COLLEGE PARK, Md. — They are the new and improved Terps.
"We’re bigger, stronger, faster than we’ve been, especially over last year’s team, and we have great depth," said Mark Turgeon.
University of Maryland head men’s basketball coach is starting his eleventh season in College Park. His team practiced at Xfinity Center on Tuesday. Some familiar faces are back for him like senior guard Eric Ayala and junior forward Donta Scott. But, this is a Terps team full of transfers. They have six transfers in total. The men expected to make the biggest impact are graduate point guard Fatts Russell from Rhode Island and 6-foot-11 junior forward from Georgetown, Qudus Wahab.
"They have blended in quickly," said Turgeon. "Those two are special."
Turgeon spoke one-on-one with WMAR-2 Sports Reporter Shawn Stepner.
How much does Wahab help this team in the Big Ten where good big men are prevalent?
"The league has been extraordinary at center the last couple years. Q is a great player. He can score around the block, left hand or right hand. [He's a] good defender, older," said Turgeon.
"I feel like we have the pieces," said Wahab. "Right now we just got to focus. Just have to go out there and perform. We have the talent. We have to go out there and perform."
Behind Wahab is Baltimore’s own Julian Reese. The 6-9 freshman arrives in College Park from St. Frances Academy.
What can Terps fans expect from Reese this year?
"They can expect a scrappy guy, you know I’m from Baltimore," he answered. "A scrappy guy, defender, a rebounder, shooter, whatever, literally everything."
"He is better than I thought he was going to be. I knew he was a good player and I watched him in high school and really liked him," said Turgeon regarding Reese. "[He has] Baltimore toughness, he’s got great hands, got a good feel. He can really go get a rebound that no one on our team can go get."
All put together these Terps are a legit top-25 team looking to take that next step come March.
"Our potential is crazy, just how good we can be," said Ayala. "I feel like last year people counted us out a lot and we still made it to the round of 32 (in the NCAA Tournament). Just the fact that we could do that and with the team this year, we got so much potential, man. It’s crazy. I’m just excited to go out there and compete."
The season tips off on November 9, at home, against Quinnipiac.