2012-13 Kicks Off With IUP Exhibition

11/2/2012 5:07:05 PM To paraphrase the great Charles Barkley, I don't know anything about Indiana University of Pennsylvania but they in trouble.  At least I hope they are.

Maryland begins tonight what I think will be one of the most intriguing seasons in recent history.  The Terps finished last season with a 17-15 record and embodied the term mediocrity.  At no point last year, did the Terps have a signature win.  They beat all the teams they "should" have and none of the ones that they "shouldn't".  It was a frustrating.

Frustrating in large part because their best player, Terrell Stoglin, was also their most selfish.  Frustrating because of injuries (Pe'shon), suspensions (Len), and an overall lack of depth (five walk ons!!!). 

There were rays of hope.  Turgeon demonstrated the strategy and tactics that had served him so well at his previous stops.  The man oozes basketball out of every pore.  We loved his fiery nature (reminded us of Gary) and his complete and utter frankness when answering reporters questions or talking about the team.

Some other causes for optimism last season were the flashes of brilliance we saw from our two freshman: Alex Len and Nick Faust.  We know that those are guys we can build around.

Once the season ended, we saw Turgeon complete the best incoming recruiting class that Maryland has had in a decade.  Shaq Cleare, Jake Layman, Seth Allen, and Charles Mitchell will make the Terps demonstrably better immediately.  Add in a post-graduate transfer with some eligibility left--and a great jumpshot (Aronhalt); and Terps will look completely different this year.

Many questions remain.  With four returning starters: Len, Faust, Howard, and Padgett; how will Turgeon integrate the new guys?  Who is our crunch time scorer?  Faust is the early candidate; but unless his jumper has drastically improved, we are going to have nightmares of him jacking up bricks at the end of shot clocks.  I'm cautiously optimistic but also very nervous.

Tonight I think Turgeon will go with Howard and Faust in the backcourt with Layman, Padgett and Len up front.  Is this how the starting five will look at season's end?  Doubtful. 

As per usual, we should hope for Maryland to play well in the following areas: limit turnovers, shoot FTs over 70%, and a positive rebounding margin.  That's a recipe to win at any level.

As for the rest of the year, I'm most excited to chart the progress of Layman, Allen, and Cleare as we wind our way through.  Those three could form the core of what I hope is a perennial contender over the next four years.  One thing is certain.  Turgeon will bring out the best in all of them.

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