Like many of his Maryland teammates, especially the three fellow freshmen, Seth Allen has experienced an up-and-down ride throughout his first few months in College Park. He busted out against LIU-Brooklyn in the season’s third game, torching the Blackbirds for 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, including five three-pointers.
A charismatic guard among a recruiting class of already likeable players, Allen was Mark Turgeon’s first commitment at Maryland and appeared to adjust to the college game quicker than his classmates. He dropped 21 points in Virginia Tech in the ACC opener, sandwiched it with 13-point performances against IUPUI and Florida State, all the while earning Turgeon’s trust as a bona fide wing scorer with point guard potential.
Allen earned his second career start against Miami but notched just four points on 2-of-8 shooting in 29 minutes. He remained in single-digit scoring for the next five games, culminating in a first-half benching against Duke due to disciplinary and missing almost the entire second half at Florida State with what Turgeon at the time called a sickness. But based on his comments Turgeon made Monday, the reasons appear deeper-rooted.
In Saturday’s blowout of Wake Forest, Allen responded with a blistering 12 points in 21 minutes, hitting 3 of 4 three-pointers, one more than he had in the past six games combined (2 for 19). The 6-foot-1 guard has never had trouble stepping into shots, but he seemed even more confident at Comcast Center, running the secondary break well and filling his lanes along the wing.
“Seth responded,” Turgeon said. “He did not play well at Florida State, didn’t act right, and he responded the right way. He showed a maturity that he hadn’t shown this year.”
Once, Turgeon said, Allen made a rare mistake on offense, then sprinted down the floor and stopped Wake Forest on defense.
“Just maturity, “Turgeon said. “He would have hung his head and gave up a layup normally.”
At his news conference on Friday, Turgeon expressed his belief that Allen was letting his “offense affect the rest of [his] game.” Shooting will come, Turgeon said, especially for freshmen. He saw little wrong with Allen’s offense, save the notion that the recent slide during ACC play affected his defense and ability to run the team.
Against Wake Forest, Turgeon saw the Seth Allen of old, which is really still the Seth Allen of new, given how short his career has been thus far. Waffling between point guard and shooting guard, especially as the former position remains in flux for the Terps, Allen received more time running the offense Saturday, and finished with three assists against two turnovers.
Allen has proved himself a viable spark off the bench, capable of starting when necessary. But on a team still searching for consistent performances against multiple games, Allen showed he might have found his groove.
“With young kids, you just keep working with them in all aspects and hopefully the light bulb came on Saturday for him, what he has to do, the way he needs to act to be a great player at this level,” Turgeon said. “Of course, he made shots. That helped. I do think his defense was better, his team defense was better, his rebounding was better for us, even if you take away the jump shot. That was a step in the right direction.”