5 walk-ons fill their role and Terrapins’ roster
COLLEGE PARK — They are an eclectic group, more typical of college students who find themselves living in the same dormitory than basketball players who wind up on the same Division I team. As they hung out together during Maryland’s Media Day this month at Comcast Center, the five walk-ons seemed to be as attached at the heart as they were at the hip.
Given the makeup of this year’s team and their sheer number — the biggest group of nonscholarship players first-year Terps coach Mark Turgeon has ever had in 15 seasons as a college coach — the walk-ons attracted nearly as much attention collectively as the returning players.
“This is unusual, to have that many on the roster,” Turgeon said in a telephone interview. “There’s more guys to coach and all that, but just in case of injuries I like to have the extra bodies.”
While it’s doubtful that any of the walk-ons — or John Auslander, who was recently put on scholarship — will start for the Terps when they open their season Nov. 13 against North Carolina-wilmington, it seems reasonable that some of them might play, considering Maryland’s lack of depth.
“They’re getting better every day, individually and as a group,” Turgeon said. “It’s been fun to watch them improve. Their heads are EXHIBITION NORTHWOOD @MARYLAND spinning. There’s been a lot thrown at them. All of a sudden you’re at a college practice playing against guys who were highly recruited. They’re doing great. … They’ve come a long, long way in 11 or 12 practices.”
As a senior at St. Albans in Washington, Spencer Barks thought he was headed to play at New Hampshire. But then he stopped hearing from the coaches there.
“In those three days that New Hampshire stopped talking to me, Turgeon called up with Gary Williams to see if I wanted to