Hoyas, Terps have big shoes to fill

November 7, 2013

Markel Starks, right, is the Hoyas’ top returning scorer with Otto Porter Jr. gone. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Maryland and Georgetown enter the 2013-14 college basketball season with the same question: How do we deal with the loss of an NBA lottery pick? For the Terps, 7-foot-1 center Alex Len left early and was the No. 5 selection in the draft by the Suns. For the Hoyas, All-American forward Otto Porter Jr. was picked third by the Wizards. So who will fill their shoes?

Maryland Terrapins

2012-13 record: 25-13 (8-10 ACC)

Lost to Iowa 71-60 in NIT semifinals

Key player lost: Alex Len (2012-13: 11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 2.1 bpg)

What Len did best: The 7-footer was a main reason Maryland ranked fifth in the country in rebounding margin last season. He also protected the rim on defense and gave the Terps a low-post scoring option, although he wasn’t dominant offensively on the block.

How the Terps will replace Len: Sophomore Jake Layman is more of a swingman than a low-post threat, but he could emerge as the Terps’ leading scorer — making up for the 12 points per game lost from Len. For rebounding, Maryland will lean on sophomores Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell and a group of big guards, who rebound well for their position. Mitchell averaged 5.4 rebounds per game despite playing just 15.7 minutes last season. His rate of 13.8 rebounds per 40 minutes was among the nation’s best.

Georgetown Hoyas

2012-13 record: 25-7 (14-4 Big East)

Lost to Florida Gulf Coast 78-68 in NCAA 2nd round

Key player lost: Otto Porter Jr. (2012-13: 16.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.7 apg)

What Porter did best: The forward came up with big baskets in the clutch and was huge in the Hoyas’ biggest games. Porter’s best attribute was his consistency. He reached double digits in the last 19 games of the season and was the Hoyas’ top rebounder.

How the Hoyas will replace Porter: The scoring load, leadership responsibilities and late-game heroics will fall on senior point guard Markel Starks, who was second on the team in scoring at 12.8 points a game last season. Georgetown also hopes sophomore D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera can take a leap after showing flashes as a freshman, including a 33-point outburst against DePaul. But the biggest question? What will the Hoyas get out of UCLA transfer Josh Smith, who at 6-foot-10 and 350 pounds could be dominant in the post.

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Beth Marlowe | November 7, 2013