When prized recruit Doamind Stone committed to Maryland for next season, people started to get excited about the potential that Maryland would have for next season. When Melo Trimble announced that he would return to College Park for a sophomore season in 2015-16, people started to get really excited.
After Thursday’s announcement, the Terrapins have the look of a team who is a legitimate Final Four contender, and a threat to win the national championship come April. Forward Jake Layman announced on Wednesday that he would be returning to the Terrapins for his senior season, giving Maryland one of the more talented rosters in the NCAA in the process.
Layman was projected as a border-line first round pick in the NBA Draft this season, but chose to return to school. In our eyes, it was the right move.
During the 2014-15 season, the 6’8”, 205-pound Layman enjoyed a breakout season, of sorts. He averaged 12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per contest in just over 30 minutes of floor time per game. He has developed into a smarter shooter, reducing his number of three point attempts to 3.4 per game, which is down from 5.2 attempts in the 2012-13 season. With that, he saw his three point shooting percentage elevate to 37.8%, and his overall field goal percentage elevate to 47.0%.
While he has the talent and shooting ability of an NBA small forward, his inconsistencies were what help him back in the eyes of NBA scouts. By returning to school, Layman has the potential to solidify himself as a first-round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Last season, Maryland finished the year with a record of 27 – 8. They were eliminated by West Virginia in the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament. Looking ahead to 2015-16, and the Terrapins look to be the clear-cut favourites in the conference. With Layman and Trimble returning, alongside Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley, coach Mark Turgeon has a talented group of experienced players at his disposal. Add in Georgia Tech-transfer Robert Carter, and incoming freshman Diamond Stone, and it’s easy to see why the Terrapins are being held in high regard this early into the off-season.