Around and around the point guard roulette wheel spins for the Maryland men’s basketball team, and on Wednesday morning the ball landed on freshman Roddy Peters.
“Roddy right now is our best option,” Coach Mark Turgeon said, all but confirming that Peters will start without actually saying so. “I think it’s pretty clear-cut.”
When Seth Allen broke his foot during preseason practice, Dez Wells became the starter. That experiment has fizzled, however, because Wells is so obviously better as a wing scorer than a back-court facilitator. Former walk-on Varun Ram then started Sunday’s loss to George Washington, but lasted exactly 83 seconds after picking up two fouls.
And so, before the Terrapins (5-4) visit Boston College (3-6) on Thursday for the first conference game of their last ACC season, Turgeon reached the same conclusion as many of the team’s fans: It’s time to throw Peters into the deep end.
“He’s been huge,” forward Jon Graham said of Peters. “He’s made some very, very clutch plays. I’m very proud of him. He’s come a long way for a freshman. Situations you don’t see a lot of freshman in, he’s handled that. We’re relying on him.”
With Allen’s return looming within the next month, Peters may soon find himself relegated to a reserve role, but the Boston College game will test his growth. His career-high 11 points against George Washington helped key a second-half comeback, his length was a factor in Maryland’s full-court press and his two turnovers in 19 minutes showed a new-found dedication to ball security. With 20 seconds left and the Terrapins down two, he calmly sank two free throws that tied the score.
“I love the way he finished the game,” Turgeon said. “He stepped up and made those free throws like he was shooting in the park or shooting in an empty gym. It was amazing. Really proud of him.”
Since Turgeon accepted the Maryland job, he has labored through a chaotic point guard situation. Citing Pe’Shon Howard’s torn ACL in 2011-12 and Allen’s broken foot this fall, Turgeon called it “bad luck.” Starting Ram on Sunday reflected both confidence in the transfer’s energy and a dearth of alternative options. But Peters demonstrated enough against the Colonials to warrant a bump in playing time, something his teammates seemed confident the local high school star would manage.
“I hope so,” Jake Layman said. “I hope he takes that game and his confidence gets higher and higher. I think being a freshman, there’s always a little confidence drop going in. But he’s getting there.”
Said Graham, “I think Roddy could handle it.”