Maryland Terps

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For Terps, Nick Faust a key player

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For Terps, Nick Faust a key player

With the game still very much in question, Maryland’s Nick Faust threw down a ferocious tomahawk dunk to take a 51-47 lead over George Mason.

Faust’s dunk came with about eight minutes left in the second half at a perilous time for the Terps. George Mason was outhustling the Terps, fighting for loose balls and long rebounds, and Maryland needed a spark.

The dunk got the VerizonCenter crowd on their feet and the Terps never again trailed.

“I thought the crowd was loud,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “When Nick dunked it and we were playing soft, we needed them, they were great.”

Maryland’s victory over George Mason (5-3) will not go down in history -- it was a sloppy game with poor shooting on both sides – but Faust’s contributions were key for the win.

Dez Wells is working his way towards stardom for Maryland (6-1). He dropped 23 points in the Terps win over Northwestern, and followed that up with 25 against Mason.

While Wells may make the highlight reel more often, Faust’s steady play and defensive presence has become crucial for Maryland during the team’s current six-game winning streak.

“Nick’s not caught up in scoring right now,” Turgeon said after the win over Mason. “He’s caught up in winning.”

Winning will be much easier for Maryland when Faust and Wells complement one another. In the Mason game, Faust finished with 14 points, five rebounds and four assists. Faust also missed a few layups and turned the ball over twice.

Wells flashed his dominant scoring ability against Mason, but he also led the Terps in the turnover category with five. At times, Wells was the best player on the court for Maryland, while at other times he was an asset for Mason.

Considering both Wells and Faust have a slasher’s game and a similar frame, much of Maryland’s tournament chances depend on how the two guards can play with one another. Center Alex Len will be Maryland’s highest NBA draft pick in some years, but Faust and Wells may determine the type of season Maryland has.

After the loss to Kentucky in the season opener, Faust explained that Turgeon sat him down for a conversation about what his role would be on this Maryland team.

“He basically just told me, ‘keep making the right play.’ Sometimes I don’t have to force it,” Faust said of his talk with the coach. “So lately I’ve just been doing whatever I can, helping my team win.”

Asked about what playing with Wells is like, Faust smiled.

 “It’s easy. The last two games Dez has been hitting nonstop,” Faust said. “I’ve just been milking him and making my plays when I need to.”

For a young Maryland team fighting through some growing pains, Faust and Wells will be very important pieces if the team is to make the NCAA Tournament.

“Our guys respect what each guy can do on our team,” Turgeon said. “Therefore, they like each other. I think we’re going to be a good team because of it.”

The dynamic between Wells and Faust looks to be built on a solid foundation.

“Having [Wells] there is definitely helping us as a team and getting me easy points,” Faust said. “We play off one another. I’m just trying to make the right play.”

How far the Terps can go remains to be see, but through seven games they’ve shown enough for Turgeon to be encouraged.

“We’re not there yet,” the coach said, “but I think we have a chance to be a good team down the road.”

 

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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.

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