Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon does not spend much time on Twitter, and typically posts fairly benign tweets congratulating his players -- as he did when Melo Trimble was named all-Big Ten Monday -- or consoling them -- as he did when Michal Cekovsky suffered a season-ending injury.
On Tuesday, Turgeon couldn’t hide his disappointment that none of his freshmen were named to the Big Ten’s all-freshman team.
It’s not totally surprising that forward Justin Jackson, guard Anthony Cowan and wing Kevin Huerter weren't named among the top five freshmen in a league filled with talented first-year players, led by freshman of the year Miles Bridges of Michigan State.
The Terps' three freshmen were equally responsible for the team's success, and singling out one would be difficult.
In truth, none of the Maryland freshmen might have as strong a case as another Spartan, freshman center Nick Ward, who finished the regular season averaging 13.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game in a little over 19 minutes a game while shooting 58.7 percent from the field.
What might have hurt Turgeon’s freshmen is that they are all complementary players who are often overshadowed by Trimble. Their ability to fit their games around the junior point guard, and his willingness to share the ball with them, was what made the Terps one of the surprise teams in the Big Ten, if not the country.
On a case-by-case basis, Jackson might have had the best argument. Not only was his 10.7 points a game second behind Trimble (16.9), but his 6.2 rebounds a game led the team and his 43.9 percent 3-point shooting was fourth overall in the Big Ten.
Cowan and Huerter also had strong seasons. Cowan was third on the team in scoring (10.4) and tied Trimble for the team-high in assists (3.7). Huerter had a couple of big scoring games, but he was the quintessential glue guy with 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists.
Cowan and Huerter were also among the team’s best defenders.
There are no major qualms with any of those chosen, except for the fact that none of them came from teams that were in contention for the Big Ten regular season championship, as the Maryland trio.
There’s certainly no argument with Bridges being chosen freshman of the year, just as there was no debate about Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell being picked ahead of Trimble two years ago despite the Terps finishing second in the league.
Cowan averaged more points and rebounds than Bohannon (9.8 points, 2.3 rebounds) and less than an assist fewer per game (4.5).
Bohannon certainly had the stats to merit consideration, but benefited as much by playing with first-team all-Big Ten player Peter Jok as the Maryland freshmen did playing with Trimble.
Carr had a tremendous freshman year and made the freshman team, but teammate Lamar Stevens, who had comparable numbers, did not. Penn State also did not have a very successful season.
Minnesota’s Amir Coffey certainly played a part in his team’s revival this season, but even his stats (12.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists) are just marginalably better than Jackson or Cowan.
If anything, Turgeon can use this snub as motivation for this week’s Big Ten tournament, this year’s NCAA tournament (which everyone on this year's all-freshman team, aside from Coffey, likely won't be playing in) and beyond.
Here’s something else to consider: Without Maryland’s freshman starters, would the Terps have won 24 games, including a league-best 7-2 road record?
It’s very doubtful.
It was enough to drive Turgeon to Twitter.