This season's team will have a decidedly different look from the one that won a school-record 28 games last season before losing to St. John's in the NCAA tournament round of 16.

Three-year starters Laron Profit, Obinna Ekezie and Terrell Stokes have completed their eligibility and high-flying Steve Francis left for the NBA after one season at Maryland. In their place, the Terrapins will turn to a trio of freshmen and a solid, but small, nucleus of returning players led by junior forward Terence Morris, a first-team all-American and the Atlantic Coast Conference's preseason player of the year.

Center Lonny Baxter, forward Danny Miller and shooting guard Juan Dixon, reserves last season, move into the starting lineup. Freshman Steve Blake, the most heralded of Maryland's freshmen this season, is the only natural point guard on the team. Blake has taken advantage of the opportunity to play his way into the starting lineup, but his ability to play at a high level will be tested by a difficult early season schedule.

Redshirt junior center Mike Mardesich, who struggled last season, and 6-foot-10 freshman forward Tahj Holden are the front-court reserves. Freshman Drew Nicholas, who made six consecutive three-point shots in the Terrapins' first exhibition game, is the lone scholarship reserve in the back court. However, Coach Gary Williams could move Morris or Miller to the shooting guard position and go with a tall lineup.

The key for Maryland will be its ability to find ways to open the offense for Morris, who likely will be the focal point for defenses.

"The pressure this year is to figure out ways to win games," Williams said. "Last year, we got to a point where if we won by 10 points, people thought we should have won by 20. This is a different kind of pressure."

Data

Last season: 28-6, 13-3 Atlantic Coast Conference (advanced to NCAA tournament round of 16).

Coach: Gary Williams (11th season, 192-118; 22nd season overall, 399-246).

Top returning players: F Terence Morris, 6-9, Jr. (15.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg, first-team all-American, ACC preseason player of the year); C-F Lonny Baxter, 6-8, Soph. (6.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg); G Juan Dixon, 6-3, Soph. (7.4 ppg. 2.6 rpg, .371 three-point pct.), C Mike Mardesich, 7-0, Jr. (3.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg), F Danny Miller, 6-8, Soph. (4.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg), F LaRon Cephas, 6-7, Jr. (1.4 ppg).

Key departures: G Steve Francis (17 ppg, first-team all-ACC, No. 2 overall pick in NBA draft, now with Houston Rockets); C Obinna Ekezie (12.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, second-round draft pick, Vancouver Grizzlies); F Laron Profit (14.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg, second-round draft pick, Orlando Magic, traded to Washington Wizards); G Terrell Stokes (2.8 ppg, 6.3 apg).

New faces: G Steve Blake, 6-3, Fr. (Miami); G Drew Nicholas, 6-3, Fr. (Hempstead, N.Y.); F Tahj Holden, 6-9, Fr. (Little Silver, N.J.).

Schedule

November

17 San Francisco*, 8

19 Tulane or Fordham*, TBA

22 Fairleigh Dickinson, 8

24 TBA, TBA in New York

26 TBA, TBA in New York

30 Iowa**, 7:30

December

4 Illinois***, 3

5 GW or Seton Hall***, TBA

7 Winthrop, 8

11 Kentucky, 9

27 George Mason, 8

30 UMBC, 8

January

2 Coastal Carolina, 1

6 at N.C. State, 7

9 Duke, TBA

15 at Georgia Tech, 8

19 Wake Forest, 9

22 Clemson, 4

26 at North Carolina, 7

29 at Florida State, 1:30

February

2 Virginia, 8

6 N.C. State, 4

9 at Duke, 9

13 at Temple, 3:30

16 Georgia Tech, 7

19 at Wake Forest, 4

22 at Clemson, 8

26 North Carolina, 1:30

March

1 Florida State, 8

4 at Virginia, 7

9-12 at ACC tournament in Charlotte

*Preseason NIT in College Park

**in Baltimore

*** BB&T Classic at MCI Center