Maryland earning high praise in 2021-22 Way Too Early Top 25 lists

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Ryan Wormeli
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Maryland earns high praise in 2021-22 Way Too Early Top 25 lists originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

Despite lists that are always described as "way too early", it's never actually too soon to start thinking about next year when it comes to college basketball.

At this point, it has become a rite of passage for fans the morning after the NCAA Tournament title game to pull up projected top 25 rankings for the following season, based on returning players.

Here's where the Terps stand the 2021-22 Way Too Early Top 25 lists.

Sporting News: 5thStadium: 5thESPN: 6thNCAA: 8thThe Athletic: 11thUSA Today: 11thSports Illustrated: 12thCBS Sports: 13thWashington Post: 18th247 Sports: 22nd

Maryland wasn't ranked once in 2020-21, so these rankings represent a major step forward from the past season.

This season, the lists are even tougher to project than normal. Not only is there less clarity than ever before on roster continuity with every senior in the country eligible to return for a fifth year, but there are already a record number of players in the NCAA transfer portal who still need to find new homes.

The Maryland Terrapins are like every other team in that they are still awaiting a number of decisions to determine the outlook for next year's roster. Darryl Morsell announced this week that he would be entering his name in both the NBA Draft and transfer portal, while also leaving open the option to return to Maryland for a fifth season.

Even beyond Morsell, the team's leader and heart and soul of the program, the Terps have plenty of question marks. Eric Ayala and Aaron Wiggins could form one of the country's best, most experienced backcourts as seniors next season, but both are rumored to be considering jumps to professional ball.

Two questions the Terps have already answered early in the offseason came over the weekend. Mark Turgeon received commitments from both point guard Fatts Russell and center Qudus Wahab, filling the two most important positions on the floor - which also happened to be Maryland's two biggest holes this past season - with two of the best options in the entire pool of transfers.

Those transfer commitments led to some high praise for Maryland, which turned into some optimistic rankings for the 2021-22 season. It remains to be seen how the rest of the offseason will play out - each rankings assumes Ayala and Wiggins will return, which is far from a guarantee - but for now Maryland is poised to be one of the best teams in basketball next season.