I was upset when Maryland decided to move to the Big Ten Conference, even though it was for good reason, to help save the other athletic programs. For as long as I can remember, the Terps were apart of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and in Basketball, they were one of the top programs. During the Gary Williams reign, Terps basketball rivaled Duke and Carolina, and I will miss those matchups between the schools down south. Now a new chapter will be written in Terps Basketball, and so far, it has started on a good foot.
Terps are off to their best start since 2001, currently 14-2 and ranked 11th in the country. Maryland has missed the tournament the last 3 years, but coach Mark Turgeon, who is in his 4th season as head coach, has finally found a group of kids that he can rock with. After last season, a total of 5 players transferred from the program, Seth Allen, Nick Faust, Charles Mitchell, Shaq Claire, and Roddy Peters. Some questioned how the Terps would bounce back from losing 5 players, me being one of them, but so far they've been answering questions pretty well.
Terps suffered a lost in their last game, on the road, falling to Illinois 64-57. Sophomore, Malcom Hill, for the Illini scored 18 points in the second half, helping them outscore the Terps 38-29 in the second half. This puts the Terps at 2-1 in the conference. With the Big Schools starting off slow, the Big Ten is wide open this year. Of course Wisconsin is the favorite but I'm curious to see how their game with UMD will go but we will have to wait until February 24th.
Michigan State was the first BIG Ten victim of the Terps, followed by Minnesota. It took 2 overtimes and a Dez Wells' game saving three to defeat the Spartans, on the road, They also out-rebounded the Spartans 52-39, which doesn't happen to too many Tom Izzo squads. Minnesota was the Terps' first conference home game, which the Terps walked with easily, 70-58.
This team doesn't stand out when you look at them on paper, but the on-court chemistry they have is nice to watch. Freshman, Melo Trimble, leads the team in scoring and assist, averaging 16 & 3. I covered Melo when he was a junior at Bishop O'Connell, and I can say he has one of the purest jumpers I ever seen. In high school, the kid was a scoring machine, shooting it from anywhere, so I'm not surprise to see him lead the team in scoring. I am impressed with how he has embraced the floor general role. Without him, I'm not sure if the Terps would be 14-2 right now, and his composure for a Freshman is great.
Dez Wells and Jake Layman are the senior leaders on the squad and I commend them for not jetsetting like the other 5 players. Both have elevated their game this season, espcially Layman, who is turning into more of a scorer than just a spot up shooter.
Other freshmen like Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley, along with sophomore Demonte Dodd, gives me hope that the Terps will continue to be on the National scene for the next 3 years. Right now though, this is a good team that has potential to do some damage in not only the Big Ten, but the Big Dance. A total of 9 seniors are on this team, transfer Richaud Pack being one of them, a BIG Ten championship is not out of the question.