Tuesday, October 20, 2020

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Maryland receiving all-too-early hype as top 5 team in 2015-16

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Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke Jones is the Ravens and Orioles beat reporter for WNST BaltimorePositive.com and is a PFWA member. His mind is consumed with useless sports knowledge, pro wrestler promos, and movie quotes, but he struggles to remember where he put his phone. Luke's favorite sports memories include being one of the thousands of kids who waited to get Cal Ripken's autograph after Orioles games in the summer of 1995, attending the Super Bowl XXXV victory parade with his father in the pouring rain, and watching the Terps advance to the Final Four at the Carrier Dome in 2002. Follow him on Twitter @BaltimoreLuke or email him at Luke@wnst.net.

Even as the final tones of “One Shining Moment” were ringing in your head early Tuesday morning, the college basketball world was wasting no time looking ahead to next year.

And if the “all-too-early” looks at the 2015-16 season are any indication, the Maryland Terrapins could be entering territory they haven’t seen in more than a decade. With the confirmation that point guard Melo Trimble will return for his sophomore year and the arrival of five-star center Diamond Stone, the Terps are on track to be a consensus top 5 preseason pick in the minds of several experts.

The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy envisions Maryland as the No. 3 team in the nation, citing less dependence on perimeter shots with Stone and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter manning the frontcourt next season.

CBS Sports projects the Terps at No. 4 behind two old ACC foes — No. 1 Virginia and No. 2 North Carolina — in the “ridiculously early” preseason top 25. Gary Parrish sees a “Final Four-caliber roster” for head coach Mark Turgeon.

Not to be outdone, ESPN’s Eamonn Brennan likes Maryland as his No. 5 squad and the preseason Big Ten favorite “by a wide margin” because of the core four of Trimble, senior Jake Layman, sophomore Jared Nickens, and Stone.

Do these absurdly-premature preseason rankings mean anything? No, but it’s another reminder of how far Turgeon’s program has come over the last calendar year.

And it allows you to daydream about the possibility of the Terps headlining next year’s “One Shining Moment” package after having to watch Mike Krzyzewski and Duke do it again on Monday night.

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