Terps have potential dominant frontcourt

Diamond Stone's decision to pick Maryland means the Terps could have one of the best frontcourts in the country next season.

It hasn’t necessarily been a smooth ride for Mark Turgeon at Maryland to this point, but his team had an excellent season in their first year in the Big Ten, and now the pieces seem in place for an even better 2015-16 season, and a potentially dominant frontcourt is the reason why.

On Friday evening when word came down that five-star Milwaukee (Wisc.) Dominican center Diamond Stone was selecting the Terrapins, Turgeon and his staff had to have an enormous smile on their face. While they were already looking like one of the best teams in the Big Ten next season, adding a potential lottery pick and difference maker makes them the clear favorite heading into the off season.

What makes next year’s Maryland team so special is that their frontcourt should be as good as any in the country. This of course assumes that junior Jake Layman, who is seen as a potential first round draft pick returns to school.

Assuming Layman does come back, he is likely to get the start at small forward. On the season Layman played mostly power forward, but in the mold of Sam Dekker he has the length and athleticism to play either forward spot. His 12.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in 2014-15 will make him one of the top returners in the Big Ten, and also he bring some leadership to the table.

Layman’s size and skill on the wing is impressive, but what Maryland can do down low now is as good as any team in the country. Getting eligible next year after sitting out due to transfer rules is Robert Carter. As a sophomore at Georgia Tech Carter averages 11.4 points and 8.4 per game. He has a nice scoring touch and possesses tremendous hands.

Next to Carter will be Stone. Stone, who is at least in the conversation as the top player in the 2015 class, has tremendous hands, runs the floor well, has decent touch, and can be an excellent shot blocker as well. While defensively Stone and Carter aren’t an ideal fit together, they both should be able to be on the court at the same time.

Laymen, Carter, and Stone is impressive enough as it is, but now Maryland has an embarrassment of riches. Sophomore Michal Cekovsky and junior Damonte Dodd both proved to be serviceable bigs this year, and now in backup roles should really excel and be able to give 100 percent every second they are on the court.

When looking at this frontcourt, it is big, deep, and talented. In this day and age of college basketball that is rare, and now Maryland should be the favorite in the Big Ten, as long as point guard Melo Trimble returns as well.

It hasn’t always been smooth for Turgeon in College Park, but now it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Terrapins get some Final Four buzz heading into next season.

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