Last offseason, Kevin Willard was tasked with building on a strong first year in College Park where the Terps exceeded expectations with an NCAA tournament appearance and win.

Willard’s roster retooling after being hired allowed for such success in his debut season. And while Maryland lost two starters and its top two bench pieces following that campaign, the roster had far fewer holes than the one the coach inherited. But unlike Willard’s first offseason, the Terps failed to replace their lost production.

It led to Maryland’s second losing record in 30 years. Now, Willard’s tasked with rebuilding his roster again — and the degree of the Terps’ success in the transfer portal could define next season and ultimately their trajectory after two drastically different years with Willard at the helm.

Hakim Hart, Ian Martinez and Don Carey’s departures left Maryland with voids to fill at guard and on the wing. Freshmen DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jamie Kaiser Jr. were set to fill those roles entering this season. The latter entered the transfer portal Monday.

The duo were key players in Maryland’s highest-ranked recruiting class since 2018, but struggled to adapt to the collegiate level.

Willard didn’t supplement their additions with any offensive difference-makers in the transfer portal, leaving the Terps with very few scoring options and elevating the consequences of the freshmen’s struggles.

[Maryland commit Derik Queen flashed star potential in McDonald’s All-American game]

“Understanding the way I built the roster a little bit, I put a lot of pressure on these young kids to be honest with you,” Willard said after Maryland’s loss at Penn State on March 10. “That’s the one thing I wish I could have redone is maybe get someone to not put so much pressure on [them].”

Indiana transfer Jordan Geronimo was the Terps’ most highly-touted transfer last year as the 174th-ranked player in the portal. He averaged about 12 minutes per game primarily playing power forward for the Hoosiers but began the season as Maryland’s starting small forward.

The poor offensive fit forced Willard to swap him back to the power forward role and move Donta Scott to the wing. Geronimo’s defensive versatility aided Maryland’s success on that end of the floor, but the Terps’ stout defense wasn’t enough to make up for a dysfunctional offense.

Many of the scoring issues stemmed from Maryland’s shooting. Willard’s squad shot 28.9 percent from three this year, 340th out of 351 Division I teams, which allowed opposing defenses to crowd the paint and key on Jahmir Young and Julian Reese.

“The way we built the roster, I thought was good … as the year went on, I was really, really shocked at how much we struggled to shoot the basketball,” Willard said after Maryland’s season-ending 31-point loss to Wisconsin in the Big Ten tournament.

The numbers suggested shooting would be a major weakness, though. Maryland shot 33 percent from beyond the arc in 2022 with more than half of their makes coming from Carey, Hart and Martinez. The rest of the team converted on 30.9 percent of their attempts, a rate that’d be in the bottom 50 nationally.

Kaiser was known as a strong shooter entering college but shot just 26.5 percent from deep. The Terps added a three-point specialist in Chance Stephens, but the Loyola Marymount transfer missed the entire season due to injury.

Stephens may have improved the team’s shooting woes. He attempted nearly five threes per game at a 37.4 percent clip as a freshman but only averaged six points per game in the West Coast Conference.

[Maryland men’s basketball’s Jamie Kaiser Jr. enters transfer portal]

Kaiser’s shooting struggles and Stephens’ injury weren’t predictable. But even if neither happened, the blatant failure to add any shooting threats who were proven commodities was a major risk.

Geronimo never had more three-point attempts than games played at Indiana. And Mady Traore, the team’s only other transfer, scored just 10 career points before coming to College Park.

“Our inability to make shots just led to [six] three points or less losses, and that adds up. … It wears you down as a player, wears you down as a coach and I know it wore the fan base down,” Willard said. “We’ll retool the roster and we’ll be back next year.”

The Terps went 1-10 in games decided by five or less points as they struggled to make timely shots in close games.

Willard started the rebuilding process by securing commitments from Belmont’s Ja’Kobi Gillespie and Virginia Tech’s Rodney Rice.

Gillespie’s play on both sides of the ball led to him earning All-Missouri Valley Conference second team honors, a conference that saw four of its former players earn All-Big Ten nods this season. It was a huge get for Willard, but the point guard has big shoes to fill with Young’s departure.

Rice only has eight college games under his belt and wasn’t with the Hokies last season. He shot 33.3 percent from three but the former four-star recruit flashed shot-making potential and could be a significant addition if the Terps can unlock it.

Maryland has two scholarship slots remaining and will likely try to add the shooting it desperately needs. While Rice and Gillespie can help, the team lost more than half its three-point makes with Young and Scott gone.

None of the Terps’ building blocks of Reese, Harris-Smith and five-star incoming freshman Derik Queen have shown much ability to make jumpers. The shooting of Maryland’s additions is imperative so its opponents can’t solely focus on clogging the lane like this year.

Gary Williams coached Maryland the last time it had consecutive losing seasons, but it came during and immediately after the NCAA imposed sanctions on the program for violations before he got the job.

Mark Turgeon didn’t reach the NCAA tournament until his fourth season at Maryland either, something Willard has a leg up on. The transfer portal and NIL era have allowed teams to turn things around much quicker. It’s also led to many teams falling apart just as fast. Both have been true for the Terps.

Avoiding the same mistakes as last offseason could restore Maryland — but repeating them can put the Terps in purgatory again.