For upperclassmen Anthony Cowan Jr. and Andrew Terrell, their entire careers in College Park, Md., have differed greatly. While Cowan started 65 games his first two seasons -- and averaged 37 minutes per game last season -- Terrell has never started a game and averages 1.8 minutes when he does enter.
Still, head coach Mark Turgeon expects the pair of off-campus roommates to bring leadership to a young team in different ways.
"All of our veteran guys have improved tremendously, not only on the floor but in their leadership skills and maturity," Turgeon said during the team's media day Oct. 16. "Even a guy like Andrew Terrell -- I know Andrew doesn't play, but I've asked him to take over more of a leadership role."
The Terps open the season against Delaware Nov. 6 with six freshmen, two sophomores and a redshirt sophomore among their 11 scholarship players. With such a young roster, the team will rely on on-court leadership from their more experienced players like Cowan and Terrell.
Cowan, a junior, and Terrell, a senior, are the elder statesmen on a team that looks to bounce back from last year's 19-13 campaign didn't include a trip to a postseason tournament.
"We were disappointed in last season," Turgeon said. "It didn't go the way we wanted. … Our culture is back where it needs to be and we've worked really hard. All of our veteran guys have improved tremendously, not only on the floor but in their leadership skills and maturity."
Not only will Cowan be the lone returning starter from last year's season opener, but Turgeon hopes he'll continue to grow as an extension of the coaching staff on the court. Since the end of last season, the Bowie, Md., native has shown that transformation throughout summer workouts and
the team's trip to Italy
Cowan was one of the most vocal, active members during the team's open practice and scrimmage Oct. 16. Cowan practiced with game-like intensity and could often be found standing next to Turgeon encouraging his teammates. Some of his teammates have seen that change, too.
"I have seen a lot of growth in Anthony," sophomore center Bruno Fernando said. "Just the way he's playing, the way he's passing the ball and getting his teammates involved. He's approaching every practice and anything we do being vocal and just trying to lead us the right way."
For the Terps to be successful this season, Cowan's leadership and performance on the court must prove to be critical.
"I'm really proud of Anthony Cowan because by nature he's a quiet kid. He had a great freshman and sophomore year -- he's going to put up incredible numbers," Turgeon said. "But what he's done in preparing for Italy and starting this season … and how far he's come as a leader and a passer and facilitator, as well as a dynamic scorer for us. A lot of positives."
On the flip side is Terrell, who has played fewer minutes (35) during his career than Cowan averaged last year. Terrell has consistently been a part of the Terps "bench mob" that excitedly supports the team any way they can. Terrell is once again on the same page with Turgeon regarding his role -- he won't get a lot of playing time, but he'll be a leader regardless.
"He's in his fourth year and so I really feel good about our upperclassmen and what they're doing," Turgeon said.
Terrell's acceptance of his role on the bench has given the Terps a strong voice to guide the young players. Even if he's not on the court, Terrell knows he can impact through his passion and motivation, and he can bring the team together through his vibrant personality. Multiple teammates agreed Terrell's humor and personality truly makes a difference.
"I enjoy being the fun guy to lighten the mood," Terrell said. "This year it's a little different. I'm still lightening the mood, but I still know the expectations and know how to run plays. I'm just trying to mentor them even though I'm clearly not going to tell you how to play game of basketball. But I am going to be able to sit there and teach you a rotation or doing something off the floor, and I think a lot of guys are coming to me for that just because I'm brutally honest with you."
While Terrell can be a great mentor on the bench, Cowan will be the leader on the court. Whatever Terps fans saw last season -- or expect to see this season -- Terrell and his teammates envision a new Cowan this season.
"He's probably one of the best leaders we've had in a really long time," Terrell said. "He's kind of like [former Terps guard Kevin Huerter] where he doesn't need to say that much but he leads so well by example. … He's grown so much, it's unbelievable. It's night and day. His confidence is just night and day."
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox