Inconsistency was an issue for Maryland men’s basketball last season.
Fielding one of the youngest rosters in the country, the Terps surprised many, coming so close to a second Sweet 16 appearance in four years. Even with the success, there were holes in the team that needed to be fixed.
Consistency, especially in college basketball, is the key to success and now with returning players having at least a year under their belts, Maryland might have found its key.
“I think that could be the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team because I think we can just be a little more consistent as individuals,” head coach Mark Turgeon said on Glenn Clark Radio Oct 30. “I thought we played hard every game. I was really proud of last year’s team, but individually, our sophomores, juniors and seniors can be a little bit more consistent.”
That’s important, especially because of Maryland’s 2019-20 roster returns four of five starters, including preseason All-Big Ten selections Anthony Cowan Jr. and Jalen Smith. The Terps also return four other sophomores — Aaron Wiggins, Eric Ayala, Ricky Lindo Jr. and Serrel Smith Jr. — and junior Darryl Morsell.
With a wide variety of scoring options on offense, Turgeon is hoping that consistency will come with experience since the regular season begins Nov. 5.
“The good thing is our young guys have become sophomores and hopefully they’ll become more consistent because of it,” Turgeon said. “I do think we have a number of players at the guard position and wings that could give us double figures, up to five, maybe six … but I would love that consistency.”
Maryland is not only returning most of its impact players from last season. It’s also adding a five-man freshman class, creating a roster that has the potential of being the deepest in Turgeon’s tenure with the Terps.
That potential has created excitement, high expectations and a preseason No. 7 ranking for Maryland, its highest ranking since the 2015-16 season. However, the season hasn’t started quite yet.
“I think the talent is there. It’s just whether guys are gonna be ready to give us that depth,” Turgeon said. “I don’t know if they’ll be ready early, but I do think we have a few guys if they continue to work, be coachable, put the team first, can help us build the depth that we need, that everyone’s talking about.”
Another big difference was the offseason, one that was very productive despite how last season ended. The second-round loss to LSU without a doubt was disappointing, but it’s put fuel into the fire going into this season.
“It was an amazing NCAA Tournament experience because the building was just electric. Our guys got a taste of it and they really liked it,” Turgeon said. “… We had a great spring, summer and fall. Now, at the start of practice, guys are really fueled by what happened last year and they want more. They got a taste of it and they want more.”
Excitement is brewing in College Park, Md., and just like the fan base, the team wants to be just as successful during the season.
“We want to be great. We don’t care what the number is right now in front of us. We want to be one of the best teams in the country this year,” Turgeon said. “We’re not there right now, but our guys want that to happen. … We want a special year and this team’s hungry and wants it to happen.”
To hear more from Turgeon, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox