Tonight marks the start of the Maryland men’s basketball team’s 105th season, with the Terps hosting Mount St Mary’s at Xfinity Center at 7 p.m.
Last season proved to be a winning year for Maryland. The team finished 11-9 in the Big Ten conference and 22-13 overall, but its most impressive feat was finishing 16-1 at home.
Maryland carries a mix of new and old faces heading into the 2023-24 season with Julian Reese, Donta Scott and Jahmir Young returning as the only three starters from last year. Hakim Hart transferred to Villanova (who Maryland plays in its third game), while Don Carey aged out.
Looking to step up in their places are freshmen DeShawn Harris-Smith, Jamie Kaiser Jr. and Jahnathan Lamothe, alongside transfers Jordan Geronimo from Indiana, Chance Stephens from Loyola Marymount, and Mady Traore from New Mexico State.
“This will be the first time we’ve had close to a full roster,” Willard said during Monday’s pre-practice press conference. “So I think the biggest thing is just kind of seeing how these guys react to different lineups on the floor.”
Here’s a deeper look at this year’s team:
Julian Reese now enters his third year as a Maryland Terrapin. Reese proved to be a valuable starting forward for Maryland last year, leading the team with 7.2 rebounds per game and finishing behind Jahmir Young for most points per game with 11.4.
Reese’s most evident struggle last season was dealing with early foul trouble, but it’s an issue that Kevin Willard says he should have dialed down by now.
“I think he’s gotten a little bit older, a little bit more mature,” Willard said. “He understands his value on the court when he’s off it.”
Fifth-year senior Donta Scott followed closely behind Reese last year in terms of production, averaging 11.3 points and six rebounds per game.
Although inconsistent with his point finishes throughout the season last year, Scott was a crucial player in high-scoring performances against teams like Saint Louis (25 points), Miami (24 points) and Indiana (19 points). He’ll look to keep contributing as a member of the backcourt.
Last but certainly not least among the returning starters is Jahmir Young, entering his second and final year at Maryland after leading the team last year by averaging 15.8 points, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
His production landed him a spot on the All-Big Ten second team.
“Just being a veteran, an older guy, one year under my belt definitely helps getting used to the physicality and stuff like that,” Young said offcourt during Monday’s practice. “Being able to slow down a little bit has been better for me this year.”
Re-joining Reese, Scott and Young this season are senior Jahari Long and sophomores Noah Batchelor and Caelum Swanton-Rodger.
This season’s incoming freshmen combined to give Maryland its first top-15 recruiting class in five years.
Arguably Maryland’s most anticipated first-year player is DeShawn Harris-Smith, a four-star recruit from St. Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, Virginia. Ranked No. 26 in the 2023 class, Harris-Smith is a talented shooting guard who averaged 17.8 points in high school and finished as the Gatorade Player of the Year in Virginia.
Jamie Kaiser Jr. is the other four-star recruit who joined the team ranked No. 71 in his class. A small forward, Kaiser played at IMG Academy in Florida where he averaged 11.8 points per game. While carrying a low three-point percentage of 31%, Kaiser is a talented off-ball player who stays active on the court.
Third is Jahnathan Lamothe, a guard from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore who ranked No. 169 in his recruiting class. Averaging 15.8 points per game in high school, Lamothe is a talented jump-shooter who serves as an extra threat on the perimeter of the court. While his defense is the shakier part of his game, Lamothe will likely sub in for Jahmir Young when needed.
“Off the court, they are close— I mean they do everything together,” Willard said. “This team is a very close-knit team […] I think that’s really helped us with that aspect of the game.”
Other freshmen include center Braden Pierce and guard Lukas Sotell.
Jordan Geronimo is a junior forward who comes from Indiana. At 6 ‘6 and 225 pounds, Geronimo is a sizable player who brings more to the team as a defensive asset. His block rate of 7.5% was in the top 50 in the country last season, despite only averaging 12.4 minutes of playing time per game.
Sophomore guard Chance Stephens comes from Loyola Marymount University where he averaged six points per game while averaging just over 17 minutes of playing time. Stephens suffered a ruptured patellar tendon during summer training that required surgery and the injury could potentially keep him from seeing the court this season. Only time will tell.
Mady Traore is a 6 ’11, 200 lb forward from New Mexico State. A sophomore, Traore had a very limited role for the Aggies, finishing the season with the second-fewest minutes per game (7.3) and the fewest points per game (1.4). Like Reese, Traore plays more as a forward than a true center despite his size and has potential to develop like Reese did as a serious threat inside the paint.
11/7 – vs. Mount St Mary’s, 7:00 p.m. EST
11/10 – vs. Davidson, 7:00 p.m. EST
11/17 – at No. 22 Villanova, 8:30 p.m. EST
11/21 – vs. UMBC, 7:00 p.m. EST
11/25 – vs. South Alabama, 7:00 p.m. EST
11/28 – vs. Rider, 7:00 p.m. EST
12/1 – at Indiana, 7:00 p.m. EST
12/6 – vs. Penn State, 7:00 p.m. EST
12/12 – vs. Alcorn State, 7:00 p.m. EST
12/19 – vs. Nicholls State, 8:30 p.m. EST
12/22 – at UCLA, 9:00 p.m. EST
12/28 – vs. Coppin State, 7:00 p.m. EST
January 2 – March 10 – Big Ten conference play
March 10 – March 17 – Big Ten Tournament