clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Jake Layman is willing Maryland through March

New, 10 comments

Layman is going through one of the best shooting stretches of his career at the perfect time.

Sung Min Kim/Testudo Times

Jake Layman's reserved demeanor in the locker room has been all but that on the basketball court in the month of March.

The senior is fighting out the last few games of his collegiate career, producing box score numbers he hasn't all season despite the fact that he was already quietly pacing himself as Maryland's most consistent player this year.

He doesn't lead the Terps in virtually any statistical category out there, and that's the beauty of his game: Mark Turgeon can get a little bit of everything out of him.

He can chase guards around screens, hold his ground against bigger forwards and run out to defend the stretch positions on the perimeter.

Teams have trouble defending the 6'9 wing because he's a unique body. Most don't have a comparable player to throw at him. He isn't the strongest or quickest, but often the longest and most difficult to put a hand up on.

The best defense played on him at times is often his own. Layman has always been a bit too willing to pass up looks despite being a great shooter before he even got to College Park. But March 2016 has been something different.

With the hope of becoming a first round draft pick in June, with the hope of reaching the Final Four in April and with the hope of not spending his last time in a Maryland uniform on the west coast, Layman has let loose.

Shy no more, this is no "Cupcake Jake." The man who's been criticized throughout his whole career for "not showing up in the big game," has silenced his doubters by doing exactly the opposite.

Layman is averaging 17.8 points across five games in March. In two of those games he scored 26 and 27 points - coming a point shy of his career high against Nebraska and tying it Friday against South Dakota State.

He's done it all on 27-of-50 shooting. His 10 shots per game is easily his highest number of attempts per month this season.  Layman has fired 18-for-31 from the three-point arc and made 17-of-20 free throws, and he's spent more time at the free-throw line, going 16-for-18 from the stripe in his past three games. His shooting numbers have been accompanied by 5 rebounds per game. Despite sharing the court with four other NBA caliber teammates, Layman is showing more aggression than ever.

The Terps may not reach the Final Four this year. They may not even make it out of the Round of 32. Regardless of how the season finishes, it's clear Layman won't let it be from his inability to take on bigger responsibilities in big moments.