Over the last half dozen days or so, we at Benched Press have run a series of "Meet the Terp" posts. We've spent the last several days profiling Maryland's six-man class of freshmen: Seth Allen, Shaq Cleare, Jake Layman, Damonte Dodd, Charles Mitchell and Sam Cassell Jr. But head coach Mark Turgeon didn't stop there.
The last of Turgeon's additions to the jumbo-sized class of 2012 is Evan Smotrycz.
Unlike the other six incoming freshmen, Smotrycz is a transfer. He left the University of Michigan after an up-and-down sophomore campaign and Turgeon immediately targeted him.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Smotrycz also garnered interest from Baylor, Colorado, Clemson, Kansas State, Providence and Xavier, among others, before ultimately deciding to visit Maryland, Colorado and Providence.
But after spending time on Maryland's campus, he canceled his other two trips and committed.
"I'm really excited. I'm kind of relieved that I found a spot and can kind of focus on getting better and getting out there. ... It's obviously a big-time program and I thought it would be a good spot right off the bat," Smotrycz said shortly after committing.
Michigan's loss is clearly Maryland's gain. The Wolverine fan base was disappointed to lose Smotrycz (pronounced SMAH-trich), who appeared poised for a breakout junior season.
"He was going to be an integral part of a top 10 team. And he probably would have started every game and have been the second- or third-leading scoring option," said ESPN college basketball analyst Tim McCormick.
Smotrycz's position is considered a "stretch four," a guy who plays the power forward position but possesses better ballhandling, shooting and passing skills than a typical 6-foot-9 big man.
He's got a good basketball IQ and used his unique skill set to average 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game as a sophomore. He led the team in three-point shooting at nearly 44 percent and started more than half the team's games. As a freshman, he won the team's Sixth Man Award.
"He's a stretch power-forward who can really shoot the ball. He has a good feel for the game. He played a lot of minutes on a Big Ten-championship team. Evan is a matchup nightmare at his position. He's a great kid and really wants to be at Maryland. He's another great piece to what we're trying to put together here," Turgeon said in a press release.
Smotrycz was sold by Maryland's staff showing him how he would fit on the team. "The way the coaches showed me coming off screens, picking and popping, making plays off the bounce, I feel like that would really suit my game and what I've been working at to get better," Smotrycz said.
And having played twice in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, Smotrycz knows what he's getting into.
"The ACC is definitely a different style of game than the Big Ten, which is something I'm looking forward to. I was just really comfortable around the coach and the kids on the team. They are great coaches and very relatable -- all really good guys," he told the Washington Post.
As an incoming freshman, Smotrycz reclassified from 2009 to 2010, spending the extra year at New Hampton Prep in New Hampshire. He gained offers from Michigan, Northwestern and Oregon State and was ranked the 59th overall player by Rivals and the 84th overall player by ESPN.
Due to transfer rules, Smotrycz is eating a scholarship and sitting out this year. He'll be able to play in 2013-14 with two years of eligibility left.