Maryland Basketball Picked Tenth in Preseason Polls Ahead of Media Day

Roughly two weeks after kicking off the first round of preseason practice, Maryland basketball inches another step closer to the start of the Willard era.

Head coach Kevin Willard will be joined by forward Donta Scott and point guard Jahmir Young during Tuesday’s Big Ten media days. Willard is slated to take the podium at 9:40 AM while the trio will be featured on Sirius XM from 11:20-11:30 a.m. and then will be guests in the Big Ten studio set from 2:20-2:30 p.m.

It comes just one day after the Big Ten preseason media poll was released and projected a tenth-place finish in the Big Ten. Since joining the conference back in 2014, Maryland has never finished lower than eighth in the Big Ten while Willard will look to guide Maryland back to the NCAA Tournament one season after the first losing season in Maryland program history in 30 years. Jahmir Young, a former DeMatha product who became the first transfer to join the program, was one of five players to receive votes for Big Ten transfer of the year while he and Scott drew votes for the preseason all-conference teams. Young joins Georgetown transfer Don Carey in the backcourt to give the new-look Terps a chance to push the tempo.

“I think there’s playing quick, there’s playing fast and I think you have to be really be able to shoot the basketball if you wanna play a little bit more up-tempo and both Jahmir and Don both can really shoot the basketball at a high level and they’re both underrated going off the bounce,” Willard said of his new backcourt this summer. While Maryland’s backcourt will feature a pair of impact transfers ahead of Ian Martinez, Ike Cornish and former Seton Hall guard Jahari Long, the froncourt will go as far as Julian Reese takes them with limited depth behind him.

“Juju has worked ‘A’, really hard on getting his body, ready for the grind of the Big Ten but also he is really worked on being a little bit more, being able to kind of go outside a little bit, little bit more dribble handoffs, really worked on his mid-range shot. We really worked with his shot early in the summer to try to change his form just a little bit to get it up a little bit more and he’s worked hard at that.”

The Willard era will officially begin on Nov. 7 as Maryland hosts Niagara (7 p.m.) at the XFINITY Center as part of a three-game homestand to open the season.

The non-conference schedule will also be highlighted by playing in the Basketball Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Mohegan Sun against Saint Louis (Nov. 19, 1 p.m.) and either Miami or Providence (Nov. 20, 1/3:30 p.m.), facing Louisville (Nov. 29) in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, and taking on Tennessee (Dec. 11, 4:30 p.m.) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn as part of the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational. Maryland will also host future Big Ten foe UCLA (Dec. 14, 9 p.m.) in the XFINITY Center as part of a home-and-home series.

“We have a stretch in December that’s gonna be extremely, extremely challenging but at the same time, we’re gonna have a stretch in January and February that’s gonna be extremely challenging,” Willard added. “So, I think it just helps you prepare. It gives your players a chance to play against some of the best players in the country every night. And I think it’s worked. My players always enjoyed playing against big games, whether it’s in the Barclays or the Garden, playing in a good tournament against really good teams, being on TV.”

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