Maryland basketball season review: Jake Layman

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

We continue our series with the Terps' small forward, one of the more hyped players in the country before the season.

Jake Layman

(#10, 6'8, 205lbs, guard/forward)

Much was expected out of Layman this season (did you hear there is a lot of Chandler Parsons in him?) as he was placed on numerous "breakout players" lists to begin the season.  He was known as an athletic player with a nice jump shot, and for the most part that's what Maryland got this season.

The rising junior is still probably the second-most talented player on the team, even if he does have a tendency to disappear. When Jake is on, he's a player who can dominate on the offensive end, and is fully engaged on the defensive end.  One thing that can be said, despite not quite taking the jump we all expected offensively: his defense improved mightily.

Stats

Layman finished the year averaging 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.1 steals, 0.9 assists and 0.8 blocks. His shooting line was as follows: 40.1 percent on field goals, 36.5 percent from three and 70.1 from the free throw line.

He finished third on the team in scoring and rebounding, and tied for the team lead in blocks. His shooting numbers were, shockingly, up across the board, but not by much. He doubled his points this year (5.5 to 11.7), his rebounding was up (3.2 to 5.0).  Layman saw a big minutes increase (he led the team), but only a minimal usage increase. He was only used on 18.2% of Maryland's possessions, a curious offensive strategy given his offensive rating (112.1 according to sports reference or 109.7 on KenPom).

Either way, he's second on the team in offensive rating and wasn't used nearly enough -- not sure if that's a coaching issue or a player issue, but I know I saw way too many of his possessions with him cutting to the free throw line and curling for a shot on the elbow. Long two's aren't nearly as effective and are a lower percentage shot in the modern game. That might have something to do with his true shooting percentage being just third on the team.

High Point

There wasn't a late-season game that really stands out, and his early season highlight was his career-high 27 points against Morgan State. It's tough to give that to him as his season high point, but he went 7-for-10 from behind the arc and had his career-high total.

There wasn't much to see outside of his 27 points, he had just three rebounds and two assists and blocks, but his offensive rating for the game was an off-the-charts 208 thanks to the proficiency from behind-the-arc.

Low Point

Ohio State. Oh god that Ohio State game. 1-for-9 from the floor and missed all five of his attempts from three. The game itself was ugly, and so was Layman's performance. If his 208 offensive rating made you say wow, his 38 against Ohio State should bring you back down to Earth. Those two games back-to-back are basically Layman's season in a nutshell.

2014-15 Outlook

I think it's safe to say Layman's hype will be significantly less heading into Maryland's first season in the Big Ten. He probably won't be showing up on many preseason breakout lists and hopefully the comparisons to Chandler Parsons are over with until something substantial changes on the floor.

I'm not against giving Layman hype, we saw flashes of a great player in 2013-14, and there's no reason Layman couldn't take the step this year that everyone was expecting last year. Even with the loss of Nick Faust, however, minutes will be at a premium -- he may be favored to start, but it's certainly up in the air. As we noted, he led the team in minutes this year, but I wouldn't expect a repeat performance in 2014-15.

He'll be a key cog whether he starts or not just about every night, but the wing will be packed this year with the additions of Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens as well as the returns of Dez Wells and Evan Smotrycz.

As far as improvements, Layman did a great job not letting his shooting affect the rest of his game, but his shooting needs to get more consistent. Another facet of his game that could use improving is his aggressiveness with the ball. He can handle the ball and could stand to drive to the basket to take advantage of his athleticism more often.

Layman should be a guy who could threaten an honorable mention All-Big Ten team nomination if everything goes his way next year. He certainly has the talent, he just needs the consistency.

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