Pregame notes: Logan Aronhalt’s shooting, Pe’Shon Howard’s woes and Dez Wells at point guard

January 22, 2013

(Associated Press)

The son of a basketball coach, Logan Aronhalt is self-aware enough to realize his role on the Maryland basketball team. And the senior transfer knows when he’s not doing it well.

“The lineups and the change and the minutes have been up and down with everyone on the team,” Aronhalt said. “I just have to get back to what I did earlier in the season, coming in, taking shots. It’s no secret that that’s what I do.”

Aronhalt transferred from Albany this offseason for one last go-around, bringing his pinpoint jumper and sage wisdom to College Park, almost exclusively to shoot three-pointers. He was a 30-minute-a-game player with the Great Danes, but a bad back and deep Maryland rotation has made such numbers impossible.

So instead, he arrives hours before game time, repeating the exhaustive, around-the-world routine that gets him ready, sometimes only to play single-digit minutes. But with Dez Wells, Nick Faust, Pe’Shon Howard and Jake Layman all shooting worse than 30 percent from beyond the arc, and Seth Allen not far ahead at 34.8 percent, Aronhalt has become Maryland’s biggest three-point threat. That he’s 1 for 13 inside the arc this season only backs up his singular role.

Except Aronhalt has made only 2 of 12 three-point attempts and is 2 of 16 from the field overall the past four games, including rimming out three open looks against Florida State. Granted, he’s averaging just 11.3 minutes per game, and is mostly expected to simply check in, make shots and check out, a demanding task even for the greatest shooters.

But what’s he going to do? Not shoot? Please.

“I’m not going to make any shots if I don’t shoot,” Aronhalt said. “So I just have to keep shooting.”

>> Howard has arguably been the biggest mystery during Maryland’s struggles, morphing from one of the ACC’s assist leaders into the enigma who played just 14 minutes against North Carolina and put up a gaudy stat line of seven turnovers, two rebounds, zero assists and zero points.

Turgeon had some tough love for Howard earlier this month, but stood behind the junior point guard Monday.

“I don’t think Pe’Shon’s fell apart,” Turgeon said. “He really played great against North Carolina State. He was in there, guarded [Scott] Wood, was a big part of it. We’re not getting a lot of assists because we’re not getting a lot of shots. A lot of our stuff comes down to beating somebody and getting to the rim. It’s hard to get assists. Pe’Shon had a bad game. He knows it, next play, we’re moving on. He had a bad game. Pe’shon’s done a lot of great things for us, and he’ll do a lot of great things for us in the future. He just had a bad game.”

>> Even with facing constant double-teams, Alex Len has held up fairly well since ACC play began, averaging 13.4 points and 7.8 rebounds over 29.6 minutes through five games. But he shot just 15 total times against North Carolina State and North Carolina.

So does the big fella need more touches?

“Give North Carolina credit at the start of the game,” Turgeon said. “They doubled him, they weren’t going to let him shoot it. A lot of it’s the defense. Until guys start making some shots, we’ll continue to see that. It’s a product of the whole team, not just necessarily Alex not getting the ball. He has two guys guarding him most times he catches it. To get 15 shots is pretty good, especially the way teams are guarding us.

“He has to play better. Didn’t play with great toughness on Saturday. It’s a product of our whole situation and what we’re going through as a team.”

>> Wells played a few possessions at point guard against the Tar Heels. At first glance, this appeared to be another potential solution for the Terps, who have already switched Faust over to point, at once spelling Howard and allowing Allen to play the wing.

But Turgeon said Wells bringing up the ball wouldn’t become a permanent thing.

“I’d rather not do that unless he gets the rebound, and he’s been told that,” Turgeon said. ‘He doesn’t adapt as quickly as I need him to. But he’s good with it, as long as he doesn’t try to plow over people at times. He gives us a chance. I tell all our guards, if they get a rebound to go with it. If he rebounds, he definitely should bring it.”

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