Let me start by saying that I like Layman a lot, and he showed some real potential last year. He was critical in making our small ball lineups work and was great in some big wins (most memorably: the NIT win at Alabama and the Duke win in the ACCT). I look forward to seeing him continue to improve as a player and contribute to many more Terp wins.
That said, I think a lot of Terps fans are getting ahead of themselves when they pencil him in as our second best player or a lottery draft pick. He might get there, but I'm not ready to say that I expect him to be there this year based on reports out of exhibition games and practices. After all, there was a lot of hype about him last year after his Team USA stint, and that didn't quite materialize (at least not completely).
My biggest concern with Jake is that, though he's praised as a lights out shooter, he really hasn't lived up to that reputation so far. Last year, he only shot .299 overall from deep. His 3-point shooting improved somewhat in the ACCT and NIT (.333), but he still missed a ton of shots. Take out the Alabama game, and his overall FG% was .318 in the ACCT and NIT. Jake went through stretches where he looked lost on offense and was invisible in some big losses (4 pts, 4 TO vs. Iowa; 0 pts, 2 reb, 2 TO vs. UNC in the ACCT).
I worry that some people are setting their expectations too high for Jake, and I fear a fan backlash against him if he struggles out the gate. I also think that some fans are sleeping on guys like Faust, Allen, or (especially) Smotrycz in their haste to jump on the Layman bandwagon. Faust finished the year shooting the ball amazingly well (.415 3p%; .475 overall over last 10 games) and could be poised for a real breakout if he can avoid being forced to play point again. Seth looked like he finally was putting it together, too, before he was injured (better than 2:1 A:TO ratio over last 10 games, shooting well, consistently scoring and getting to the line). And finally, Smo is a proven lights out shooter over multiple seasons of D1 play, and the coaching staff raved about him last year (calling him the best player on the floor during scrimmages). Any one of these guys could step up and be the 2nd best player on our team next year.
I just wanted to put this on the record and start some discussion. I look forward to eating crow if Layman turns out to be the second coming of Walt Williams this year.