streak against Maryland ended. They are 5-6 all-time against the Terps.

Maryland: Former Maryland football star Stefon Diggs (now with the Minnesota Vikings) was among the sellout crowd of 17,950. … Freshman center Diamond Stone played only 12 minutes because Turgeon often employed a small lineup.


Illinois is at Penn State on Sunday.

Maryland is at No. 12 Indiana, the Big Ten champions, on Sunday.

No. 20 Purdue hangs on to beat No. 10 Maryland

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
1 Comment

Having lost to No. 10 Maryland earlier this month, No. 20 Purdue was looking for some payback Saturday afternoon in West Lafayette. And thanks to their bench and superior effort on the glass, Matt Painter’s Boilermakers accomplished that task. Purdue hung on despite struggling mightily against Maryland’s full court pressure in the second half, winning 83-79 thanks in large part to the work they were able to do during the game’s first 35 minutes.

Purdue dominated in the rebounding department, grabbing 59.4 percent of its available missed shots and converting those 19 offensive rebounds into 24 second-chance points. And it was a group effort on the boards, with seven Boilermakers grabbing at least two offensive rebounds (Johnny Hill led the way with four).

Maryland’s been good defensively when it comes to shooting percentages, as they entered Saturday second in the Big Ten in both overall and three-point field goal percentage defense (conference games only). But where they’ve struggled is completing defensive possessions with a rebound, as they entered the game ranked ninth in the Big Ten in defensive rebounding percentage (70.6). Maryland was even worse than that against Purdue, and that resulted in a deficit that proved to be too much to recover from.

As balanced as Purdue was on the boards, they were just as good in the scoring department. Five players, led by A.J. Hammons’ 19 points, finished in double figures with Dakota Mathias adding 17 points off the bench. Purdue’s reserves outscored Maryland’s 30-10, with 18 of those points coming in the first half. The Boilermakers got out of the gates quickly thanks to their starters, but it was the bench that helped them maintain a working margin for most of the day.

Purdue has some work to do when it comes to dealing with pressure, as was the case Saturday. Maryland used Jake Layman at the head of their press as they looked to change momentum, and Purdue’s guards reacted as if they hadn’t seen a press at all this season. That, even with the improved play of P.J. Thompson, was the question many asked regarding Purdue’s chances in March.

Will they have enough on the perimeter to supplement the efforts of Hammons, Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas in the post? Purdue’s 15 turnovers were converted into 22 points by the Terrapins, who nearly stole the game as a result. The Boilermakers have turned the ball over on more than 17 percent of their possessions in Big Ten play, and it’s something they’ll have to address heading into the NCAA tournament.

But the Boilermakers also got a lot going for themselves, including their size, depth and the ability to earn extra possessions through offensive rebounds. Purdue took advantage of those attributes against Maryland, picking up a quality win as a result.