When Maryland opens its basketball season tonight at Cole Field House against Bucknell, it will unveil three freshment who have begun rebuilding a house crumbling in hailstroms of pettiness.
Dutch Morley will start at point guard. Buck Williams will start at power forward and Reggie Jackson - who may one day be the cream of this crop - will share time at both guards.
The addition of these three enthusiastic, unselfish players has made possible the even more important introduction of a sophomore, Albert King.
This is not the freshman King who crept wide-eyed onto the Maryland campus in a blaze of publicity, followed by illnesses. This is not the King who came to Maryland a leader, only to be cruelly transformed into a worrying, inconsistent follower by jealous teammates.
Nor is this the introvert King who painfully admitted after the 15-13 season that he didn't "really play," that he felt resentment when he did and that he felt responsible for the Terps' bad fortune.
"I don't feel like I used to. I don't act like I used to," said King. "It feels like it's going to be different - I want it to be different. I've got to make it different for myself.
"I doubt that I've changed much basketball-wise, but I think I have grown up in some ways. I just don't worry any more. I've found out it doesn't get you anywhere."
King then made a surprising comment for one raised in a rundown section of Brooklyn.
"I guess I didn't know what bad was until last year," said King. "I had always had it so good."
Where King had it so good was on the countless courts that became his kingdom. Shattered bottles and dope pushers were shoved behind chain link curtains, providing the man-child with a stage to amaze and confound even the older professional players who came to play pickup games.
King always had unanimous respect - until last year.
Now he's got it again.
It is apparent in the way he looks, acts and talks. Last year he literally ducked around corners to avoid conversation with anyone, even the coaches. He lost weight and suffered mononucleosis and tonsillitis before the season even began.
On the court, though he never speaks of it specifically, he had difficulty dealing with guard JoJo Hunter, who has transferred to Colorado. This year, King says, "No one is freezing anyone out," meaning that the new guards are happily feeding him the bail.
Last year, King admitted to looking at halftime statistics and becoming concerned if he had already scored his average: 13 points. It was common-place for him to follow a great first half with one in which he did not score.
It was something that happened, almost without him knowing it.
"Maybe I didn't want to face it. Maybe I knew it all the time," said King. "But I feel comfortable this year.
"The team is more together. I know when I get out there, I'm going to play ball. The thing I do best is score, and if I don't do what I do best I'm just hurting the team. I know this now. And I can tell by the way this team acts on the floor that this is what they want me to do.
"If it takes me putting it up, I'm going to put it up, and I mean a lot.
"This team is together on and off the court. It's different. We'll go to parties, to discos, hang out on Rte. 1, we slap each other's hands - you need that.
"Almost every day, I thought about last season - why we did so poorly, why my game wasn't good. I can't go back and change it. So I try to learn from it and forget it, and I did when I was hanging out this summer playing basketball, enjoying myself. I have to relax and just play.
"I'll have to be more of a leader. Our freshmen don't need much help, but when they do, I'm willing to be the guy they look for. I feel more comfortable with that. I was used to that."
With all its distractions and quasicorruptions, the college game is still a game of emotion. T group of fragile teen-agers who can't look into each other's eyes across the training table, who don't like to sit with each other on airplanes, are not going to win college basketball titles.
This is the big change that King already has seen take place. Against athletes in Action Tuesday night, King was suffering from a pulled hamstring and puffy eyes from his first experience with contact lenses, and he did not have a good game. He missed his first seven shots.
But he loved that way the whole bench stood and cheered, the way everyone came to the huddles during time outs - a imajor improvement over last year.
"I want to win. I want to go to Utah (site of the NCAA tournament) and win it all, "said King boldly, a different King from the one who said almost nothing last year at all."I'll do whatever it takes.