Maryland men’s basketball hosts open scrimmage

(Photo Courtesy of Maryland Athletics.)

Maryland men’s basketball scrimmaged Sunday in front of fans, showing off some familiar faces and a stable of exciting newcomers.

The Terps welcome six new transfers this season, including three graduate transfers. Having so many new faces creates some challenges, but head coach Mark Turgeon was confident in his new players.  

“We’re a little behind, but we’re talented enough to overcome it.” Turgeon said. “But you know, they’re older, they might be new, but a lot of them are older. So that helps, they played college basketball before and that’s a huge advantage.”

One area where transfers will certainly help is on defense, where Turgeon told fans he thinks this team has a chance to be special. One player in particular, Old Dominion graduate transfer Xavier Green, will look to be a leader on that side of the floor. 

Green, who admitted that defense was not a focus for him in high school, credited Old Dominion with shaping him into an elite defender. 

“That kind of grew on me and I just became a great defender,” Green said, “with my athleticism and my length, and I knew it would be a key role for me here. So that’s kind of like what I’m going to bring to the team.” 

The scrimmage session on Sunday started promptly at noon, and featured roughly 20 minutes of drills, followed by a scrimmage with referees. The event was open to the public. 

Turgeon split the team into one red and one black shirted squad for the game, which consisted of a 20 minute first half, and a second 8 minute period. The red team took home the victory by a score of 54-53, following a last second basket by Eric Ayala. 

No official statistics were kept, but unofficial tallies had Ayala scoring a game-high 20 points. He started slow from the field, but competed well defensively, and had a strong second half. 

Also impressing for the red team was Donta Scott, who scored the first 11 points for his team. 

For the black team, graduate transfer Fatts Russell, and Georgetown transfer Qudus Wahab stood out. Russell had no issues getting into the lane all game, and showed a great ability to find his teammates. 

Wahab and Russell showed instant chemistry. On one play, Russell got the ball around his own foul line and lobbed a nearly full-court pass to a streaking Wahab, who got the ball, collected himself, and finished with a nice jump-hook. 

For a man his size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) Wahab has impressive hands and touch around the rim. He has an old-school feel to his game, and looked comfortable on the low block. The battle between him and Freshmen center Julian Reese was competitive and fun to watch, particularly on rebounds. Both players should play considerable roles early in the season. 

Maryland plays an exhibition game against Fayetteville State on Friday, November 5, then begins the season at home in Xfinity Center against Quinnipiac on Tuesday, November 9.