In a few months, Logan Aronhalt will likely find himself playing pickup basketball in some nondescript gymnasium for whichever adult-league team is blessed enough to have him. Aronhalt is Maryland’s elder statesmen, even though he’s only been in College Park for a short time after transferring from Albany last year for one last go-around. Back aches hamper him, so each game is a test for his aging body. He knows professional basketball is unlikely to call. For now, he’s just enjoying the ride.
A solid student pursuing his graduate degree in exercise physiology, Aronhalt is often held by Coach Mark Turgeon to be Maryland’s paragon of work ethic, both on the court and in the classroom. Yet he continues to surprise and find new ways to contribute, albeit in often limited minutes for the Terrapins.
“I don’t know if I’d even call myself a leader on this team. More by example than anything, I just try to do the right things on and off the floor and show guys: ‘Hey, it’s not about you. It’s about the team, do whatever it takes.’ ” Aronhalt said. “If it means five to 10 minutes and not really scoring at all, or coming out like I did tonight and putting up a lot of points. Whatever your role is, you just have to come out and do it every day.“
Aronhalt was Maryland’s only source of productive offense in its disappointing 69-58 loss to Boston College on Tuesday night. The fifth-year senior finished with a season-high 26 points, his highest scoring total since hanging 28 on UMBC while playing for Albany on Jan. 26, 2011. His career high is 30, set earlier that season with the Great Danes against Niagara.
In an earlier life, Aronhalt could run and jump with the best of them. Turgeon remembers watching his highlight reel and seeing a sprightly guard dunk over defenders. But now Aronhalt has become a sage veteran of sorts, a mercenary hired for one year of duty before walking away into the sunset. His body can’t quite handle being an everyday starter, but Turgeon simply needs him to be a consistent shooter off the bench. Against the Eagles, Aronhalt obliged.
Two of his three-pointers came in garbage time, when the Terps were hoisting shots to overcome a sizable deficit, but Aronhalt was solid early, too. By halftime, he had 15 points. No other player for either team reached double digits. He also reached the rim on consecutive possessions, leaking free on a fast break for an open layup, then attacking for free throws. Earlier this season, Aronhalt joked with reporters that he’s only allotted one true jump per game. So how might his body feel after playing more than 20 minutes (he played 31) for the first time all season?
“We’ll see tomorrow morning,” he said.
>> Another game, another disappearing act from Alex Len. One game after dominating Duke’s Mason Plumlee and flashing the NBA potential many have raved about, Len tied his season low with four points in 27 minutes. He blocked three shots but committed three turnovers, unable to handle Boston College’s double teams. He snatched eight rebounds, including four on the offensive end, but seemed weak in the paint and even got stuffed late by at the rim 6-foot-7 wing Eddie Odio.
“He’s extremely talented,” Boston College Coach Steve Donahue said. “We’re going to be watching him for a long time. What I thought we did early, we trapped him and he made really good passes and it made him kind of tentative. Then we took it off and we just kind of bothered him, but he got out of that aggressive mode. I think it helped because he lost that aggressiveness and he never really got it back.”
>> Jake Layman had around 300 family and friends in attendance. He went to King Philip High School and grew up in Wrentham, Mass., about 45 minutes south of Chestnut Hill. Layman finished with five points and six rebounds, making a three-pointer and scoring a baseline dunk late.
Assistant coach Scott Spinelli also had a sizable contingent of fans in attendance. He grew up about 40 minutes west of Boston and graduated from Boston University.
Evan Smotrycz, a transfer from Michigan who’s sitting out this season, also made a rare trip. He from Reading, Mass.
>> Pe’Shon Howard returned from his one-game suspension and played 14 largely uneventful minutes. He made some nice passes (three assists) but also committed two turnovers. On his first offensive possession, he stepped into a wing three-pointer and made it. He also hit two free throws later, finishing with five points – more than Nick Faust, Charles Mitchell, Shaquille Cleare, Seth Allen, James Padgett and Len all scored.
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