CHARLOTTE — Evan Smotrycz is from Reading, Mass., a Boston suburb just north of the city known for its lobster feasts and otherwise delicious seafood. The Maryland forward’s surname also tangentially sounds like “lobster,” so several years back a small contingent of Michigan basketball fans created the Smotrycz’s Lobstryczs, billed on Facebook as “the most difficult to spell fan group in the world.”
Smotrycz, who transferred to Maryland before the 2012-13 season and will make his official Terrapins debut this November after sitting out a season per NCAA rules, was honored at Michigan by four fans who donned full-blown crustacean costumes with “Maize Rage” T-shirts over the thorax, not dissimilar to the Turgeonites at Comcast Center.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “I guess an attempt to rhyme with my last name.”
Color his current teammates surprised.
“No, I didn’t know that,” said Nick Faust, a Maryland guard and Smotrycz’s roommate, at ACC media day. “It’s just him. It’s his deal. I didn’t know.”
Billed as a stretch-four with a nice three-point shot, Smotrycz figures to space Maryland’s offense better than the paint-clogging system Coach Mark Turgeon employed last year. Smotrycz watched last season’s home games from the bench, suavely dressed in sweater-vests after pregame workouts with director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp. NCAA regulations barred him from making road trips with the team.
This season, his presence gives Maryland an additional weapon and a new opportunity for fans in College Park to dress up like animals. Faust suggested a giraffe, because Smotrycz is tall, “kind of funny-looking and always snooping around.”
“Hopefully something new,” Smotrycz said. “Probably the weirder the better. Something to laugh about.”
Unicorn? Anteater? Porpoise? Platypus?
“Yeah, platypus would be good.”