With the 2011 Basketball Season tipping off on Sunday, the Mark Turgeon era officially gets underway in College Park. Testudo Times is previewing the 2011 Maryland Terrapins basketball team, grouped into guards, wings, and bigs. In this segment, we look at the guards. You can read the preview for the wings here and the bigs here.
For Maryland, some of the most exciting players this season will likely come from the guard position. Terrell Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard are the most likely to make your jaw drop or jump up out of your seat and cheer. When you add in that Nick Faust will, at least until Pe'Shon is back, be running the point for Maryland, that puts the three most electric players all at the same position. In case you didn't hear, Faust will be running the show for Maryland in their first game tonight. The idea is to let Stoglin play as the 2 guard, providing him with more opportunities to score.
The guard position is one of the areas in which Maryland has talented players, but just not many of them at the moment. With the loss of Pe'Shon Howard to a broken foot, it definitely hurt Maryland in a number of ways, especially since they'll only have seven scholarship players available until Len's 10 game suspension is finished. It also forces Faust to play at guard and keeps Maryland's best ball handler and play maker off the court. While Pe'Shon should be able to return physically in January, there is no guarantee that his foot will hold up and be ready to go at that time. If that's the case, he could be redshirted. If he is able to come back, he'll likely start immediately at the 1 and give Maryland some much needed depth on their depleted bench. Now let's look at each player in detail...
Pe'Shon Howard, So., #21
Howard had a great freshman campaign, especially running the point. He compiled a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio and was able to score when needed. Following the season, Terps fans got a taste this summer of how Howard had improved even further, especially in regards to his ability to slash to the basket and score and with his ability to dish the ball to teammates. I was really looking forward to seeing how Howard would do this season. That is, of course, until he broke a bone in his foot. Howard's injury not only took Maryland's best point guard off the court until at least January, it also removed another desperately needed body from Maryland's already depleted bench. We thought, initially, that Stoglin would simply move over to the point, with Mosley serving as a back up, but now it appears freshman Nick Faust will be stepping into that role.
For Howard, Maryland fans can only hope that his foot injury will still allow him to play this season. The good news is that if Howard is able to return, it will likely be right before or shortly after the start of ACC play. So even if the Terps struggle in their out of conference slate, they won't lose any conference games as a result of Howard's absence.
If MVPe' is able to return, hopefully he'll be able to hit the ground running. If he's running the point, he might have to rely more on passes rather than creating his own shot initially, but it will still be good to have him out there running the show.
Worst Case: As I said in the Big's post, an injury is the worst case scenario for any player, but in Howard's case, it's an injury we already know about. If Howard's foot doesn't heal properly or if he simply can't get into game shape, he might have to be redshited. If Turgeon gets to a point where Howard's return wouldn't only help Maryland win a few extra games, you'd have to think Turgeon would option redshirt him.
Best Case: Howard recovers earlier or on time and is able to jump right back into the starting line up and dish out some sweet passes to Nick Faust. If Howard is able to return, you can expect at least one "OMG" pass a game and probably more scoring than you've seen in the past. Lets hope this is what happens.
Terrell Stoglin, So., #12
Towards the second half of last season, Stogin emerged as Maryland's best scoring option. In one five game stretch towards the end of the season, Stoglin scored 25, 25, 17, 28 and 20 points and earned a spot on the ACC All-freshman team as a result. Stoglin also improved his 3-point shooting ability dramatically as last season progressed and finished the year as one of the team's best shooters from the line.
This season, Stoglin figures to be one of the focal points of Mark Turgeon's offense. If there was any doubt about that, I think it was put to rest with the recent decision to have Faust run the point rather than Stoglin while Howard is out. I think Stoglin is at his best when a good point guard is running the offense, so hopefully Faust can get him the ball.
Once Maryland is back to full-force, with the return of Len and Howard, Stoglin's scoring opportunities should increase. Last season, Maryland struggled to score from beyond the arc. Adding Faust into the mix should open up more opportunities for Stoglin, as teams will hopefully no longer be able to sit back in zone defense that often times inhibited the Terps' ability to drive to the basket and score inside.
Stoglin will probably occasionally act as a point guard, but likely less than he did last year. It will be interesting to see how Turgeon creates opportunities for Stoglin, especially when Mosley is a the 3 spot and Faust is running point.
Worst Case: I think this team is going to have its ups and downs and a lot of that will depend on how Stoglin performs. The worst case scenario for Maryland would be Stoglin not being able to handle the pressure of being the #1 scoring option and having to move him over to the 1 until Howard returns and forcing Turgeon to further adjust the roles of players this season. I don't think that will happen, but that would probably be one of the worst things that could happen.
Best Case: Stoglin continues where he left off last year and finishes the season as a 2nd team All-ACC selection. With the offense running through him, he's able to consistently score and benefits from the presence of Faust and Len, especially after Howard returns.
Nick Faust, Fr., #5
In case you didn't notice, Nick Faust is appearing twice in this preview. Initially, we included him with the wings, but as we were getting ready to post this preview today, we realized that he should also be included in the guards, since he'll be playing point until Howard returns.
I think Maryland fans are going to quickly fall in love with Nick Faust. His leaping ability, explosive plays, and big smile are going to make many Maryland fans happy. But what can we expect from Faust at the point?
That's a tough question to answer and that's because he hasn't running the point in a while. He does have experience doing so, but none where we can show you a video and say "this is what you can expect." At the same time, Mark Turgeon is a smart coach. If he thinks Faust can handle it, I'm on board. With Faust's ability to drive and score, I wouldn't be surprised if we see a more "shooting focused" guard when Faust is running the show. Maybe kind of like Vasquez; if he thinks he has a chance to score, he'll try to take advantage. I also wonder if Faust will be able to bring his flashy style to the point guard position. Will he be able to dish out some sick no look passes, ala Howard? I guess we'll find out soon enough...
Worst Case: The Faust at point guard experiment fails and Turgeon has to stick Stoglin back at the 1 spot, with Mosley serving as the back up.
Best Case: Faust impresses everyone with his play making ability and is still able to get several of his own shots. When Howard returns, Faust rotates between the 3 and 1 spots, backing up Howard when he's not on the court.
So there you have it. What do you think about the guards? What are you expecting?