Maryland Basketball 2022-23 Season Preview
After an up-and-mostly-down season, Maryland Basketball returns with a new head coach and new ambitions. How do the Terrapins look for 2022-23?
2021-22 Season Recap
Maryland Basketball opened last season ranked No. 21 in both the AP Poll and Jimmer Range Preseason Ranking. Admittedly, that was a bit too tall an order. After a 5-3 start to the year, head coach Mark Turgeon left the program and assistant Danny Manning was appointed the interim head coach. The Terrapins were able to close out the non-conference schedule with a three-game winning streak, but started the Big Ten slate 1-5. It looked as though they might be able to salvage their season after back-to-back wins over Illinois and Rutgers, but a five-game losing streak slammed the door on any tournament hopes. Maryland finished the regular season with a 15-16 record (7-13 Big Ten) before losing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to Michigan State. They were not selected for the NCAA Tournament or NIT.
Grad transfer Fatts Russell led the team with 15.1 points per game and received All-Big Ten Honorable Mention honors. Four-year Terp Eric Ayala added 14.7 points and 4.6 rebounds per game to conclude his collegiate career.
Head Coach: Kevin Willard (First Season)
Immediately following Seton Hall’s first-round tournament exit, the news broke that Kevin Willard would be the new head coach of Maryland Basketball. In 12 seasons at Seton Hall, Willard’s teams posted a 225-161 record, making the NCAA Tournament five times. In the 2015-16 season, the Pirates won the Big East Tournament and Willard was named the conference’s Coach of the Year. Seton Hall also captured the Big East regular season title in the 2019-20 season behind a consensus All-American campaign from Myles Powell.
Maryland fans should be optimistic about the direction of the program given the commitments Willard has already secured for the 2023 class, including Jahnathan Lamothe, Jamie Kaiser, and Deshawn Harris-Smith. He has also made a point of getting alumni involved in the program, inviting former Terps like Greivis Vasquez and Walt Williams back to campus. Willard is looking to build a strong culture and “bring the swag back to Maryland Basketball.” This season is the proof of concept.
The starting backcourt of Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell has graduated, which means the Terps are losing the two leading scorers from last season. Xavier Green and Simon Wright also depart after playing as graduate transfers.
Starting center Qudus Wahab has transferred back to Georgetown after an underwhelming season at Maryland. Sophomore forward James Graham III entered the portal within a week of Turgeon’s departure, landing at Missouri State. In March, sophomore guard Marcus Dockery announced his intentions to transfer to another D.C.-area program in Howard University.
Overall, Maryland loses four players to graduation and three to the transfer portal. The loss of three starters in Ayala, Russell, and Wahab opens up plenty of minutes for returners and newcomers to fill.
Maryland’s biggest addition for the upcoming season is Charlotte transfer Jahmir Young. In three seasons with the 49ers, Young was a three-time All-Conference USA performer and the conference’s Rookie of the Year as a freshman. Coming off a campaign where he averaged 19.6 points per game while shooting 46.8% from the field, he will be crucial to filling the scoring void left in Maryland’s backcourt. He is also the first player from DeMatha Catholic High School to commit to Maryland in almost two decades. Young’s commitment to the Terps is early evidence of Willard’s focus on keeping local recruits home.
Donald Carey comes to Maryland as a graduate transfer after previous stints with three schools. In his senior season with Georgetown, Carey averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game. The Terps will benefit from his perimeter shooting as Carey has converted over 38% of his three-point attempts in each of the last three seasons.
Grad transfer Patrick Emilien joins the Terrapins from St. Francis (NY) where he averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds last season. Prior to that, he was at Western Michigan for three years. He projects to be a depth piece for Maryland’s frontcourt and should be one of the first players to come off the bench.
Jahari Long followed Willard from Seton Hall. He projected to have a larger role in his sophomore campaign but suffered a season-ending knee injury after just five games. The junior will look to get back on track as a bench piece for the Terps.
Caelum Swanton-Rodger is a freshman big from Canada. He is more of a project and will likely have minimal impact on this year’s rotation. However, Willard and his staff are optimistic that Swanton-Rodger’s motor and raw tools will make him a factor in the frontcourt for future seasons.
Freshman small forward Noah Batchelor comes to Maryland as a three-star recruit. After receiving offers from the likes of Memphis, Clemson, and Florida, Batchelor ultimately chose to remain in his home state. He replaces Eric Ayala as Maryland’s IMG Academy representation.
