Monday Terps Mailbag: Hoops lineups, football recruiting and rap battles

February 4, 2013
(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)
(Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post)

Welcome to the Monday Terps Mailbag, the weekly installment where you ask questions and I answer them. Up this week are some queries about Coach Mark Turgeon’s rotation and lineup, continuing issues with Maryland’s turnovers and an open call for a Comcast Center music change.

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

if the terps were playing in the B1G this year, how would they be doing? #PrewBag (@lfharman)

I’d imagine something similar. The Big Ten is quite front-loaded this season (Michigan, Indiana, Michigan State, Ohio State, Minnesota, etc.) and the long Midwestern road trips would be brutal on this young Maryland team. The offense’s problems would likely be magnified even greater. Maybe we’d see a few more 14-point first halves

Len,Padge,Jake,Dez,&Nick seemed to work out pretty well. Do you think Turgeon will finally settle on this starting lineup? (@JackAttax2)

has Turgeon solidified a starting line up yet? Seems to me Dez, Len, Layman, Seth, and Shaq would be my choice.. Thoughts? (@sleasman10)

With Alex Len and Dez Wells all but guaranteed to be in the starting lineup for the season’s duration, Turgeon is running out of potential lineup combinations. Toss in Nick Faust at point guard, and leave Logan Aronhalt on the bench – where he’s far more valuable, anyway – and the list of possible lineups grows even smaller. Turgeon already used 11 this season, but it seems like it will still fluctuate on a game-by-game basis.

It’d be easy to extrapolate larger meaning from the Wake Forest lineup (Len, Padgett, Layman, Wells, Faust) but remember the defensive egg laid by the Demon Deacons. Allen saw some extended time at point guard against Wake Forest, so it wouldn’t shock if he returns to the lineup sometime soon, especially now that his offense has returned to its non-conference form. Turgeon enjoys having Layman in the lineup as well, but going four guards isn’t an option. As far as post players, all four are playing well right now, so Turgeon finally has some options.

does Smotz aspire to be Ryan Kelly…or does Ryan Kelly aspire to be Smotz (@B_Hoffman40)

Yes.

In all seriousness, Evan Smotrycz will provide the Terps a very Kelly-esque option next season, a stretch power forward who can play the wing and shoot the lights out of the gym. He’s spent this season getting stronger and working with the scout team, practicing daily, so odds are he’s ready to go once next fall rolls around.

At what point does this team address the turnover problem? 19 TO’s against a young Wake team… Not very good. (@bismarckumd)

Well, the turnover problem gets addressed daily in practices and film sessions, but it’s just a matter of actually executing. Turgeon has a point, though. Most of Maryland’s mistakes are self-enforced, silly errors like dribbling off feet or throwing attempted alley-oops off the backboard.

Here’s what Turgeon had to say after the 26-point win over the Demon Deacons:

“We all know that the one thing we didn’t do well was take care of the ball. It’s mind-boggling. It’s frustrating. Our turnovers are all correctable. They’re just all so silly. As a coaching staff, we’re like, if we turn it over we’re going to stand up and cheer, say next play, move on and try to get a stop. If you take away turnovers, it could have been really fun today.”

Don’t always understand Turgeon’s substitution strategy. Against WF, for example, why lift a hot Len six minutes in? (@michaelpfreeman)

It does seem like a trend – lifting players at the apex of hot streaks. The only possible explanation would be that Turgeon knows, especially early in games, that he needs to get his freshmen post players going, to flood the court with the depth that’s become Maryland’s biggest asset. If that comes at the expense of Len’s playing time, while still resting him for the stretch run, then so be it.

It’s hard to fault substitution patterns when the result was a 26-point blowout. But you’re spot-on with your observation. Turgeon, at times, seems almost baffled with his rotation, the result of inconsistencies that have made it utterly difficult to lock into a steady flow. This has already reared its ugly head in past games. This time? Not so much.

I’ve got one – Whats up with the “DMVtoUMD” tweet by Lox last week? Did we get a flip possibly? De’shawn Hand like us maybe?

Also, is Yannick coming to UMD? Looks like USC board is thinking they’re possible out of the running. Any shot we flip Na’ty? (@GoFiveHole)

This might upset some folks looking for hidden meaning in this Mike Locksley message, but after asking around the tweet meant zilch. Nothing save perhaps an inside joke between Locksley and a friend. If any recruit flips before signing day, that would be merely coincidence.

There are good feelings around Maryland about Yannick Ngakoue, who was recently named a Parade All-American. Scoring him and Jacquille Veii (between the Terps, Iowa and Nebraska) would round out a solid recruiting class for Coach Randy Edsall.

can the Terps’ fans switch from rock-n-roll2 to seven nation army? Let’s just make it a Maryland thing. (@blackstar1906)

You heard the man.

Do Pe’Shon Howard and James Padgett ever have L.A.-Brooklyn beef? Can they rap battle? Have they? If not, why not? (@ethanrothstein)

Somehow, I don’t exactly picture James Padgett as the freestyling type. Perhaps Howard. I’ll ask around and report back. Videos optional.

how long do you think it will be until Scott Spinelli is coaching his own team somewhere? Great recruiter with good knowledge. (@mrdanielgaray)

Not long. Spinelli has been Turgeon’s top assistant for some time and is widely regarded as an up-and-coming coach. The question for him will be finding the right opportunity. It’s one thing to leap into the unknown and take over a sinking ship, but he’ll want something better, something he can really sink his teeth into and make a mark.

For the Bag: Maryland seemed to allow plays to develop against WF, as opposed to taking ill-advised shots/drives. Was this because of the emotion? A change in coaching? The fact that it was Wake Forest? (@JackT144)

Never underestimate just how lackadaisical Wake Forest was on defense. The Demon Deacons had zero interest in fronting the post or generally doing anything more than this.

That said, the Terps were markedly better on offense, finally executing their sets and allowing plays to develop, rather than jacking up ill-advised shots. Ask everyone around the program – coaches, players, etc. – and the stock response says that the Terps are finally listening and producing. The fact that they were absolutely on fire from the field and selected solid shots says plenty too. If anything, this could be a huge step in the right direction, a much-needed confidence boost for an otherwise struggling offense.

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