As Seth Allen continues to produce for the Maryland basketball team, external questions have surfaced about his usage. Should he log more minutes running the Terps’ offense, at the expense of starting point guard Pe’Shon Howard? Should Coach Mark Turgeon give his dynamic freshman more freedom to operate?
Allen is averaging 13.3 points over the past four games, tops among all Terrapins. Dez Wells and Alex Len, for reference, are each averaging 12.5 points over the past four games. What’s more, Allen is shooting a blistering 56.3 percent from three-point range in that span, developing into a potent weapon from outside, one who can step into open jumpers with ease.
So entering Wednesday’s ACC matchup against Florida State, where does Allen stand? With Nick Faust still healing from back spasms, Allen received more time at shooting guard on Saturday against Virginia Tech, delivering a sneaky career-high 21 points and just two turnovers.
“I didn’t think I’d do this good,” Allen said after Maryland’s 94-71 win over the Hokies. “I just went out there and played. I was really anxious for this game, my first ACC game. I just tried to do the best I could do when I went out there. I didn’t know I had 21 points. I looked at the sheet after this game, I was like what? I was just trying to play defense. I got a couple steals late, and that’s what got me up there.”
Allen’s emergence has him playing alongside Howard in every practice, working on a small, two-guard lineup combining a pass-first point guard (Howard) and a more dynamic scorer (Allen).
“I think he’s better off the ball, but Pe’Shon can’t play 40 minutes,” Turgeon said of Allen. “We’ve also got to get different skillsets in the game, different size, different length. … He’ll play both as we move forward. Earlier in the year, I was subbing him first. Sometimes it’d be for the wing spot, sometimes it’d be at point guard. Now I don’t know with Jake coming on the way he’s coming on. We’ll see how we sub, or who starts.”
Allen’s Twitter biography still calls himself “Freshman point guard for the Maryland Terrapins.” These days, however, he views himself as more of a combo guard.
“I can do both,” Allen said. “I feel like my best thing is scoring, but we have so many great scorers, that I don’ tneed to score that much. Just creating at the ‘1’ is great too. It depends who’s going, who’s hot, who’s in the game. If Dez and Alex aren’t in the game, I have more of a scoring mind-set. If they are, I try to facilitate.”
Allen’s recent scoring outburst has, not coincidentally, coincided with increased trips to the free-throw line. He’s 10 for 11 over the past three games. In 11 games before that? Allen was 8 for 14.
“I’ve really changed it, just been in the gym, shooting hundreds of free throws, coming to practice hours early to shoot,” Allen said. “It’s really helped.”
Perhaps Turgeon will one day pass the keys to Allen, much like he trusts Howard to operate freely and make correct decisions. Allen is still a freshman, sometimes prone to youthful mistakes, even if those often pale in comparison to his electric moments.
“Dez is capable of [taking over a game]. Alex is close to doing that. To be quite honest, I think Seth could do it too, if we gave him the freedom to take over,” Turgeon said.
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