Terps Alex Len Cleared to Play in Exhibition: Fan’s View

It's been a tumultuous few months for fans of the University of Maryland men's basketball program. Leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Williams bolted for the NBA draft and longtime coach Gary Williams retired a few days later. The new coaching staff led by Mark Turgeon lost several incoming recruits as well as promising sophomore Hawk Palsson. Then last week, adding injury to insult, starting point guard Pe'Shon Howard was lost for up to three months with a broken foot. Well, Terps fans finally got some good news on Wednesday.

The NCAA finally ruled on the case of incoming freshman Center Alex Len of the Ukraine, who had ties to a European club team. Len will be suspended for Maryland's first ten regular season games, but he will be permitted to play in the exhibition game against Northwood University on November 4th. Len will likely receive quite an ovation from the Maryland faithful who have been looking for a reason to cheer. Len will be eligible to make his regular season debut on December 28th in a home game against Albany, meaning he will be eligible for the Terps entire ACC league schedule.

The 7 footer will be a welcome addition to the Terps depleted front court. Due to Howard's injury the Terps will dress just eight scholarship players to start the season. The scouting reports on Len have been mixed. Comparisons have ranged from the ridiculous (Dirk Nowitzki) to the sublime (former Terp Mike Mardesich). Let's hope the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Len certainly has the size that Maryland desperately needs to help make up for the absence of Jordan Williams. He also reportedly can step out and knock down some 15 footers. According to umterps.com Len is just 225 pounds. He may get pushed around a bit in his freshman year but the youngster seems to have tremendous upside. If he can provide a defensive presence in the paint, work the boards, and provide an extra five fouls Turgeon will likely be thrilled. If Len can step out and knock down some jumpers against the Duke and Carolina bigs he'll never again have to pay for a meal in College Park.

* Information gathered from umterps.com and csnbaltimore.com

Dan Soderberg is a freelance writer, lover of pancakes and lifelong baseball fanatic. You can read some of Dan's other work at http://mudville9.blogspot.com/ . Follow Dan on Twitter @dan_soderberg

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Updated Thursday, Nov 3, 2011