The Baltimore sports scene is blessed with a bunch of talented bloggers who bring their unique perspective to the conversation. Each week, I hope to chat with one of them in a regular feature called Blogger on Blogger. This week, I exchanged emails with Dave Tucker, who writes about the Terps for Testudo Times.
MV: Is the Maryland fan base's love affair with men's basketball coach
DT: I think for a growing number of Maryland fans, the love affair with Turgeon is starting to wane. Once Dez Wells was declared eligible for this season, many believed that Maryland was both capable of being an
MV: Would an
DT: I think an NIT berth would be extremely beneficial to this team, possibly more so than an
MV: All the freshmen had up-and-down years. Which of those four do you think are useful and will make big strides next year?
DT: I think Charles Mitchell has had a great season in the front court and showed that he's going to be a dominant force throughout his career at Maryland. If Alex Len leaves early, Mitchell should be able to step in as the starting center and continue to progress, hopefully developing into a consistent force inside.
MV: When it comes to potentially declaring for the
DT: If Len is projected as a lottery pick, there is absolutely no reason he should stay at Maryland. I think if teams are telling him he'll go that high, he'll leave. While he's struggled at various times throughout the season,
MV: What's the biggest reason for this disappointing season: poor coaching, no point guard, overall lack of talent, or something else entirely?
DT: There are two primary factors I think contributed to this team's disappointing season: youth and point guard play. People seem to forget that Maryland only has two seniors on this team and one of them was a transfer who was able to play immediately. Most of this team is comprised of freshmen and sophomores and inexperience has played a major role in their struggles. At times, you've seen that they're talented and when executing, can beat and compete with quality teams. They just haven't been able to accomplish that game to game, especially in ACC play. Having a fairly easy non-conference schedule didn't help, but the bigger issue was that a lot of the younger players never stepped up into a consistent role. Mark Turgeon used a variety of different starting lineups to try to find consistency, but while one player played great one game, they struggled the next.
The other factor, point guard play, also had a big impact on the play of this year's team. Many expected junior Pe'Shon Howard to continue to develop but he struggled early in the season, eventually losing his starting job and playing limited minutes off the bench until recently. Maryland didn't really have a backup point guard, so Turgeon experimented with having Nick Faust, Seth Allen and Dez Wells running the offense. Faust, who ran point last season when Howard got injured, did a pretty good job, with a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio, but it was clear Maryland struggled without a true point guard running the show. They seemed lost at times on offense and on numerous occasions allowed teams back into games because they weren't able to continuously score and maintain leads, like in the
I think Mark Turgeon is a great coach. Has he made some mistakes this season? Probably, and he'd be the first to admit that. But I think people need to be patient with him and know that it takes time to build a program up with your system and players. There are a lot of positives that came from this season, like Maryland being the No. 5 five team in the nation when it comes to rebound margin and No. 9 in field-goal percentage defense. They have a young core of players and will be adding more talent next season. Dez Wells, Nick Faust, Seth Allen, Charles Mitchell should all be great players for Maryland. The continued development of Cleare and Layman, plus the freshmen coming in make this a team I'm excited about next season. Once they can develop consistency, they should be a very good team. I think you'll see that next year, especially once the point guard position becomes more solidified, and hopefully their last season in the ACC will be a special one.