Name: Seth Allen
Weight: 190 lbs
Position: Point Guard
High School: Fredricksburg Christian School, Fredricksburg, VA
As A Recruit: 3-star by 247Sports.com, 187th ranked player in class of 2012
90’s Hip-Hop Comparison: Jermaine Dupri, specifically in “Money Ain’t A Thing”
Career Highlight: Allen connected on two free throws with 2.8 seconds left to help Maryland beat the Duke Blue Devils 83-81 last February, snapping their six-game skid in the series. Allen finished with 16 points, and followed up that performance with a win against Duke later in the ACC tournament.
2012-2013 in review: It had been quite awhile since Maryland basketball had to rely so heavily on a freshman point guard to lead the way to success. There was the Terrell Stoglin year, but that team only churned out 19 wins and was more disjointed than anything. But Seth Allen was virtually handed the reins last season because of Pe’Shon Howard’s ineptitude early on, whether he was prepped or not. The end result? 25 wins, Maryland’s highest since Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes were the Terps two super freshmen in 2006.
And this isn’t revisionist history, either; this is reality. Seth Allen had more minutes than all but Dez Wells, Alex Len, Nick Faust, and Pe’Shon Howard. That Maryland’s junior point guard (Howard) only played 28 more minutes than Allen says a lot about how well this kid was playing. Top 200 recruits don’t come into the ACC and start any games, really, ever. Especially not for teams that win 25 games. In retrospect, that Seth Allen was able to accomplish what he did should be looked upon as incredibly promising.
Seth Allen may not have shot a high percentage (39%), but considering what ought to have been expected of him and what was expected of him, I’d say last year was a success. Allen revealed himself to be quite the scorer as a freshman, a very worthy replacement for the departed Terrell Stoglin (who was supposed to be the guy) and arguably, a better overall player too.
His ability to go hibachi on the ACC was shown off in his first conference game against Virginia Tech, where he pounded the Hokies for 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting. His finishing ability at the rim and explosiveness of the dribble, as well as his touch from deep were on full display, and fans got a glimpse into the potential future with this young man. Thirteen of Allen’s 38 games ended up with him in double figures. Oh, and he scored 16 points against the #2 team in the country (Duke), and was absolutely crucial to helping the Terps take down their rival twice last season. That alone is a success.
Here’s another thing: that ability to get around opposing point guards and drive to the rim allowed Allen to excel at kickouts, and he was a better facilitator than he was given credit for. If there were a statistic to measure how good players were at kicking the ball out on drives, Allen would lead it on a team of good shooters. That in and of itself was a major reason why the freshman failed to rack up more assists; his teammates just couldn’t hit shots on a consistent basis.
Of course, things weren’t all peachy for Allen. For one, he went down with an injury to his wrist late in the season (coincidentally, with a major uptick in minutes). That put an end to his stretch of double digit scoring in four of his last five games and ~50% shooting. There was also the turnover issue, which largely plagued the entire team.
Allen may have been good as a solo option, but he didn’t show off great ball control and most definitely did not possess the vision that Pe’Shon Howard had. Allen may have been great at kickouts, but he was horrible on entry passes and equally as bad at getting into offensive sets. Sloppy passing was a staple of Allen’s game, and he would follow up most great plays with upsetting careless ones.
While he was fifth in minutes, he was third in turnovers (behind Faust and Wells, and seven ahead of Howard). That issue definitely stunted Allen’s progress as a player, but as a true freshman, what can you expect?
2013 Expectations: With Howard now departed, Allen has been given the keys to the Jag and is tasked with not running it into a ditch. That is to say, Allen will ideally be starting every game this season, and turnovers rectified, is expected to produce in a big way. Mark Turgeon said during his first media request that Allen is going to have to score, so that’s what we should expect of him.
Fully recovered from his wrist injury, Allen’s primary concern is going to be diminishing significantly the turnover problem that plagued the team last season. At least for the first half of the year, Allen will be the judge, jury, and executioner of the Terps offense. He’s going to need to get everyone in their sets early on, and ensure that his passes are on point. Part of that will come from experience, as the minutes he earned last season will serve him well in being more decisive. Most of that will come from another year in the offense, which he should now have down to a T.
With new weapons at his disposal capable of hitting midrange and deep shots, Allen is going to be relied on to use that kickout talent he has more often. That ability should open up the floor for the Terps significantly, as Evan Smotrycz and Jake Layman will likely be able to get plenty of open looks in this offense. In turn, his scoring should uptick by a significant margin, assuming things go well.
One of the major things Allen will be asked to do is get to the line when things get tough. He actually gets to the line at a relatively decent rate, but that’s going to have to improve. As his shot stops falling and the offense stalls out, Allen will need to draw fouls in order to remain effective; it’s a key trait for many elite point guards. Replacing Len’s four free throw attempts (the highest on the team) will have to be distributed equally, and Allen should carry some of that responsibility.
That trait (and patience before hoisting up a three point attempt early in the shot clock), should help Maryland avoid the offensive lulls that they went through last season. It’s no coincidence that Maryland started scoring in the 80’s late last year when Allen started getting to the line four and five times a game. A lot of that was on him, and if he can continue that the Terps should start really humming offensively.
Should Allen improve upon his decision making and throw in some scoring, expect 2013-2014 to be the year that gets Maryland into the NCAA tournament and back to the 28-30 win teams that Maryland had become accustomed to in years past.
Up next: Jake Layman