Life went on at Maryland after Gene Shue left in the 1950s, and after Tom McMillen, Len Elmore and John Lucas left in the 1970s. It went on after Walt Williams and Joe Smith and Juan Dixon.
It also went on after Lefty Driesell resigned and Gary Williams retired.
Now it goes on after Melo Trimble left a year early after three remarkable seasons. The Terps began the post-Melo era Thursday night in a men’s basketball exhibition game against Randolph-Macon.
Led by sophomore Anthony Cowan, who shared the point guard position last season with Trimble, and freshman guard Darryl Morsell (Mount Saint Joseph), who will share it this season with Cowan, Maryland doubled up on its Division III opponent, 88-44.
“You have a private scrimmage and one in front of fans and you want to get better, and we got better,” said Maryland coach Mark Turgeon, whose team beat Wake Forest in the scrimmage last week and will open the season Nov. 10 against Stony Brook at Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y.
Cowan finished with 17 points, while Morsell scored 14, with both players shooting 6-for-9 from the field and getting three assists each. Sophomore guard Kevin Huerter added 11 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore forwaard Justin Jackson scored 10, with six rebounds.
Turgeon, who is starting his seventh year at Maryland, was happy with his players’ effort. After a sluggish start, Turgeon uncharacteristically pressed to speed up the opposition and wake up his Terps.
“I don’t like pressing teams that we’re clearly better than, but I had to jump-start us a little bit,” Turgeon said. “They were using 30 seconds [to shoot] and we weren’t taking them out of anything. We went to the press and kind of changed the game right before half.”
Morsell is the un-Melo
It took Morsell until the spring of his junior year of high school before major college coaches, including Turgeon, started taking notice.
Once they did, the offers kept coming. But the Terps, who were behind only Southern California in terms of making an offer to Morsell, have something they haven’t had in a while in terms of a tall, long, physical penetrating guard.
“Darryl is a big-time athlete and one thing he wanted to do was play on a team where he can get to the rim,” Turgeon said. “We space the floor and have shooters around him, so it allows him to do that. He also does a great job running the offense and finding guys.”
Said Huerter, “When he gets to the rim like that, teams are going to have to focus on him a little more.”
Morsell said his debut at Maryland was special.
“It was a great feeling,” he said. “I’m from the city of Baltimore, so playing for the homestate home state it was an honor to put the jersey on. I just tried to go out there and have a good performance.”
Morsell, whose outside shot is reportedly much improved, was 0-for-2 from 3-point range, but his ability to get to the basket, defend on the perimeter and find teammates is something the Terps can use.
“Darryl’s going to compete. He’s going to compete every possession,” Huerter said. “He was aggressive, which you love to see. He’s definitely a really good piece for us.”
One of Morsell’s early baskets came on the kind of reverse scoop that Trimble trademarked during his career. Another came on a 360-degree dunk, showing the kind of athleticism that is keeping Trimble out of the NBA.
“I was doing it in high school, so I had confidence in it,” Morsell said of the dunk. “I made sure that I made it, because Coach Turgeon would have had an earful for me if I missed.”
It will be interesting to see how often Turgeon pairs Cowan and Morsell, and whether Morsell might eventually get Turgeon to play more and more three-guard sets with Cowan and Huerter.
Obi will be fan favorite
It’s easy to see what Turgeon saw in bringing in his latest graduate transfer. Sean Obi has not only the size (6 feet 9, 250 pounds) that can help against some of the bigger teams in the Big Ten, but also a pretty good motor.
While whatever lateral quickness he had as a freshman at Rice has been compromised by the knee injury he suffered during his two-year stay at Duke, Obi could be one of the harder workers Turgeon has had at Maryland.
“Sean Obi is just a big physical guy,” Turgeon said. “You can tell how well he communicates out there. I’m happy for him. He hasn’t played much the last two years [after getting hurt]. For him to get out there and play was good to see.”
Said Huerter: “That was something we lacked last year, a guy when he goes in the game we know exactly what we’re going to get out of him. He’s a guy who’s going to compete. He’s going to rebound. When he’s in the game, no one gets much inside.
Obi, who had 13 double-digit rebounding games as a freshman and averaged over nine a game for the Owls, had eight in 12 minutes to go along with eight points. Obi seemed to make the other Maryland bigs go harder, with redshirt junior forward Ivan Bender getting nine rebounds in 21 minutes.
“He makes Ceko [Michael Cekovsky] and Ivan a lot better. He makes Bruno [Fernando] a lot better. Bruno’s a physical guy, too. I just think we’re more physical all around.”
Fernando sits, Tomaic plays
Maryland’s other scholarship freshman, the 6-10 Fernando, sat out the exhibition as a precaution after suffering a sprained left ankle in practice two weeks ago.
Turgeon said after the game that Fernando could have played Thursday had it been a regular-season game. He expects Fernando back when the team resumes practice Saturday. Redshirt junior guard Dion Wiley, who also had a sprained ankle, is expected back as well.
As hard as both Morsell and Obi played, Fernando “plays as harder or harder than those two.”
It isn’t known whether Fernando will be ready for the season opener Nov. 10 against Stony Brook at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, N.Y., but the big man from Angola has been shooting after practice.
Fernando’s absence enabled redshirt freshman forward Joshua Tomaic to get into the rotation for one night. Tomaic, a 6-9 forward from the Canary Islands, redshirted last year. Tomaic finished with six points and four rebounds and a blocked shot in 14 minutes.
“I think we’re going to have some really nice depth,” Turgeon said.
Anthony paces Randolph-Macon
Freshman guard Buzz Anthony (Archbishop Spalding) led the visitors with 10 points and had three assists. Senior forward Daniel Noe, a transfer from Navy, had eight points.