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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 Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

Going into the 2018 NBA Combine, Kevin Huerter was not receiving much hype, was off many NBA Draft boards, and many assumed he was heading back to college anyways.

Playing in the first scrimmage of the combine process, all those storylines quickly changed.

Playing against players like Jacob Evans, Donte DiVincenzo, Udoka Azubuike, and Jevon Carter, Huerter emerged as one of the top stars. The two-year Maryland spot-up shooter saw 25 minutes of action and only trailed Penn State prospect Tony Carr in points on his squad.

With 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-8 three-pointers), Huerter showed development since he was last seen with the Terps. His passing was the biggest asset for his team and was not afraid to take a shot against these top defenders.  The 6-7 forward also added three rebounds, an assist, and had only one turnover.

Although his shooting in-game was not fantastic, in the individual drills he showed off.  Of the seven shooting marks, he ranked in the top five in five of them.  He also had the best shuttle run (2.96 seconds).

No question, Huerter’s draft stock significantly rose. Although still early, he is looking to be the highest rated Terp prospect this year over Justin Jackson and Bruno Fernando.

Consensus among those at the NBA Combine seems to believe that Huerter will return for his junior season at Maryland.

After today though, it may be hard to say no.

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Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

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USA TODAY Sports

Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

D.J. Moore has an adorable new puppy!

Days after the Carolina Panthers selected Moore as the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the former Maryland wide receiver returned to his roots and paid a visit to College Park.

But the first-rounder wasn’t alone when he went to Maryland. According to the Terps’ football Twitter account, he brought his new puppy with him. Seriously, look at this puppy!

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The Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2017, Moore was obviously a crucial component of the Terps’ offense. He finished the season with 80 catches — a Maryland single-season record, which was also a Big Ten high.

He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season with Maryland.

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