xml:space="preserve">

Exactly a year ago, Charles Mitchell became the last of five Maryland players to transfer after the end of the 2013-14 season.

With the addition of four freshmen -- five if you include Trayvon Reed, whose career in College Park lasted less than a month -- as well as senior transfer Richaud Pack, it started the overhaul of Mark Turgeon's roster.

Advertisement

Now you add junior transfer Robert Carter Jr., incoming freshman Diamond Stone, graduate transfer Rasheed Sulaimon, junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley and redshirt freshman Ivan Bender, and the roster will have nearly turned over completely since Mitchell's departure.

When the Terps open next season, perhaps as the No. 1 team in the country and probably no lower than No. 3, only forward Jake Layman, center Damonte Dodd and former walk-on Varun Ram will be left over from the team two years ago.

It's hard to imagine a more dramatic makeover than the one Maryland has undergone since finishing with a disappointing 17-15 record in 2013-14. It's also remarkable how quickly Turgeon has rebuilt what appeared to be a program in turmoil.

Earlier this week, two Las Vegas betting houses had the Terps as the favorite to win the 2016 national championship.

Bovada had Maryland as a 9-1 pick, with Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky at 10-1. The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook had the Terps -- along with the Tar Heels and Wildcats, the two winningest programs in NCAA history -- at 7-1.

Before the start of last season, Bovada had the Terps as a 100-1 longshot.

College basketball analyst Dan Bonner said last summer that what Turgeon was going through at Maryland mirrored what Tony Bennett experienced in his first few years at Virginia. Bonner thought Turgeon would get the program turned around, though not as quickly as it has happened.

"I'm not going to take any credit for thinking I was ahead of the curve on this one -- I certainly was not," Bonner said Thursday. "I would add a cautionary note and say that just because expectations were really low last year didn't mean the season was going to be a disaster and simply because expectations are really high this year doesn't mean everything's going to be wonderful."

Bonner made an interesting comparison to another of Maryland's former ACC rivals when talking about how the program appeared to return to national prominence seemingly overnight, with fans forgetting the struggles Turgeon had his first three years.

"Think about this -- Mike Krzyzewski goes to Duke [in 1980] and nearly gets fired and he gets that recruiting class with Johnny Dawkins and Mark Alarie and that turns everything around," Bonner said. "Duke was not on the national radar.

"The key here is that you get players and in this day and age, it's not just a matter of getting players -- it's getting the right players, which means sometimes you have to get rid of players. I think that was the situation at Maryland."

In Krzyzewski's first season at Duke, the Blue Devils finished 17-15 and went to the NIT. In his next two seasons, the team had losing records. In his fourth season, Duke went to the NCAA tournament and lost its first game.

By his sixth, when Dawkins, Alarie and a future broadcaster named Jay Bilas were seniors, the Blue Devils made the Final Four for the first of seven appearances over a nine-year stretch, including back-to-back national championships in 1991 and 1992.

That is not to compare Turgeon to Krzyzewski, the John Wooden of his generation, or Maryland to Duke.

Advertisement

"That's the key, you get good players and you get on the radar and the question is, 'Can you sustain it?'" Bonner said. "Just because everybody thinks they're going to be good doesn't mean they are."

So here we are, a year after Mitchell followed Nick Faust (City), Roddy Peters, Shaquille Cleare and Seth Allen out of College Park.

In came Melo Trimble, who quickly established himself as one of the best point guards in the country as a freshman.

Carter, Stone and Sulaimon -- additions to rival any in college basketball next season -- will likely join Trimble and Layman in the starting lineup.

As one-year anniversaries go, this must be a pretty happy one for Turgeon.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement