Melo Trimble has experienced plenty of success through the first two years of his college career, sparking Maryland to back-to-back 27-win seasons and a trip to last season’s Sweet 16. Trimble, who leads the No. 21-ranked Terrapins into Friday’s season opener at home against American, will be even more critical in 2016-17 as Maryland tips off missing four players who averaged at least 11 points per game a season ago.
“I’ve embraced the responsibility of being the team leader,” Trimble, who averaged 14.8 points and 4.9 assists a season ago and scored 20 points per game in three NCAA tournament contests, told reporters during preseason practice. “We’ve improved so much over the last three weeks and it’s great to see.” Maryland looks for senior Damonte Dodd and graduate transfer L.G. Gill (Duquesne) to pick up the scoring slack. Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon will provide freshmen guards Kevin Huerter and Anthony Cowan with key minutes early in the season. The Eagles are led by guard/forward Delante Jones, the only sophomore to earn a spot on the Patriot League’s preseason team.READ MORE: UPDATE: Barricade Situation In Prince George's County Resolved Safely
ABOUT AMERICAN (2015-16: 12-19): Jones averaged 12 points and 3.6 rebounds as a freshman for the Eagles, who were picked fifth in the Patriot League preseason poll. American finished last season with a flourish, winning its final five games before falling to Lehigh in the Patriot League semifinals. The Eagles face a difficult non-conference schedule, including a trip to Texas A&M Monday and a Dec. 21 contest at defending national champion Villanova.
ABOUT MARYLAND (2015-16: 27-9): Trimble shot only 41 percent from the field as a sophomore but hit 86.8 percent of his free-throw attempts and will be the focal point for the Terrapins’ offense. Dodd averaged just 15.6 minutes a season ago but shot 63.1 percent from the field and blocked three or more shots five times, including five against Hawaii in the NCAA tournament. Gill made 34.4 percent of his 3-point attempts at Duquesne last season, averaging 10.1 points and 6.5 rebounds.
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1. Maryland F Ivan Bender, who Turgeon called the Terrapins’ most improved player in preseason, is out indefinitely with a fractured left wrist.
2. One player to watch for the Terrapins is junior F Jared Nickens, who scored double figures eight times a season while shooting 34.7 percent from 3-point range.
3. Turgeon, who is 114-59 in five seasons at Maryland, received a four-year contract extension through 2023 last month.MORE NEWS: For The Third Day In A Row, Some Baltimore City Schools Were Forced To Dismiss Early Due To Lack Of Air Conditioning
PREDICTION: Maryland 94, American 68