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How Layman continues to show his critical importance for Maryland

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How Layman continues to show his critical importance for Maryland

It’s almost impossible to put up 100 points on a team and then go to their place and end up running them out of the gym again. It just doesn’t happen, especially when the opposition is coached by a guy like Thad Matta.

So Maryland faced a locked-in, motivated Ohio State team on Sunday in Columbus, but they pushed back en route to a 66-61 victory over the Buckeyes.

One of the main reasons? Another strong game from senior forward Jake Layman, who went for a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds while also being an agitator on the defensive end of the floor.

Layman is becoming an important barometer for Maryland, especially defensively.

Think of it like this. Within Maryland’s starting five, they have two dynamic duos -- one in the backcourt with Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon and one in the frontcourt with Robert Carter, Jr. and Diamond Stone.

But someone needs to bring those pieces together -- a glue guy. That’s Jake Layman and the ability to do that comes from his versatility on both ends of the floor.

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Offensively, he can take you down into the post to score or step out and hit a jumper. Defensively, he can hold his own on the block or do what he did against Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff and get stuck with the opposition’s best player and help to shut him down.

That is proving to be especially helpful as we fully understand the implications of Dion Wiley’s season-ending injury. Playing small ball is less feasible simply because of the minutes distribution, but Layman’s versatility helps to make at least some of it possible.

The progression from early in his career at Maryland to now is staggering.

He now posts a 93.5 defensive rating per 100 possessions, well down from his 100.1 mark that he posted as a sophomore. At the same time, for as much criticism as he has taken, his offensive rating has risen to 116 this year -- the highest of his career.

You can thank his 59.8 percent two-point percentage for that as he has diversified his game after being forced into a role as a power forward last season.

Layman is the type of player who helps to decide whether Maryland is Sweet 16-good or Final Four-good. He has matured to the point where he knows he can affect the game in ways other than just scoring the ball.

If he making an impact all over the floor, that is another step toward what looks like a very, very high March ceiling for Maryland.

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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