Maryland Terps

Quick Links

First-Half Superlatives: Handing out awards to No. 4 Maryland

usatsi_9020372_141983962_lowres.jpg

First-Half Superlatives: Handing out awards to No. 4 Maryland

The non-conference portion of the schedule is done and Maryland finished 11-1, now sitting as the No. 4 team in the nation.

How about some first-half superlatives? CSN has its list here.

MVP - Melo Trimble

Who else could it be? This team is supremely talented and the wealth is pretty evenly spread, but part of the reason it is able to be that way is because of Trimble as a rock at the point guard spot.

In his sophomore season, he has been more willing to shift into a full-time distribution role when needed while still showing his ability to take over games as a scorer when called upon. His 14.8 points per game is a team high. He leads the team with 5.8 assists (nearly double last season’s average). He even leads the team with 1.5 steals per game.

Best Supporting Actor - Rasheed Sulaimon

Where would Maryland be without Sulaimon? From a basic, X’s and O’s standpoint, were he not to have transferred from Duke to College Park the team’s backcourt depth would be so depleted after the injury to Dion Wiley that it’s almost certain they would not be the nation’s No. 4 team.

But from a leadership, fit, and production standpoint, he has been even more valuable. Sulaimon and Trimble have meshed together and filled in where the other is weak. He is one of five players on the team averaging double figures and is shooting 50 percent from both the field and from three.

MORE TERPS: NATION'S NO. 1 PLAYER SAYS MARYLAND STILL IN THE MIX

Most Improved - Jaylen Brantley

When Wiley went down with that injury, it was assumed from the outside that the guard depth Maryland had would allow them to absorb it without much issue. But, as it turns out, Brantley still had to adjust to the Power Five game and Turgeon had to build the trust to put him in.

Now, both the trust and the confidence have come together and Brantley posted 14 points against Princeton and another 8 against Marshall. In this two-game stretch, he has made nine of his 11 shots.

A healthy Wiley would have pushed Brantley almost completely out of the rotation. Now he will be asked to shoulder key minutes in conference play.

Newcomer of the First Half - Robert Carter, Jr.

Preseason hype was about how Carter could be the best player on this Maryland team. He has lived up to it, averaging 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game on a loaded team, while completely changing the dynamic of how the Maryland offense can work.

He now gives them a legitimate, take-it-yourself option in the post with an array of NBA level moves. It’s almost inevitable that we will see him take over a game at some point this season in Big Ten play.

Best Performance in a Losing Effort - Melo Trimble vs. UNC

There’s only one losing effort to speak of for Maryland so far this season, but there’s not really a question that the superlative should go to Trimble. In a back-and-forth battle on the road, Trimble overcame early jitters to finish with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He made it a double-double by adding 12 assists.

Added to that, he barely sat. He played 38 grueling minutes and even had Maryland leading in the second half.

Highest Ceiling in the Second Half -- Diamond Stone

Stone says that he has fully accepted his role off the bench and it is paying off. Since becoming the team’s sixth man, he is averaging 14.2 points per game and has been better defensively -- probably due in part because he is now able to face second-unit forwards and centers to begin the game in his new role.

That has translated to confidence that carries over into big moments against the opposition’s best players. The five-star freshman is progressing nicely and will continue to do so. 

Quick Links

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

usatsi_9194805.jpg
USA Today Sports Images

Maryland reacts to latest FBI investigation reports

The world of college basketball has been on high alert since last fall when reports first surfaced of a longterm FBI investigation into the worst-kept secret in sports: college athletes being paid to play.

News surrounding the scandal died down after the inital wave of arrests, but Yahoo! Sports released a warning of sorts recently and followed it up on Friday by naming players (both past and present) for the first time. There were dozens of programs and players implicated, including Maryland's Diamond Stone.

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon released the following statement Friday afternoon.

"Late last night we were alerted of a report associating one of our former student-athletes with an agent. We are extremely disappointed, and we will fully cooperate with any investigation. I do not have a relationship with Andy Miller or anyone from his agency, and at no time have I ever had a conversation with Andy Miller or his agency regarding any Maryland basketball player. We remain steadfast in upholding a program of integrity that reflects the values of our University community."

