It has been one of those years that Maryland Basketball fans are not accustomed to, which is a losing season. The 2021 campaign has been one of ups and downs, with a lot of questions that need to be answered.
First, 2020 was the year of the pandemic and it forever changed college basketball, as because of the pandemic, most conference tournaments were canceled including the Big 10 tournament, as well as March Madness being canceled. Being a lifelong Terp’s fan, the cancelation hit me pretty hard, as well as Terp Nation, as Maryland was in a great position to win its second national championship, the Terp’s were without a doubt in the conversation.
So, with the season being canceled, most Maryland fans knew what would happen next, as Maryland great Antony Cowan was a senior and graduating and Maryland great Jalen “Styx” Smith was going pro and entering the draft. Cowan and Styx were the top players on the team and looking ahead to the 2021 season, it was no secret that Maryland would have their work cut out for them.
It was no big secret that the 2021 season was going to be a major challenge for the Terps, as they not only lost on the greatest point guards in Maryland history in Cowan, but they also lost the big man in Styx, who was skilled both offensively and defensively and was a great rebounder. During the off-season, Maryland tried to address the issue in signing transfers 6-8 Forward Jarius Hamilton from Boston College and 6’9 Forward Galen Smith from Alabama.
Maryland did miss out on several high profile transfers, but the additions of Hamilton and Smith gave Maryland much-needed size. The Terp’s had a great 2021 recruiting season as Maryland grabbed a couple of high profile local players in 6-6 Ike Cornish and 6-10 Julian Reece, as well getting a high profile player from the Midwest in 6-8 James Graham. This will without question help and they are the future of Maryland Basketball.
Going into the 2021 season, there were several things that as Maryland fans, we all knew were going to have to happen in order to have a successful season. 6-5 Senior Daryll Morsell would have to be the emotional leader of the team and to be the defensive stopper. 6-5 Junior Guard Eric Ayala would have to replace Cowan at the point guard and to be the floor leader.
6-6 Junior Guard Aaron Wiggins would have to step up and become the big-time scorer that Maryland hoped he would become. And finally, 6-6 Sophomore Donta Scott would be able to avoid the sophomore slump and to elevate his game in his second year. How would Hamilton and Smith factor into things, could Chol Mariol and Hakim Hicks step up their game and what impact could freshmen Aquian Smart and Markus Dockery make in their freshmen seasons.
So, with that said, let’s move forward to the right here and the right now.