Seth Allen’s Injury Unsettles Maryland’s Point Guard SituationPosted by Lathan Wells on October 30th, 2013
In head coach Mark Turgeon’s time with the Maryland Terrapins (he’s now in his third season there), he’s never been blessed with a true point guard. He inherited the shoot-first Terrell Stoglin, and then made do with Pe’Shon Howard at the point last year, another player more interested in trying to create his own offense than running the ball club. Once Howard departed via transfer for USC this offseason, Turgeon was all set to turn over the reins to promising sophomore Seth Allen.
Allen earned valuable playing time backing up Howard at the point while also playing on the wing at times last season, and ended up as the team’s fourth-highest scorer and assist man. However, just like his predecessors, Allen also seemed more comfortable playing off the ball. This offseason was geared towards helping him improve on his ability to initiate the offense, with word from Terrapins camp saying he’d improved drastically in that area. With the season now looming, it appeared that Turgeon would turn to the reliable Allen at season’s outset while preparing to bring freshman Roddy Peters along slowly, eventually installing him as the orchestrator of his offense.
That approach was dealt a severe blow on Wednesday, when it was announced that Allen had broken the fifth metatarsal in his left foot and will be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks. Turgeon emphasized that Allen had enjoyed a great preseason, saying, “He was playing at a very high level throughout the summer and fall and was poised to have an excellent start to the season.” Now, with the sophomore sidelined until at least the first of the new year, Peters will have to step into an important role very early.
While it’s unclear if Peters will be the starter from the outset (wing guards Dez Wells and Nick Faust may also be counted on early in a sort of point guard by committee), it’s evident he’ll have to mature quickly. Peters was seen as a potential pass-first point guard for the Terrapins, but also likes looking for his own offense despite being characterized with a shaky jump shot. The maturation process for a freshman point guard can often take large chunks of the season as he learns to run a college offense. Peters and Turgeon no longer have that luxury. Maryland will face Connecticut, Oregon State, Ohio State (in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge) and George Washington in the non-conference slate, and will have to navigate the early part of their Atlantic Coast Conference slate without Allen available.
The hope all along was that Peters would eventually step into the ball-handler’s role and allow Allen to play on the wing, a position he seems better suited for. This also would allow Faust and Wells to roam the perimeter, their preferred spots on the floor. A potential silver lining to this unfortunate incident could be Peters’ accelerated development letting Allen return and play at the combo guard position.This would give him the opportunity to look for his offense without worries about running the show, and would signify that Peters had a firm grasp of the offense and the playmaker’s role.
The bottom line, though, is that the Terrapins will now go into the regular season trying to replace a known quantity with an untested freshman at arguably the most important position on the floor. Bringing some of their scorers out of their comfort zones to handle the ball could potentially disrupt the offense in the early going. For a team that was hoping for a big year in the new-look ACC and the postseason beyond, this is a cruel blow so close to the start of the season.