5 walk-ons fill their role and Ter­rap­ins’ ros­ter

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS - By Don Markus

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

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