I love the terps and I love rooting for this team. It's great that the season has finally started. I've been looking forward to seeing the player improvements and new additions. This is only one game, but I think we can see some fundamental trends for this team. I was hoping this was going to be a definite tournament team. My assessment after game 1 is we will be a bubble team again this year. I think we'll be better than last year, but not significantly.
1) Good Sign: The team showed toughness to compete and fight back (down 17 points at one point). This bodes well for the rest of the season.
2) Good Sign: The duo of Smotrycz and Layman give us the three-point threat we have been lacking is recent years. Throw in Allen and Faust, and we have four three-point threat players. When's the last time we could say that?
3) Good Sign: Peter's has great size and is very smooth with the ball, especially when driving to the bucket and finishing. He looks natural at the point and I predict he'll be the best PG option on the team by end of ACC play (hopefully by ACC play!). If he develops an outside jump shot and can learn to play great defense, he's going to be a special player. He may be the best pro prospect on this team.
4) Bad Sign: Wells is not a PG. It's unfortunate, because that's where he would need to play at the next level if he wants to ever be a starter. I think Turge should continue to play Wells 50% at the point until Allen returns. He needs to continue to improve those skill sets. Any talk of this guy going pro at the end of this season should stop right now. He's a good player, and I love his leadership and competiveness, but he's a four year player. Late second round draft pick at best.
5) Bad Sign: I love both Cleare and Mitchell, but they have not progressed as much as I had hoped (think Jordan Williams sophomore year). I think its clear Cleare is undersized and too slow to be effective against ACC-BIG caliber players. To me, Mitchell has more upside. He's quicker and has more of a knack for positioning himself for rebounds. PG and center play are the areas of concern for this team. Mitchell will be the more productive of the two this year. Hope Dodd develops quickly.
6) Bad Sign: I continue to see improvement in Faust's game, but it's been slow. It does not look like he's going to be the star we all thought he would be. I do not see him as a lock-down defender as Turge would like to think that he is.
7) Bad Sign: We're not going to be the rebounding team we were last year. I didn't think Mitchell had a great game, but I do expect him to pick up where he left off last year. Smotrycz was a bit disappointing on the boards. He was out hustled and out jumped throughout the game. He may struggle inside against ACC-BIG caliber teams.