The Maryland men's basketball team hopes to improve upon a disappointing 2017-18 season with the addition of new players and development of established veterans in what is the 100th season in program history.
Maryland Sports Radio Network analyst and former American head coach Chris Knoche joined
Glenn Clark Radio
Nov. 6 and offered insight on the players who are integral to the success of the Terps this year:
Sophomore Center Bruno Fernando
After attending the NBA Draft Combine earlier this year and eventually deciding to return to College Park, Md., Fernando could be the Terps' most complete player. At 6-foot-10 and 240 pounds, the Angolan forward has developed a consistent outside shot and improved his already imposing physique.
"This is a different guy than we saw at the end of last season," Knoche said. "His game has really come around, and he's had really pointed strength and conditioning work."
While Fernando has seemed to improve upon many of his skills, the one glaring issue with his game that Knoche noted has been his ability to stay out of foul trouble. He received four or more personal fouls in 12 games during his freshman season.
"The trick for Bruno, as elementary as it sounds, was simply learning how to stay on the floor," Knoche said. "Now that's not so much an issue at all because he did learn. He's a quick study."
Despite Knoche's belief in the vibrant sophomore's improvement, Fernando fouled out of the team's first game this season against Delaware, totaling just 19 minutes.
Freshman Forward Jalen Smith
One of the top recruits in the nation last year, the 6-foot-10 Smith may be the most talented player on the team. The Mount St. Joseph product's soft touch and athleticism make him a threat on each level of the offense, while his length and high energy make him a possible stalwart on the defensive end.
"[Smith] will have some breakout games without question, and he's a guy to be really, really excited about," Knoche said. "He's a wondrous talent, there no question about it."
Despite Knoche's praise, he still believes that Smith still has room to grow, and that Fernando and junior point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. are the two best players and leaders on the team.
"At best, he's the third best player on this team," Knoche said. "Physically he's got a body to grow into, that said I think he's going to benefit from his role as a supporting actor."
During Maryland's first game of the season against Delaware, Smith led the Terps in scoring, totaling 19 points, and led all players in rebounds with 13.
Junior Guard Anthony Cowan
In his first season as the Terps' starting point guard last year, Cowan showed he was capable of being a dynamic on-court leader for Maryland. The Bowie, Md., native was one of the top players in the Big Ten. He averaged 37 minutes per game to lead the conference and finished in the top five in assists and steals.
"Anthony's one of those indefatigable sort of kids, he could run all day," Knoche said. "You can never question his heart, his commitment, his really dedication to getting better."
Since coming to Maryland, the diminutive guard has steadily improved his 3-point shot, taking his freshman 3-point percentage of 32.1 up to 36.7 just last year. Knoche expects more improvement from Cowan going into this season considering his workload will be lightened with the arrival of freshman guard Eric Ayala.
"Ayala's availability, and his ability to play point, makes Anthony a really invaluable piece as a two-guard," Knoche said. "The flexibility, the mix and match thing, is one of those things that I think Mark Turgeon's gonna really enjoy this year."
Sophomore Guard Darryl Morsell
After an up-and-down freshman season for Morsell, Knoche has seen flashes from the Baltimore native that make him a dangerous weapon for the Terps.
"I think he is ultimately the X factor on this team," Knoche said. "I think that he's a far better offensive player than we saw last year."
As a freshman, Morsell shot just 12 percent from the 3-point line, second-worst among Big Ten players who attempted more than 20 3-point shots on the season. This season, however, Morsell seems to have found his stroke, hitting his first three of the season against Delaware.
"If he is the guy that I think he can be," Knoche said. "I think that goes a long way to ensuring that you're pretty much where you want to be at the end of the year."
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox
To hear more from Knoche, listen to the full interview here: