The Terps are 20 games in now, sitting at 11-9. Let's have another blunt Q&A session on Terps hoops, and we encourage your comments.
What's a realistic finish for the year?
Honestly, the way the Terps are playing now (although the Pitt game was a small step forward), I see four victories remaining on the schedule. That completes the regular season at 15-16, and folks, that's a real body blow. But really, I have six games on that schedule that I just don't see Maryland having a remote chance of winning at UNC, Florida State, at Virginia, at Duke, Syracuse and Virginia. Sure hope I'm wrong but..
Will a permanent nine-man rotation be established anytime soon?
It's not so much the rotation or the players -- it's the minutes. They fluctuate so much from one game to the next. I'd imagine some kids have to wonder what their role will be, or how much time they'll get from game to game. That's tough to deal with, and yet, if the performances themselves had been more consistent, so too would their minutes.
What's up with Roddy?
He's going through the freshman peaks and valleys routine right now. He got some minutes early on this year, then had a string of impressive performances, especially against Georgia Tech. Now, he's struggling, his confidence is lagging, and opponents are giving him the outside shot. Now, Peters wasn't Mr. Automatic from beyond the stripe in high school, but I saw him hit a bunch of treys over the two years I scouted him. He was streaky, but played with confidence at all times and was not hesitant to let it fly. Right now, his confidence is gone, and his minutes have been reduced. Peters desperately needs a good game to feel more confident. And he will have to put in time this summer shooting jumpers by the thousands.
Who has really stepped up his game this year?
Well, let's be truthful here. I can't sit here and name one player who's been consistently good. Actually, Faust has played pretty well here lately, but no, none of the current players has really taken his game to a higher level. There have been some nice performances here and there, but not on a game to game basis. That, in a nutshell, explains 11-9.
Do I expect attrition this spring?
I wouldn't say I expect it, but I do think it's very possible. That's just a gut feeling; no inside info on that, and frankly, now would not be the time to discuss it anyway. I just hope that if someone does leave, that the staff is super selective in choosing whether or not to fill that spot. I really don't see a lot out there that could help, but fifth year guys do surface from time to time.
Is there one area to be pinpointed, which would explain this team's struggles?
I could go in lots of directions on this question, but to me, it's obvious that the Terps just don't get stops. ACC opponents are shooting 47 percent against them so far, and in years past, Maryland has been known to hold teams in the 39-42 percent range. Not having Alex Len here is a factor, but I haven't seen the "junkyard dog tenacity" needed to be a good defensive team.
Possessing great athleticism helps you defensively, but heart and effort come into play as well. I hear "this team is soft" comments on the street all the time. It's hard to argue with that assessment. They need to bottle that second half Notre Dame effort more often from here on out.
Are there some hopeful signs with the program?
You see the Georgia Tech and Notre Dame wins, and think maybe this bunch has turned the corner, although in truth, neither of those programs are very good right now. The incoming class next year should help some, but this current group is going to have to figure this out, if they can. Juan, Steve and Chris aren't walking through that door anytime soon. I am just not sure the chemistry is there, although some nice individual pieces are present.
What would I like to see in 2015 recruiting?
Tell you what, forget individual players -- give me some athletes who play hard, play smart and can STOP PEOPLE. Perhaps that is why I am on the Christopher Clarke bandwagon, but anyone with those traits I will sign tomorrow.
The overall athleticism of the program is a concern (I know athleticism alone does not make you a great player). But if you go down the roster, there really is not a lot of quickness and speed there, and not a ton is coming in next year either. Definitely need an upgrade there, and in the overall defensive intensity level. Stopping people defensively can cure a lot of offensive woes.
Is there a leadership void?
I'd say Dez Wells is clearly a leader, but from a performance standpoint, he's been up and down along with the rest of his teammates. That said, he plays very hard, and I'd love to see others follow that lead. I don't see anyone else whose personality really lends itself to being a vocal (or non vocal) leader on the team. Hopefully one or more will emerge in the not too distant future.
Is there a clear identity with the Terps, in terms of style of play?
There's been so many fluctuations with minutes etc., and it seems it's been hard to establish any type of flow, or identity in terms of how this teams wants to play. The trend in the future would seem to point to a perimeter oriented style of play, and yet, do the bigs on board fit that style? Mark Turgeon clearly is bringing in some shooters, and that's a good thing. Will they be able to stop people though? It just seems like Maryland has players who fit different "styles" of play, and it's been hard incorporating them all into a cohesive bunch.
Am I comfortable with 2015 recruiting so far?
The Terps want a skilled power forward, and yet Esa Ahmad seems to be the only legit target who fits that mold right now, and the competition for him will be intense. They'll need at least one, possibly two wings, and I do like the names on the board: Marcus Sheffield, Chris Clarke, Malik Ellison, Allonzo Trier, Joshua Reaves and Jordan Murphy are all nice players. It remains to be seen who they can land, and how much the struggles this year will affect this class, and future classes going forward.
My thoughts on the ladies tough loss to Notre Dame?
The Terps woke up at halftime, after a listless defensive performance in the first twenty minutes. Head coach Brenda Frese has some firepower, she has depth, and she has Alyssa Thomas. The defense comes and goes, as the Virginia loss will attest. They need to turn that around here in the latter stages of the season.
I don't see Maryland as a serious Final Four threat, but it's a team, in my opinion, who clearly has enough juice to make the Elite Eight. Anything less than that would have to be considered a disappointment. This is Thomas' last year, and you don't replace talents like that. The Terps need to make a deep run this year.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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