Wednesday night’s game against North Carolina is billed as a “White Out,” playing off Maryland’s “White Ops” jerseys and the impending snowstorm that is ready to slam the region. But the pregame festivities will focus on seniors James Padgett and Logan Aronhalt, who will play their last regular season home game with the Terps.
Each gas a unique circumstance surrounding their respective departures. Padgett is Maryland’s longest-tenured player, a senior who’s been with the program for four years. Aronhalt, meanwhile, only transferred to College Park this offseason after notching nearly 1,100 points over three injury-riddled seasons with Albany.
Both, despite fluctuating minutes off the bench, have proven reliable contributors for the Terps this season. Aronhalt ranks third on the team with 9.7 points per road game (Note: This originally said per ACC game. It was a miscalculation. I apologize and fixed it), while Padgett is shooting 58.9 percent, time and again displaying the team’s best inside post moves.
“These four years went fast,” Padgett said Tuesday. “I think I learned a lot from my freshman year to my senior year. I wish I knew what I know now as a freshman, because life would be so much easier, and it might have went a different way, but I think I learned a lot at Maryland…I’m going to miss playing here at Comcast in front of the fans.”
Both seniors said they would at least explore the professional basketball route after graduation. Aronhalt still has to wrap up his graduate degree in exercise physiology, but said he might put that on hold if Europe comes calling.
Thanks to the NCAA’s rule for graduate student transfers, Aronhalt was able to extend his career to a fifth season — he redshirted at Albany with a broken foot his freshman year — because Maryland offers a graduate program that Albany did not. Despite not ever visiting College Park during the recruitment phase, he’s fit in well as a quiet leader and a reliable gunner off the bench.
“He’s had a great year,” Coach Mark Turgeon said. “I’ve said many times, he chose Maryland because of the academics. And he saw an opportunity to play. I think he’s gotten a lot out of this year, as far as academically and what it’s going to do for his future, plus privately, knowing he can play at the ACC level, which is important to some people. What an asset he’s been for us. He’s the one guy who’s consistently knocked down shots. It’s hard to get him shots. Almost 48 percent from three? That’s amazing. We think it’s going in every time he gets an open look.”
Padgett, for his part, expressed interest in becoming a guidance counselor. The former captain has logged single-digit minutes in five games since ACC play started, but worked himself back into the starting lineup against Wake Forest.
“Padge, been here four years, quiet kid,” Turgeon said. “We got a lot out of James last year. It was a different team. I think lately, he’s given us more low-post scoring and defensively, we have a lot of confidence in him. So he’s had a really good two years for us. A really good two years.
“Good kid. Good teammate. I think he should be proud of what he’s accomplished here. He really should. He’s been good to me. He’s done everything I’ve asked him to do these two years. Hopefully we’ve helped him.”
Both seniors, Turgeon said, will likely start against North Carolina. Just a hunch, but reason suggests that the Terps will go with Padgett, Aronhalt, Dez Wells, Alex Len and whichever point guard Turgeon decides to tab.