Moments later, the 6-foot-8, 260-pound Charles Mitchell would do the same.
The freshmen are literally the Terrapins’ biggest additions as the formal start of practice approaches. And if it wasn’t already apparent, Maryland will field a vastly different frontcourt in coach Mark Turgeon’s second season.
“We’re four deep,” Turgeon said. “We have tremendous depth inside, which we didn’t have last year.”
It was a maddening debut at times for Turgeon, a teacher of defense and rebounding whose team was ever-vulnerable to potent post players and had only so many options to work with down low, especially in the 10 games before Len became eligible.
Gone is Ashton Pankey, who transferred to Manhattan after an up-and-down redshirt freshman season. So too is Berend Weijs, a lean center who averaged 1.9 points and struggled to hold up physically against stronger players.
Yet they’re both still big bodies and are certain to provide some interior oomph for a team out-rebounded in conference play a year ago.
“This year everyone is much stronger,” Cleare said. “Our freshman class, we got in a few bigs and we’re very physical. We’re willing to do the dirty work — whatever. We will bite, scratch, tear you apart down low. We’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”
Cleare is neither bashful nor especially boastful, but instead intent on providing a rugged element to the Terps.
Given a choice between plowing through something and going around it, Cleare opts for as little subtlety as possible.
“He’s definitely going to go through it,” guard Seth Allen said.
There is a practical facet to the addition of Cleare and Mitchell. Turgeon will enjoy far more flexibility in managing fouls with a credible four-man rotation in the post, and there is also the possibility of doling out playing time based on production, something that wasn’t a luxury a year ago.View Entire Story
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Patrick Stevens has covered Maryland and other Mid-Atlantic college sports for more than a decade. You can reach him at email@example.com.
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