- The Washington Times
Monday, April 5, 2021

Darryl Morsell is leaving all of his options open.

The Maryland guard announced Monday that he would declare for the NBA draft, although he’ll maintain his eligibility for a fifth season of college basketball. At the same time, Morsell is entering his name into the transfer portal, but the Baltimore native didn’t rule out a return to the Terrapins.

“I want to thank Coach [Mark] Turgeon, the entire coaching staff, my teammates and all of Terp Nation for making the last four seasons unforgettable,” Morsell said in a statement. “The University of Maryland developed me into the man I am today and I will always be grateful.”

Morsell earned the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year award for his work in the 2020-21 campaign, leading Maryland’s development into a small-ball, defensive-minded squad. With a lack of size, that quick, switching defense was necessary to remain in games, and that area of the Terrapins’ game propelled them to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

But Morsell also developed into a capable shooter in College Park. He started 108 career games, finished with 1,090 points and added 510 rebounds over the course of four seasons. This past year, the 6-foot-5 guard averaged nine points and four boards per game.

“I applaud Darryl for considering all of his options and using the resources available to make an informed decision that is best for his future,” Turgeon said in a statement.

The two-time All-Big Ten honorable mention played some of his best games when defending marquee scorers, such as Minnesota’s Marcus Carr and Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu. Morsell also scored double-digit point totals in six of his final eight games, including a 16-point performance in a loss to Michigan in the Big Ten tournament.

Morsell played with a fractured labrum down the stretch of the season, and he said he would undergo surgery this offseason to fix that issue. But Morsell never considered missing time because of that injury.

“The doctor said it’s up to me if I could tolerate the pain,” Morsell said after Maryland’s season-ending loss to Alabama. “It’s based on my tolerance or whatever. I just wanted to go out and fight for this group of guys and give it my all. So that’s it.”

Morsell is taking advantage of what many players around the country are doing. With the NCAA’s waiver allowing immediate eligibility for transfers, the college basketball offseason has already seen an uptick in transfer activity.

The Terrapins added point guard Fatts Russell from Rhode Island and center Qudus Wahab from Georgetown on Saturday. Should Morsell opt to return to College Park, Maryland could have a deep roster with most of its main contributors back.

Decisions are ahead of Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins — the team’s top two scorers — regarding the NBA draft, and more players could enter the transfer portal with time. But Wahab and Russell solve two of the major issues on Maryland last year: no true point guard and a lack of size down low. Morsell return could solidify the lineup as one of the better units in the Big Ten.

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