First, it was Pe’Shon Howard, the Maryland captain coming off multiple injuries suffered during his sophomore season, ready to make an impact at point guard once fully healthy. But after starting 14 of the season’s first 15 games, Howard has come off the bench ever since, missing games against Florida State and Duke altogether because of illness and a suspension, respectively.
With Howard relegated to reserve duties, a revolving door at point guard has ensued for the Terrapins. Nick Faust, Dez Wells and Seth Allen have all taken their turn on the catwalk, to mixed results. And with four regular season games left, plus whatever postseason fate awaits Maryland, it appears that Coach Mark Turgeon, himself a former point guard, might never settle on a single floor general. Unpredictability has become the norm.
“Yeah I’ve bounced around a lot since I’ve been here,” said Faust, who has eight assists against zero turnovers for the past two games, solidifying himself as the team’s starting point guard for now. “I would say I’m a point guard, and I’ve just been bouncing around all over the place. I don’t know about next year or anything. I’m a point guard now and I’ll do everything I can to get the win, but making the transition was definitely tough, so I’ll still try to push through and keep doing whatever I can to help the team win.”
Whether the Terps can best succeed with Howard, Faust, Allen or Wells running the offense depends on the day. Allen sank the game-winning free throws against Duke but committed eight turnovers against one assist and is a better wing scorer. Wells is best at penetrating off the wing, better suited to operate off others rather than dictate the flow himself. Howard has strung together some solid stretches over his past three games, but doesn’t appear headed back into the starting lineup anytime soon.
“It’s been up and down,” Turgeon said. “That’s pretty obvious. But it hasn’t been just our point guards turning the ball over. It’s been across the board. Even our bigs turn it over quite a bit. In defense of Nick, Seth, even Pe’Shon, none of them are really true point guards. But Nick’s last two games, he’s eight and zero. That’s pretty good. And he’s really practicing well, done a nice job with it.”
With no “true point guards” on the roster — and a lone reinforcement, recruit Roddy Peters, headed into the Terrapins’ back court next season — the uneasiness could continue into the future. Maryland set a season low with just eight turnovers against Clemson, and somehow found a way to win with a season-high 26 against Duke.
“Our whole problem is we try to hit the home run instead of just hitting the single,” Turgeon said. “Meaning just make the big play. So we try to do a little too much. Some of that’s youth and just getting excited.”
For now, Tugeon likes Faust as the starter, alongside Wells, Jake Layman, Alex Len and Shaquille Cleare. Of course, all that could change with one game. Just like it has throughout the season.
“I’ve definitely been shuffled around,” Faust said. “It’s a lot of movement for me, making the transition, but as long as I feel like I keep doing what coach asks me to do, keep making plays for the team, I’ll be fine.
“Early on, I think I switched there earlier this year, and I got switched back. Coach told me I wasn’t going to play any point anymore. Then a week and a half later, I’m back at it again. It’s really just making this transition, it was hard, but I’m starting to get the hang of it again and do anything I can to help the team. I think we’re all interchangeable. Whoever’s going well at that time is usually handling the ball for us.”
MORE ON MARYLAND-GEORGIA TECH
– Poll Time! Who ya got, Maryland or Georgia Tech?
– Video: One-on-one with Charles Mitchell.