Terrell Stoglin, the Microwave of College ParkPosted by rtmsf on December 5th, 2011
I. Renko is an RTC correspondent.
Coming into the season, Terrell Stoglin wasn’t exactly flying high on the college hoops radar. He didn’t make the ACC preseason first team. He didn’t make the 50-person Wooden Award watch list. Heck, he didn’t even make Andy Katz’s 55-person list of Wooden Award watch list snubs. Even after averaging more than 20 points through the first six games of the season — more than any other ACC player — Stoglin has received little national attention. On Sunday evening at the BB&T Classic, the diminutive sophomore guard served notice that he is without question one of the best, most exciting players in the ACC and the nation.
Stoglin lit up the Irish for 31 points (one shy of a career high) on 11-20 shooting, including 3-4 from three-point range. He was “like World B. Free, man,” declared Notre Dame coach Mike Brey, comparing Stoglin to the former NBA player known for his highlight-reel shotmaking abilities. Brey didn’t stop there with his praise-by-flattering-comparison, adding that Stoglin is “like the microwave of College Park,” an apparent reference to former NBA player and offensive sparkplug Vinnie Johnson. Those in the arena on Sunday knew exactly what Brey was talking about. While the box score showed just how many points Stoglin racked up, it didn’t show how and when he did it.
His most important points came with 12.2 seconds left on the clock. A 10-3 Notre Dame run in the final two minutes had just closed Maryland’s lead to three. With the shot clock about to expire, Stoglin shook off his defender and nailed a jumper to seal the much-needed win for the Terps, who had yet to defeat a power conference opponent this year. “He makes tough shots,” said Brey. “We wanted to play that last possession out, and he hit a tough shot.” But that was hardly Stoglin’s only big play of the day. Time after time, with his team needing an offensive spark or a key play to maintain its lead, Stoglin would knife through the defense for an acrobatic layup or break his defender’s ankles for a lightning-quick jumper. When Notre Dame closed Maryland’s lead to three with less than five minutes to play, Stoglin scored seven unanswered points by himself, and then assisted Sean Mosley’s three-pointer to push the lead back to 10. As his coach Mark Turgeon noted, “Terrell kept us in it in the first half. He had a lot of big shots.”
Perhaps more important for Turgeon and the Terps, Stoglin’s offensive explosion came within the structure of the offense. During his freshman campaign, Stoglin showed flashes of the kind of offensive ability that was on display Sunday. Unfortunately, he also showed a penchant for trying too hard to create something out of nothing, sometimes launching ill-advised shots. Against the Irish, Stoglin played under control and within the rhythm of the offense. He committed just one turnover, and while he acknowledged asking to have more plays run for him, Stoglin explained that was because he “wanted to be aggressive, but wanted to stay within the offense.” In addition, Turgeon was pleased with his guard’s effort in other phases of the game: “I’m always on Terrell about his defense. Terrell guarded tonight. Terrell rebounded tonight.”
Stoglin is now averaging 21 points a game — which has him tied for 15th in the nation — and has scored 25 or more in three of his last five games. The good news for college hoops is that the season is young, which means that if you’ve yet to catch his World B. Free impression so far, you’ll hopefully have plenty of time to catch up. And the good news for Stoglin is that he’s just a sophomore. Which means that the Microwave of College Park may yet make his mark on the Wooden Award watch list and the college basketball landscape.