Under Armour unveils new Terps uniforms
Just when you thought it was football season, Maryland basketball comes back into the picture.
As coach Randy Edsall's team enjoys a week of recuperation and preparation for Florida State, coach Mark Turgeon begins practice with his team on Friday.
The Terrapins officially open practice today in College Park, close to two months after a successful 3-0 exhibition trip to the Bahamas in early August.
During that trip we got an early glimpse at what this 2013-14 team might look like, positives and negatives alike.
As a reminder, Maryland will hold its "Midnight Madness" festivities at Cole Field House on Oct. 18. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Let's take a quick look at three points of emphasis as the Terrapins retake the court to officially begin the year.
1) Replacing Alex Len
Alex Len was still developing while he was at Maryland, and will continue to do so at the pro level, but filling the void left by a 7-1 center isn't as easy as coach Mark Turgeon may have made it seem so far.
The duty most likely falls to Shaquille Cleare, who has been battling a back injury throughout the summer, but expect Charles Mitchell to see an increase in minutes as well.
Turgeon has been position about both players, saying each has dropped upwards of 20 pounds, and that he expects them to be more agile and effective in the post.
2) Consistency at the point guard position
While Len was going through the draft process, Turgeon continued to harp on the fact that inconsistency at the point guard spot played a role in Len's inability to reach his full potential at Maryland.
Without someone feeding him the ball, his offensive game looked limited. The same will go for Cleare, Mitchell, or anyone else in the post in 2013-14.
That is, unless sophomore Seth Allen and freshman Roddy Peters improve.
Allen was impressive in the Bahamas, once tallying a double-double and scoring 26 points. Peters' trip to the Caribbean wasn't necessarily as successful, but he has been one of the players the coaching staff has raved most about in the offseason.
3) Three-point shooting
The Terrapins ranked near the bottom of the ACC in three-point shooting last season, a problem which then affected other aspects of the offense.
Without a shooter to stretch the defense, opponents could focus on Alex Len in the post or stop dribble penetration from guard Dez Wells and others.
Stretch forward Jake Layman showed flashes of brilliance in the Bahamas from the perimeter, which could mean he is the go-to guy for improvement in that area. Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz also shot close to or above 40 percent from three-point range in his two seasons with the Wolverines.
Turgeon tweeted an update after his team's first practice:
Enjoyed being back on the practice floor today. Guys worked hard & had great energy.— Mark Turgeon (@CoachTurgeon) September 27, 2013