In dire need of depth and experience at guard after leading scorer Terrell Stoglin abruptly entered the NBA draft last month, Maryland bolstered its backcourt on Sunday with a transfer who it hopes can help immediately.
Logan Aronhalt, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who averaged 13.8 points and 4.3 rebounds for Albany last season, will enroll at Maryland for his final year of eligibility. The fifth-year senior will be able to play right away rather than sitting out a year because he graduated summa cum laude with a degree in human biology in December.
Seeing Aronhalt resurface at Maryland surprised a current head coach in the America East because the veteran guard lacks the athleticism he possessed early in his career. Chronic knee pain plagued Aronhalt all of last season, limiting him to a total of 26 minutes in Albany's final seven games.
"He has good mid-range game, he can shoot it out to three and he's physical, but I just worry whether athletically he can compete at the highest level because of the injuries he has had," the coach said. "They've kind of taken away his athleticism. Maybe he can use angles and use his body to get to the rim, but it's not going to be above-the-rim type stuff. It's going to be old-school using his craftiness to finish at the rim.
"Now I think, the intangible stuff, he brings to the table. He provides leadership. He's going to be a kid who works hard day-in, day-out. He's a good student. He's a winner. That's probably his biggest asset."
The addition of Aronhalt makes sense for Maryland even if he's not at full strength because the Terps backcourt is riddled with question marks.
Pe'Shon Howard, Maryland's projected starter at point guard, missed the first six weeks of last season with a broken foot, then returned for a month before tearing the ACL in his right knee in early February. He and potential breakout star Nick Faust will likely be part of the starting five, leaving one wing spot open for Aronhalt, incoming freshmen guard Sam Cassell or promising 6-foot-8 Jake Layman if Maryland chooses to go with a bigger lineup.
Maryland fans should be somewhat familiar with what Aronhalt can do because he scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds in a loss to the Terps last December. He's a capable ball handler, a threat from behind the arc and a stabilizing presence for a team that will rely mostly on freshmen and sophomores in year two of coach Mark Turgeon's rebuilding process.
For Maryland to finish in the top half of the ACC and contend for an NCAA tournament bid, Faust needs to emerge as a go-to perimeter scorer and other members of the backcourt have to contribute as well.
Before the addition of Aronhalt, that meant relying on true freshmen to make an immediate impact. Now Maryland has a veteran insurance policy who can fill that role.