Mar 9, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Seth Allen (4) drives to the basket against the Virginia Cavaliers at Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
1.) What’s your best guess on why Seth Allen left?
Chris Bengel – At the moment, I’m truly dumbfounded as to why Seth Allen has decided to leave the Maryland program. The only logical scenario is that Allen truly believed that his chance to make it to the NBA was at the point guard position. Regardless of your stance on incoming freshman Romelo Trimble, it is clear that he will see big-time minutes at the point guard spot. Whether he can be a primary ball-handler remains to be seen, but he would’ve been huge competition for Allen. If Allen got off to a slow start, Trimble would be right there to make a name for himself and seize control of a good majority of the minutes at the one. I just think that Allen didn’t want to play off the ball and he felt that the point guard spot was his best chance to stardom.
Ahmed Ghafir – I’ve heard rumors that it’s because of playing time, that Turgeon promised Melo the starting role and that Seth would come off the bench. To me, that seems ridiculous. Melo hasn’t even practiced with the team yet, so it seems farfetched to suggest that Turgeon would make that promise. My best guess is that with Faust, Cleare, Roddy and his lead recruiter, Scott Spinelli, all leaving the program, Seth needed a fresh start and was intimidated a little with Melo coming in. It’s a lot of change for one kid to handle.
Michael Willis – Best guess? The relationship just went sour and kids are fickle folks. Seth Allen seemed, to me, the least likely candidate to leave the program about a week ago. Obviously that’s no longer the case, but there’s a good chance something changed for him. Some say he and Dez Wells didn’t really get along, and his best friends (Faust, Howard, Cleare) are all off the team now. If that were the case, and you combine it with the notion that Seth wanted to play the point but Melo was brought in to do so, it makes sense that he might leave the program. Especially because Turgeon would seem weak if he were to cater specifically to one player just to keep him around.
2.) Is this the nail in the coffin for Mark Turgeon’s career at Maryland?
Bengel – Mark Turgeon certainly has one foot in the grave at this point. We know all about how much an impact that Turgeon has had on recruiting, but the biggest issue has been on-court production. During his three years in College Park, Turgeon has posted a 59-43 (.578) record and has a pair of 17-15 seasons under his belt. The first year should be stricken from the record since the Terps only had single digit scholarship players and had guys like Ashton Pankey, Mychal Parker, and Berend Weijs playing major minutes.
If you look at the last two years, Maryland just hasn’t gotten it done. The 2012-2013 season was the first year with the top recruiting class that consisted of Seth Allen, Jake Layman, Shaquille Cleare, and Charles Mitchell. The Terps played young at times, but rode the coattails of big man Alex Len as they ultimately fell short of the NCAA Tournament. This past season was inexcusable. It was a down year for the ACC and Maryland had plenty of experience. It was just a season of bad losses and missed opportunities. Turgeon certainly shares a great deal of blame for that. I’m not ready to say that Turgeon is done in College Park, but he’s going to have to have one hell of a year in order to save his job.
Ghafir – The transfer is not the nail in the coffin, but what happens this season will be. There could be more roster attrition coming, but this team loses depth, which is what Maryland lacked for three years now. It’s another year where they’ll rely on young players to step up. Melo will have flashes of greatness, Wiley and Nickens will surprise, and Cekovsky and Reed will show their untapped potential. But this team is not built for a top-25 year, and are now a fringe NCAA team.
Willis – Not the nail in the coffin, but the ship is sinking pretty quickly. Turgeon hasn’t made the tournament during his tenure here, and what was supposed to be a season in which he had the least amount of variables on his roster has become a giant question mark. Can he coach five freshman (only one of which is inside the top fifty by most analysts) to a tournament berth in an unfamiliar conference. Your guess is as good as mine, but I do know that a tournament berth would allow Turgeon to keep his gig.
Still, Maryland has no money right now, so there is a chance he could keep his contract even if the Terps flop miserably next season.
3.) What impact will this transfer have on the roster? Where does Maryland go from here?
Bengel – The impact is huge. Allen would set to see similar minutes to that of Dez Wells. Allen made significant strides in his sophomore season and proved that he could be counted on as a primary scoring option. He has going to be your starting point guard, no matter how impressive Trimble was in training camp. Now Trimble is going to have to be ready to contribute a whole lot quicker than Turgeon may have preferred. The Terps just lost a whole lot of their veteran leadership and guys like Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens will also get more playing time than they originally may have.
Ghafir – I think Charles Mitchell is gone after Seth’s transfer. That will severely hurt this team going forward and puts even more pressure on the younger guys. What was so nice about the end of last year is that Maryland looked to retain almost their entire roster and add five young talented men. Now, Maryland has to look for transfers for guards and bigs, if Charles Mitchell does indeed transfer. IUPUI guard Ian Chiles is a name for Terp fans to become familiar with. He’s visited Auburn and is considering Tennessee, Western Kentucky and South Florida. He can provide scoring off the bench, which is now something needs.
