No one expected Maryland to be sitting where they currently are. One of the two newest members to the Big 10, the Terps just suffered their second 17-15 season in three years under head coach Mark Turgeron.
Maryland hasn’t played in the NCAA Tournament in four years. Six players decided to transfer this offseason. The media took notice to this, voting Maryland to finish 10th in the Big 10. That shouldn’t be a surprise, the six transfers made up 51 percent of the scoring from the 2013-14 season.
Five games in, the Terrapins were sitting 5-0 with an impressive neutral-site win over No. 13 Iowa State. But, news came out that senior star Dez Wells had fractured his wrist and would miss some time. Everyone assumed this would start the downfall of Maryland’s season, but the Terps only lost one game during his missed time. That game was to undefeated Virginia.
So, how did this happen? Is Mark Turgeron that good of a coach? Maybe, but the likely reasons lie within the young talent on the Maryland roster. It starts with point guard Melo Trimble, who was the prized recruit in Maryland’s No. 14 recruiting effort. Trimble, the first McDonald’s All-American to commit to Maryland since Mike Jones in 2003, has become one of the best point guards in the country.
Trimble leads the team with 16.1 points per game while also pitching in three assists and four rebounds while shooting over 88 percent from the free throw line. While no one wants to cheer for injuries, the time Wells missed has helped Trimble’s development. He started the year as a spot-up shooter and was thrusted into the ball-handler roll when Wells wasn’t on the court. Now, Trimble has the confidence to be the dynamic scorer while keeping the ball in his hands.
While Trimble has lived up to the hype of his recruiting expectations, the Terps now have someone massively exceeding what he was supposed to do. Sophomore center Damonte Dodd was a little known recruit from the Maryland eastern shore who had a rough freshman campaign. He shot just 36 percent from the floor, 12.5 percent from the free throw line and averaged 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes.
This year? He’s upped his field goal percentage to 59 percent and is pitching in over four points and four rebounds per game while also swatting two shots. More importantly he’s looking the part of a power-conference center and providing what Maryland needs him to do.
Maryland has already completed a season sweep of Michigan State in its first season in the Big 10 and currently sits with a 17-2 record. Games at Indiana, Ohio State and Iowa with a home game against Wisconsin still loom, but right now the Terrapins don’t look to be going anywhere.