[UPDATED 5 p.m.]
After slogging through a short-handed, injury-plagued inaugural season, Coach Mark Turgeon has devoted his off-season to re-stocking Maryland’s basketball roster.
On Monday, Michigan’s 6-9 sophomore Evan Smotrycz emerged as the latest dividend of that effort, confirming his decision to transfer to Maryland, where he’s expected to add a sorely needed offensive spark to the Terps’ frontcourt.
As a transfer, Smotrycz won’t be eligible to compete until the 2013-14 season, at which point he’ll have two seasons of eligibility remaining. But he said in a telephone interview that he’s eager to start summer workouts in College Park, with an eye toward making a smooth transition to ACC basketball and establishing himself as a productive future member of the Terrapins’ squad.
Smotrycz (pronounced SMAHT-rich) averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game in just over 20 minutes per outing last season at Michigan. He boasts a nice 3-point shot (hitting 43.5 percent from beyond the arc last season), which should help diversify Maryland’s offense and stretch opponents’ defenses.
“The ACC is definitely a different style of game than the Big Ten, which is something I’m looking forward to,” said Smotrycz, a native of Reading, Mass., who recently toured campus and said he felt immediately at home with Turgeon, the Terps’ coaching staff and his new teammates.
“I was just really comfortable around the coach and the kids on the team,” Smotrycz said. “They are great coaches and very relatable—all really good guys. And it’s the same with the team. I thought it was just a beautiful campus and a really good opportunity to play for a really big-time program.”
As for where he’ll fit in with the Terps, Smotrycz said that he and Turgeon looked at game film together and talked about a multi-faceted role.
“He kind of laid out a plan where I’d be doing a bunch of different stuff — picking and popping, coming off screens, obviously shooting it and being versatile and making plays,” Smotrycz said.
Smotrycz’s decision to enroll at Maryland follows last week’s signing of 6-8 power forward Charles Mitchell, who became the fourth recruit for the 2012-13 season under Turgeon. The 250-pound Mitchell is more of a wide-bodied post player with strong rebounding skills.
In addition to Mitchell, next season’s recruiting class includes 6-9 center Shaquille Cleare of Houston; 6-8 forward Jake Layman and 6-1 shooting guard Seth Allen of Fredericksburg, Va.
In his two seasons at Michigan, Smotrycz appeared in all 69 games with the Wolverines, averaging 7.0 points and 3.6 rebounds.
Michigan reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament this season, falling to Ohio. Soon afterward, three players announced plans to transfer: Smotrycz, sophomore forward Colton Christian and freshman guard Carlton Brundidge.
Maryland finished 17-15 and 6-10 in the ACC, falling short of an NCAA or NIT bid for a second consecutive season.