Terps Basketball 2014 Outlook

3/17/2014 2:01:00 PM I can't recall any time since 1990 with the exception of 1996 (the year after Joe Smith left) where I wasn't excited about the Maryland's prospects for the upcoming basketball season.  There was always a reason for optimism.  Either new recruits coming in or the anticipation of existing players getting better; the future always looked bright.  Until now.

It is hard to imagine how Turgeon and the Terps get out of the mess in which they currently find themselves. Let's break down the roster:

POINT GUARD
The current squad lacks an experienced floor general capable of seeing the court and distributing the ball.  Seth Allen is a gifted scorer with a good shot and a wonderful first step.  He averaged 3 assists per game this year and frankly, I don't know how it was that high.  His passing is lazy and he rarely gives up the rock when driving to the basket.  There is a big role for him on next year's team but if it is at PG, the Terps are in trouble. He doesn't make players around him better.

Roddy Peters started off with promise that quickly fizzled into disappointment.  Peters looked lost out there for much of the ACC season. He possesses good court vision but he doesn't command the ball and his complete and utter lack of a jumper makes him easy to defend.  I'm not sure he knows Turgeon's offense.

The incoming recruit, Melo Trimble is by all accounts one of the best guard recruits the Terps have had in decades.  He's a scorer in high school, so everyone is ready to label him a combo guard who can't run the show.  I'm not sure.  There are plenty of scoring point guards who have successfully run offenses in college. Melo can be that guy but he's a freshman.  You can't put all your hopes and dreams into a freshman.

So where does that leave us?  It's a pu pu platter of imperfect options:  an experienced two guard who can't pass (Allen), a limited PG who is slow and can't shoot (Peters), and a wildly talented but unknown freshman (Trimble).  Anyone still ready to bet on the Terps fixing the point guard position next year?

BIG MEN
As my people are wont to say, "Oy Vey".  What can you say about this collection of players? Shaq Cleare is making his case for "biggest bust ever" while Mitchell is limited physically and can't keep his composure in games.   Damonte Dodd didn't appear ready and Trayvon Reed has elite size but is incredibly raw and not expected to contribute much.  Here's the best case scenario as I see it:

Charles Mitchell finally learns to contain his emotions and play within himself.  Turgeon pairs him with either an improved Dodd who has made a giant leap between his freshman and sophomore season, or a Trayvon Reed who came to campus ready to play.  Having a shot blocker / quicker defender to help patrol the lane, Mitchell is able to become the elite rebounder we know he can be.  He becomes a dominant power forward while the Reed/Dodd Center combo is able to give the Terps the post presence required to become a good defensive team.

The reality is likely to fall way short of these lofty expectations.  Notice that I left Cleare out of the discussion. My money is on him transferring.  I think Turgeon is looking for a JuCo Power Forward, but I worry that any are available that can fill the needs we have (shot blocker / inside scoring).  Jordan Goodman is interested but he seems to like the three ball too much.

THE REST
Call them what you will, but the Faust/Wells/Nickens/Wiley/Layman/Smotcryz group are all wing players.  Some can get to the rim (Wells and Faust) while others are spot up shooters (Smot and Layman) but they all occupy the wing in the halfcourt.  There is not room for all of them especially if Nickens and Wiley are as good as advertised.  Turgeon is going to need to find the right balance but his roster is filled with too many guys with the same skill set and not enough guys that can run the offense or patrol the paint.

BOTTOM LINE
I have grave concerns that a Maryland team without a true center or point guard is going to be anything but mediocre next season.  I realize that everyone will be a year older and more experienced but it's not like the light has gone on for anyone yet.  I hope I'm wrong.

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