A few moves Mark Turgeon could make to jump-start Terps

November 18, 2013|By Don Markus | The Baltimore Sun

Mark Turgeon has said repeatedly that he was going to coach differently this season, that he wasn't going to worry about a player's ego, that he was going to do what was best for his team.

A three-game snapshot is certainly not enough to make a final determination, but as the Terps get ready for their trip to the Virgin Islands, there are a few moves Turgeon has to consider.

Among them is moving Roddy Peters into the starting lineup. The 6-foot-4 freshman point guard played his best game to date in Sunday's 90-83 home loss to Oregon State, finishing with 10 points, six assists and two turnovers in 25 minutes.

Playing a team that sat in a 2-3 zone the entire game, Peters showed what he does best: using his quickness to get to the basket for layups, his length to get to the rim and his vision to set up his teammates for easy shots when another Oregon State defender helped whoever was covering Peters.

Interestingly, Turgeon's decision to take Peters out after he helped Maryland cut a 12-point deficit to two, 65-63, led to the Terps losing their momentum. Though Turgeon put Peters back when Evan Smotrycz picked up his fourth foul a couple of minutes later, the momentum was gone.

Another move that has to be considered is what to do with Shaquille Cleare. The 6-9 sophomore center struggled again, with two points, three rebounds, three turnovers and a blocked shot in 20 minutes against the Beavers.

Having Charles Mitchell coming off the bench gives the Terps offense and energy, but unless Maryland can get Cleare more involved at the offensive end, it allows defenses to pay more attention to Turgeon's shooters.

It might not be all Cleare's fault. The most engaged he seemed to be offensively was when Peters was at the point. Defensively, Cleare has been asked to play the role of rim-protector, as Alex Len did the last two seasons, and he is not as long or quick.

Here could be the trickiest move for Turgeon to make: bring junior guard Nick Faust (City) off the bench. Since Faust has started for nearly all the games he has played at Maryland, getting him to buy into a reserve's role could be difficult.

Faust was supposed to be the shutdown defender for Maryland this year, but he has not done that against either Connecticut's Shabazz Napier or Oregon State's Roberto Nelson, who torched the Terps for 31 points.

Though Faust has displayed better shot selection since going 5 of 18 in the opener, he could be more effective playing fewer minutes off the bench. Switching Faust for Peters would allow Turgeon to move Wells back to the wing, and it could give him a reason to switch Mitchell for Cleare.

Losing to Oregon State at home might come back to haunt Maryland if the Terps are on the NCAA tournament bubble come March. It was a bad loss -- the worst in Turgeon's three years -- and Maryland can ill afford another down in the Virgin Islands this weekend. Though it's still early in the season, Turgeon has to make a couple of moves to get his team out of its slow start.

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