Heading into 2013-14 season, the Maryland Terrapins are a young team, but with some experience. Overall, there are no seniors, instead relying on three juniors, four sophomores and two freshmen. However, with the exception of the two freshmen and one incoming transfer, all saw significant minutes last year.
The biggest questions moving forward are, will the light bulb click on for the juniors, can the sophomores shake off the freshmen jitters and are the rookies capable of making an impact now?
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
PG – Seth Allen (SO), 6-1/190
SG – Nick Faust (JR), 6-6/175
SF – Dez Wells (JR), 6-5/215
PF – Evan Smotrycz (JR), 6-9/235
C – Shaquille Cleare (SO), 6-9/265
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon tried desperately to go find himself another point guard, but came up short not once, but twice this offseason. So now the job falls back to Seth Allen, along with rookie Roddy Peters. I’m giving the starting job to Allen off the bat. Peters was hurt his senior year of high school, so don’t look for a sudden impact from the kid.
Allen is arguable the fastest player in the ACC, capable of beating his defender one-on-one. He’s a crafty finisher in the paint, scoring in double figures seven times last year, despite sharing point guard duties with two other players. The problem is, he does tend to play out of control, turns it over way too much and he takes stupid shots. Terrapins fans are hoping they can chalk it all up to freshmen mistakes and expect to see a more in-control Allen this year.
At the wing spot, Dez Wells is the go-to guy. The transfer from Xavier scored 13.1 points per games last year on 53 percent shooting. While not the greatest athlete, Wells always plays under control and thanks to a solid basketball IQ, he knows his own strengths and weaknesses, as well as his opponent’s strengths and weaknesses.
Another solid wing player is Nick Faust. At 6-6, he’s got great length for the two spot, especially on the defensive side (led the team in steals). Despite starting 32 games last year, it wasn’t until late in the season when he finally started to impress. In his final 12 games, he hit 44 percent of his threes, primarily off catch and shoot opportunities.
The wildcard on this Maryland squad next season is incoming transfer Evan Smotrycz. The former Michigan man is a legit stretch four who reminds me of Duke’s Ryan Kelly. He’s not the greatest athlete, but he’s a solid three-point shooter, especially off the pick-and-pop. If he can do what Kelly did for the Blue Devils, the Terrapins could be a dangerous team.
Inside is where you will find the one true weak spot this season for Mark Turgeon. Cleare struggled last year and was barely playing by season’s end. He has no real inside moves and can’t score away from the rim. However, he’s a bulky rebounder, who can eat up a lot of space in the paint.
PG – Roddy Peters (FR) 6-4/180
SF – Jake Layman (SO), 6-7/205
PF – Charles Mitchell (SO), 6-8/260
Roddy Peters is the future for Maryland. Seth Allen can probably hold him off a bit, maybe even for the entire season, but eventually the point guard spot will belong to Peters. For now, he’s the #1 option for both guard spots off the bench, since he is capable of playing both the one and two. He’s a crafty ball handler, who will attack the rim. He likes to push the ball in transition and always seems to have his head up. However, like I mentioned before, he’s coming off an injury and you can’t discount the impact that will have on any freshmen.
Jake Layman is the kind of guy you want coming off your bench in a lot of ways. He’s athletic, he’s long, he runs the floor well and he can guard multiple positions. However, Layman always seemed a step behind the action last year and was a streaky shooter at best. A year under his belt should allow him to catch up to the speed of the game.
Charles Mitchell is a load. His wide frame allows him to dominate on the boards. He was third among all rookies in rebounds and his 13.7 rebounds per 40 actually led the ACC. The problem is, he’s just 6-8 and he’s not a in-shape 260. He’s not tall enough to handle the size at center, which is really a problem because he’s also not athletic enough to take care of business against the more agile fours.
C – Damonte Dodd (FR), 6-9/230
The knock on Dodd coming out of high school was he was a big boy dominating small-time competition. However, a year of prep school has really helped him prepare for life at the next level. Slowly he’s developed an inside post-presence, although he’s still a couple years away from being a solid inside scorer in the ACC. For now, he should see good minutes rotating with Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell at the five, capable of grabbing some boards and protecting the rim on D.
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