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Tracking the Terps
News and notes on Maryland football, basketball and other sports
Before Senior Day, Terps transfers reflect on unlikely path to College Park

Typically, Senior Days are about players who have spent their entire college career in the same place, growing from freshman to senior, some even from role player to star.

For five of the 11 seniors — seven players and four team managers — the Maryland men’s basketball team will honor before Saturday’s regular-season home finale against Michigan at Xfinity Center, College Park was a second home. Or, in one case, a third home.

For Evan Smotrycz, there’s more than a little irony in the opponent the No. 14 Terps will face. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward spent his first two seasons playing for the Wolverines.

“Obviously, I was interested when I saw we were playing Michigan,” Smotrycz told reporters before practice Friday. “Like I said, it’s not some sort of revenge game for me. [I] just think it’s ironic that it fell on the last game of the year.”

There is some irony, too, for 6-3 guard Richaud Pack, who came to Maryland this season as a graduate student after splitting his first three...

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Shane Cockerille and Perry Hills will take snaps as Maryland kicks off spring football

Maryland's spring football practices begin Wednesday, and one of the biggest concerns for the Terps will be replacing C.J. Brown at quarterback.

Caleb Rowe, the likeliest candidate to start, will be sidelined for the spring as he continues to rehabilitate from a torn anterior cruciate ligament suffered in October.

That means junior Perry Hills and sophomore Shane Cockerille (Gilman) will take the majority of the snaps with the first-team unit throughout the spring.

During a Friday teleconference, coach Randy Edsall said he has been especially impressed with Cockerille’s growth off the field, as he has started to embrace the leadership responsibilities that come with the position.

“You can just see the maturity level rising with him,” Edsall said. “He sees the importance of what we’re doing, and now he knows there’s opportunity for him, and he knew he needed to step up and give himself the best opportunity to be a quarterback here at Maryland.”

Because of the timing of his injury, Rowe...

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Terps to be featured in 90-minute Showtime special airing March 18

The Maryland and Notre Dame men's basketball teams will be part of a 90-minute special, "HOOPS U," which will air on Showtime at 9 p.m. March 18.

The behind-the-scenes documentary will chronicle the teams' path to the NCAA tournament from the final month of conference play and the conference tournaments through March 15, when the NCAA tournament bracket is unveiled.

"HOOPS U is yet another example of our commitment to delivering diverse and dramatic sports programming," said Stephen Espinoza, executive vice president and general maanger of Showtime Sports.

"This will give viewers a unique insight into what really goes on behind the scenes at a premier college basketball program," said Steve Mayer, executive producer and head of IMG, which is producing the special. "Our production team is receiving unparalleled access from both universities and the result will be a fascinating look at the preparations, personalities and pressures associated with college basketball at the highest level."...

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Is Dez Wells on the Mount Rushmore of Maryland dunkers?

In recognition of 70 years of dunking in college basketball, Maryland's athletic website put up a poll earlier this month asking fans to vote on the best dunk in Terps history. (It includes a highlight video that's well worth watching.)

I'm not sure if it's too late to add a candidate, but Dez Wells' baseline slam Tuesday night against Wisconsin probably belongs on that list.

Let’s be clear, Tuesday’s jam doesn’t top Wells’ poster dunk against Penn State, which is included in the voting on Maryland’s poll. But it belongs in the same category as the others, especially if you take into account when it came and that it helped fuel one of the Terps’ biggest wins of the Mark Turgeon era.

Regardless of which team you root for, if you’re a hoops junkie, it was the type of dunk that gets you off the couch and forces you to make a grunting noise that your probably couldn’t otherwise replicate. (Or maybe that’s just me.)

I’m no Dr. J, so I won’t attempt to break down which of those dunks is the...

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Odd scene unfolded as Wisconsin's Bo Ryan interrupted Mark Turgeon's news conference

Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon had just finished making an opening statement after his team's 59-53 victory over No. 5 Wisconsin and was about to take questions from reporters when an odd scene unfolded in the media room at Xfinity Center on Tuesday night.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan appeared at the podium.

Needless to say, it caught Turgeon a bit by surprise.

“I was just going to say, we have a flight to catch,” Ryan said. “We have practice tomorrow.”

Turgeon showed the respect he had for Ryan, who was recently nominated for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, allowing Ryan proceed with his news conference (and not allowing what was an awkward scene get any more uncomfortable).

“OK, It’s all you, man, it’s all you,” Turgeon said before going back into the hallway outside his team’s locker room.

“They were supposed to get me and they didn’t get me,” Ryan said apologetically. “Thanks, Mark.”

As reporters laughed, Ryan realized what he had done.

“Right in the middle...

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Michal Cekovsky plays big role in Maryland's win over Wisconsin

Michal Cekovsky kept showing it in practice. Despite being given little opportunity in games – 14 minutes over Maryland's previous three – the 7-foot-1 freshman from Slovakia had given his coach confidence that he could contribute against No. 5 Wisconsin on Wednesday night.

When sophomore Damonte Dodd was whistled for his first foul a little more than three minutes into the game, Turgeon made the switch. It turned out to be one of the most fortuitous early fouls for the Terps this season. Cekovsky changed the game defensively in 14 first-half minutes, and perhaps also changed his role going forward.

The player everyone calls "Checko" didn’t put up huge numbers in his 24-minute stint – the most minutes he had played since early December – but his six rebounds, four points and one block displayed much of what he had been doing behind the curtained-off practices at Xfinity Center the past few weeks.

“Understand, Checko’s really been practicing well,” Turgeon said. “He’s been practicing...

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