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Morning Shootaround: Terps are imperfect but depth sure helps

SportsBasketballMark Turgeon

Do you remember this time of year last season? Maryland was playing teams such as Radford, Cornell, Florida Gulf Coast and Florida International – and squeaking by all of them. The Terps won each of those games, but only by single digits.

I mentioned in my game story last night that this season’s Terps seem to be better insulated from those sorts of efforts.

Even when Maryland shoots poorly – and that will happen on a team with so many prominent freshmen and sophomores – the Terps can fall back on depth and size. That was evident in Maryland’s 67-45 victory over Morehead State on Monday night.

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has the luxury of playing a 10-man rotation. That allows team members to play harder and longer knowing they have competent backups.

“This is probably the deepest team I’ve played on as far as having players just come out,” forward Dez Wells said. "We have two players at each position who can just come in and go.”

As Wells was being interviewed, he scanned a box score and looked at how players’ minutes were allocated.

Nobody played more than 24 minutes -- but 10 Terps played at least 13 minutes.

"The minutes is so spread out. That’s good,” Wells said.

There is another cushion this season -- rebounding.

Maryland isn’t likely to give up so many second shots this year. The team’s rebounding margin was plus-8 on Monday night after dominating the boards against Kentucky on Friday night.

Turgeon, by the way, had his team practice twice on Sunday. He wanted to make sure they didn’t suffer a letdown and that they kept improving after the Kentucky loss.  “I know some people were satisfied with the (72-69) loss. We weren’t,” the coach said.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself. There were moments against Kentucky when the Terps showed just how young they were. There are good teams lying ahead on the schedule.

Turgeon describes his freshmen as “up and down.”  He suggested, for example, that freshman guard Seth Allen – who may be heir apparent at point guard – wasn’t as good Monday night as he was against Kentucky.

But size and depth may buy the Terps some time until the younger players grow up.

“I think teams are going to have problems with our depth,” senior forward James Padgett said. “We’ve got a lot of people.”

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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