Three Improvements I Want to See from the Terps this WeekendPosted on November 22, 2013 by Jack Fritz
Heading into this season, the expectations for this Maryland basketball team were at their highest since the 2009 - 2010 season. Now, three games and two losses later, those expectations have taken a severe hit. The good thing for this Maryland basketball team is that there is a great opportunity for them to get back on track this weekend at the Paradise Jam, in the Virgin Islands. Here are three improvements that I would like to see from the Terrapins this weekend.
1. Have Roddy start and control the game.
The “Start Roddy!” movement may finally come to an end this weekend as Coach Mark Turgeon stated Tuesday that “There is a good chance” that Peters could start down in the Virgin Islands. Coming off of his breakout performance against Oregon State on Sunday, it became evident that Peters needs to start. By allowing Peters to run the offense it allows, the Terrapins best player, Dez Wells to play off of the ball, which should open up the offense. Although Peters has not been a lock down defender for the Terrapins he certainly has the length on the defensive end to make him a capable defender. If Peters starts, and plays within himself, it should give the Terrapins a point guard that this team desperately needs.
Defense All Around
The Terrapins defense has been downright putrid so far this season. They allowed 90 points at home to Oregon State on Sunday, which really showed the flaws this team has defensively. On the perimeter, Nick Faust was supposed to be this teams defensive stopper, but in the Terps three games so far this season the man that he has been assigned to has lead his respective team in scoring. Those are not exactly the numbers you want to see out of your supposed defensive stopper. Faust has not entirely bought into the defensive stopper approach either; Turgeon said Tuesday that he is “begging” Faust to adapt to the role. With all of his shortcomings on offense, the Terrapins need him to defend to his full ability if he’s going to continue playing starters minutes. In the post the Terrapins desperately need someone to step up and anchor the paint. Charles Mitchell has been a monster on offense so far this season, but is a below average defender. Evan Smotrycz simply lacks the athleticism to be a consistent defender in the paint. Shaq Cleare might be the best defender of the three but is a foul machine and has slow reactions. Hopefully Damonte Dodd can come along and be the rim protector the Terps desperately need, but until then they will have to rely on the trio of Cleare, Mitchell, and Smotrycz. Hopefully the Terps defense can come around in the Virgin Islands.
3. Playing With a Sense of Urgency and Effort
In all three of Maryland’s games this season, they have been tied or trailing at halftime, even to lowly, Abilene Christian. This needs to end now. They need a sense of urgency when they start these games if they want to make a run at the NCAA Tournament. Some of this may fall on Coach Turgeon, he needs to be able to get his players motivated to play hard and play smart for all forty minutes. So far, this hasn’t been the case. It also seems like the effort hasn’t been there at all times either, there has been in spurts, but not all forty minutes. Consistently, you see players jogging back on defense, which allows the opponent to get an easy lay up, or you see a stagnant offense, where the players are just standing there, not moving. Hopefully, after the shocking defeat to Oregon State the Terrapins realize that they still have a long way to go before they can just show up and beat teams. If there is effort, and urgency down in the Virgin Islands expect this Terrapins team to have a chance to win the whole thing. But if they continue to be lazy and not give maximum effort it’s going to be another disappointing showing for this team.
The Terrapins are in action Friday, November 22, at 4 pm on the CBS Sports Network. They will play Marist in the first round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. Look for improvements in those three areas as the Terps look to return to College Park as champions. Stay tuned to @ShellShockUMD for in game tweets and live analysis through out.