Maryland freshman forward Jalen Smith will return for his sophomore season, the team announced April 8.
"I'm excited to return to Maryland for my sophomore year and advance my education as I continue to develop both on and off the court with my teammates and coaching staff," Smith said in a release. "This past season was an amazing experience and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for our team."
Smith, who earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors this season in helping lead the team to a 23-11 record and a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten, will not test the NBA Draft waters as his frontcourt teammate, Bruno Fernando, did last spring.
By confirming Smith's return, the Terps immediately become a preseason top-25 team with Smith as the focal player. Head coach Mark Turgeon's 2019 recruiting class includes twin brothers Makhi and Makhel Mitchell, both of whom provide much-needed frontcourt depth behind Smith.
"I am proud of Jalen's decision to remain in school and develop his game while continuing his education," Turgeon said in the release. "Jalen did so many great things for our program this season and his potential was on full display in the NCAA Tournament. He has the opportunity to take his game to another level as he works with our strength and coaching staff this offseason."
After an uneven freshman season in which the 6-foot-10, 215-pound Smith at times appeared somewhat overwhelmed by the speed and physicality of the college game, returning for another season will allow Smith an entire offseason to work on his body.
When he did play well, Smith dominated, finishing the season with stellar performances in Maryland's two NCAA Tournament games. He scored a team-high 19 points on 8-of-9 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds during the team's opening-round win against Belmont. He again led the Terps with 15 points against LSU in the second round.
The former McDonald's All-American finished the season third on the team in scoring (11.7 points) and second in rebounds (6.8), forming a potent frontcourt combination with Fernando. Fernando, a projected first-round pick, is expected to enter the draft.
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