Morning review: Seth Allen’s defense a huge asset for Terps

November 3, 2012

(John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

When Logan Aronhalt first arrived at Maryland, he became infatuated with a speedy freshman, a guard who bolted up and down the floor at lightning speed, an “unreal athlete,” as the senior transfer later put it. Seth Allen’s potential, Aronhalt thought, is limitless.

“He can be so good. Every time I see him play, it just impressed me,” Aronhalt said following Maryland’s 73-61 exhibition win over Indiana (Pa.) University. “I think getting all over guys, he uses his quickness so well to be everywhere.”

Firmly in the mix for playing time at the point guard and shooting guard positions alongside Pe’Shon Howard and Nick Faust, Allen put on a show against the Crimson Hawks with a game-high 16 points, including three three-pointers and a perfect 5-for-5 performance from the charity stripe. The lefty pulled up in half-court sets and navigated the break with ease, cementing his case for a starting spot, far and away Maryland’s most impressive offensive player on the evening.

But with a balanced scoring offense taking shape and the Terps preaching a defense-first mentality, Allen’s five steals against IUP might have done far more to impress Coach Mark Turgeon than his deep bombs.

“Defense, Coach always says, you play more when you play defense,” Allen said. “All day in practice, I showed him I can play defense, guard the ball, off the ball. I felt like we played great team defense. If you play defense, you stay on the court longer. That’s where everybody wants their minutes. I just try to play the best defense.”

He was a half-court ballhawk, swarming IUP and deflecting balls before they even left the passer’s hands. Allen stationed himself in the middle of Maryland’s press, almost like a linebacker, instructed to read eyes and intercept accordingly. His gambling style, aggressively pursuing passes and relying on speed to get him there, may one day cost him, but Allen thrived as a defender in the backcourt, often picking off passes when teammates executed traps at the three-point line.

“Seth is a great on-the-ball defender,” freshman Charles Mitchell said. “Just pressuring the ball helps us in the post. They pressure the ball, and the other team can’t throw it out in the post.”

Perhaps the least heralded out of Maryland’s freshman recruiting class of Mitchell, Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman and himself, Allen was a three-star prospect out of Fredericksburg Christian School, rated as the seventh-best player in Virginia, and became the first of the aforementioned four to commit to Turgeon’s program.

“Seth’s a good player. Been trying to tell a lot of people that for a year,” Turgeon said. “Just because he wasn’t ranked no one would believe me. I think you guys saw he’s a pretty good player.”

On both ends of the floor, no less.

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · November 3, 2012

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