Little did he know back then that his senior year would be spent at Maryland, where he used a relatively new NCAA rule that allow graduates to transfer without having to sit out the requisite year before playing again.
“I finished the season hurt, and I really couldn’t play in the last four or five games,” Aronhalt recalled Tuesday. “I had to think to myself if I’m not going be healthy and play, I wanted to be somewhere where I could study something that’s going to mean something to me.”
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Aronhalt, who grew up in Zanesville, Ohio, initially received an offer from Purdue, but the school did not have a graduate program in kinesiology. That was one of the reasons Aronhalt chose Maryland, which badly needed a 3-point shooter more than a future strength and conditioning coach.
Though he still plagued by bad knees and a back that requires stretching at halftime nearly every game, Aronhalt has come as advertised – a terrific long-range shooter. He has made 51 of 107 (47.7 percent) of his 3-point shots and would be the ACC’s leading 3-pointer if he had enough attempts to qualify.
Aronhalt had a rough shooting patch midway through the season when he hit two of 12 on 3-pointers during a four-game stretch of ACC games, of which the Terps lost three. More recently, Aronhalt has been more on form, including a 7-of-12 performance that led to a career-high 26 points in a loss at Boston College.
“I think it was just a bad streak, I think all players go through a stretch certainly points of the season when they’re not playing so well and confidence goes down a little bit,” Aronhalt said. “I think I just needed one game to get my confidence back up and I’ve had a couple of games like that.”
Aronhalt is likely to make his second start at Maryland when the Terps play North Carolina on Wednesday at Comcast Center. Mark Turgeon said Tuesday that he plans to start his two seniors, Aronhalt and forward James Padgett, against the Tar Heels.
“I don’t really know what his tradition is ... if he does, I’ll be ready to go,” Aronhalt said. “Starting position isn’t everything to me. I’d rather get the win.”
Turgeon said Maryland has been a good fit for Aronhalt.“He’s had a great year. He’s gotten a lot out of this year as far as academically and what it’s going to do for his future,” Turgeon said. “Plus, privately, knowing he can play at the ACC level, which is important to some people.
Given the lack of outside shooting, Aronhalt has also been a weapon for the Terps.
“What an asset he’s been for us,” Turgeon said. “He’s the one guy that’s consistently knocked down shots. It’s hard to get him shots. Sometimes he’s the only one on the floor who can shoot it so it’s easy to guard one guy. We think it’s going in every time he shoots it. His defense has gotten so much better. He’s just been a good kid.”
Aronhalt has shot the ball better this year at Comcast Center (34 of 66 on 3-pointers,) than he did last year as a junior at Albany, when he shot 2 of 9 on 3’s and 4 of 17 overall in an 83-72 loss that marked Alex Len’s first game as a Terp after a 10-game NCAA suspension to start the season.
And what does Aronhalt remember from that game?
“Alex dunked on me,” he said.