Home, Away, Neutral
- Nov. 7 – Niagra
- Nov. 10 – Western Carolina
- Nov. 15 – Binghamton
- Nov. 19 – Saint Louis (2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
- Nov. 20 – Miami (FL) or Providence (2022 Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off)
- Nov. 25 – Coppin State
- Nov. 29 – Louisville (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
- Dec. 11 – Tennessee
- Dec. 14 – UCLA
- Dec. 22 – Saint Peter’s
- Dec. 29 – UMBC
Maryland Basketball has a strong non-conference schedule for the 2022-23 season. They open the year with the typical early season tune-ups against low-major competition, but after that things heat up fairly quickly. The November 19 contest against Saint Louis will be their first real test as the Terps look to stifle one of the best playmakers in the country in Yuri Collins. Maryland then has the opportunity to face one of two 2022 NCAA Tournament teams the following day in either Miami (FL) or Providence.
Former Terp standout Juan Dixon returns to College Park on November 25 as the head coach of Coppin State. Maryland Basketball then looks to avenge last season’s loss to Louisville in their ACC/Big Ten Challenge game on November 29.
Maryland closes the non-conference slate with two games against top-15 opponents in Tennessee and UCLA. They also have two matchups versus former tournament darlings Saint Peter’s and UMBC. Even with a couple formidable opponents on Maryland Basketball’s early schedule, I expect them to finish out the non-conference with an 8-3 record.
2022-23 Season Outlook
- PG: Jahmir Young
- SG: Donald Carey
- SF: Hakim Hart
- PF: Donta Scott
- C: Julian Reese
For all of UMD’s roster turnover, they will have a good amount of experience in the starting five for 2022-23. Young and Carey were both productive starters at their previous schools and should be a respectable scoring backcourt. Hakim Hart is a toolsy wing who was often underutilized in the Turgeon era, making him a prime candidate to finally break out in his senior season.
Senior forward Donta Scott is Maryland Basketball’s best returner after averaging 12.6 points and 6.2 rebounds per game as a junior. If he can take those numbers up a notch and rediscover the 43.8% three-point shooting he recorded as a sophomore, this Maryland team could be a real tough matchup. Sophomore big Julian Reese rounds out the starters. He displayed some promising flashes in his rookie year, but his presence in the post will need to be far more consistent since there aren’t many options to back him up at the five.
In the backcourt, Ian Martinez will be one of the key contributors off the bench along with Jahari Long. Martinez didn’t have the impact many expected after transferring from Utah last season, finishing with 2.8 PPG on poor efficiency.
Redshirt freshman Ike Cornish and Noah Batchelor will be the backups on the wing. Cornish was a top-100 recruit who did not play last season and Batchelor is a true freshman. Any production Maryland Basketball can get from either of them will be a welcome sight.
Behind Donta Scott and Julian Reese in the frontcourt are Patrick Emilien, Caelum Swanton-Rodger, Pavlo Dziuba, and Arnaud Revaz. Neither Dziuba nor Revaz have much experience, but Maryland’s depth down low is thin and thus they may hear their names called more.
Maryland’s starting five and coaching should be strong enough to keep them competitive in a relatively uninspiring Big Ten. Their ceiling will be a middling team in the conference that finds themselves in the bubble picture for the NCAA Tournament, but the NIT feels far more likely for Willard’s first season in charge. With plenty of new faces and a new system to learn, chemistry may be a concern for this group. Furthermore, pinpointing contributors beyond the starting five is a bit murky. Considering these potential pitfalls, the absolute floor for the Terrapins is finishing 12th of 14 in the Big Ten.
As far as the core pieces go, this Maryland team isn’t all that bad. A solid starting five leaves bench depth as the primary reason for concern. These depth issues will likely become apparent at some point in the middle of the conference slate, but shorter rotations after the regular season could make Maryland a sleeper to win a couple games in the Big Ten Tournament. Ultimately, I expect the Terrapins to finish around 8-10th place in the conference standings. Culture and coaching can bump them up a couple spots above consensus in what is considered a down year for Big Ten Basketball. At some point there may be faint whispers of an NCAA Tournament berth, but this looks to be an NIT team in Kevin Willard’s first season.
SUBSCRIBE to the Vendetta YouTube Channel!
SHOP for Vendetta Merch!
SUPPORT Vendetta on Patreon!