Maryland Terps

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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-St. Francis Preview: 5 things you need to know

Maryland comes off an emotional loss to North Carolina to face St. Francis (PA) on Friday night at XFINITY Center in College Park.

Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Avoiding another trap game

This has seemed to be the rhythm of Maryland’s season. They opened the year against a tough mid-major Mount St. Mary’s squad, hoping not to overlook them with Georgetown on the horizon. They had to face Rider before a trip to Cancun. Same thing. They had to play Cleveland State before a showdown in Chapel Hill.

Now they face St. Francis on Friday night before going to New York City next week to face Connecticut. The good news for Maryland is that they have gotten through each of these trap games so far this season. We’ll see again on Friday.

2) Back to the mid-major issues?

Maryland was in its element against North Carolina. The Tar Heels were a big team who matched up straight up with two bigs, a wing, and two guards. Their play reflected it.

Now Maryland goes back to facing a mid-major that is built like teams that have given them trouble in the past. The Red Flash will show you a smaller lineup, which means Maryland bigs will have to chase around smaller players and that has given them trouble in the past.

The key is cutting off driving lanes and rotating crisply when the ball is moved on the perimeter to get a hand in shooters’ faces. One positive? St. Francis is shooting just 31.9 percent from three-point range. That’s 223rd in the nation.

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3) Team building paying off?

Maryland had travel problems on the way back from Chapel Hill, ultimately being forced to take a bus home after Tuesday’s loss. That’s a long ride for a team coming off an emotional loss. They watched film and bonded, head coach Mark Turgeon said.

Can they bottle up that energy, especially from the second half against North Carolina, and carry it over?

4) Expect more second-half Melo

Melo Trimble was out of sorts to start the game, partly because referees were letting the two teams play (and he predicates his game on being able to get to the line) but also because he looked a bit rattled by North Carolina’s pressure early.

That second half was a different story. He was pulling up from all over the floor and going shot for shot with North Carolina’s Marcus Paige. That’s the Melo we know and the one I’d expect to see going forward.

5) Building guard depth

Turgeon said after Tuesday’s loss that he needs to continue to build guard depth in the backcourt. That starts with Jaylen Brantley most prominently, but also includes finding ways to use Varun Ram in defensive situations to shield Trimble from foul trouble.

St. Francis is the type of team where we could see Brantley get extended minutes. The junior college transfer said on Thursday that the next step is feeling that he is getting full confidence from Turgeon to be out on the floor. Will Friday be a big step?

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Huerter, the newest Hawk, introduced in Atlanta

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USA TODAY Sports

Huerter, the newest Hawk, introduced in Atlanta

It was just months ago that Maryland sophomore Kevin Huerter was a sure lock to return for the 2018-2019 season in College Park. 

At some point during the offseason, the 19-year-old changed his mind and decided to test his luck and enter the 2018 NBA Draft. 

After a solid performance at the Combine, Huerter began to soar up draft projection boards. 

Fast forward to the night of the Draft on June 21 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

The Clifton Park, N.Y. native declined an invite to instead be with his family, friends and former teammates at a local country club. 

After watching 18 players get their names called by Commisioner Adam Silver, this happened: 

This viral video had the 518 (Albany, N.Y. area code) basketball community buzzing about the kid who brought Shenendehowa High School its first state championship since 1987. 

Huerter enjoyed outreach from many different names throughout the sports community: 

On Monday, Huerter was officially introduced as the newest Atlanta Hawk. His father, Tom Huerter, documented part of the special day on Twitter: 

In other news, if you don't see Kevin Huerter in Summer League, don't worry. Earlier this month, Huerter learned he needed to repair torn ligaments in his right shooting hand in order to be fully ready for the start of camp. 

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk expressed his confidence in a full recovery for Huerter during the introductory press conference Monday. 

Clearly the organization is in the middle of a massive rebuild, and it's hoping that newcomers Kevin Huerter, Trae Young and Omari Spellman will be at the center of it. 

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

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USA Today Sports

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.