We’re not even into the dog days of summer yet, but already one of Maryland basketball’s biggest question marks appears to have reached a tentative conclusion. Mark Turgeon joined a local radio show on Tuesday to field some questions about the draft, recruiting, and the Big Ten switch, but he also talked about the point guard situation.
With Pe’Shon Howard having transferred and an inability to bring transfer point guards in, the decision on who would be starting was in flux all off-season. Now, it appears that Mark Turgeon has decided that sophomore guard Seth Allen will be leading the troops on day one, with incoming freshman Roddy Peters backing him up.
Turgeon suggested that Allen would be playing the majority of minutes at the point during his radio appearance, which gives the Terrapins a sense of continuity and security at the position. Having to rotate between Dez Wells, Pe’Shon Howard, Seth Allen, Nick Faust and Logan Aronhalt last season was a major issue, as no player could get into an established role or a groove. Knowing that that won’t be the case next year should help with Allen’s confidence on the court as he tries to adjust from being a purely scoring guard to more of a facilitator.
Last year, Allen averaged 1.7 assists per game, but also showed a propensity for carelessness as the primary ball-handler on the court. Though six turnover games were not commonplace, he did have a few during his freshman year that led many fans to believe he would not be able to handle the responsibility. His passes were oftentimes half-hearted, and the end result was a pick and a fast break in the other direction.
Apparently coach Turgeon believes that Allen will be the best option going forward, and with that assurance, it’s settled. Though Roddy Peters might be a great point guard in the future, realistically speaking it’s well known how most guards fare against ACC competition their freshmen years. There is a major adjustment period, both in terms of the speed of the game as well as the physicality of opposing guards.
Last year, when Maryland had the freshman Allen running the point, the offense was disjointed at best. Allen would simply dribble around the perimeter until an opening appeared where he could slash to the basket; or, he would shoot. With game experience comes a more fundamental understanding of the game, and there’s hope that Allen can learn from that and become more of a leader.
I think he’ll do just fine, and I do think he’s a better option than a point guard who missed his senior year of high school due to injury. There’s no way Peters would have been fully in shape in time for the season, and he is still very young, so the best method is to go with what you know. Allen is obviously going to have to work on his passing and dribbling, but at the very least he’s an upgrade over Pe’Shon Howard. Allen showed an ability to score with the best of them, and I think there is no question he’s going to provide an offensive boost (however marginal) because anything is better than 1 point per game (which is basically what Howard gave).
With Peters being able to serve as the understudy rather than go into a baptism by fire role, he won’t have to face the pressure that comes with the expectations Maryland fans have for their basketball players. Peters can watch the game, adjust to the pace, and learn from the mistakes of others while not completely pummeling his confidence. He also gets to slowly work himself back into shape, thus lowering the chance of re-injury due to a heavy workload. That can’t be understated: the Terps would rather have a fully healthy Peters in 2014 than one coming off an injury plagued season in 2013.
He should grow in a more limited role, and become the established guard by year two that Maryland saw in him coming out of high school. I like the move, but what do you guys think?