Will Terps Make Draft History This June?

Will Terps Make Draft History This June?

The Maryland Terrapins are enjoying a fine season. In fact, they look like a lock to make it to the Big Dance this March. A strong final push might even net them the Big Ten title, and a possible 1st or 2nd seed in the postseason. Two players making this great season possible are center Jalen Smith and guard Aaron Wiggins. Not coincidentally, the two are the most likely to be drafted in the upcoming NBA Draft this June. They might even make history as the first pair of Terps to be selected in the first round.

Jalen Smith: Turning the Corner

IMAGE: https://www.instagram.com/p/Bt9jlnbBE_1/
CREDIT: @thejalen_smith

A criticism of Smith has been his lack of productivity. But as pointed out by Sports Illustrated in their recent Draft Board, the athletic big man has been ultra productive this season as the Terps’ leading man. Crucially, he is doing damage at both ends, shooting well from the perimeter and protecting the rim with assurance. He is even rebounding at a high rate, which further underscores Smith’s evolution.

A case can even be made that there are shades of a young Giannis Antetokounmpo in Smith. The 6-10 center is a rim-running big, and one who can make plays off the bounce. That was the main skill set of early-NBA Giannis. Now, he has blossomed into a superstar. In a Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis comparison, Bwin Sports noted how the Greek Freak’s first two All-Star appearances resulted in him scoring 46 points in just 49 minutes 27 seconds. These excellent performances are indicative of Antetokounmpo’s fast improvement. Smith’s career arc could easily mirror that of Antetokounmpo, although his ceiling might be a bit lower than Giannis’. However, Smith could be a solid big man in the Big League.

Aaron Wiggins

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CREDIT: @a.wigg

Wiggins showed flashes of fine play last season as a freshman. But he was woefully inconsistent. A season later, he has become one of Maryland’s best players, and that’s due to an offseason full of hard work. Coach Mark Turgeon told the Baltimore Sun how he challenged Wiggins to be better this season. The young man responded, and trained four times a day in the offseason to work on his shooting, ball handling, defense, and strength and conditioning.

The lightning-quick guard has added to his repertoire, and the result is a more polished, more complete player—one who can impact games in a variety of ways. He even put on 20lbs of muscle, proving just how hard he has been working. Perhaps more important, the sophomore’s skill set is highly valued in today’s NBA: long-range sniping, off-the-bounce playmaking, and a strong defense.

Joining Ex-Terps

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CREDIT: @a.wigg

The Terps’ recent NBA imports are Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando. The two were picked 19th and 34th in the 2018 and 2019 drafts, respectively, and were reunited in Atlanta this season. Next season, they will welcome Smith and Wiggins to the Big League. The only question is whether they’ll arrive in the NBA as first rounders. The likeliest scenario, though, is that Smith will be picked in the mid to late first round, while Wiggins will fall to the late second round.

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Brian Hradsky

The owner of MSB, I created this website while in college and it has never died.

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