USA Today

Men's Hoops Roster Breakdown: Frontcourt

Here’s a sneak-peak at the Terps’ 2015-16 roster a week ahead of Media Day and Maryland Madness. The Terps are ranked atop a handful of preseason polls, and there hasn’t been this much excitement at College Park for hoops in decades.

By Dan Painter

PF Robert Carter Jr.: As with Sulaimon, how long will it take Carter to get back in the groove after sitting out last year as a transfer?  The rugged power forward easily has the most polished offensive game in the paint of any Terp, and it will only be enhanced by his improved conditioning.  Carter has solid post moves, and can shoot it out to the arc, although we suspect Turgeon will want him doing most of his damage 15' and in.  We see Carter as a sure-fire starter, and by January, should be a dominant go-to type performer.

PF Ivan Bender: Coming off a serious ACL injury, we don't see a ton of minutes for Bender, barring an injury to another front line player.  He'll have to shake a lot of rust, and like Cekovsky, adapt to the American game.  From what little we've seen of Bender, he is more of a face-up player, who can step out and hit mid-range shots, and who passes the ball very well.  With Maryland's depth, Turgeon can afford to bring Ivan along slowly.  This will be more of a learning year for Bender we would think, but he will provide solid depth in the future.

C Damonte Dodd: We've heard encouraging reports about Dodd's progress this summer, and the good news is that the 6-11 junior is surrounded by talent...to the point where he only has to concentrate on defending and rebounding. We see Dodd getting 15-18 minutes a game in the pivot and despite lots of foul trouble last year, there's really no reason for him to pace himself at all. Crash the boards, intimidate defensively, throw in an occasional jump hook, and finish around the bucket when the opportunity presents itself. Defensive presence is his major role, and now as a junior, it's time for him to become more dominant in that area. C Michal Cekovsky: ‘Ceko’ has changed his body. He's added lots of bulk under the tutelage of Kyle Tarp, and with that should come increased confidence and physicality. Last year was a learning experience, and the big guy had to adjust to the physical American style of play. He has plenty of athleticism, and good skills. I can foresee a big jump in his effectiveness this year, and he should split those "5-man" minutes with Dodd in the paint.

C Michal Cekovsky: ‘Ceko’ has changed his body. He's added lots of bulk under the tutelage of Kyle Tarp, and with that should come increased confidence and physicality.  Last year was a learning experience, and the big guy had to adjust to the physical American style of play. He has plenty of athleticism, and good skills. I can foresee a big jump in his effectiveness this year, and he should split those "5-man" minutes with Dodd in the paint.

C Diamond Stone: The prized big man may or may not start, but he'll certainly get a lot of minutes, because his game warrants it.  A true back-to-the-basket big man, Diamond is polished, can score with either hand, and will hit the boards hard.  And he is very nimble in that big frame and with soft hands. We'll be interested to see the effect of Kyle Tarp here. Stone is a big young man, but we see Tarp getting him in tip-top shape, much as he has done with Carter, and that will only increase Stone's effectiveness.  The Wisconsin native will also have the luxury of practicing against Cekovsky and Dodd, which should help all three in their development.


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