More than a week after Seth Allen became the fourth Maryland player with remaining eligibility to leave the program since the season ended, Mark Turgeon is still trying to find another guard.
The hope of getting an experienced point guard to back up freshman Melo Trimble seems to be fading – combo guards Ian Chiles of IUPUI and Keith Shamburger of Hawaii turned down the Terps in favor of Tennessee and Missouri, respectively.
The latest possibility appears to be North Carolina A&T guard Richaud Pack, who reportedly has visited both Maryland and TCU and is also scheduled to visit Turgeon’s old school, Texas A&M.
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Given that Pack wants to get his master’s in international business, the Aggies might be the leader in the clubhouse since A&M graduate business school is ranked 37th nationally by U.S. News and World Report, four spots ahead of the Smith Business School in College Park. TCU is ranked a distant 76th.
Pack, 6 feet 3 and 183 pounds, averaged 17 points a game last season at North Carolina A&T, and according to the Washington Post, has been told by Turgeon that he would be used primarily at shooting guard. His assist-to-turnover ratio should be a bit of a red flag: he had 46 assists and 50 turnovers with the 9-22 Aggies last season.
The interest on Maryland's part stems mostly from the fact Turgeon doesn’t want to get caught short after losing Allen, point guard Roddy Peters and shooting guard Nick Faust (City). As it stands, Trimble is the only scholarship point guard on the roster. The Terps also have Varun Ram, who will return to walk-on status next season.
Shamburger, who had started all but one game in three seasons split between Hawaii and San Jose State, clearly saw more of an opportunity at Missouri. Maryland coaches were split in their assessment of Chiles.
Pack would certainly give the Terps an experienced scorer on the wing, but lighting up the likes of Bethune-Cookman (28) and Morgan State (25) in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference is certainly not the same as doing it in the Big Ten. Something else to consider: if Pack takes minutes away from Dion Wiley as a freshman, does Turgeon run the risk of losing yet another disgruntled player next spring?
Just based on statistics, Pack shoots the ball more consistently than Faust (44.1 percent, including 38.2 percent on 3-pointers compared to 38.4 percent overall and 30.1 percent on 3’s). But do the Terps need another questionable ballhandler to join the likes of Dez Wells (69 assists to 79 turnovers) and Jake Layman (30-37)?
Despite coming into next season with the same 17-15 record as they did two years ago, the Terps are in a different place as a program than when Turgeon brought in Logan Aronhalt from Albany as a backup shooting guard. In a few weeks, Turgeon will be welcoming a recruiting class ranked ninth in the country by ESPN.
If Turgeon can find a point guard equivalent of Aronhalt, that would be great. If not, it might be better to keep that spot open in the event one materializes. Though it’s doubtful another player with Wells’ talent will surface in late summer, it might be worth waiting.