It’s hard to remember now, but the perception of the Maryland basketball program was very different 16 months ago.
As Coach Mark Turgeon began practice for the 2014-15 season, he’d lost a half-dozen players during the offseason – players who were expected to play significant roles for the Terrapins. Headlines and tweets wondered if Turgeon’s job might be in jeopardy. After all, his first three seasons in College Park hadn’t produced a single NCAA Tournament berth. With all the defections, it didn’t look like it would happen in 2014-15, either.
Except, of course, that it did. Freshman guard Melo Trimble was even better than advertised and became one of the most transformative players in Maryland basketball history. Largely because of his efforts, Maryland finished 28-7 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament that season.
As a sophomore, Trimble has been no less brilliant. He’s the leader of a Terrapins team that has won 13 of its first 14 games and sits at No. 4 in the latest Associated Press college basketball poll. Since Trimble’s arrival and Turgeon’s supposed career crossroads, Maryland is 41-8.
The Internet is now Tweeting a different tune about the Coach; but what about those players who left the program that summer and opted for the court not taken? Unable to find anything on-line or anywhere else on this, this is for Maryland fans who are interested to know whatever became of Charles Mitchell, Seth Allen, Nick Faust, Rody Peters, Shaquille Cleare and Trayvon Reed.
Here’s a brief rundown:
Charles Mitchell, who showed great potential as a post player at Maryland, has flourished while playing close to home at Georgia Tech. Mitchell, who ostensibly transferred to be closer to his sick grandmother in Atlanta, was leading the Atlantic Coast Conference in rebounding (11.6) entering the weekend, while averaging 12.8 ppg. He’s shooting .584 from the floor and has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 11 of the Yellow Jackets’ first 13 games. His best performance of the year came in a victory over Arkansas in which he scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.
Seth Allen, another player who showed flashes of greatness during his first two years at Maryland, has continued to do the same at Virginia Tech. Allen averaged 13.4 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in two seasons at Maryland. In Blacksburg, he has continued to produce at a similar rate, averaging 13.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists. His best performance so far this season came in the ACC-BigTen Challenge, when he pumped in 26 points against Northwestern.
Nick Faust is averaging 15.7 points and 5.4 rebounds for 6-9 Long Beach State. He initially transferred to Oregon State from Maryland, but changed his mind again when Craig Robinson was fired as Oregon State’s coach. Faust is shooting almost 42 percent from 3-point range with his best games coming against Colorado State (27 points) and UCLA (24 points).
Roddy Peters appeared in all of Maryland’s 32 games in 2013-14, making 10 starts. He averaged 15.1 minutes per game and finished second on team with 67 assists, averaging 4.1 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.
“I think he has the potential to be a heck of a player,” Turgeon said at the time. “I’m sorry I’m not going to be able to work with him more.”
Peters has played well at South Florida (3-11) but has missed the last four games with a fractured foot. He was averaging 9.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists before his injury. Peters, who played his high school basketball at Suitland in Prince George’s County, was another promising player who transferred out during that summer of discontent in College Park.
Shaquille Cleare, was considered a huge “get” for Turgeon, who lured him out of Texas to College Park. Cleare, with his big smile and big body was a fan favorite as well as someone most fans expected great things from. It never happened in College Park – he averaged 3.0 points and 2.5 rebounds at Maryland. “I’m going to take the blame,” he said in explaining his lack of production. “I’ve got to show people. I need a fresh start.”
But Cleare hasn’t done much better at Texas. He’s averaging just 2.3 points and 2.8 rebounds for the Longhorns, while logging just 9.3 minutes per game.
Trayvon Reed, like Cleare, was considered a huge recruiting coup for the Maryland coaching staff. The 7-foot-2 center from Mobile, Alabama was listed as a top 100 prospect nationally. But he never got to enroll at Maryland after being involved in a shoplifting and assault incident at a College Park convenience store. He eventually served a 15-day jail sentence on the assault charge.
He subsequently enrolled at Auburn and played in 23 games for the Tigers last season, averaging 1.1 points and 2 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game. He did not enroll in classes during the Fall 2015 semester for “personal reasons,” but remains on the basketball team. He is expected to re-enroll and re-join the team this month, according to a story in the Montgomery (Alabama) Advertiser in September.