Maryland Terps

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Turgeon unknowingly foreshadowed late-game situation vs. Michigan


Turgeon unknowingly foreshadowed late-game situation vs. Michigan

Maryland came into Tuesday night’s game against Michigan 15-1 over the past two seasons in games decided by six points or less, the best winning percentage in those situations in Division I.

The Terrapins left Ann Arbor 15-2 after a 70-67 loss to the Wolverines.

Maybe it was a jinx, because I happened to ask head coach Mark Turgeon about that 15-1 mark on Monday before the team team departed for their second road game in four days. But, in hindsight, his response was a bit of foreshadowing and typical of a coach more concerned with what will happen in the future than what has happened in the past during a long season.

“A month from now,” he said, “ask me the same question.”

We had the same conversation last season when one KenPom metric ranked Maryland among the “luckiest” in the nation -- an attempt to quantify the less-controllable factors that happen down the stretch of close games.

But, at the time, there was a counter to that. This team seemed almost built for late-game situations. Turgeon elaborated on Monday.


“I think Melo [Trimble] has a lot to do with it. Free-throw shooting has a lot to do with it,” he said. “I don’t know yet. This year we haven’t had enough.

“We’ve got work to do. I work on half-court, late-game situations every day because I know we’re going to start having them as we move forward. So hopefully we’ll get better.”

Coincidentally enough, Maryland had one of the exact situations down the stretch, down three after a missed free throw. Turgeon did not call a timeout, just as he did not against Wisconsin.

Rasheed Sulaimon got a mismatch on a switch, but his step-back three to tie it from the wing rimmed off.

Turgeon walked through it postgame.

“We had a play called and we got a good look. We really did. You need a three. It’s hard to make a three,” he said. “Got the five-man switched onto him. It hit back rim and looked good from where I was.

“We lost the game way before that. We had some possessions that we came up empty.”

And that is the way life on the road in college basketball goes sometimes.

The star, Trimble, had an off night. The opponent was hot from three-point range. They were an inherent matchup problem. But Maryland will be just fine.

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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.