Layman's invitation to be one of the 23 players competing for a spot on the 12-man team might have come as a surprise to some Terps fans -- especially since center Shaquille Cleare has been anointed the unoffical centerpiece of Maryland's 2012 class. But Layman making a team that consensus Top 20 players like Aaron and Andrew Harrison and Jabari Bird did not indicates that the future Terp has developed quicker than expected.
At 6 feet 7, 180 pounds, Layman is still skinnier that Mark Turgeon would probably like him to be. Layman, in an interview with USABasketball.com, acknowledged as much.
"I have been working out with my trainer a lot. His name is Steve Hailey, and he's been pushing me every day," Layman said. "I think I need to improve my dribbling a lot because there are going to be smaller guards defending me, poking at the ball. So, I definitely need to improve my dribbling, and you can always improve your jump shot. And I'd say my strength, too -- getting bigger."
He certainly got a taste of what it's like going up against bigger and stronger players during U.S. team tryouts -- a far cry from the competition he dominated at King Philip High in Wrentham, Mass. The experience he'll get playing in the FIBA Americas tournament should be invaluable in preparing him for his time at Maryland.
Although he'll be behind the other Terps freshmen, who have already enrolled at College Park, Layman should catch up quickly once he gets to town next month. Even before Layman made the U-18 team, he was likely the odds-on favorite to start at the 3 for the Terps. Everything he's done in Colorado Springs has confirmed that projection. Provided he does get those minutes, Layman seems poised for a big freshman year.