Willis – The impact of Allen leaving is pretty substantial. Allen was Maryland’s best or second best scorer last season (depending on who you ask), and when you add up all the transfers who have left, the Terps have lost nearly 50% of their offense from last season. Allen wasn’t a perfect point guard, but the team was better with him than without. We said the same thing about Stoglin’s departure a few years ago, though this one isn’t as dramatic.
Still, there are rumblings that perhaps Charles Mitchell will be leaving the program after Allen. Losing your top rebounder, your best scorer, your best passer, and your best defensive player in the same season is a hit. Not saying it isn’t salvageable, but the road is all uphill from here.
4.) Are the Terps a tournament team next year despite having five freshmen set to play substantial minutes?
Bengel – With where things currently at the beginning of May, I would say no. People may point to the fact that Maryland has a phenomenal top 10 recruiting class coming in. However, we saw how this played out in the 2012-2013 season. I agree that the 2014 class is a much higher talent level, but you still can’t expect freshmen to come in and instantly be impact players. Life Center Academy center Trayvon Reed is extremely raw and has a ways to go in terms of his offensive game.
From a defensive standpoint, it’s going to be tough for Maryland to stop teams in the Big Ten. On May 2, your starting frontcourt is likely Charles Mitchell and Evan Smotrycz. That’s two guys that are certainly not rim protectors by any stretch. Obviously, they’re skilled rebounders, but the Terps are going to need to get stops with points being at more of a premium. Dez Wells is going to have to have a career year and hope that his winning attitude is contagious. If the freshmen can develop and learn on the fly, Maryland can be a dangerous squad. That’s a pretty big if in my book.
Ghafir – No. This team is not close to a tournament team in my mind unless the freshman do something spectacular. Remember, only Turgeon and Dez know what it takes to make it to the tournament. That doesn’t mean this team can’t make it come November. Some transfers can give this team some much needed depth. But right now, I just can’t see it. The Big Ten style of play is tougher for this team than some may think. It’s going to take a lot to hear the name “Maryland” come Selection Sunday.
Willis – Maybe, but probably not. There are so many question marks that you have to use tons of guesswork and predictions to convince yourself they might get there. The Terps lost a lot of scoring, and I am not sure which freshmen will come in and provide it. That said, the cupboard isn’t exactly bare. Dez Wells was one of the best players in the ACC last season, Evan Smotrycz looked pretty good for a player who hadn’t played in a season, and Jake Layman still has lots of potential. That’s saying nothing about Charles Mitchell being a spectacular rebounder or the top ten class they just brought in (which includes an All-American). They’ve got weapons to work with.
The positive that I can see from Allen leaving is that Maryland has some definition to their roster. You know who the point guard is (Trimble), the shooting guard (Wells), the small forward (Layman), the power forward (Smotrycz) and the center (Mitchell, Dodd, Reed, who will all foul out eventually). The Terps haven’t been able to clearly define roles on the team heading into the season in awhile. True, the actual playing ability of some of those guys, mainly Trimble and the freshmen, is more than uncertain, but at least will all these minutes to spread around you can assess what you have.
5.) Does anyone else transfer? Name your starting five next season.
Bengel – I’m going to have a positive outlook and say that the storm is over. Everyone that is currently on Maryland’s roster will stay. There’s been talk about Mitchell leaving, but I just don’t see it happening. He’s guaranteed starting minutes next year, so it makes little sense for him to stay.
The starting lineup makes a little more sense now with the departure of Allen. The roles are more clearly defined. My starting five consists of Melo Trimble, Dez Wells, Jake Layman, Evan Smotrycz, and Charles Mitchell. With Allen, I think Layman would’ve come off the bench, but now can play the wing where he can thrive. His length could pay huge dividends for the Terps and is one of the main reasons why he has the potential to be an NBA player. Still not buying that Chandler Parsons comparison though.
The backcourt has the potential to be really special if Trimble figures it out quickly. Trimble isn’t a guy that gets by on his natural athletic ability. He has all the intangibles that you look for in a point guard. Offensively, he’s worlds above what Allen was at this stage of his career. Wells can be a great teacher for Trimble and show him what it means to be a collegiate basketball player.
While this is your most likely starting lineup, I still see the other four freshmen and Damonte Dodd playing a good amount of minutes.
Ghafir: Charles Mitchell is my best guess for the final transfer, but at this point nothing would surprise me. My starting five is Melo, Dez, Layman, Chuck and Reed. I know Reed isn’t ready yet, but he gives Maryland a rim protector that they lacked last year. If Mitchell leaves, I’ll replace Mitchell with Graham day one, but Cekovsky later in the season. Far from ideal in my mind.
Willis: Man, who knows?