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Darryl Morsell, the reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for Maryland men’s basketball, transfers to Marquette

Maryland men’s basketball guard Darryl Morsell is transferring to Marquette, he announced Monday.

Morsell, the reigning Big Ten Conference Defensive Player of the Year, announced in April his intention to enter the NBA draft and also entered the transfer portal. Now, he will now use his fifth year of eligibility elsewhere.

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The NCAA extended an extra year of eligibility to winter sports athletes as a response to the coronavirus pandemic. Morsell reunites with former Terps assistant DeAndre Haynes, who left after two seasons to join new coach Shaka Smart’s staff.

A Baltimore native and Mount Saint Joseph graduate, Morsell played in 126 games and started 108 at Maryland. He averaged 8.7 points and 4.0 rebounds in four seasons at College Park, but is best known for his dogged commitment on defense, where he often guarded the opposing team’s best perimeter scorer.

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Coach Mark Turgeon said several times this past season that Morsell was the “heart and soul” of an undersized team that fought its way to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Morsell notably played through a fractured labrum that required offseason surgery. He was also the first Baltimore player to commit to Maryland that Turgeon recruited upon his arrival in 2011.

“Darryl gave the University of Maryland everything he had for four years and we are eternally grateful for his commitment to our program,” Turgeon wrote on Twitter. “Due to Covid, he was presented with the unique opportunity to use an extra year of eligibility and he ultimately decided to make a change. He has more than earned that right. All Darryl cared about was winning. In four years, he helped lead us to a Big Ten Championship and three NCAA tournaments, in addition to scoring 1,000 points and earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.

“More importantly, he gained the adoration of Maryland fans for his leadership, grit and toughness. We will deeply miss Darryl and his parents, Duane and Carolyn, but they will always have a home in College Park.”

Despite the loss of Morsell, Maryland is still expected to have a formidable backcourt after a flurry of moves this offseason. The Terps landed Rhode Island transfer Fatts Russell, who will likely be the team’s starting point guard. Utah transfer Ian Martinez, a sophomore guard, also joined the team but will miss two to three months recovering from a torn meniscus. Maryland is also waiting on decisions from rising senior guards Aaron Wiggins and Eric Ayala, who are testing the NBA draft waters.

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Wiggins participated in the G League Elite Camp earlier this month and performed well, earning an invite to the NBA Draft Combine, held July 21-27 in Chicago. He tested well and bounced back from a shaky outing in his first scrimmage, scoring 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field in his second game.

Whether Wiggins’ showing will result in the first-round status he desires remains to be seen. Jonathon Givony, an NBA draft expert for ESPN, has Wiggins going to the New York Knicks with the No. 58 overall pick in his latest mock draft. At a predraft news conference for a workout with the Golden State Warriors, Wiggins said that he would ideally like to be a first-round pick or receive a guarantee of being selected, but would speak with his family before making his final decision.

Ayala was not invited to the combine or the G League Elite Camp and his name has not surfaced among big boards listing the top 60 prospects in the draft. Turgeon seemingly indicated that Ayala will return, telling 105.7 The Fan that Ayala is “realistic about his situation” and “knows the best thing for him is, eventually, probably to come back to Maryland.”

The NCAA deadline for players to withdraw their name from the draft and retain their eligibility is July 7.

Maryland to host Virginia Tech for ACC/Big Ten challenge

Maryland will play Virginia Tech at Xfinity Center on Dec. 1 in the latest installment of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, the school announced Monday.

It will mark the first time the Terps have played the Hokies since the 2013-14 season, a 64-47 win for Maryland.

Virginia Tech went 15-7 this past season, losing in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

Broadcast information and game time will be announced at a later date.

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