Mark Turgeon's first class was a monster, a six-man behemoth that is arguably Maryland's most promising in the last decade. But if you don't follow recruiting, the six will-be-freshmen aren't much more than names. Over the next several days, we'll be overviewing the class, recruit by recruit, introducing the newest batch of Terrapins to their future fanbase. We've already looked at Bahamian big Shaq Cleare, lanky wing Jake Layman, good-natured Georgia forward Charles Mitchell, and explosive scorer Sam Cassell Jr. Now we focus in on under-the-radar combo guard Seth Allen.
Name: Seth Allen
HS: Fredericksburg Christian
From: Woodbridge, Va.
AAU: Hoop Booth
Position: PG / SG
Rankings: 247: | ESPN: , #42 SG | Rivals: | Scout:
Committed: May 14, 2011
Recruiter: Scott Spinelli
Major Strengths: Allen has good physical tools, with adequate height to play the point, a strong (almost bulky) frame, and good athleticism, which is exemplified by his supposedly-around-40-inches vertical leap. His athleticism is sneaky, but obvious once you watch him: he can get up for dunks easily despite his height, and gets fantastic elevation on his jumper, which makes it tough for defenders to get in his face. He has adequate quickness, as well, which allows him to beat his man off the dribble and create his own shot, as well as occasionally be a one-man fast break and finish at the rim. His strongest tool is his jumper: he has deep range and can hit either off the bounce or on a catch-and-shoot, especially if he has his feet set. He has a well-rounded offensive arsenal and has been a pretty explosive scorer everywhere he's been. Defensively, he can usually stay in front of his man, is strong enough to body up, and likes to play passing lanes. He's a hard-nosed defender, willing to scrap it up and pressure his opposite number. Like most of Turgeon's recruits, he has solid intangibles: in Allen's case, he plays under control and is calm with the ball, which bodes well for his future as a ballhandler if he does indeed end up as a point guard at Maryland.
Needs Improvement: The most prominent concern is his lack of exposure against top-tier opposition; FCS is a small school playing mostly small opponents, and his AAU team (Hoop Booth) is a smaller, regional outfit that didn't go to many of the larger events. He hasn't faced elite opposition consistently yet, which means that the jump he faces to the high-major game will likely be more of a shock for him than it is for most. He's also struggled with consistency, whether from game-to-game or from half-to-half. That could be do to his injuries, of which he's had several since committing (thankfully, they've all been in different areas). One of my largest concerns is that he's a bit of a 'tweener: his size says he should play the point, that's what he sees himself as, and he's better with the ball in his hands than without it; but he has a bit of a scorer's mentality, little-to-no experience as a traditional pass-first point guard, and has generally underdeveloped point guard skills (vision, playmaking ability). That's another transition he'll have to work to make, although I should say he certainly has the tools to do it. Lastly, he'd be even more dangerous as a scorer with more of a mid-range game, as he doesn't really stop-and-pop right now.
Interesting Storyline: Mark Turgeon (and, to a lesser extent, Scott Spinelli) are renowned for their top-notch scouting ability. The first taste of this came in the form of Allen, who was a virtual unknown to Marylanders before committing and since became a national name (relatively speaking). Even still, he's yet to win over everyone, as you can tell by the relatively uncertain rankings - not that they really matter, of course. If Allen finds success in College Park, though, it'll be an affirmation of Turgeon's talent evaluation, and a very good indicator for the program.
Comparison: It's tougher to judge Allen than the others, partially because the leap he's making is substantial and partially because I know less about him (which is ironic, given that I'm from the same place he is). At various points in this write-up, I've been reminded of Miami's Shane Larkin and Kansas' Tyshawn Taylor, but my favorite one might be Avery Bradley, formerly of Texas and currently of the Boston Celtics. (As always, the comparisons are about playing style, not necessarily how good (or bad) the player will be.) Both are caught a bit in between two positions, are fluid athletes, and tough defenders. Ideally, though, you'd want Allen to gear more toward being a pure point guard than Bradley ever became.
Prediction: Right out of the gates, Allen will probably be fighting with Sam Cassell Jr. for a starting spot - and, frankly, I think the older and more experienced Cassell is the logical frontrunner. But Allen has more potential than Cassell - he's younger, hasn't yet been exposed to elite coaching, and has better physical tools. As he settles into high-major basketball his minutes will rise, and by the time he's a sophomore he could overtake Cassell in the depth chart. Allen will at the least be an effective combo who can play either guard spot, with good defense and a high level of scoring ability. If he blossoms under the tutelage of Turgeon, he could be a long-term answer at the point for Maryland, especially by the time his junior and senior years roll around.