The 100th season of Maryland men’s basketball is underway.
“I like my team. Maybe the youngest team I’ve ever had but we’re talented,” said head coach Mark Turgeon.
The Terps are picked to finish seventh in the Big Ten in the preseason media poll.
Forward Ivan Bender is the only senior on the team who gets regular minutes.
Maryland is led this year, once again, by sophomore big man Bruno Fernando and Junior Guard Anthony Cowan Jr., the only Terp to land on the Preseason All-Big Ten Team.
“I think we’re going to play real fast,” said Cowan Jr. “I think you could see today in practice that we have a lot of good shooters around. I think when I’ve had a lot of good shooters around me a better player.”
“I think I’ve gotten a lot better. I think I’ve gotten smarter. I got a lot of things within my game better,” said Fernando.
Among the new faces is freshman forward Jalen Smith, who goes 6-foot-10, 215 lbs. The Baltimore native has put on about 20 lbs of muscle since leaving Mount St. Joseph High School. With the Terps he is reunited with his former Gaels teammate Darryl Morsell.
“It’s a great feeling. We got a lot of chemistry coming from high school,” said Smith. “We always joked about playing with each other in college and never really thought it would come true. So, it’s just a great feeling.”
"I'm just kind of like his big brother," said Morsell. "Everywhere he's following me around. I'm showing him around campus and stuff like that. It's just fun having him around. I love that kid."
The obvious goal this season is to get back to the NCAA Tournament. Maryland failed to make the big dance last spring for the first time in four years after posting a record of 19-13.
“We were disappointed in last season. It didn’t go the way we wanted,” said Turgeon. “At this time last year I didn’t feel as comfortable with that team as I do with this team.”
“We didn’t make the tournament last year,” added Cowan Jr. “So, some stuff has to change around here and I think things are definitely starting to change, in terms of just culture and everyone just being bought in.”
The Terps tip-off for the first time with an exhibition game against Division II Lynn University, at Xfinity Center, on October 30th. The regular season begins on November 6 when the Maryland hosts Delaware.