- The Washington Times
Monday, June 28, 2021

For so much of Darryl Morsell’s time in College Park, the guard’s performances paved the way for Maryland basketball. He wasn’t always a scorer — in fact, he rarely was — but Morsell’s contributions were felt elsewhere, through his hustle and grit, making him a key player for the Terrapins.

Morsell’s time in College Park has ended, though. He tweeted Monday that he will spend his final year of college eligibility at Marquette, ending a four-year run with Maryland in which he distinguished himself as a formidable defender.

He reached the 1,000-point mark in his Terrapins career as a senior and earned the 2021 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award. He’s one of 16 players in program history to start 100 games, score 1,000 points and pull in 500 rebounds. He would’ve been a key piece on Maryland next season, too, adding experience to a team projected to be No. 11 in the country, according to Bart Torvik’s preseason rankings.

Darryl gave the University of Maryland everything he had for four years and we are eternally grateful for his commitment to our program,” coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Due to Covid, he was presented with the unique opportunity to use an extra year of eligibility and he ultimately decided to make a change. He has more than earned that right.”

One of Morsell’s defining moments as a Terrapin came during the 2019-20 campaign, when he heaved a long three-point attempt with under two seconds remaining against Minnesota. He sank the shot, winning the game for Maryland, keeping his team’s Big Ten regular season championship hopes alive.

The Terrapins went on to win a share of the regular-season conference title before the coronavirus pandemic canceled the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. He made 29 starts that season, averaging 8.5 points and 4.7 rebounds.

As a senior, Morsell returned and made 27 starts. His nine points per game were the most of his career, and he led the squad with 2.8 assists. When Maryland upset a top-10 ranked Illinois team, it was Morsell’s career-high 19 points that led the way.

He fractured a bone in his face in December against Michigan, underwent surgery, yet missed just one game — part of the toughness that defined the Baltimore native. Morsell announced after the season that he was keeping all his options open, testing the NBA Draft waters while entering his name in the transfer portal. He didn’t rule out a return to Maryland, but he wound up opting for a new environment.

Morsell follows former Maryland assistant DeAndre Haynes to Marquette this offseason. Haynes spent two seasons as part of Turgeon’s staff, but he departed to join coach Shaka Smart with the Golden Eagles.

“In four years, he helped lead us to a Big Ten Championship and three NCAA Tournaments, in addition to earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year,” Turgeon said. “More importantly, he gained the adoration of Maryland fans for his leadership, grit and toughness. We will deeply miss Darryl and his parents, Duane and Carolyn, but they will always have a home in College Park.”

Maryland also announced Monday the program will face Virginia Tech next season in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge, hosting the Hokies on Dec. 1. Maryland is 11-11 in the Big Ten-ACC Challenge. The Terrapins were 10-5 before leaving the ACC in 2013 and 1-6 as a member of the Big Ten. This will be Maryland’s first matchup against the Hokies as part of the challenge. The two teams were in the ACC together before 2014.

The Terrapins are still waiting on decisions from guards Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins, who both declared for the NBA Draft but could return. Wiggins earned a spot in the combine, which ended Sunday.

Should both Ayala and Wiggins return, Maryland’s outlook still looks strong for next season. Turgeon added a pair of transfers who could immediately play big roles: former Rhode Island point guard Fatts Russell and former Georgetown forward Qudus Wahab.

• Andy Kostka can be reached at akostka@washingtontimes.com.

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