Mar 2, 2014; Clemson, SC, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Roddy Peters (2) drives to the basket during the first half against the Clemson Tigers at J.C. Littlejohn Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports
Roddy Peters had a very up and down freshman season, much like most freshman seasons tend to go. For starters, his offseason was a measure shorter than most, given that he missed most of his senior year recovering from shoulder surgery. Peters only had a couple months to get back into the swing of things and even Coach Turgeon admitted that he was perhaps a few steps slow coming into the season. For that reason, it made sense to bring Peters up to speed behind Seth Allen to start the year, but the best laid plans…
Allen goes down, Peters is one of the players called upon to step up. It took one loss to Oregon State before Peters was proverbially hurled into the fire to be baptized for the Paradise Jam tournament. The result? Maryland wins the entire tournament, and Peters looked to have secured his place as point guard of the future. Freshman errors be damned, Peters playing on the ball allowed Dez Wells to get freaky off it. The culmination of Peters efforts on the floor happened shortly before the new year, when he was named ACC Freshman of the Week after scoring 14 points and dishing three assists out in a win over Boston College.
Things kind of went downhill from there, though.
Peters got a career high 26 minutes against Boston University, but turned it over 7 times. Coincidentally, Seth Allen returned the next game against Tulsa, and Peters never saw his minutes go higher than that BU game. In fact, Peters would only play twenty or more minutes twice the remainder of the season. Worse still, he would only play fifteen minutes or more three times in all of 2014. Allen returned, and the Peters era was grounded before it really had a chance to take off.
Peters finished the year averaging 4.1 points and 2.1 assists per game, reaching double figures only three times all season (and none came after the arrival of Allen). His minutes dwindled and his contributions became a tad more scarce. The occasional free throw here, some filling in on the bench. In many ways, this was how Peters was supposed to be brought up to speed, but in a disappointing season for Maryland basketball, it just feels like he wasn’t good enough yet to earn minutes.
But I’m here to tell you that not all is lost.
The greatest news for Roddy Peters is that history is on his side. If there was one thing Peters did well last season in his limited minutes, it was distribute the ball and turn it over a lot trying to do so. Why is turning the ball over a good thing for rookie point guards? Well, because in most instances high turnover rates early equate to very successful point guards later in their career. It’s a statistical correlation that seems counter intuitive, yet holds true in so many instances.
They don’t give out box score stats for potential or secondary assists, and that’s where a lot of Peters abilities come from. Peters probably would have had even more assists if Shaq Cleare or Damonte Dodd didn’t miss easy layups and dunks or Charles Mitchell had his hands up. Peters was nearly unguardable driving to the basket with a vicious first step; it was what came after he blew by the person guarding him that became frustrating.
Sometimes big men wouldn’t have their hands up, other times guards wouldn’t rush into open lanes created by Peters drives to convert open layups behind the defense. When that happened, Peters would try to force some pretty unrealistic passes that he didn’t need to.
All that said, the potential for Peters is still very much there. Here’s a stat for you: 17 of the 23 times Peters played double-digit minutes, he got to the free throw line at least once. Peters was exceptional at drawing contact because of how hard he drove to the basket, and that’s a weapon you can’t take away from him anytime soon, and for that reason he will always be a major threat on the court. It’s a rare trait, and becomes useful when you combine it with his affinity for kickouts and dump offs.
He’s also got a very high assist ratio of 27% (the amount of possessions that end in an assists while he’s on the court); for reference, freshman phenom Tyler Ennis is at 32% and Marcus Smart was at 26% his freshman year. Peters isn’t either of those players, but his ability to get the ball into scorers hands is similar. They may not accomplish it in the same manner, but for all intents and purposes that’s irrelevant.
We saw glimmers of how great Peters could be: his Oregon State performance was spectacular (10 points and 6 assists) and against Georgia Tech he was arguably even better (5 assists and 0 turnovers). Now he just needs the minutes to develop into something even more special.
The bad parts about Roddy Peters game, however, are also exceedingly bad. Before we delve into that, understand that it’s pointless to be overly critical on a freshman player who didn’t have an offseason during one of his most important ones (senior in high school to freshman in college). We can go off hard numbers, but to make definitive statements about a player so young is oftentimes futile.
Peters biggest flaw, for me, was the fact that he couldn’t play defense. The ACC is packed with point guards who are ready for the NBA and have first steps on par or better than Peters, as well as crafty, developed moves that are hard to stop with hand check rules in play. Peters youth showed most here, as he gave up nearly 104 points per 100 possessions while was on the floor. That’s second worst on the team behind only Seth Allen, who missed half the year with a broken foot.
He couldn’t stay in front of anyone, opposing point guards hit open shooters as the defense collapsed, and it only exacerbated Maryland’s poor perimeter D. That’s why Peters was hard to justify at point guard, because Maryland was getting eviscerated. You’ll note that Peters minutes were limited for two reasons: the first was the arrival of Seth Allen, but the second was his performances against Florida State and Pittsburgh (the first two times). In those games, Peters was one of the worst culprits for not finding perimeter shooters, and as a result Maryland gave up what felt like 60 three pointers and lost both games by a combined 44 points.
So yeah, not great.
Peters other major problem was dat shot tho, and the fact that his only scoring option was driving to the left side. Simply put, Peters showed little to no diversity in his ability to score. He couldn’t do it with right-handed layups, and was incapable of hitting shots (he almost broke the backboard against FSU in the ACC tournament) outside of three feet. That’s not great for a point guard, as defenses just have to stuff the post and wait for you to shoot, which is exactly what Peters did. And he missed pretty much every outside shot he took.
Peters probably is a better shooter than his numbers (1-of-9 from deep) would suggest, but it’s going to take a full offseason before we can judge that fully. This season, it certainly didn’t improve at all, but he did have a bit of a jumper in high school, so that could change in the future. And it really ought to, because with a McDonald’s All-American point guard coming onto campus next year, the pressure to perform will be turned up.
Which brings up another point: is Roddy Peters a point guard? Peters height suggests he might even be a combo guard/shooting guard plain and simple. He’s around 6’5 and skinny, which suggests maybe he’s more of a wing than a point guard. That would go against his assists numbers and would be dangerous given how poorly he shoots the ball, but it’s worth wondering whether or not Peters is playing out of position or even has a position.
Overall Grade: C+
Peters showed off some flair, but didn’t do it consistently and needs to show more before any definitive statements can be made.