Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Three graduate transfers the Terps could target for '14

Trying to predict who -- or if -- Maryland's coaching staff will pursue with its two open scholarships heading into next season is a guessing game.

But head coach Mark Turgeon is coming into the season with two primary ballhandlers: a combo guard in Seth Allen and a heralded incoming freshman in Melo Trimble. With Allen more suited to play shooting guard, it would seem Turgeon may look to the graduate transfer ranks for a one-year plug-and-play option, as he did two seasons ago with Albany transfer Logan Aronhalt.

The list of college basketball transfers is nowhere near complete. Last year's list topped 450 players. But three players jump off the page as intriguing candidates who could help the Terps right away.

IAN CHILES, IUPUI -- The 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard was prolific this year, pouring in 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for the Jaguars.

There's no arguing that Chiles can score. But the Terps are looking for someone who can distribute the ball, and Chiles is primarily a shooter -- something Maryland has plenty of on the roster.

BRYCE DEJEAN-JONES, UNLV -- Dejean-Jones is a high-major talent without question. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is looking to transfer for the third time in five years after averaging career-bests in points (13.6), assists (3.0) and field-goal percentage (42.7%) last season.

And unlike Chiles, Dejean-Jones is a scorer and a facilitator. There's only one catch: Maryland may be too late to the party. Already, Arizona State, Iowa State and Kentucky have inquired.

MATT CARLINO, BYU -- The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Arizona native has spent a lot of time on the West Coast. But if he's willing to entertain moving east for a season, he'd be a great fit with Maryland. Carlino finished his three years at BYU with 1,200 points, averaging a career-best 13.7 points per game this past season.

He led the West Coast Conference in steals per game, was fourth in the conference in assists per game, and was a WCC honorable mention as a senior. Carlino finished his career at BYU seventh in school history in assists, sixth in steals and sixth in three-pointers. His 2.16 assist-to-turnover ratio would have ranked seventh-best in the ACC this past season.

Though there hasn't been any indication that the staff is pursuing Carlino -- or Chiles or Dejean-Jones, for that matter -- it would be wise for the Terps to take a look at these three options as a one-year stopgap in 2014-15.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Terps show interest in '14 big man Michal Cekovsky

It has been nearly eight months since the Terps added their last commitment to the four-member class of 2014. But it turns out, Mark Turgeon and his staff may not be done just yet.

Meet Michal Cekovsky, a skilled 7-foot-tall, 220-pound Slovakian native who plays for Spain's Canarias Basketball Academy.

Cekovsky opened eyes last summer playing in the European Championships U20 Division, where he averaged 12.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

ESPN's evaluation notes that Cekovsky "knows how to post and play with his back to the basket," adding that he has soft touch and can stretch defenses due to his athleticism and movement.

The obvious comparison? "A poor man's Dirk Nowitzki," as his Canarias coach Rob Orellana put it.

It's rare to see a player of Cekovsky's size pop up this late in the recruiting cycle. But following on the heels of Ukrainian teenager Alex Len -- who Turgeon recruited and developed into a top-five draft pick two years later -- the Terps have an obvious and compelling sales pitch for future European big men.

Len, of course, was suspended for the first dozen or so games of his freshman season for eligibility questions stemming from playing a bit of professional ball in Europe prior to coming to the U.S. It's likely Cekovsky would be in the same situation.

But that's not turning any college teams away. At one point, Cekovsky held offers from Louisville, Arizona, Maryland, Oregon, Florida, Connecticut, Florida State, Minnesota and others. His teamate, Matz Stockman, will suit up for Louisville next season.

As it stands, Maryland doesn't have room to bring Cekovsky on board -- provided everyone returns from last year's roster. That's highly unlikely, though, and it's clear Turgeon realizes the importance of bolstering a lackluster frontcourt that provided too little production for the Terps this past season.

Cekovsky is rated the 143rd-best player in the class of 2014 by 247sports, and is rated the 14th-best center in the class by ESPN. Check out his highlight tape below...