After slogging through a short-handed, injury-plagued inaugural season, Coach Mark Turgeon has devoted his offseason to restocking Maryland’s basketball roster.
On Monday, Michigan’s 6-9 sophomore Evan Smotrycz emerged as the latest dividend of that effort after he confirmed his decision to transfer to Maryland. He’s expected to add a sorely needed offensive spark to the front court.
As a transfer, Smotrycz won’t be eligible to compete until the 2013-14 season, at which point he’ll have two seasons remaining. But he said in a telephone interview that he’s eager to start summer workouts in College Park, with an eye toward making a smooth transition to ACC basketball.
Smotrycz (pronounced SMAHT-rich) averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in just more than 20 minutes per outing last season.
He boasts a nice three-point shot (he hit 43.5 percent from beyond the arc last season), which should help diversify Maryland’s offense and stretch opponents’ defenses.
“The ACC is definitely a different style of game than the Big Ten, which is something I’m looking forward to,” said Smotrycz, a native of Reading, Mass., who recently toured campus and said he felt immediately at home with Turgeon, the Terps’ coaching staff and his new teammates.
“I was just really comfortable around the coach and the kids on the team,” Smotrycz said. “They are great coaches and very relatable — all really good guys. And it’s the same with the team. I thought it was just a beautiful campus and a really good opportunity to play for a really big-time program.”
In a telephone interview, Turgeon characterized Smotrycz as a “stretch-’em four-man,” capable of spacing out the floor with his skills. The coach also said Maryland should benefit from Smotrycz’s basketball smarts and big-game experience.
“He’s a very intelligent basketball player who understands the game,” Turgeon said. “He has played in three NCAA tournament games and brings a lot of experience we don’t have, and that’ll help us a lot.”
Smotrycz’s decision to enroll at Maryland follows last week’s signing of 6-8 power forward Charles Mitchell, who became the fourth recruit for the 2012-13 season under Turgeon. The 250-pound Mitchell is more of a wide-bodied post player with strong rebounding skills.
In addition to Mitchell, next season’s recruiting class includes 6-9 center Shaquille Cleare of Houston; 6-8 forward Jake Layman from Wrentham, Mass.; and 6-1 shooting guard Seth Allen of Fredericksburg.
In his two seasons at Michigan, Smotrycz appeared in all 69 games, averaging seven points and 3.6 rebounds.
Michigan reached the second round of the NCAA tournament this season, falling to Ohio. Soon afterward, three players announced plans to transfer: Smotrycz, sophomore forward Colton Christian and freshman guard Carlton Brundidge.
Maryland finished 17-15 and 6-10 in the ACC, falling short of an NCAA or NIT bid for a second consecutive season.