Before the Maryland Terrapins basketball team takes on the Delaware State Hornets in a couple of days, I just wanted to rehash some memories from the Stony Brook game. As tough as that might be, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we didn’t, because I still can’t get the image of Tommy Brenton dogging every Terrapin on the court out of my head. So lets break it down.
1.) Alex Len’s draft stock took a hit locally, but not nationally.
When NBA scouts sit down this season and take a good look at Alex Len, chances are when they see the video tape (like anyone uses these anymore) titled “MD-STON,” they’re going to brush over it in favor of an ACC game. That’s probably great news for Alex Len, because locally, Maryland fans saw that game and saw Alex Len’s inability to guard the rim.
Perhaps it was a game off defensively; maybe he just wasn’t feeling it that nigh, as times got closer to Christmas and he missed the motherland a little more. Whatever reason, Len (and the rest of the front court) got chewed up by Stony Brook down low. No, it won’t show up in the box score, but their front court had 53 of their 69 points total. Stony Brook won despite being undersized and having virtually no guard play at all.
That’s on Len. That’s also on Shaquille Cleare, James Padgett, and Charles Mitchell. I know that team was small, but they weren’t athletic and small. They moved the ball well and our bigs couldn’t keep up in their rotations. I know NBA scouts may look at the box score and see 19 points, 9 rebounds, and a block for Alex Len, but everyone who watched that game knows he had a rough go of things down low.
2. Nick Faust = Glue
Nick Faust isn’t doing the one thing everyone expected him to do at the start of the season, which is score in droves. He’s only shooting 37% from the floor, and even worse from long range. As a result his PPG average has barely changed from last year. But while I could harp on what he’s not doing well all night, I would be remiss if I didn’t speak of what he actually is doing well, which is everything else.
Faust has been the consummate glue guy this season for the Terrapins, doing whatever is necessary to make the team prosper. If the team needs some rebounding, Nick Faust is there to rebound. If the team needs to find an open man on the wing, Nick Faust finds that guy. If the Terrapins need a clutch bucket, as they did against Stony Brook, Nick Faust hits it. Seriously, Nick Faust is slowly becomin my favorite Terp to watch, because maybe I had it all wrong about him.
Perhaps he doesn’t score as much as I would like him to, but he plays smart basketball and doesn’t turn the ball over too much, which is something I can live with. If he works on his on-ball defense even more, I’m not sure it’s going to matter whether or not Faust can or cannot score 15 points every night. Everything else he does is so clutch, that he doesn’t really have to.
3. The turnovers look slightly better
Finally, the Terrapins had a game where they weren’t completely shooting themselves in the foot by giving the other team and extra ten shots a game. Yes, they still had 11 turnovers to Stony Brook’s five, but the times that they did turn it over really were slightly more manageable. There wasn’t the carelessness with the ball that plagued the Terrapins earlier in the season. At least in the first half, the Terrapins made the easy pass down low to Len or an open shooter, without trying the homerun plays that we are so interested in doing.
If Maryland can continue to improve in playing fundamentally sound basketball, with the way this team passes, there isn’t a whole lot more you can ask of these guys.