Where Terps’ basketball roster stands after another transfer in and out originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Maryland basketball continued to see its roster shuffle Tuesday, with forward Jairus Hamilton entering the transfer portal and guard Ian Martinez committing to transfer into the program within a matter of minutes.
Head coach Mark Turgeon continues to retool his roster on the fly as several of the program’s most prominent players are either currently in the transfer portal or testing the NBA waters.
The Terps made a big splash early in the offseason with the same-day additions of Georgetown big man Qudus Wahab and Rhode Island point guard Fatts Russell, two of the top available transfers in the portal who both happen to fill major holes from last season’s team.
Turgeon went back to the transfer portal again in bringing in Ian Martinez, a freshman guard who spent last season at Utah. Martinez is a talented, athletic player who was considered a top-70 player in the 2020 class according to 24/7 Sports. He had a slow start to his collegiate career, playing sparingly prior to conference play, but he blossomed into one of the best players on the team by February.
Martinez has a reputation as an athletic player who needs a more consistent jump shot, but he made nearly 50% of his field goals over the course of the season and nearly 45% of his 3-point attempts from February 1 on. He also made more than 80% of his free throws, which is sometimes a sign of better long-range shooting to come.
Depending on who returns among Eric Ayala, Aaron Wiggins and Darryl Morsell — who either entered the NBA Draft or is in the transfer portal — Martinez could fill the role of third guard behind Russell and Ayala (or Wiggins). Turgeon has struggled to retain quality backcourt depth over his decade in College Park, but Martinez could be a key bench piece next season. He also provides insurance in case both Ayala and Wiggins stay in the NBA Draft.
Hamilton’s departure leaves less depth in the frontcourt for Maryland, though they do have a number of tweener forward options. Donta Scott has the chance to be Maryland’s best player next season and will likely start at the four spot, while James Graham was a top-60 recruit in his own right in 2020 and spent half a season in the program already. Julian Reese is also highly rated and could see time at power forward, though he is thought to need some seasoning in college before making a major impact.
The Terps are also reportedly going after a few other forwards in the transfer portal, including high-flying Langston Wilson, who could take Hamilton’s scholarship.
Maryland currently has one scholarship available, though more could open up if Ayala and Wiggins leave (Morsell doesn’t count against the limit as a senior whose eligibility only continues because of the COVID-19 season).
The outlook for Maryland’s 2021-22 season will vary wildly depending on who returns. Without any of Wiggins, Ayala or Morsell, the Terps’ transfer additions will still keep them in range for a top 25 ranking – and Turgeon will be sure to add more players – but it does lower the team’s ceiling as most of the major pieces will be newcomers.
If one or two of those three decide to spend one more year in College Park, however, then the Terps will have a strong case as a preseason top 10 team in the country. Few programs would be able to match the talent and experience of a starting lineup of Russell (senior), Ayala (senior), Wiggins (senior), Scott (junior) and Wahab (junior), not to mention a bench that includes Hakim Hart, Martinez and three top-100 freshmen recruits.
The Terps are a long way away from preseason hype like this, considering there is a very real possibility that none of their three NBA entrants return to Maryland. For now, the roster continues to churn and the Terps continue to raise the overall talent level of the team.
In the era of the transfer portal – more than 1,000 players entered it this season – programs have to get used to regular year-to-year turnover. If the past few weeks are any indication, Turgeon has no problem turning to transfers as he looks to reload for a seventh NCAA Tournament bid in the last eight seasons.