Maryland’s 11-point win over Albany last season featured the debut of
, but was an otherwise unremarkable non-conference game for the Terps. For Great Danes guard
, however, the late-December matchup was unforgettable.
"It was a fun game to play in," Aronhalt said. "It was definitely one of those experiences that gave me goose bumps, playing in front of so many people in a nice arena against a program with such a rich tradition."
Aronhalt, who finished with 13 points and six rebounds, thought back to his first and only visit to College Park many times this spring as he considered where he wanted to finish his college basketball career. Purdue, Kent State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee were all options, but Aronhalt ultimately couldn't pass up the chance to play at Comcast Center again. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound shooting guard committed to the Terps on Sunday.
"I think Coach [Mark] Turgeon was excited. I'm definitely excited, too," said Aronhalt, who will be eligible to play immediately. "It was just an experience that I'll never forget, just playing there once. To have the opportunity to play there every home game was something I couldn't say no to."
The decision-making process for Aronhalt started near the end of his redshirt junior season. The future Terp graduated from Albany with a degree in human biology in December and began pursuing a master's degree in education during the winter semester.
Aronhalt said he ultimately decided that a career in education "wasn't for" him. Having knee surgery to remove a bone fragment in his patella tendon gave him more time to think about the future.
"[The injury] kind of made me rethink my career playing basketball," Aronhalt said. "Basketball is still very important to me, but I wanted to make the most of my education as well."
Aronhalt, who graduated summa cum laude from Albany with a 3.78 GPA, zeroed in on kinesiology as a potential career. Maryland's top-rated program in the field made Aronhalt's decision that much easier. And it didn't hurt that one of his older brothers lives in Annapolis and the other lives in D.C.
Maryland's kinesiology program and having family nearby were "two major things," Aronhalt said. "From a basketball standpoint, [there's] no one with more tradition than Maryland. The facilities are incredibly amazing. The opportunity to play up there on a national stage and playing against the best competition in the country, just about every single night, is something that's really great about the university."
A two-time co-captain at Albany, Aronhalt finished his Great Danes career averaging 11.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. He shot 40 percent from the field as a junior, including 35 percent from 3-point range. Aronhalt fared well against high-major opponents last season, scoring 20 against Syracuse and 13 against Pittsburgh. With the Terps, he'll be expected to provide leadership and compete for time at the 2.
"I've talked to Coach Turgeon quite a bit," Aronhalt said. "He said they're going to be a young team next year, with quite a few freshmen. There's an opportunity. I know he expects me to use my experience playing and definitely [provide] leadership."
Aronhalt is staying with his parents at their Zanesville, Ohio home. He said he's about "two-to-three weeks" away from his knee being 100 percent healthy. While Aronhalt doesn't know yet when he'll move to College Park, the thought of stepping back onto the Comcast Center court is at the forefront of his mind.
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"I think it's still a bit surreal," Aronhalt said. "I think it's going to be an incredible experience when I finally get to put on the Maryland uniform. I'm just excited and ready to get over to College Park."