Maryland men’s basketball coach Kevin Willard brought in seven new players for his inaugural season in charge after the Terps’ first losing regular season since 1993.
While some transfers came from programs that suffered a similar fate last year, Willard hopes to instill high standards as head coach.
Four of the new Terps came from teams that went a combined 54-70 last season. Twenty-one of those wins came from Jahari Long at Seton Hall under Willard.
“The biggest issue I’ve had is none of these guys have really come from a winning program,” Willard said. “They haven’t come from losing programs, but to try to get them all to understand what it takes to win on a day in, day out basis has been the hardest challenge.”
Jahmir Young’s notched a winning record at Charlotte, but the 49ers fell in their first Conference USA tournament game.
Willard said even though the new group of transfers is older, they have bad habits that are hard to break in a short preseason.
Despite growing pains, Willard’s been encouraged by the group’s mentality as Maryland approaches its season opener against Niagara Monday.
“That’s where their attitude has been unbelievable, where they understand they have so much to learn even though they’re older guys,” Willard said.
Young became the first DeMatha Catholic High School product in more than 20 years to commit to Maryland in April after three years with Charlotte.
He said moving closer to home and seeing his family has helped his transition while transferring.
“My family would travel to Charlotte and … they would catch every game they could get,” Young said. “So just being able to come home, there’s a great opportunity. We can do something special and I want to do something special, and in front of them, that would just be amazing.”
The 2020 Conference USA’s freshman of the year started every game of his three-year career with the 49ers.
The 6-foot-1 guard averaged 19.6 points, 3.7 assists and 5.9 rebounds at Charlotte last season and earned first-team Conference USA honors for the second straight year.
Young ranked 14th nationally in offensive rating of players used in at least 28 percent of possessions last season. Offensive rating measures the number of points produced by a player per hundred total individual possessions.
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Carey started his collegiate career at Mount St. Mary’s before transferring to Siena. He joined Georgetown after one season and helped the Hoyas to a NCAA tournament appearance in 2021.
The 6-foot-5 guard averaged a career high 13.5 points per game and shot 38.8 percent from three-point range at Georgetown last season.
“[Carey] is a really big knockdown shooter, and he can bring a lot to the team,” Donta Scott said.
Carey and Young — both Upper Marlboro natives — look to form a new-look Maryland backcourt after the departures of Eric Ayala and Fatts Russell.
Young believes the college experience the two graduate students have will allow them to quickly transition into their roles this year with the Terps.
“We’ve both been in college for a few years, so just experience, leadership,” he said. “We spend a lot of time together, we’re roommates. So me and his chemistry, you’re gonna be able to see it on the court, it should be special.”
Long joins Willard in swapping Seton Hall for Maryland after two seasons on the Pirates.
The 6-foot-5 guard played primarily off the bench for Seton Hall but earned his first two starts at the beginning of last year before a knee injury ended his season.
He averaged one point, 0.7 assists and 0.7 rebounds per game in limited time over 24 appearances for the Pirates.
“[Long] brings a very smooth game to the program,” Scott said. “He’s very good at creating for others and just maneuvering off ball screens, but he brings a toughness to the team as well.”
Batchelor was Willard’s first signee as Maryland’s new head coach.
The freshman, a Frederick native, played at St. Maria Goretti Catholic High School and Glenelg Country School before transferring to IMG Academy for his senior year of high school.
Batchelor said his initial transition to IMG Academy was hard because of the increased level of play, but the time prepared him to succeed at the college level.
“At IMG, playing all those other teams, you gotta be more physical, the game’s a lot more faster … your IQ gets a lot better,” Batchelor said. “Basically everything, it just helped my game all around.”
The 6-foot-6 wing was ranked as the No. 22 small forward recruit by Rivals in 2021.
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Emilien appeared mostly off the bench throughout the first three years of his collegiate career at Western Michigan.
He averaged 3.8 points and three rebounds per game over those seasons before transferring to St. Francis Brooklyn, where he found the most success at the collegiate level last year.
The 6-foot-7 forward started every game for the Terriers and was the team’s leading rebounder and second best scorer last season, averaging 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.
Emilien averaged 17 points in St. Francis Brooklyn’s two tests against Big Ten opponents last season: Wisconsin and Penn State.
“[Emilien] is a real key in making me better, making the team better,” Scott said. “[He’s] a very vocal guy every day on the court.”
Swanton-Rodger joins the Terps as a freshman and is listed as the tallest player on Maryland’s roster.
The 6-foot-11 center played high school basketball for Edge Prep High School and club basketball for UPlay Canada. He averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game on the Marquee Hoops circuit.
Swanton-Rodger said he wanted to join the Terps not only due to the program’s culture and the opportunity for playing time, but also because of performance director Kyle Tarp. The center said he needed to put on weight to adjust to the collegiate level and said Tarp helped him transform his body.
“I was a little undersized for the five when I got here but over the summer, I put in a lot of work to get to the level that I needed to be at for the start of the season,” Swanton-Rodger said.
He and Emilien bolster Maryland’s frontcourt depth after Qudus Wahab returned to Georgetown, Simon Wright exhausted his eligibility and James Graham III transferred to Missouri State last season.
The Terps rounded out their roster by adding walk-on Carson Dick. The 6-foot-2 junior guard played for Glenelg High School.
“We had walk-on tryouts, and Carson had great energy and a great personality,” Willard said.