Picturing 2018-19 Terps Basketball Without Huerter & Fernando
Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando have until May 30th to withdrawal from the NBA Draft and return to school. 10 more days for fans of the Terrapins to spend hoping the duo is back for their Junior and Sophomore years respectfully.
You think they’d be best served by returning to College Park, and further developing at the college level?
Yeah, we agree.
That said, if Huerter and Fernando are told they will be 1st Round selections; it’s hard to fault their decision making.
What they have to determine is are they 1st Round locks, or are they 1st Round possibilities?
By all accounts, Huerter opened eyes at the Draft Combine. Fernando might not have elevated his status there, but it’s certainly believable that some team will fall in-love with his physical gifts at some individual workout.
Should they both be Terrapins next year, Coach Turgeon will have a squad capable of competing for a Big Ten title, and that should have Sweet 16 aspirations at the minimum.
Should they both stay in the Draft, where does that leave Maryland?
At the most basic level the Terps go from being a team which could possibly due damage next March, to a team which most will likely project to not dance at-all for a second straight year.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
To be clear, there would still be talent on the roster.
2018-19 MD Without Huerter & Fernando:
Guards: Cowan, Morsell, Ayala, S.Smith
Wings: Wiggins, Ramsey
Bigs: J.Smith, Tomaic, Bender, Herard
1) It’s would be a new looking roster. Of the Top 10 players (once Herard is eligible); 6 of them would be wearing a Maryland uniform for the first time. So, you get everything that comes with youth. Potential, opportunity, and inexperience. Maybe this group buys into Turgeon’s teachings? Maybe Jalen Smith and Aaron Wiggins are immediate monsters? Maybe the youth isn’t directly ready to compete at the Collegiate level, and the wheels completely come off? There is a range of possibilities here.
2) Darryl Morsell regularly came to play during this Freshman season. He attacked the basket consistently, and was willing to play defense. Those strengths will mitigated by his 3 for 25 shooting from outside, and total turnovers which outpaced his assists. With or without Huerter’s return, Morsell will probably be in the starting lineup next year. If Huerter’s gone, there is additional scoring responsibilities on Morsell’s shoulders.
3) Eric Ayala is well regarded combo guard. Serrel Smith is a 2G who has only recently joined MD. Ayala is going to get time with or without Huerter back. S. Smith’s time in the rotation goes up with Kevin in the NBA.
4) Wiggins is a Top 40 overall talent in the Class of ’18. Height, length, athleticism. Some shooting ability, willing to pass. If Huerter returns, Wiggins is part of the rotation off the bench. Without Kevin, Wiggins figures to start, and will need to produce immediately.
5) If Bruno comes back, and MD gets to team him and J. Smith in the post; that will really be something to see. The opposing teams that will be able to match-up with that size and athleticism will be minimal. With or without Bruno in a MD uniform, Jalen figures to start. Without Bruno, the Front-court looks a lot different. You go from having 10 fouls between Bruno and Jalen, to 5. You go from being in a position to basically always have one of them on the floor, to hoping Jalen doesn’t get into foul trouble. Before Herard is eligible, you’d be in a position where both Tomaic and Bender have to play vs. the alternative where you likely only have to utilize one in the rotation.
6) What’s the starting lineup? One possibility would be (let’s call this Team A) Cowan, Morsell, Wiggins, Smith, and Tomaic. Another would be (let’s call this Team B) a smaller lineup of Cowan, Morsell, Ayala, Wiggins, and Smith. Team A would have Ayala, S.Smith, Ramsey, Bender, and Herard off the bench. Team B would have S. Smith, Ramsey, Tomaic, Bender, and Herard off the bench.
Realistically we’ve seen that Turgeon is not beholden to any set lineups. He’ll mix and match, and adjust depending on opponents and what he’s seeing in practice.
That said, I like Team B above. They’d struggle to rebound likely, but they’d have good team speed and athleticism.
As we said above, without Kevin and Bruno; there would still be talent on the roster.
The biggest difference overall (besides not having the talents of that duo available) is that the overall expectations would be far lower.
If Kevin and Bruno announce in the next 10 days they are coming back to MD, the discussion between now and November is going to be, ‘How good can Maryland be?”
If Kevin and Bruno elect to start their professional careers; there is going to be no buzz about MD Basketball.
Maybe minimal expectations, and a chip on their collective shoulders would buoy Maryland into an unexpected season?
10 days or less until we can really figure out what MD will begin to look like next year.