Let me be honest, I am a Towson University alumnus and I loved every minute of every year I spent there. I chose Towson over Maryland because of the better looking girls and a much better party scene, but that being said I have to admit I am a die hard Maryland Terps basketball fan. To me, the Terps are basically the 3rd pro team in the state and I invest just as much energy and rooting interest in Terps hoops as I do for the Orioles and Ravens.
The Terps kick off their 2012-2013 campaign Friday night in Brooklyn against the defending national champion Kentucky Wildcats. Once again I will be fully invested from the opening tip off of the first game to the final whistle of the last game of the season. I have a feeling this Terps season will provide me with a lot more enjoyment than most of the previous few seasons have.
The news came across Wednesday afternoon that Xavier transfer Dez Wells would be eligible to play for the Terps immediately. Just that quickly, my expectations for the team went from optimistic that they would be a tourney team to expecting a trip to at least the second round of the Big Dance (a place they had not been since losing on buzzer beater to Michigan St. a couple years ago).
Maryland basketball has experienced more highs and lows than virtually any other program in the country. From tremendous success in the 1970s to the emergence and subsequently tragic death of Len Bias to major sanctions that almost ended the program to the Gary Williams era which culminated in a Final Four and national championship in 2002. Since 2002, with the exception of a Greivis Vasquez’s amazing senior season, missing the NCAA tourney has been more of the norm for the Terps than making the Sweet 16 has been. This year I believe the talent is there to have this team playing deep into March.
The Terps roster is deep and talented and if this team puts it all together they could be one of the best in the country by the end of the season. Nick Faust emerged into a good all-around player by the end of the season last year and he showed he can score in many different ways. Pe’Shon Howard will be back and should be able to provide some stability at the point, while the aforementioned Dez Wells brings athleticism and scoring that should land him first team ACC honors. Shaq Cleare and Seth Allen highlight a Top 25 recruiting class and should be major factors by season’s end. Then there is Alex Len. No I am not talking the band that gave us the tremendous song “Steal my Sunshine,” but I am talking about the 7-foot plus center who people are touting could be a lottery pick in the NBA when he comes out. Len has talent but looked overwhelmed when facing the big men in the ACC in his freshman season, but another year of experience and about 10 pounds of muscle should make Len a major factor in the paint for the Terps.
This year’s team might not make a run to the Final Four but they will bring the program back to relevancy and will certainly be a hell of a lot more entertaining than last year’s team.
It starts Friday night in Brooklyn and I will be there.
M-A-R-Y-L-A-N-D, MARYLAND WILL WIN! GO MARYLAND!!
LET’S GO TERPS!!
Follow Marco on twitter @mromanell and southbmore.com @southbmore1