Monday Terps Mailbag: Point guard edition


(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Welcome to the Monday Terps Mailbag, the latest edition of a weekly installment where you ask questions and I write answers to those questions. A pretty simple formula, I’d say.

(Submit your questions via email to alex.prewitt@washpost.com or on Twitter. Thanks, friends.)

I was looking around campus for Pe’shon’s shot. Can’t find it anywhere. Any idea where it could be? #Prewbag (@GreggSussman)

Rough way to start the Mailbag. Then again, shooting 27 percent from the field and 25.7 percent from three-point range is rough too. Things tend to snowball like this for slumping players. First, a bad performance or two sets the tone. Ultimately, confidence erodes, declining with each successive game, one more evening when things just don’t come together. The issues seem to extend far beyond anything physical. It’s making bad decisions or having passes squirt through his hands or missing open shots he made earlier this season.

Howard’s always been a fairly media-savvy guy too, attuned to what’s been written or said about the Maryland basketball team. Whether that’s affected matters, I don’t know. Since all this began – probably about the time of the Virginia Tech game, when he missed all five shots from the field but still had six assists – the media hasn’t talked with Howard, so it’s hard to get a sense of his current mindset, except for second-hand comments from teammates and Coach Mark Turgeon.

how much blame do you place on Turgeon (a former PG) for not being able to manage the PG position at MD? (@MattDCBrown)

Well, if we’re going to go down that route, then his entire staff is filled with former point guards. But it’s difficult when your truest point guard (Howard) isn’t playing well and you’re stuck with alternative options, like a score-first guard (Seth Allen) or a swingman (Nick Faust) who is not exactly predisposed to making wise offensive decisions.

It’s clear the point guards aren’t producing. Turgeon knows that, and clearly the fans know that. But let’s turn the question around. What would you do, as a fan, about Maryland’s point guard situation? Place your thoughts in the comment section below.

Why doesn’t James Padgett get more PT? He is our only big man with lots of ACC experience. (@mrdanielgaray)

Interesting, seeing as how multiple tweets during the North Carolina game were calling for Padgett’s head, referring to him as Maryland’s worst player or downright trashing the senior forward. Not saying one side is right and the other is wrong, but it’s interesting to see a question like this posed around this time.

As for Padgett’s minutes, I expect he’ll hover around the high-teens for the season’s duration, although to see him get a season-low six minutes against the Tar Heels was somewhat of a surprise. He simply doesn’t provide enough, offensively or defensively, to warrant extended minutes. But Turgeon likes his leadership and presence on the court, especially during late-game scenarios like the game against North Carolina State. He’s still valuable as a low-post option around the rim, but if Mitchell and Cleare keep improving, it’s hard to see Padgett eating into their minutes.

should we just get used to the Terps getting no calls? Any reason? Young team? Terrible refs? Massive conspiracy? (@terps49)

I object to this question. Technical foul. You’re out of the mailbag.

can we expect a much tougher early season non-conference schedule next season? I don’t think this one did us much good. (@striper 880)

I’d expect a tougher non-conference schedule, yes. Not to belabor the point, because it came up roughly every interview during non-conference play, but Turgeon didn’t make this season’s schedule with this team in mind. He did it without knowing they’d have Dez Wells, Charles Mitchell and Logan Aronhalt, so clearly he was looking to give a young team some confidence early in the season, not thinking the expectations would rise as high as they did.

How’s the softball team going to look this year? Is Laura Watten on the hot seat? #YouDidntSpecifyHoops Real question – What’s up with Josh Asper on UMd wrestling team? Hasn’t wrestled in a month. (@DuckMediaMD)

A neck injury sidelined Asper after the Northeast Duals on Nov. 24. The fifth-ranked senior returned last weekend to pick up wins against Harvard and Stanford, and against Navy this weekend topped 13th-ranked Mat Miller in a 3-1 decision at 174.

