Q: At the beginning of the season we were debating if Jake Layman may be the best player on the team, what has been his biggest issue this season?
John: Consistency and aggression. Layman will fall off the table at times due to a lack of aggression, and as it is with any shooter, you need to take shots to get into a groove. It also helps to take less contested shots. A lot of people seem to be giving up on him, and it is a bit too early to do that. He needs confidence and a higher motor at times. Layman has the length and athleticism to be more than just a shooter, but he seems resigned to being just that. Next year will tell a lot.
FlaTerp: You know, I remember when we used to watch his AAU games and one of the critiques was that he tended to "drift around." I think that still applies. He doesn't seem to play with purpose often enough. Layman is too gifted all-round to just be a spot shooter. And frankly, I'm not convinced that he's a good enough pure shooter to just be a spot shooter either.
Jake: Like FlaTerp said, he floats around. He's there, and you know he's there, but he drifts out of games too much. He just has too many spells where if he isn't hitting his shots, he's not really involved in the game enough. That's been his main problem IMO
Andrew: I don't have anything original to add, I think all of the above hit the nail on the head. He's still a very good spot up shooter, and with his height that's a good weapon to have. I do think a lot of fans forget that half the game is played on defense and Jake is a very good defensive player.
Brendan: Obviously we can't say his heart or desire because we just don't know. I think the biggest problem is his aggressiveness. He's able to drive to the basket and is a decent ball-handler when he's driving, he's just not looking to do it. Although his mediocre free throw percentage is disappointing.
Q: Following up on that, is Layman even the second-best player on the team right now?
FlaTerp: It sure seems like the "best" two guys right now are Dez Wells and Seth Allen. If I were an opposing coach, I'd be most worried about stopping those two. Seems like Layman and Smotrycz are about the same from that opposing coach perspective -- you try to keep them from getting open looks from 3, and then after that you probably aren't that worried about them too much.
John: Well the best two players are Dez Wells and Seth Allen, and it isn't even close. The thing about jump-shooters is they will either be hot or cold no matter how you defend them. If a player is a great shooter, he will make the shot with a hand in his face. Allen And Wells can get to the rim, and that can be tough to stop, especially when Wells gets a full head of steam. I'm rambling here, but it really is irrelevant who is the second best, because we just know who are the two best, and that's Allen and Wells.
Jake: No. It's Wells and Allen and there's no doubt about that. They're the most consistent of an inconsistent bunch of guys and make the biggest impact. After that, Layman has his games at times, Smotrycz has come on a bit in the last week or so and had some decent games early in the year. Charles Mitchell gives the most inside but he rarely has a big game. Dez and Seth are the best two games on this time and it's a pretty solid drop off after them.
Andrew: I don't even think he's the 3rd best player. I would ranked Wells, Allen and either Faust or Mitchell (depending on the day) ahead of him.
Brendan: I think he still has the potential to be the best player on the team, but I think he's currently third behind Seth Allen and I agree that it isn't close right now.
Q: We've had almost an entire season's worth of games, what is your ideal starting lineup?
FlaTerp: This seems a bit like a pointless exercise. Between Layman, Smotrycz and Faust, one of them Will Likely have a good game on a given day and another will be confoundingly absent. So start the good one and bench the absent one.
John: Not sure it really matters, but Allen, Wells, Layman, Smotrycz and Mitchell. I really cannot wait until next season when I can start dreaming of a new lineup.
Jake: Like said above, it doesn't really matter at this point. But I'd say Allen, Faust, Wells, Layman, Mitchell. I'd say at least 2, maybe 3 of those are different next season.
Andrew: Allen-Faust-Wells-Layman-Mitchell. Next season: Trimble-Allen-Wells-Layman-[insert center here]. I'm salivating over Allen off the ball. I hope everyone watches how hard he works to get around screens and get open when he's off the ball. It's awesome.
Brendan: My favorite lineup is their second-most used lineup the last five games, and I think if it were #1 we might see some different results against Clemson and Syracuse. Allen-Wells-Faust-Layman-Mitchell. Ultimately, I think Layman and Smotrycz are interchangeable and whoever has the hot hand between the two should get the spot. Unfortunately, I'm assuming Chuck will miss some time against UVA, which is a shame.
Q: Your prediction for the Virginia game:
FlaTerp: Maryland 60, UVA 56. Good bye, Virginia.
John: My theory on every prediction I make going to opposite way was disproven against Clemson, so why not? Maryland 65 Virginia 57.
Jake: I'll play the optimist because this seasons just been fully of negativity. Maryland rides a loud and hot crowd at Comcast, hits shots, and gets a good all around effort and sneaks out a win in their final ACC game. Maryland 63, Virginia 60.
Andrew: UVa is so ripe for a let down and Maryland is so due to finally win a big game. Terps 64, Hoos 63. Maryland wins on a shot with less than 5 seconds left.
Brendan: Okay, so that Clemson prediction bit didn't work out. I'm going Virginia 62, Maryland 57.