Maryland basketball’s bare-bones roster has suffered a major blow, with tests revealing that sophomore point guard Pe’Shon Howard has a broken left foot that’s expected to sideline him for 10 to 12 weeks.
Howard, one of just three returning players who has started a game for the Terps, is Maryland’s best ball handler. Coach Mark Turgeon said he planned to replace him at point guard with backcourt mate Terrell Stoglin, the Terps’ most prolific remaining scorer (11.4 points per game)
Among the deeper concerns, Turgeon said in a telephone interview Thursday, are who will back up Stoglin at point guard and how to restructure the offense, defense and practice to avoid burning out his seven available scholarship players.
“Terrell can’t play 40 minutes every game,” Turgeon said. “That’s where the big problem is, so we’ll do it by committee. If there’s good timing, it’s good that it happened at this time in the year. I felt like we were really practicing well—Pe’Shon especially.”
Maryland’s regular-season opener is Nov. 13, less than three weeks away, against UNC Wilmington.
Meanwhile, Maryland is still awaiting word from the NCAA about the eligibility of Alex Len, the 7-1 Ukrainian center they hope to suit up. Under NCAA rules, Len hasn’t been able to practice with the team since his 45-day window for establishing eligibility expired on Oct. 14. While the matter drags on, Len may only watch practice.
According to Turgeon, Howard experienced pain in his left foot a week ago. But he also had cut his foot, and it appeared the pain was related. The discomfort ebbed for a while, then returned. Tests conducted Wednesday revealed a fracture in a small bone in the foot.
Howard told Turgeon that he’s “a fast healer” and expects to beat the 10-12 week timetable for his return. Given the uncertainty, Turgeon said it’s premature to consider whether to red-shirt Howard for the season in order to extend his eligibility another year.
“It could be eight weeks; could be seven weeks,” Turgeon said. “We’ll take that first four-week period and put a cast on it and X-ray it again. If it’s healing quickly, great. We’ll X-ray it again in another four weeks. If it takes 12 to 13 weeks, you have to talk about [a possible red-shirt].”
If sidelined eight weeks, Howard would be back for the Terps’ ACC-opener at N.C. State on Jan. 8. If it’s 12 weeks, he would miss the first four conference games—against N.C. State, Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Florida State. Maryland hosts Duke on Jan. 25, which falls 13 weeks after the diagnosis.
A 6-foot-3 guard from Los Angeles, Howard played in all 33 of Maryland’s games last season, averaging 5.4 points and 3.2 assists. He dished out 106 assists to 56 turnovers. Stoglin tallied 108 assists but turned the ball over 75 times.
With Howard sidelined, that leaves just two players who averaged double-figure minutes last season: Senior guard Sean Mosley (24.6 mpg) and Stoglin (21.5 mpg).
Maryland lost leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Williams to the NBA Draft last spring. Soon after Coach Gary Williams resigned, two of three recruits requested and were granted their release. In August, the versatile guard Hauk Palsson of Iceland announced he planned to turn pro overseas rather than return for his sophomore year.
Maryland now has four guards on scholarship: Mosley, Stoglin, sophomore Mychal Parker (who averaged 1.3 points and 6.2 minutes in his 13 games as a freshman) and freshman Nick Faust of Baltimore.