Stone played for the Terps during the 2015-16 season, after which he left for the NBA. That Terps team was highly-ranked entering the season but ended up losing in the Sweet 16 to top-seeded Kansas.

RELATED: DIAMOND STONE ADMITS TO 'MISTAKES' DURING FRESHMAN YEAR AT MARYLAND

Andy Miller is the agent whose financial records were used to implicate so many players in the Yahoo! Sports report. It's no surprise that Turgeon would deny having a relationship with Miller regarding any of his players, but the question remains: What does this mean for Maryland basketball?

You can be sure that Turgeon will be meeting with both past and current assistant coaches Friday to confirm they have not had any involvement with Andy Miller. He'll also certainly be meeting with higher-ups at Maryland, as they try to cover their bases. 

That said, it seems unlikely Maryland would take an action as drastic as firing Turgeon over these allegations. There has been no evidence released so far that implies Turgeon had any knowledge of Stone's actions. Barring further information coming to light, it seems as though this is a case of Stone developing a relationship with Miller's agency separately from Maryland.

Some of the more vocal members of Maryland's fan base would like to think Turgeon is on the hot seat. The truth is, given his long-term contract and the current state of Maryland's finances, it's not currently feasible to fire him and expect to afford a more accomplished coach. Though if further reports indicate Turgeon was complicit, then all bets are off.

It remains possible the NCAA will impose punishments on the schools involved with this scandal, in the form of reduced scholarships, postseason bans, or worse. But that's likely off the table until further evidence comes out regarding how much schools and coaches actually knew. It is a near-certainty that some schools were in cahoots with Miller and other agents; the problem is identifying which schools were intentionally breaking the rules, and which were simply unaware. Ultimately, however, some degree of responsibility falls on the head coach.

For now, the biggest worry on the minds of Maryland fans should be vacated wins. If Diamond Stone was ineligible, then it's possible the victories Maryland recorded during the 2015-16 season will be erased from the record books. Unfortunately, this could include their run to the Sweet 16, which was the program's first in more than a decade.

Given the expectations surrounding the team during Stone's year in College Park, his tenure could already be considered a disappointment. Losing those wins would further dampen the memories fans have from that season.

On the bright side, at least the Terps didn't have a Final Four run to lose.

Quick Links

Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

fernando_maryland.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Palmer's big 2nd half lifts Huskers past Maryland

LINCOLN, Neb. -- James Palmer Jr. scored 24 of his 26 points in the second half, Isaiah Roby had all 11 of his after half, and Nebraska held off Maryland 70-66 on Tuesday night.

Palmer and Roby combined for 35 of the Cornhuskers' 40 second-half points, and they secured their first 20-win season since 2008. They won a sixth straight conference game for the first time in 20 years.

Palmer scored 15 straight points for the Huskers (20-8, 11-4 Big Ten) over a 10-minute span that ended when Roby hit one of two free throws with 2:57 left for a 64-59 lead. Roby had a double-double, with 10 rebounds, and he also blocked three shots.

The Terps (17-11, 6-9) had a chance to take the lead with a minute to play, but Glynn Watson Jr. blocked Anthony Cowan Jr.'s 3-point try, Evan Taylor came up with the loose ball and got it to Watson.

Watson missed a 3-pointer coming out of a timeout, and Roby got the rebound and was immediately fouled. He made both free throws for a 66-63 lead. Kevin Huerter's layin cut it to one point before Watson made two free throws.

Huerter went to the line with 2.8 seconds left, and after making the first free throw he intentionally missed the second. Palmer got the rebound, was fouled and put the game away with two free throws.

Bruno Fernando led the Terps with 21 points and nine rebounds. Huerter added 12 points and Darryl Morsell had 11.

BIG PICTURE

Maryland: The Terps' fading NCAA Tournament hopes might have been dashed with their seventh straight road loss.

Nebraska: The Huskers are resting firmly on the NCAA bubble and absolutely needed this win. They got it, thanks to Palmer and Roby's efforts in the second half.

UP NEXT

Maryland hosts Rutgers on Saturday. It's the teams' only meeting this season.

Nebraska visits Illinois. The Huskers beat the Illini 64-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 15.

RELATED: DMV College Basketball Power Rankings: Missed opportunities