The eye of Ray, the Crystal Ball, and the Rise of the Golden Children

Our Team:

guards- Seth Allen, Roddy Peters

wings- Nick Faust, Dez Wells, Jake Layman

bigs- Shaq Cleare, Charles Mitchell, Evan Smotrycz, Damonte Dodd

Current Development:

Star Players (clearly the best or one of the best players in the group that gets starters minutes)

Dez Wells

Premium level contributors (highly skilled players who aren't star players necessarily, but by experience or consistency are able to make contributions beyond that of role players)

Nick Faust, Seth Allen

Solid Starting level Role Players (and moving beyond?)

Evan Smotrycz, Charles Mitchell, Jake Layman, Shaq Cleare, Roddy Peters

Limited Role Players (gives starters a break or used when there's foul trouble)

Damonte Dodd

Specialist/Late game Contributors/Fan Favorites

Auslander, Graham, Barks, Lipinski

Even though both our frontcourt and backcourt are at earlier stages in their respective developments the good news for this coming season is across the board we've got a lot of potential for players to mature and improve with reasonable expectations for this to take place. Alex Len's vacancy will allow each of Chuck, Shaq, Smo and Dodd opportunity to find their respective niche's and collectively begin to make some statements down low. Peshon's transfer now ends up solidifying Seth and Roddy as our point guards. And finally our core of wings Dez, Nick, and Jake have opportunity to take last seasons later consistent play even further potentially becoming one of the more diversified and formidable group of wings in the ACC.

Taking a look at development going into this season both for the beginning and imagining how things might be by the end of the season how does everybody see our players and our team emerging? It's likely Dez continues in his role as our primary player who can take over and in particular take things up a notch or two when we need him too, and yet along with him we also have a diverse group of talented players who are ready to see how far we can actually take this, how strong of a team we can become, and inevitably what limitations or greenness we might run into in our attempting accent to take the crown in this final season of ACC glory!

To become a tournament team it will take a whole team effort where all our guys elevate their respective games and find their niche. Will last year's Achilles heel of turnovers and games with offensive dry spells be showing up again? Or is this the season where the major pieces in the back court, the block, and the perimeter all begin coming together and possibly even matures early into a veteran playing team even in it's youth- The potential for everything is there but there are some definite keys that will need to happen for us to significantly take everything up a notch and emerge as a breakout performing even beyond expectations.

Arguably one of the biggest keys for the season will be how both our back court play and back court leadership emerge. Seth will have to prove he is not as susceptible to turnovers (and reoccurring injuries as well. Being able to lead the offense and successfully keep turnovers in check is more likely now that Seth has a years' experience and will be having ample opportunity to carve out his niche back there (when he returns). It will also be interesting to see what Roddy brings to the table over the course of his freshmen year and particularly now that he should get even more opportunities in the early part of the season with Seth's injury.

After Seth returns and everything settles out will it turn out being more of a limited minutes for Roddy where Seth is the main cylinder back there type of thing or maybe it evolves into an equal sharing of the role especially now that Roddy will likely get early opportunities to demonstrate what he brings to the table- and maybe there's even a reasonable chance now that Roddy ends up flat out emerging as our primary point guard with Seth gravitating to a natural slashing SG position as even Turgeon had alluded too?

Realistically we do lose Len's interior defense this season, but in our back court it doesn't seem to be overly optimistic to expect some substantial gains. If Roddy, Seth (when he returns), and Turgeon are able to find a recipe that brings fluidity where everyone's talents across the board are unleashed we could be seeing the emergence of something special, something beyond our expectations even in this season where there's a sense we do have a little more on board even with the loss of Alex Len.

So what's going to happen? Could we be underestimating the leap Seth may be able to take? Will injuries besiege us in a way where we look back and than ahead? What exactly will Roddy bring? Any chances we end up seeing Dez or even Nick at the helm once again? Hold on to your asses Terp fans! This season could end up being very similar to last season or this could be the season where it all comes together...the beginning of a new era...a season that will forever be known and remembered as... ???

#1 Where might we be more vulnerable? guards vs. bigs

Factoring in our previous struggles in the back court and yet anticipating some real gains while also factoring in Len's early departure and the fact that in some respects we will be feeling out the rotation with the group of guys we have down low. I'm wondering if there's a chance that this season the opposite may happen- the possibility that our strength in fact becomes our guard play and our group down low becomes the area where we're more green? Hypothetically if we are greener or occasionally more vulnerable in a spot (once the season is well established and when facing better teams) would it more likely come from our guard play or from our play down low? By the end of the season if you had to pick either our guards or our bigs which group is more likely to make the bigger jump? Are our challenges essentially the same this season or are our challenges potentially in a different area with Len's loss and Seth's potential development?

#2 Refiner's fire- Come crunch time which players are the most likely to end up emerging with a consistency and sharpness that's characteristic of veteran leadership?

Every great team usually has at least three players that are in the star/premium level contributor range. Sometimes teams can have 4 or 5 guys or even more playing at this high level. Outside of Dez Wells when you look at the rest of our team and more specifically the guys who will be getting starters minutes...Do we have two other guys who will really step up and at the end of game and consistently be able to make a play or a key drive, pass or shot for us in a way that ultimately wins us the game? A good reference point would be Juan Dixon and a player like Steve Blake. Basically what I'm getting at here is: Are we vulnerable for some level of a Stoglin saga again where the rest of the team is in some way still trying to play catch up with Dez? If you had to pick two other players besides Wells that clearly give this team it's signature lifting from more of a Stoglin or a one trick pony mode to a team that consistently has some sharp edges in two or three different areas which players are most likely to make it happen? Come crunch time who besides Dez spreads this fire to the degree that this team defines itself as a team that can seal a game with power and it's not just one player.

#3 *** The Crystal Ball *** what is your theme for this season? This is a Nostradamus challenge find your vision for how you honestly feel this season will play out and creatively or logically express it. Calling upon the eye of Ray... what ultimately is and will become our signature for this season?

Don't dream big my pretties not your place not your place...

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