Switzerland big man Arnaud Revaz -- who committed to Maryland on Monday -- believes his background is similar to former Terps center Alex Len and hopes to replicate his success in college.
Revaz will be the latest in a long line of European players to suit up for the Terps under Mark Turgeon, but the gold standard for Terp Euros remains Len, who got the pipeline rolling in Turgeon’s first season at Maryland in 2011, developing from a unheralded prospect to a top-five NBA Draft pick in just two seasons in College Park.
Both Len and Revaz began playing basketball late, a sign of untapped potential, but that is where the comparisons end. Len, who began playing basketball at 13, dominated the U-18 European Championships before coming to Maryland. Revaz, who began playing basketball at 15, competed in the event as well, but hardly stood out from the competition.
Revaz’s pedigree more closely resembles the other European players that have played at Maryland since Len, a list that includes Michal Cekovsky, Ivan Bender and Joshua Tomaic. None of the aforementioned players developed beyond rotational players for the Terps. Tomaic was one of three big men to leave the program with eligibility remaining this offseason, leaving the Terps thin in the frontcourt and putting them in a position where they were willing to take a chance on a 6-foot-10 post player from Switzerland who averaged the seventh-most minutes on his U-21 club in France this past season.
Revaz, who’s listed at 6-foot-10, 220 pounds, has good size and exhibits good mobility, coordination and body control, which makes sense given his track and field background as a high jumper. But his highlight videos mostly show him finishing high percentage shots around the basket, along with the occasional mid-range jumper. Turgeon praised his shooting ability in the school’s press release, but Revaz didn’t make a three last season or in the U-18 European Championships in 2018 and shot around 50 percent from the foul line in both competitions.
He’s more athletic than Bender, but the Croatian big man is the former Euro Terp who Revaz resembles the most in terms of resume and playing style. Both were advertised as face-up forwards even though they were never proven shooters and they both appear to be “tweeners” as well in the sense that they don’t have the ideal skillset to play the four nor the ideal physicality to be a force around the rim at the five. Bender was more accomplished in international competitions before coming to Maryland, but that doesn’t mean Revaz couldn’t have a brighter future considering his late start in the sport and Bender’s injuries. Revaz averaged 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds in the U-18 European Championships in 2018, while Bender averaged 10.3 points and 5.3 rebounds at the U-19 World Championships in 2013, a more prestigious event in a higher age bracket.
One thing that does seem clear is that it will take some time for Revaz to get adjusted to college basketball as even Len needed a year to get used to the change in style and culture before positioning himself to become No. 5 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Len averaged just 21.1 minutes per game as a freshman, while Cekovsky -- who averaged 13 minutes in his first season -- was the only other European Terp who didn’t need a redshirt year to get up to speed. Revaz is already fluent in English, a luxury Len and Cekovsky weren’t afforded, but he’ll still have a steep learning curve as voluntary team workouts have already begun and he won’t get to campus until next month.
The expectations for the upcoming season, therefore, should be low. The addition of Revaz should be viewed as more of an insurance policy in case either Galin Smith or Chol Marial -- the only other players on Maryland’s roster taller than 6-foot-9 -- get hurt. Smith and Marial are expected to split time at center, while Donta Scott returns as the starter at power forward. The Terps are also hoping Boston College transfer Jairus Hamilton, who can play either forward spot, is granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA since his family moved to the area for work, but otherwise Turgeon could be forced to deploy more small ball lineups this year with senior Darryl Morsell seeing spot minutes at the four.