Welcome to the Monday Terps Mailbag, a new weekly installment where you ask questions about Jake Layman and I answer them with as few hair references as possible. But first, onto the non-Jake Layman questions. Hooray!
What are the odds the Terps get some love from the voters and show up in the top 25 soon? (@matpendleton)
do you think Maryland will be ranked come Monday? (@swam_uptheriver)
after this weekends games what are the terps chances of finnally getting ranked? #PrewBag (@lfharman)
Bear in mind that this Monday Terps Mailbag will be published just hours before the Associated Press top 25 is released, so I will either be made a genius or a fool.
I think Terrapins fans will be forced to wait at least another week for Maryland to crack the top 25, though the Terps should see a substantial spike in votes. Maryland received just five votes in last week’s AP poll, nowhere close to reaching the top 25.
While that blowout win over Virginia Tech was certainly impressive, the Hokies are reeling and undermanned. After all, they only played six scholarship players Saturday. Routing Virginia Tech is far more notable than routing, for instance, IUPUI, but will it be enough to catapult Maryland into the top 25? I say the Terps need a little more push.
What’s the latest on football recruiting? (@davidjsaul)
Scoring Will Likely was a big get for the Terrapins, and they’re still in the mix for local prospects Na’Ty Rodgers, who postponed his commitment from the Under Armour All-America Game, and Yannick Ngakoue, who once decommitted from Maryland but seems to still be considering the Terps.
understand Faust was dealing with some pain, is the same to be said for Padgett? Why his lack of clock? (@JNEW427)
James Padgett is, and will continue to be, a very solid role player for Maryland, likely logging somewhere around 20 minutes per game. He’ll make a few shots, grab a couple rebounds and maybe take a trip or two to the free-throw line. Other than that, if Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare establish consistency, Padgett could see his minutes diminish on a game-by-game basis. Nothing against Padgett, and he doesn’t appear to be hurt, but there are simply better options around for long-term playing time.
Might Turgeon keep playing Allen alongside Howard, for the 3-pt. shooting, or will that end when Faust returns? (@alexknobel)
Absolutely. Even when Faust returned, Allen and Howard played alongside each other. About a week ago, Charles Mitchell told reporters that Howard and Allen were a “two-headed monster.” Howard is a pass-first point guard, while Allen has a more score-first mindset. Asked about this, Turgeon responded as follows:
“Charles is exactly right. That’s why I like him. I do think that Pe’Shon is a pass-first guy, but he’s capable of making shots and will make big shots for us as the season goes on. I think Seth is definitely a score-first guy, but he’s become a much better point guard for us. He’s really worked at it and I’ve been hard on him.
“I do think they feed off each other, and I think you’ll see them play more together as the season goes on, games get a little bit tighter and tougher for us. That’s not a promise or anything like that, but we have practiced that lineup and played it a little more in games. It’s one we feel comfortable with.”
I got one. Of the four freshmen, as of today, who do you see having the biggest impact this year? And the next four years? (@aparcan)
Solid question. So far, Seth Allen’s had the biggest, most consistent impact this season. Charles Mitchell, with his three double-doubles, is a close second. But entering this season, if you polled the Maryland faithful about which freshman would have the most immediate impact, Jake Layman or Shaq Cleare would likely have been the leading vote-getters. Of course, with 17 ACC games still remaining, all of this could change.
Turgeon did a phenomenal job balancing this recruiting class. You have a combo guard in Allen, a swingman finally living up to his potential in Layman, a rebounding-centric power forward in Mitchell and a big-bodied, immensely talented center in Cleare. Throw in another guard (Roddy Peters arrives next year), and that’s a very solid lineup, one that could be the cornerstone for years. It’s far too early to assess long-term impact, but it wouldn’t surprise me if all four have extremely solid careers in College Park.
Is this Maryland team the greatest basketball team ever assembled? (@A_Emmer3030)
Woah there. Someone’s awfully excited about being 1-0 in the ACC.
WARNING: ENTERING THE JAKE LAYMAN-ONLY SECTION
Obviously Jake Layman’s recent offensive outpour has Terp Nation buzzing. There is no question of his athleticism and ability to score the basketball. However, talks of Jake being a starter have me concerned because of his defensive capability. His footwork seems to lacking and as a result is often reaching in leading to fouls. What do you think of his defensive game and how do you see it affecting his playing time as we start to see tougher ACC opponents. Thanks, Eli Davis (via email)
Thanks for the email, Eli. Layman’s defense, at least from my vantage point, was far better against Virginia Tech than it’s been throughout his freshman season. Layman was pretty slow laterally, at times too weak to fight over screens, but he actually defended Hokies star Erick Green pretty well on a few possessions after getting switched to the hot-shooting guard along the perimeter.
Especially when Layman’s shooting grew cold in the second half, he still logged the same minutes as he did in the first half. Earlier this season, Turgeon would pull Layman after weak defensive possessions. That Layman remained on the floor says plenty about how far he’s come. Now, defending Virginia Tech’s supporting cast is a far less daunting task than, say, bodying up Duke, but it’s still a start.
how does Faust’s injury coupled with Layman’s performance change the rotation for the next few games? Thanks (@DoronTam)
do you think Layman will still start over a healthy Faust? Mitchell has proven he deserves to start over Padgett. #Terps (@UMDTaylor)
Starting certainly gave Layman new life, that’s for sure. He hit a three-pointer on the first possession, had Maryland’s first five points and nearly doubled his previous career-high in the first half. It will certainly be difficult to return Layman to the bench after that monstrous opening 20 minutes, but Turgeon has said all season that starters matter far less than closers.
Faust can be feast-or-famine at times for Maryland, alternating between dazzling drives and head-scratching decisions, but Turgeon is still high on the sophomore, insistent the Terrapins need him to step up in bigger ACC games. If Faust’s back spasms persist through practice, it wouldn’t be unimaginable for Layman to start in the interim, provided he plays like he did in the first half and not in the second, or at least somewhere in the middle.
where did that Layman performance come from #prewbag (@J_D_P)
I’m very tempted to create some elaborate Jake Layman Origin Story, wherein his golden blonde hair was forged from a mixture of the world’s finest silk and lava deep inside a magical volcano, and he trained for battle by fighting mythical beasts high atop mountains to free beautiful princesses. Alas, that will get expanded on a later date, unless some Jake Layman Fan Fiction enthusiasts are lurking in cyberspace.
Really, Layman’s breakout performance against Virginia Tech appeared to come out of the woodwork, only because of how behind he appeared to be for the entire first semester. But ask Maryland’s players and coaches, and they didn’t seem too surprised. From their standpoint, it was only a matter of time before Layman lived up to his potential, putting that rough November/December behind him and discovering some semblance of consistency.
are any of the other players considering a distinct hairstyle, or are they content letting Jake have all the attention? (@vklisle)
Layman seems to have the monopoly on hair-related attention from the Terps fanbase. Obviously, I have a little something to do with that. Oops.