Maryland Refuses To Feed The PostPosted by KCarpenter on January 24th, 2012
Being a big man is tough. Your job is to set screens, battle for position, and when you get it, hopefully your guards will get you the ball so that you have a chance to score. Failing that, you can always hope to grab an offensive rebound from a missed shot for a putback. Good coaches of course get their big men to do more complicated things than that, but boiled down to the bare essentials: This is the life of a forward or center.
If you have a big man who is skilled on offense, you want him to get as many touches of the ball as possible to give him plenty of chances to score. In general, this is the easiest way to score in college basketball (provided you have a skilled offensive big man). For some reason, Maryland has decided to ignore this principle. The Terrapin forwards and centers take a good number of shots, but it’s mostly due to their own skill at getting offensive rebounds. Outside of that facet of the game, the Terrapin big men barely get a chance to score. At least, that’s what my eyes kept telling me after watching Maryland play against Temple and Florida State. So I decided to go to the numbers and check.
Sure enough, outside of super role-player Miles Plumlee, the main three Terps in the frontcourt rotation have fewer field goal attempts per game than any of the other talented rebounding forwards in the ACC once offensive rebounds per game are subtracted. This is odd, because though Maryland has the near-magical scoring power of Terrell Stoglin, this is a team that often has trouble on offense. While Sean Mosely is a very capable offensive player, Pe’Shon Howard and Nick Faust have not provided any kind of offensive efficiency from the guard position, posting offensive efficiency ratings of 80.0 and 83.9, respectively. That’s ugly. Meanwhile, touch-starved James Padgett, Ashton Pankey, and Alex Len are posting offensive efficiency ratings of 108.4, 113.4, and 96.5, respectively. Padgett and Pankey’s ratings are easily the second and third best on the team after Stoglin, and Len’s lower rating (caused by turnovers) hides the fact that he leads the team in true shooting percentage with an incredibly solid 63.0% mark.
Listen, Maryland has Stoglin, as dangerous a perimeter guard as there is in the ACC. For Mark Turgeon, it’s easy to want to lean on his brilliance and I’m not suggesting that he stop. However, outside of Stoglin and to a lesser extent Mosely, the forwards of the Terrapins clearly outshine the guards on offense. Sure, skill at offensive rebounding means that the forwards score plenty of points without any plays being called for them, but that doesn’t mean that ought to be the way things are. Maryland is a team on the brink: It can step forward or they can fall back. If Maryland wants to step forward, the team needs to realize that its big men are being underutilized and needs to make a more concerted effort to involve them in more than simply screening and rebounding. Turgeon is sitting on a gold mine of offense, but he’s got to do more than merely scrape the surface if he wants to reap any riches.