Terps Basketball: Scouting The Transfer Market
With the NCAA expected to rule next week whether or not winter athletes will receive another year of college eligibility after their seasons got cut short, the prospects of Terps’ senior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. getting to come back for an encore season seem slim.
And while Maryland’s sophomore All-American forward Jalen “Stix” Smith has yet to make his jump to the NBA official, all signs point to the Baltimore native turning pro and not returning to College Park next season.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
As the Terps’ two leading scorers last season, Cowan and Smith’s departures leave two giant voids for head coach Mark Turgeon to fill ahead of next season and Maryland in need of some immediate help. Add in the midseason dismissal of Makhi and Makhel Mitchell as well as the recent news that Joshua Tomaic is expected to transfer, and Turgeon has plenty of open scholarships to work with.
But with Maryland’s 2020 recruiting class sitting at two members (Marcus Dockery and Aquan Smart) and current limitations on recruiting visits because of the Coronavirus outbreak, Turgeon will have to get creative with how he’s able to connect with high school seniors and college athletes who are in the transfer portal — the latter could be the better route to take to find immediate contributors.
Maryland is fully expected to dip into the transfer portal to pull some talent that can either help right away or at least by the 2021-22 season. Several of the Terps’ early transfer targets such as Harvard’s Seth Towns and Columbia’s Patrick Tape have already picked their next school, committing to Ohio State and Duke, respectively.
But here are a few other transfer portal names to keep an eye on as Maryland scours the country for roster reinforcements.
The Yale transfer is the premier big man on the market for Maryland. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 10.9 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game for the Bulldogs last season and would be immediately eligible to play.
Besides Maryland, Bruner has recently said he has heard from about 50 college programs, but the Terps along with Alabama, Arkansas, Baylor, and Georgetown are the schools he’s hearing from the most. He’d be able to step right into the role left by “Stix” Smith.
A Harvard transfer, Aiken is probably the most coveted transfer guard remaining on the market. Despite being just 6-foot and 175 pounds, Aiken can score in a variety of ways — as the Terps saw firsthand when he dropped 30 on them back in November. He averaged 16.7 points in seven games last season and 22.2 points in 18 games the year prior. The question mark with Aiken has always been his health, as he hasn’t played a full college season since he was a freshman for the Crimson.
Aiken was recruited by the Terps out of St. Patrick High School (Elizabeth, N.J.) and is a New Jersey native who would be relatively close to home if he decides to continue his collegiate career in College Park. He’d be the perfect replacement for Cowan, but the Terps will have to compete with the likes of Gonzaga, Iowa State, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan, and Seton Hall for his services.
Jones, a transfer from Radford, is one of the newer names to have drawn interest from Maryland. He was the Big South Player of the Year this year after averaging 20.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game. He also shot 41 percent from beyond the arc — an area Maryland could definitely use help in. The Terps have also seen the 6-foot-1 guard up close and personal, as he went for 20 points, five rebounds, and eight assists at Xfinity Center two seasons ago.
Jones and Aiken are the top guards on the market and Maryland will make a strong push for both. Jones has also heard from programs such as Cincinnati, DePaul, Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Ohio State, Ole Miss, UConn, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia so far.
Another guard on Maryland’s radar is Illinois transfer Alan Griffin, who heard from the Terps shortly after announcing his decision to enter the portal on Tuesday. Griffin is just a sophomore and averaged 8.9 points per game while shooting 41.6 percent from beyond the arc for the Fighting Illini last season. He also proved to be a strong rebounder with 4.8 boards per game.
He’s a New York native and son of former NBA player Adrian Griffin. He might have to sit out next season, but that — along with being closer to home — could work in Maryland’s favor given the Terps’ current depth on the wing.
As soon as the UNLV guard transfer entered the portal, he told CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein that he was immediately hearing from Seton Hall, Maryland, SMU, South Florida, BYU, George Washington, Cincinnati, Xavier, and Missouri State. Illinois has also recently shown interest given the departure of Griffin. He is immediately eligible and could be where the Terps turn to for a guard if they strike out on both Aiken and Jones.
An Australia native, Antonio is a junior who began his college career at Mount St. Mary’s. He averaged 6.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 22 minutes per game for UNLV last season. He’s a bigger guard at 6-foot-5.
Turning to his old stomping grounds of Wichita State, Turgeon has reached out to the Shockers guard as a transfer option. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 11.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists for Wichita State last season and has narrowed down his transfer list to Washington, Oregon, Gonzaga, Maryland and San Diego State. With the Terps being the only East Coast team on the list, this could be a tough pull for Turgeon and his staff.
Stevenson is a grad-transfer that will likely have to sit out next season, so he’s not as high on Maryland’s list of targets as some others.
Hardy is another UNLV guard that Maryland has reached out to. The 6-foot-2 shooting guard says he has heard from Michigan State, Oregon, Arizona, Arizona State, Memphis, Arkansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Seton Hall, Missouri, Cincinnati, Butler, Marquette, Washington State, Wake Forest, and TCU.
Hardy averaged 14.5 points per game for the Runnin’ Rebels as a junior last season and would be immediately eligible to play wherever he transfers to.
Ferron Flavors Jr.
Another shooting guard that would be immediately eligible, Flavors is someone the Terps have reached out to. The 6-foot-3 former California Baptist guard says he has heard from Xavier, Oklahoma State, Washington State, USC, BYU, Pacific, Utah State, Arkansas, Maryland, Georgia Tech, Detroit, Portland State, Loyola Chicago, Wichita State, Wake Forest, and Missouri.
Maryland has reached out to the Gardner-Webb grad transfer, who averaged 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this season. The Miami native is a pure shooter that hit 41.1 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. He his also a great defender who led the Big South with 1.7 steals per game.
With Maryland, Arizona, Georgia, and USC among the schools he’s hearing from the most at the moment, Johnson is eligible to play next season.
Other transfers Maryland has reached out to but are considered longshots:
Pittsburgh guard Tre McGowens
Charleston Southern guard Dontrell Shuler
Virginia Tech forward Landers Nolley
Columbia guard Mike Smith
Wichita State guard Jamarius Burton
Pat has been covering sports in the DMV area since 2012. He is a former Washington Redskins beat reporter for PressBoxDC.com and has been covering University of Maryland football and basketball recruiting and daily beats for Rivals.com's Terrapin Sports Report since 2013. Pat graduated from College Park with his master's degree in journalism and has received bylines in publications such as USA TODAY Sports, The Philadelphia Inquirer, SB Nation, and Yahoo! Sports. A Philadelphia native, Pat enjoys fishing, golfing, and playing fantasy sports when he's not covering or watching a game.