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Tracking the Terps
News and notes on Maryland football, basketball and other sports
Terps clinch second place in Big Ten, still have chance for first

Nearly five months after Maryland was picked to finish 10th in its inaugural season in the Big Ten Conference, even junior forward Jake Layman admitted he could not have expected things to go any better than they have for the now 10th-ranked Terps.

“How could it not surprise you when everybody leaves and you have a whole new group of guys coming in, you really have no clue how a team’s going to be coming into a season," Layman said after Maryland clinched at least second place in the Big Ten with a 60-50 victory over last-place Rutgers Tuesday night.

Layman, the only player who stayed among the four-man freshman class of 2012-13, said he had an inkling when a new group, led by freshman guard Melo Trimble as well as senior transfer Richaud Pack, started working out when the team reconvened in early June.

It wasn’t until the season began that Layman said he saw the beginning stages of what could wind up being the biggest turnaround in college basketball this season.

“You see guys working...

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Five things to watch at Maryland spring football

Maryland's spring practice session begins Wednesday morning and will culminate with the annual Red-White scrimmage April 11 at Byrd Stadium.

Here are five things to keep an eye on as the Terps begin preparing for their second season in the Big Ten in the fall.

The development of backup quarterbacks Perry Hills and Shane Cockerille: It seems so long ago that Hills, then a true freshman, was thrown into a starting role for the first seven games after a season-ending injury to C.J. Brown in 2012. Now a redshirt junior, Hills has played sparingly since getting hurt himself that year. But he is the only other quarterback in the program beside fellow senior Caleb Rowe with any experience. With Rowe still rehabbing his own knee injury, Hills and Cockerille (Gilman) will get plenty of reps in the spring.

Decisions on the offensive line:  The Terps appear to have depth, and some experience, on a line has seemingly been a constant work-in-progress the past couple of years. Having lost center Sal...

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Terps hope to get Damonte Dodd back to his early-season self

Maryland center Damonte Dodd went from barely playing as a freshman last season to becoming a starter and regular contributor for the first two months of his sophomore year to barely playing the past two games.

That could change Tuesday when the 10th-ranked Terps visit Rutgers. A freak pregame injury to promising freshman center Michal Cekovsky prior to Saturday’s home win over Michigan has given Maryland coach Mark Turgeon one fewer option in the post.

While an MRI Monday showed no structural damage to the knee of the 7-footer from Slovakia, Cekovsky is expected to be held out until at least Sunday’s game at Nebraska.

It leaves Maryland with three options to play down low against the Scarlet Knights and possibly the Cornhuskers: the 6-11, 250-pound Dodd, forward Evan Smotrycz and forward Jon Graham.

Though he continued to struggle offensively, Smotrycz had nine rebounds and four assists in 27 minutes against the Wolverines, and Graham contributed six points and four rebounds in 12...

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Weekly Maryland recruiting roundup

In this week's recruiting roundup, Stefon Diggs' little brother shows real interest in a Southeastern Conference power.

Football recruiting

-- Class of 2016 defensive end target Terrell Hall committed to Ohio State on Monday.

-- Class of 2016 wide receiver target Trevon Diggs reportedly called Alabama his “favorite” after a weekend visit.

-- Class of 2016 wide receiver target Marcus Simms reportedly has Maryland as his top school.

-- Class of 2017 defensive end target Joshua Kaindoh (Mount Carmel) received an offer from Maryland last week. Ohio State and Florida State already have offered.

Basketball recruiting

-- Class of 2016 point guard commit Anthony Cowan Jr. had 14 points in a 57-35 loss to DeMatha on Feb. 23 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals. Cowan was named first-team All-WCAC.

-- Class of 2016 center target Yankuba Sima said Maryland, Arizona and Louisville “have shown the most love,” with the Terps and Wildcats likely his top two.

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Terps ranked 10th in Associated Press poll, highest since 2002-03 season

The target on the Maryland’s men’s basketball team got bigger Monday.

The Terps, who have been ranked in the Top 25 since early December and flirted with reaching the top 10 in mid-January, were ranked No. 10 in the latest Associated Press poll.

It marks the first time in the top 10 for Maryland (24-5 overall, 12-4 in the Big Ten) since the 2002-03 season, a year after the Terps won their only national championship in program history and reached the Final Four for the second straight year.

With the women's team ranked No. 4, Maryland is the only school in the country to have both its basketball teams in the top 10.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said before practice Monday that he wasn’t sure how he would handle the ranking with his team. Turgeon has said during the season that the Terps have struggled at times with being ranked.

“If I say we struggled with it, teams get fired up to play us is really what happened,” Turgeon said. “It’s just a number. The guys should be proud of it. It is...

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After tears and cheers for Dez Wells, Terps guard rises to challenge vs. Michigan

In a matter of minutes at Xfinity Center, Dez Wells went from not wanting to cry to having to play basketball.

In a postgame interview with ESPN’s Dan Dakich, Wells explained why that had proved so difficult for much of Saturday afternoon. Being honored on Senior Day, he said, necessitated “a little bit of an adjustment” to his game, and probably not one the guard could make on the game’s opening possession.

Just seconds into No. 14 Maryland’s game against Michigan, Wells received a pass in the post. He turned, saw pressure and aimed a pass -- not a particularly good one -- at Melo Trimble, waiting beyond the 3-point arc.

The ball bounced in front of the freshman guard and was intercepted easily by Michigan’s Aubrey Dawkins, who could have jogged to the opposite basket and still finished with a dunk.

If any tears had blurred Wells’ vision, maybe the Terps were fortunate to have avoided the real waterworks.

“I thought I was going to cry a lot more,” Wells said after he had 13 points,...

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