Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Maryland lands Ukrainian big man

With Jordan Williams entering the NBA Draft after his sophomore season, Mark Turgeon looked like he was going to be kicking off his tenure at Maryland with a massive hole in his front-line.

it was bad enough that he told reporters "the roster is not where it needs to be, but Gary told me that" and that he was "not going to add a stiff to add a stiff."

That should give you an idea of what kind of player Olexiy Len is. Len, a 7'1" center from the Ukraine, was signed by Turgeon on Monday, giving the Terps another big body to join James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and Berend Weijs up front. Len averaged 16.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in nine games at the 2010 U-18 European Championships, and is talented enough that one coach told Adam Zagoria that Len would be "a lottery pick".

"We are very excited about the addition of Alex to our basketball team," Turgeon said in a statement released by Maryland. "To be able to add a player with his ability so late in the recruiting calendar is good for us. We're fortunate that, prior to our arrival, Alex was being recruited to Maryland. For him to reach this point is a testament to his great family support and his character. I'm looking forward to working with Alex and helping him reach his potential as a player and a person."

Let's tone the hype down a little bit. Let's assume that Len, who will have three seasons of eligibility, is good enough that he has the potential to be a first round pick in three years if he develops. That is still an enormous addition to the Maryland roster this late in the recruiting process.

The Terps have a talented perimeter. Most people believe Terrell Stoglin is in line for a huge sophomore season while both Pe'Shon Howard and Sean Mosley return as well. Throw in freshman Nick Faust, and Turgeon has a dynamic back court to work with. The program is that up front, Maryland was as weak as any high-major program in the country.

All he needs out of Len is for him to rebound, block some shots and be able to hold his own defensively in the post, and Maryland becomes a different team.

1 comment:

TerpDawg said...

What circumstances limit Len's playing time to 3 years?

And even if Len is only average why was no one chasing this guy?