The biggest question mark for the 2013-14 Maryland Terrapins heading into the season was their point guard play. Well, that question mark is even bigger now after projected starting point guard Seth Allen was ruled out 8-10 weeks with a fractured left foot, according to head coach Mark Turgeon.
This is a huge blow for the Terps. Allen, a sophomore, showed flashes last season of being an explosive guard that could eventually lead a team to the NCAA tournament. Last season, he was fourth on the team in scoring with 7.8 points per game and played a key role in many big games, especially the upset of No. 2 Duke. He scored 16 points and hit the game-winning free throws to seal the game. He could get by defenders and score at will, but after being mostly a combo guard in high school, he struggled with his new point guard duties. He struggled with turnovers and getting Maryland into their offensive sets throughout his freshman year . It was something he worked on all offseason and Turgeon, who does not give out high praise easily, was extremely happy with Allen’s progression as a point guard heading into the season. However, we won’t see the ultra-athletic Allen lead this team until it is 2014 most likely.
Turgeon took no time announcing who would take over the point guard duties. A few days after Allen’s injury, he deemed junior Dez Wells the starting point guard come November 8 when the Terps take on Connecticut in the season opener. This was not surprising. With no proven backup point guards on the roster, Turgeon went with the leader of this team and the player he trusts the most in Wells. Wells is a big, strong guard who should be able to handle the point guard spot pretty well. He has good vision and will be able to use his strength to score and get to the basket on smaller guards. His ball handling was suspect at times last season and his decision-making was not always the best, but Wells has the talent to be a productive point guard for this team. The key for Maryland is going to be to have to get after it in transition so Wells can just play his natural game and not have to think too much. With players like Nick Faust and Jake Layman on the wings, Maryland can get out and run on offense.
If it turns out Wells is not ultimately suited to be the point guard till Allen is back, highly touted freshman point guard Roddy Peters is the next in line. Peters, a tall guard who is excellent in transition, is the future point guard for Maryland. He is just not ready yet. It is hard to throw any freshman right into the mix. It becomes even harder when they are asked to play point guard and lead a team. Very few freshman guards can do this. That is why Turgeon decided on Wells, who is not a natural point guard, instead of Peters, who is. It will take time for Peters to adjust to the speed of the college game and allowing him to come off the bench and taking pressure off him will make him more comfortable. If Peters looks comfortable after a month, it would not shock me to see him take over and move Wells back to his natural 2-guard position. Peters is capable of being a starting point guard for an NCAA tournament team, but it will take a little time.
The injury of Seth Allen was devastating news for the Terps, but it does not mark end of the season. They are still an extremely talented team that has NCAA tournament potential, but if they want to get off to a good start, they will need Dez Wells and Roddy Peters to step up.