When Mark Turgeon took over the helm in College Park, the University of Maryland men’s basketball expected to elevate their program after the retirement of legendary head coach Gary Williams. Throughout Williams’ tenure, the coach was criticized at length about his lack of recruiting and refusal to become involved with the politics associated with recruiting.
Turgeon was supposed to change the direction of the program and begin recruiting one of high school basketball’s premier areas. Three years in and rather than adding pieces to the championship puzzle, Turgeon has lost three of his best players. Freshman Roddy Peters, Sophomore Shaquille Cleare (a top recruit), and Junior Nick Faust (another top recruit) have all been granted their release to transfer from the program.
Peters was the 4th ranked point guard in 247 Sports’ Class of 2014 rankings, but the freshman guard seemed to fall out of favor with Turgeon after the return of sophomore Seth Allen. Also, Maryland brings in McDonald’s All American Melo Trimble, who is sure to demand heavy minutes in his freshman campaign. The loss of Peters alleviates a bit of the logjam in the guard laden roster.
Cleare was another top recruit for the Terps and was ranked in the top 50 by ESPN.com. In his sophomore season, Cleare was expected to be a heavy contributor after replacing the departure of Alex Len to the NBA. Instead, Cleare averaged just three points per game and was moved into a reserve role after early season struggles. In Maryland’s 2014 recruiting class, the Terps will bring in 7-foot-one shot blocker Trayvon Reed as well as Slovakian Michal Cekovsky, who committed to the University yesterday.
Finally, the most prevalent of the transfers will be the departure of Nick Faust. Faust was the last of the remaining Gary Williams recruit and was expected to be the Terrapins best outside shooter. Despite his heavy usage, Faust struggled to find his stroke from behind the arc and averaged just around nine points per game. The guard heavy roster continued to pose problems for Faust as Maryland expects Jake Layman and Dez Wells both plan to return in 2014-15.
Although the Terps lose three key players, the roster will be better off in the long run allowing for the large crop of freshman to come in and contribute immediately. Maryland must elevate their level of play in 2014-15 after a disappoint season and a move to the BIG 10.