Four new players will be among the top seven Terrapins Saturday night when Maryland opens its basketball season against Penn State in the Baltimore Civic Center.
Coach Lefty Driesell has settled on his starting lineup, which will include freshman Len Bias from Northwestern High school at one forward and junior transfer Ben Coleman at center. The returning starters will be Jeff Adkins and Adrian Branch at the guards and junior Herman Veal at the other forward.
Jeff Baxter, a freshman guard from Carroll High School, and Ed Farmer, a freshman forward from Wilson, N.C., could play as much as the starters.
The centerpiece of the team, offensively, will be sophomore Branch, who scored 15 points per game last season.
"Without the (30-second) clock," Driesell said, "we used to run the offense three or four minutes then give the ball to Adrian and let him go one on one. Now, we'll run it for about 15 seconds, then give the ball to Adrian and say, 'Okay Adrian, do your thing.' If Adrian gets the ball in the middle, there's nobody who can stop him. When the clock is shut off in the last four minutes we'll give it to Adrian and say (to the other team), 'Now, take it away.'
"We're young, we don't have any seniors and we don't have a pure point guard. We've been working on the fast break, (bringing) the ball up court as quickly as possible. I don't think the 30 second clock will affect us. We could play with a 10-second clock."
Driesell switched Branch to guard to make room at forward for Farmer, a smooth, 6-7 player who rebounds well offensively and has a good shot. But Farmer has missed a lot of practice in the preseason.
"Ed's had everything; the flu, a bad shoulder, bad legs, bad back, bad head. He's fragile," Driesell said. "He's a basket case. I can't count on him. I said, 'Ed, son, you gotta quit getting hurt.' He said, 'Coach, how am I gonna do that?' I said, 'Son, that's your problem.' He'd be starting if he wasn't hurt so much."