Just as he began to rebound from a disastrous individual stretch and was playing some of his best basketball of the season, junior point guard Pe’Shon Howard has been temporarily suspended from the Maryland basketball team, Coach Mark Turgeon announced at his Friday news conference.
Howard, one of Maryland’s two captains alongside James Padgett, will not suit up when the Terrapins host No. 2 Duke on Saturday at 6 p.m., nor will he sit on the bench with the team. Turgeon will re-evaluate Howard’s situation after the weekend to determine the suspension’s length.
“Not making very smart decisions,” Turgeon said of the reasons behind the suspension. “We’ve got team rules you have to follow. So, we’ll sit him out this game. We’ll re-evaluate it on Sunday.”
Since posting a zero-assist, seven-turnover game at North Carolina on Jan. 19, Howard strung together some solid stretches over the next five games. He missed the team’s Florida State trip with an illness, but has 12 assists against just five turnovers since the Terps fell, 62-52, in Chapel Hill, N.C.
“The last two games he has played well,” Turgeon said. “Played 17 minutes and 14 minutes. He’s played well. He defended well against Virginia, made a three against Virginia. I think not starting and coming off the bench in a more limited role took pressure off Pe’Shon. I think he liked it.
“He’s just got to make better decisions as he moves forward. He’ll miss a game for this. At least one. As you get older, messing up you might get fired. He’ll miss one game at this point. Maybe two, maybe three. I want him to learn from his decisions.”
In Howard’s absence, Seth Allen and Nick Faust will be Maryland’s two point guards “the majority of the night,” according to Turgeon, who added that the Terps will likely start three freshmen and two sophomores. This is speculation because Turgeon was mum on his exact starting five, but that should mean that Allen would start at point guard alongside Dez Wells, Alex Len, Jake Layman and either Shaquille Cleare or Charles Mitchell.
Turgeon declined to go into details, but said Howard’s suspension did not stem from an accumulation of mistakes. More to come.