Maryland Terps

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


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.


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. 

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

Maryland basketball had two players drafted in one night for the second time in three years Thursday night when the Denver Nuggets picked Justin Jackson with the No. 43 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jackson was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that brought the No. 41 overall pick, Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt, to Denver.

After his freshman season, in which he averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, Jackson declared for the draft without an agent, but elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season. But he'd play just 11 games before being shutdown for the year with a torn labrum. His draft stock was hurt, but obviously not totally erased.

He had surgery in January and ended up being the first Terp to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft back in March. Though Jackson's recovery kept him out of the NBA Combine, teams were still intrigued by what they'd seen from him in the past to be willing to take a flyer.

A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Jackson has the skill to play anywhere between the two or the four in the NBA, and the length to guard all kinds of players.

With Kevin Huerter headed to the last-place Atlanta Hawks, Maryland basketball's two draftees are slated to join last season's two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.

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NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter was drafted No. 19 overall Thursday night by the Atlanta Hawks.

He's the Terps' highest draft pick since the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Len fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Huerter played two seasons with Maryland, averaging 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as a Terp. He's best known for his knockdown shooting ability, as he knocked down 46.6 percent of his shots from the field, including 39.4 percent of his three-point shots. During his sophomore season, he was better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from deep.

Back in April, when Huerter first declared for the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, it was widely assumed he was just testing the waters to get feedback from NBA scouts and would return to school for his junior season. But an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine saw his hardly existent draft stock skyrocket. Almost overnight, Huerter's name was popping up in the first round of mock drafts, and now what seemed like a no-brainer decision to return to school wasn't so clear.

On May 30, he announced that he would leave his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and hire an agent. He recently had surgery on a torn ligament in his hand, but is expected to miss only two months and make a full recovery by the time the 2018 NBA season starts.

With the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter should pick up right where he left off shooting in college, but can also provide high basketball IQ and sneaky athleticism. He and Trae Young join Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.