Jan 22, 2013; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins forward Jake Layman (10) drives for a second half basket past Boston College Eagles guard Patrick Heckmann (33) at the Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Through six ACC games, the Terrapins are 3-3 and fifth in the ACC behind North Carolina, North Carolina State, Duke, and Miami. How have the players themselves been doing, though? We’ve gotten to see an Alex Len buzzer beater, and a Jake Layman onslaught against Virginia Tech, but those memorable moments aren’t the whole story.
I’m going to break down our five biggest actors:
“The Tom Hanks” (A-Lister)
Alex Len: 13.8 ooints, 8.7 rebounds, 2.6 turnovers per game in ACC play.
His Forrest Gump performance: vs N.C. State – 10 points, 5 rebounds, one last second shot FTW
Without question, the most consistent player the Terrapins have is Alex Len. Len will head into Duke with the recognition of being the only player who has hit double figures in scoring during each of his ACC games. Sure, his 10 point, five rebound dud against North Carolina left a sour taste in my mouth, but by and large Len is unequivocally the team’s leader.
If he’s on fire, the Terrapins are a dangerous team with a go-to option down low for easy points. Most of the time, that’s the case, because even at his worst Alex Len is still a very tough player to guard. It’s why he’s Hanksie.
“The Jeff Goldblum” (B-Lister)
Dez Wells: 10.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game in ACC play.
His Jurassic Park performance: @ Miami – 18 points, 5 rebounds, almost single-handedly willing the team to a comeback.
Wells sums up the Terrapins first and second half performances pretty well. One night, he’s virtually unflappable against an incredibly talented Miami team and almost willing his team to a comeback victory. Other nights, we get the Dez Wells who got neutered by N.C. State for 4 points and 3 assists in that game. He should be playing a lot better than he is, but I can’t discredit all he does for this team. He’s either rebounding, dishing assists, blocking a shot, or spurring runs, and I love him for it. Anything that needs doing, Wells will get done.
Dez Wells is essentially Jeff Goldblum, because you can get either Jurassic Park out of him, or you can get Cats & Dogs. You’ll get your A-list performances, but you may also get a bad movie or two in the mix.
“The Tim Curry” (C-Lister)
Nick Faust: 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds per game in ACC Play
His Jumanji performance: vs Boston College – 11 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals
For opposing ACC fan bases watching the Terrapins, Nick Faust is “that guy” who they can recognize but can’t put a name to. He’s always doing something heroic or making a big play that essentially cancels out the fact that, when you get down to it, most of the time he’s not that great. Excluding the game against Virginia Tech, when Faust got hurt in the first few minutes of the game, he has been streaky in the scoring department all season.
What Faust does manage to do is be an incredible glue guy. What doesn’t frustrate the average viewer is Faust’s ability to rebound. He averages a little over 5 rebounds a game on one of the best rebounding teams in America, and that’s a credit to his hard work. Even when the shots aren’t falling (which is very often), Faust is a very good rebounder, a solid passer, and essentially our only guy who can manage steals.
He’s Tim Curry
The “Dustin Diamond/Screech” (D-Lister)
Seth Allen: 9 points, 3.2 rebounds per game in ACC play
His Saved By The Bell performance: vs Virginia Tech – 21 points, 4 rebounds
Seth Allen’s ACC play has been one that started off with a major bang, but has fizzled off a bit as of late. His debut against Virginia Tech is something I will remember for years to come, when he and Jake Layman were the super freshmen who carried the team. It got me thinking, “That Seth Allen, he’s got a very bright career in the future!” Heck, even his following game where he scored 13 against Florida State gave my a sneaky suspicion that he was going to be a premier scorer in the conference this year.
Of course, his productivity has tapered off significantly since those two outings, and he hasn’t shot the ball that well. He hasn’t hit the 30% mark in shooting in three of his last four outings, and has yet to inspire a lot of confidence as a primary ball handler. ACC guards have given him trouble and forced him into turnovers and bad passes, leading me to believe that he may not be ready for prime time yet.
He’s Screech, whose one outing is the only memorable thing thus far during conference play.
The “Chocolate Rain” YouTube Celebrity
Jake Layman: 7.3 points, 3.8 rebounds per game in ACC Play
His Chocolate Rain performance: vs Virginia Tech – 20 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists
Layman’s career at Maryland has been defined by, really, two things. His first half performance against Virginia Tech, and his stunning hair. More recently he added to his catalog a 15 point outing against Boston College that was crucial to victory. Outside of that, can you name one thing Layman has done in any of his other four ACC games? Exactly.
Layman gets beat a lot on the defensive end, but he does show some major promise offensively and on the glass. His three point shooting could make him absolutely deadly, but it all depends on who he is going up against. He’s like the Chocolate Rain guy, whose voice gives you pause, but whose overall performance may not illicit a lot of confidence going forward.