Although talent is there and potential is what is drafted, any possibility Len stays 1 more considering his disappearing acts? (@JNEW427)

Poor in-season performances won’t hurt Len’s stock as much as they would for other college players. He’s certainly not one of the nation’s top five players, but he’s being scouted as a lottery pick because of his potential. Scouts love his athleticism, length and touch around the basket, so especially in a relatively weak draft I don’t expect his value to plummet based on a few “disappearing acts,” as you called them. (Bear in mind, he’s scored in double-digits in five straight games with constant double teams, so he’s still playing pretty well, much better than he did during his freshman season.)

The question for Len is whether anything in College Park outweighs the immediate financial gain, whether that’s a desire to win a national championship, a desire for more individual improvement before taking the leap or simply a comfort thing, wanting to stay around his American family for another year.

Can W.T.F. count as a mailbag question? #terps (chadrem)

No. You’re ejected too. No profane acronyms in this house.

Is this what it feels like to be a certain referee whose name rhymes with Snarl Mess?

question for your mailbag… Has any md player taken a charge within 5 feet of the hoop? Pe’Shon has whiffed twice this week (@RLoRecruiter)

when will Faust learn the jump stop? (@jlingberg)

Not just Pe’Shon. Mitchell tried to take a couple against the Tar Heels but wound up getting side-stepped because he committed too soon.

So long as we’re on the topic of charges, I think the concern rests more with Maryland’s penchant for charging, rather than drawing charges. Faust had two against North Carolina and Wells has been whistled for out-of-control drives in transition.

This leads into the second question. Learning the jump stop would be a simple solution to those mistakes, maintaining the fast break while still providing close-look opportunities.

if we continue our slide does Turgeon get a free pass for another Tourney miss or does 0-2 in two years warrant a closer look? (@cbrady7)

A closer look into his status as Maryland’s head coach? I don’t think that’s coming, even with another NCAA tournament miss. It’s still a young team, really the first year Turgeon’s been able to work his way with his players. He’s preached patience all season, perhaps unrealistic given the expectations and hype surrounding the Terps during non-conference play, but they’re still starting three sophomores and two freshmen, enduring the typical growing pains that some hoped they would avoid. Internally, there doesn’t seem to be as much panic as one would think.

Seth Allen hasn’t been the same since becoming a starter. Any chance layman would start at the 3 and push dez to 2? (@itssocontejus)

PG seems to be our biggest issue. I know Turg wants to free up Allen to score on the wing, but do you see him at PG again? (@ahubbard)

You’re right, Allen’s shooting 25.9 percent from the field over the past three games, all starts. Whether Turgeon will shake things up, I’m not sure. Layman’s been tremendous in his two starts against Virginia Tech and Maryland-Eastern Shore, but that’s a very small sample size, and the aggressive, confident Layman who torched the Hokies all but disappeared in Chapel Hill, N.C., looking tentative on the wing.

Allen will certainly log more minutes at point guard as Maryland searches for a fix, even if he’s more comfortable on the wing. If Howard and Faust come along, that should allow Allen to return to the wing. But as long as such struggles are widespread, it’s hard to imagine Allen not getting at least a little run at point.

what can they do at point because seth allen and pe’shon howard sure aren’t cutting it (@DominicRicasoli)

are we nearing the point where one of the walk on’s could see some time at the point? Is Peters projected as a 1 or combo g? (@ConcealedSavoy)

No, I don’t think that point is approaching, or will ever approach this season. The point guard situation is clearly a source of weakness for Maryland, but playing the walk-ons certainly won’t help matters. Turgeon tried Faust and Wells at the point versus North Carolina, giving the Terps a little more backcourt size, so this could happen more moving forward, especially if Howard and Allen don’t demonstrate bigger improvements at the position.

But we’re already thinking about next year? Well, all right then. Peters is more of a combo guard, but it’s hard to imagine him not getting plenty of run at point guard next season, especially the way things have gone so far.

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 · January 20, 2013