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Wisconsin men’s basketball season preview: Maryland

The Terps have retooled their team through the transfer portal and should challenge for a top-four spot in the Big Ten.

Penn State v Maryland
Donta Scott is one of the top returning Terps.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Team: Maryland Terrapins
Location: College Park, Md.
Conference: Big Ten
Head coach: Mark Turgeon (10 seasons, 221-113)
2020-2021 record: 17-14 overall, 9-11 B1G

Top returning players: 6-foot-5, SG, Eric Ayala (15.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg); 6-foot-7, F, Donta Scott (11.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.0 apg, 43.8 3P%); 6-foot-6, CG, Hakim Hart (7.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.9 apg)

Top newcomers: 5-foot-11, PG, Fatts Russell (14.7 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.5 apg), transfer from Rhode Island; 6-foot-11, C/F, Qudus Wahab (12.7 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 1.6 bpg), transfer from Georgetown; 6-foot-9, 4-star PF, Julian Reese (Baltimore, Md.), No. 59 player in the country per 247 Composite

Maryland v Alabama
Hakim Hart won’t have to worry about playing PG as much this year with the arrival of Fatts Russell and will be able to hunt his own shot.
Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

2020-2021 review: The Terps had a pretty crazy season when you go back and look at the results. At separate times, they were 6-6 overall (1-5 Big Ten), 10-10 overal (4-9 Big Ten) and then finished the regular season at 15-12 overall (9-11 Big Ten). They won one game in the Big Ten Tournament and the NCAA Tournament and, all in all, ended up feeling pretty good about how everything shook out.

Darryl Morsell won Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and they had multiple players win All-B1G honorable mention. In what was supposed to be a bit of a rebuilding year, the Terps did alright for themselves.

Nebraska v Maryland
Eric Ayala led the team in scoring last season.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

However, after the season Morsell transferred to Marquette and second leading scorer Aaron Wiggins is on a two-way contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Those are two pretty big holes to fill, but as you’ll shortly see...Mark Turgeon did a great job of replenishing his roster.

2021-2022 preview: The Big Ten has rejected modernity and embraced tradition in terms of having massive big men on most teams who can’t really shoot outside of the paint. The Terps had no one like that last year however.

Iowa v Maryland
James Graham III got some valuable experience by enrolling a semester early.
Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Enter 6-foot-11 and 237 pound Georgetown transfer Qudus Wahab. He’ll provide an instant upgrade to Maryland’s frontcourt as well as be able to do battle with the Hunter Dickinsons and Trevion Williams’ and E.J. Liddells of the world.

The Terps also needed a new point guard as they were using Hakim Hart and Eric Ayala were both playing at the one some last season and, well, that isn’t their natural position. Enter 5-foot-11 scoring dynamo Fatts Russell from Rhode Island. He solves Maryland’s floor general problem immediately and will also provide someone who isn’t afraid to have the ball in his hands when the clock is winding down.

Maryland also had an above average recruiting class that you could even add James Graham III (Milwaukee) to, even though he enrolled for the second semester last year. The Terps should be deeper than they’ve been in years and should easily make the NCAA Tournament again while also competing for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament.

Games vs. Wisconsin: Sunday, Jan. 9, College Park, Md., XFINITY Center, BTN, time TBA