Seth Allen is a complicated player. He switches almost constantly between flashes of brilliance and jaw-droppingly mindless turnovers. He has the ability to score from anywhere, at any time, but also the ability to give the ball to the other team, at any moment. Sound familiar?
A quick search of Twitter shows that comparing Allen to former Maryland star Terrell Stoglin isn't exactly a new idea, but the comparison is worth some further exploration. After Allen's recent nationally-recognized performance against Duke, and ignoring the entire team's god-awful performance against Boston College, let's take a look at the two.
For starters, the similarities start simply at the physical level. Both are listed at 6'1" (but are likely quite a bit shorter), while weighing in between 185 and 190 pounds. They are notably both southpaws, and have the size of a one (even an undersized one, at that), with the skillset of a two.
Stoglin and Allen each offer an explosive driving ability and an affinity for the deep shot, but they also share something else in common - the uncanny ability to drive you crazy. With Stoglin, it was insane shot attempts early in the shot clock. With Allen, it's turnovers - most of them due to either no fault of his own or silly mistakes.
As cliche as it sounds, there is one thing that both players possess that can't be defined by a statistic - swagger. Both carry themselves on the floor in such a way that you know something is about to happen, and you're hopeful that it's going to be good.
This all started when I took to Twitter to call Allen a "more manageable Stoglin". He has a similar skillset and an undeniable ability to take over a game, but he also knows (sometimes) that he doesn't have to. A large part of that has to do with the team that Mark Turgeon has built - it's much better than either of the squads Stoglin played with. As a result, Allen can pick his spots, allowing him to be as effective as possible. There's no 0-for-9 game here (although 2-for-12 against North Carolina isn't exactly all that much better). But does my theory hold up?
Let's compare the two statistically, with the help of Sports Reference and KenPom. Stoglin only played two years at Maryland, so his sample size isn't huge, but Allen's less-than-one-season-as-a-Terp is even smaller. Will it tell us anything? Is this a waste of our time? STAY TUNED.
First up, let's look at the basic statistics, thanks to Sports Reference.
The comparison so far appears to be at least somewhat warranted. Allen has received similar playing time to freshman Stoglin, and while he trails significantly in points per game, he has taken about two less shots per game. The percentage numbers are all lower, as well, but not by too much (especially at three pointers). So far, I'd say he's similar to Stoglin in style, but slightly less effective and way less depended upon. The biggest difference in playing style appears to be Stoglin's incredible ability to drive to the hoop, which leads to a significant difference in field goal attempts, percentage and free throw attempts.
Let us now take a look at some advanced statistics, thanks to KenPom. If you need a guide as to what some of these mean, don't be ashamed - there's a primer here.
NOW we're talking. Playing time is pretty constant between the two freshman seasons, but Stoglin contributed a lot more, in both possession and shot percentage. What's striking here as opposed to the more basic statistics is the closer proximity in the two shooting percentage metrics, eFG% and true shooting percentage. That's in part due to Allen's slightly greater inclination than freshman Stoglin to shoot from deep, while maintaining a similar success rate.
Of course, the most striking difference is the turnover rate. A large part of that is that Allen has played a lot more of the one than Stoglin ever saw as a freshman - point guards usually fall between 20-25% - but it is still quite high, especially compared to the assist rate. The fouls drawn per 40 also point to our conclusion from the previous chart - Stoglin was great at driving inside.
I do feel as if we've learned about both players in this informal study of sorts. For one, I appreciate Terrell Stoglin far more than I did at any other point this year, especially the times when he took to Twitter to publicly criticize his own school. The guy was a special talent with an inordinate amount of responsibility placed on him, and he did what he could (on the court).
On the other hand, Allen has had a great year in his own right. Because of the team around him, he hasn't had to put the team on his back like Stoglin, but the shooting ability is reminiscent of the old Maryland star as well as the demeanor on the court. Allen bests him, easily, on defense - with a much higher steal percentage and a knack for defensive rebounding (and therefore, positioning) that Stoglin wouldn't touch until his second year. As the young guard grows, we may yet see another all-conference caliber shooter wearing a Terrapin uniform.