- The Washington Times - Monday, August 29, 2011

The greatest question for Maryland’s basketball program since Mark Turgeon took over as coach - actually, a week before that, when Jordan Williams formalized his plans to leave school - was just how the Terrapins’ frontcourt would shake out this season.

Part of the solution might have arrived this week.

Olexiy “Alex” Len, a 7-foot-1, 225-pound center from Ukraine, was added to the Terps’ roster. The school announced the addition Monday, bumping Maryland up to nine scholarship players in Turgeon’s first season.

It’s still uncertain how many years of eligibility Len will have. Nor can anyone quite be sure how immediately effective he will be (Len averaged 16.0 points, 11.4 rebounds and 4.3 blocks in the 2010 under-18 European Championships) against an ACC schedule.

But he will provide size, which Maryland clearly was lacking from its existing options.

After Hauk Palsson opted earlier this month to pursue a career in Europe, Turgeon was left with three plausible interior options: James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and Berend Weijs. None of the three is an established rotation player at the college level, though Padgett played some the last two years and Weijs contributed early last season. Pankey missed all but one game with a leg injury.

Len’s addition might provide Turgeon with the flexibility to avoid a heavy reliance on four-guard lineups. Maryland returns three experienced backcourt options - senior Sean Mosley and sophomores Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin, as well as sophomore Mychal Parker and freshman Nick Faust.

• Patrick Stevens can be reached at pstevens@washingtontimes.com.

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