Maryland found a solution to its most glaring weakness during the 2020-21 season, landing 6-foot-11 center Qudus Wahab as a transfer. The Georgetown big man entered the transfer portal last week and announced Saturday on Instagram his intention to join the Terrapins next season.
Without an inside presence for much of the campaign, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon opted to run a small-ball system that worked in some matchups. But the Terrapins’ lack of size was also a detriment in other contests, such as the season-ending loss to Alabama in the NCAA Tournament. The Crimson Tide pulled down 15 offensive rebounds and converted that into 23 second-chance points.
Wahab could go a long way in addressing the issues in that area of the floor. He averaged 12.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 blocks as a sophomore with the Hoyas, his first season as a full-time starter. Under coach Patrick Ewing, Wahab developed into a major frontcourt presence.
“Qudus has been great for us,” Ewing said after Georgetown’s first-round win in the Big East Tournament last month. “Last year, he was playing behind Omer Yurtseven. This year, he’s the man. We need for him to dominate both on the offensive end and the defensive end. And he’s working towards that.
“To me, by the time he leaves here — whenever that is, hopefully it’s two more years — he’s going to be the best big in the country,” Ewing continued. “We just have to get him the ball when he’s open, and part of his maturation is that when he gets doubled, being able to pass the ball out. And he’s been doing a much better job of doing that of late.”
Maryland could return much of its roster next season. Chol Marial, a 7-foot-2 center who played sparingly in College Park, announced he was entering the transfer portal Wednesday, opens a place in the frontcourt for Wahab.
The Terrapins could also see guard Darryl Morsell and forward Galin Smith return. Both were seniors in the 2020-21 campaign, but NCAA’s waiver allows another year of eligibility. No official decision on Smith and Morsell has been announced.
Aaron Wiggins, who finished with 14.5 points per game, has a decision ahead of him of whether to declare for the NBA draft or not. The junior scored 27 points against Alabama.
Wahab had some of his best games for Georgetown down the stretch of the season. In the Hoyas’ loss to Colorado in the NCAA Tournament, Wahab posted a career-high 20 points to go with his 12 rebounds. He scored in double figures in 12 of his final 14 games.
His presence down low will allow for the Terrapins to play a more traditional style, as they did when Jalen Smith commanded the paint in 2019-20. Donta Scott, the 6-foot-7 forward, won’t be charged with playing the five as frequently as he was last season.
The transfer is also a big get for Turgeon, who is expected to sign a contract extension in College Park. A source told the Washington Times that athletic director Damon Evans reached out to Turgeon shortly after Maryland’s second-round tournament exit to discuss his contract, which was set to expire after the 2022-23 season.
• Andy Kostka can be reached at email@example.com.
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