Maryland hoops team a work in progress?

November 05, 2011|By Don Markus | The Baltimore Sun

Like most who watched Maryland in Friday night's exhibition game at Comcast Center, I agree that the Terps are pretty much what new coach Mark Turgeon had advertised: a scrappy, athletic team that is nowhere near ready to start the regular season.

With the opener a week from Sunday against UNC-Wilmington -- where is Drew Nicholas when the Terps need him? -- here are some thoughts about the strengths and weaknesses based on Maryland's 89-84 victory over NAIA power Northwood.


A more confident Sean Mosley: I am not sure what happened to Mosley last season, when his numbers dropped and he seemed to regress from his first two seasons. But the No. 2 all-time leading high school scorer in Maryland history was looking to score against Northwood and had a very efficient 20 points -- with nearly half of his points coming from the free-throw line. I am not expecting Mosley to score 20 a game, but I can see him consistently getting at least 15.

Terrell Stoglin's fearlessness: Give the sophomore guard credit. When his shot wasn't falling, he did try to find his teammates. But he also kept shooting until he either hit a few or got to the foul line. Had Stoglin gone into a shell after missing his first six shots, seven of nine in the first half and nine of his first 13, Maryland would never have won. He wound up making three of his last five and helped the Terps avoid an embarrassing loss.

Ashton Pankey's return to health: We have been hearing about Pankey since he played for Bob Hurley Sr. in high school in New Jersey, but also about the stress fracture in his leg that has plagued him the past two years. I remember seeing Pankey being introduced as Maryland Madness last season and thought he looked like a power forward. With his leg healed, he finally got to show what Turgeon has been talking up in the preseason, a good rebounder with a fundamentally solid inside game.

Nick Faust's ability to score off the dribble: I was trying to come up with the last Maryland swingman who could, as they say, score off the bounce. Since I saw him at Friday night's game, I kept thinking of Laron Profit. Maybe Chris McCray. Faust had some issues with nerves and cramps, but he also showed an ability to score by driving the ball as well as creating his own shot outside. (And of course there was the 60-footer at the halftime buzzer.)


No true point guard: This problem is not going to go away anytime soon. With Pe'Shon Howard out up to 12 weeks with a broken foot, Turgeon has no choice but to live and die with Stoglin. He'll likely win a few games, as he did as a freshman last season, but he will likely cost the Terps just as many if not more. Neither Mosley nor Faust handle it well enough to play extended stretches at the point, and walk-on Jonathan Thomas works hard but looks a step or two slow out there.

Lack of a physical presence: Turgeon has no bangers, with or without talent. No Bambale Osby or Dino Gregory or even Dave Neal. That is clearly not Alex Len's game, and for all the talk about his prowess as a shotblocker, not Berend Weijs' either. Maybe Turgeon can get one of Randy Edsall's disgruntled players to switch sports. Short of that happening, he'd better hope that James Padgett or Pankey can develop into that role before Len returns in late December.

Defense: It's hard to judge a team's defensive tendencies off what is essentially a glorified pickup game, but Turgeon said after his team gave up 84 points to an NAIA team that the Terps spent an entire practice last week working on defense. In other words, the message isn't getting through. To be torched the way Maryland was by 6-3 senior Jonathan Dunn (34 points, 29 in the second half) doesn't bode well when the Terps start playing against future NBA players.

3-point shooters: The only way Maryland will stay competitive in a lot of games is by hitting loads of 3s, and while the Terps have a streak shooter like Stoglin bombing away, that is an area Turgeon has to address in recruiting. Faust and Mosley have that capability, but without a guy like Eric Hayes to spot up for a 3 or any inside player worthy of a double-team, opposing defenses can just load up on Stoglin and force him into taking bad shots. They won't have to work very hard.

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