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Maryland-Southern New Hampshire Preview: 5 things to know

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Maryland-Southern New Hampshire Preview: 5 things to know

COLLEGE PARK -- After much offseason hype, the No. 3 Maryland Terrapins will take the court Friday night for the first time in live action against another opponent when Division II Southern New Hampshire comes to XFINITY Center in College Park.

Here are 5 things you need to know to preview the matchup.

1) “Work in progress”

Maryland’s core of players had a disjointed summer, with players like Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Diamond Stone being fully available to practice together at varying times because of academic loose-end-tying or Team USA commitments.

So head coach Mark Turgeon says that, though he doesn’t want to make excuses, his team is trying to catch up fully from a chemistry standpoint and a rotation standpoint because they did not have the full summer together.

We’ll see some of that hashing out of details in Friday’s exhibition.

2) Bino Ranson’s connection

Maryland assistant coach Bino Ranson graduated from Southern New Hampshire in 1999 after a decorated playing career at the school. He graduated as the school’s seventh-leading scorer, fifth-leading assister, and third-most prolific shooter from three-point range.

He has been invaluable to Maryland during Turgeon’s tenure, especially as a recruiter. Turgeon talked for an extended time Thursday singing his praises.

MORE TERPS: OFFSEASON OF HYPE TURNS INTO SEASON OF WORK

3) Facing a smaller team

Like most Division II teams when compared to Division I teams (especially Power 5 schools), Southern New Hampshire will run small lineups. The team’s tallest player is 6-8 senior BJ Cardarelli and they list only one player as a center.

For Maryland, that means either challenging themselves by running bigger lineups and forcing players like Robert Carter to defend smaller players or go small and see what types of lineups come from that.

Southern New Hampshire spaces the floor and shoots the ball from the perimeter, so Maryland knows what is coming.

Versatility will be one of Maryland’s biggest strengths this season, with the variety of ball handlers and ability to shift forwards and centers are to play either really big or really fast.

4) Experimentation?

With that versatility comes the need to make decisions. How will the guard lineups be shuffled? Melo Trimble, Rasheed Sulaimon, and Jaylen Brantley are all capable ball handlers.

Frontcourt? Is Diamond Stone a starter right now? More on that below. Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky, Jake Layman, and Robert Carter will be moved around at the four and five spots, or the three when it comes to Layman and possibly Carter.

5) Diamond’s big jump

Turgeon said that five-star freshman Diamond Stone has taken a big step forward over the past two weeks. He came to college as a standout offensive player, but it was the defensive end of the floor where he needed the most work.

It’s still not clear if he’ll begin the season in the starting lineup or if junior Damonte Dodd will start at that position, but we could start to get an indication of what Turgeon is thinking with Friday’s exhibition.

In my opinion, bringing him off the bench -- at least early in the season -- could benefit him. His offense would solidify the second unit and he could shift to power forward if he wanted alongside a player like Michal Cekovsky.

Second-unit power forwards would help him get his feet wet defensively and he could have his way with them on the other end of the floor. 

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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.

MORE NFL NEWS:

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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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