2014-15 Player Review: Jake Layman


Our player review series continues with Jake Layman’s junior season at Maryland. Layman had his best collegiate season this year and was a huge reason for Maryland’s success. Take a closer look at the positives and negatives of his 2014-15 campaign:

2014-15 Year in Review:

Junior forward Jake Layman was unquestionably one of the primary reasons the Terrapins men’s basketball team achieved their highest regular-season win total in program history in 2014-15. As a member of the Terps’ “big three,” including freshman phenom Melo Trimble and senior star Dez Wells, Layman provided Maryland with all-round scoring ability on the offensive side of the ball and a solid presence on the defensive end.

Layman achieved career highs in practically every meaningful statistical category in 2014-15:

Points-per-game: 12.5

Field goal percentage: 47 percent

Three-point percentage: 37.8 percent

Free throw percentage: 75.2 percent

Rebounds-per-game: 5.8

Assists-per-game: 1.4

While his production did falter towards the end of the season and into the NCAA Tournament, his consistency throughout the season helped pace the Terps offense.

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The Good

When Wells was lost for several weeks early in the season due to a broken wrist, Layman averaged over 17 ppg during that seven-game span. With Maryland down one of their scoring stars, Layman stepped up in a big way and helped the Terps to victories in six of those seven contests, the lone loss coming at the hands of a very solid Virginia team, who was ranked seventh in the country at the time.

Layman was an absolute force for the Terps before Big Ten play began, averaging nearly 16 ppg over the first 13 games of the regular season. One of Layman’s significant strengths is his ability to hit from three, and he shot an impressive 41 percent  from beyond the arc during non-conference play. Once conference play began, the story remained much the same.

After managing to score just four points in the Terps’ double-overtime win against Michigan State on December 30, Layman redeemed himself in a big way the next time the two teams faced off against one another three weeks later. Layman went 5-of-8 from the field and a perfect 2-of-2 from three, achieving season highs in points (23) and free throws made (11). Following his performance, Layman was named Big Ten Player of the Week.

The 6’9’ Layman is also a solid rebounder, and he averaged 5.8 rpg last season. He scored back-to-back double-double games twice last season, hitting double-digits in points scored and rebounds in each of those four contests. In February, Layman was added to the Karl Malone Award Watch List, honoring nation’s top power forward. He was also named Third Team All-Big Ten by the media.

The Bad

Yes, Layman achieved career-highs in almost every significant statistical category for the Terps in 2014-15. Unfortunately, however, one of those categories was turnovers. The junior saw a spike in his average turnovers per game from just over one per game in 2013-14 to almost two per game last season. While not a stat to harp on too much, it is still noteworthy considering his minutes played per game stayed the same (decreased slightly, in fact) between the two seasons.

As alluded to earlier, Layman certainly struggled down the stretch for the Terps. Over the final eight games of the season (including the postseason), Layman averaged under nine ppg while shooting just 37 percent from the floor. In the Terps 65-62 win over Valparaiso in their first NCAA Tournament appearance in five years, Layman was virtually invisible. He had more turnovers than points (five TOs, four points) in that game. Perhaps even more astonishing, between the Terps’ Big Ten tournament matchup with Michigan State (the same team he scored a season-high 23 points against in January) and the matchup with Valpo, Layman attempted just four total shots, making just one.

Taking into account Layman’s strong start to the 2014-15 season, his overall consistent production throughout, and the significant downward trend in production towards the end of the regular season and into the postseason, the conclusion one could draw is that Layman struggles when the pressure is on. Personally, however, I would reserve judgment. As this was the junior’s first time participating in the NCAA Tournament, as well as the team’s first time in several years playing for higher bracket-seeding down the stretch including the conference tournament, the sample size is just too small to affirmatively draw this conclusion.

Overall Grade: B-

With that said, I think it would be a massive mistake if Layman decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2015 NBA Draft. Some of Layman’s highest stats and contributions came with Wells sidelined with an injury. With Wells gone next season, the door is open for Layman to have his best season as a Terp yet. With the announcement by Trimble that he is returning to College Park next season and the exciting news that five-star big man Diamond Stone will be a Terp next year, I think only add to Layman’s offensive potential for his senior season at Maryland and consequently his future NBA draft stock.

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