One benefit of having a deep roster full of scoring talent is that when one or two stars struggle, Maryland's offense should be able to avoid totally collapsing. Even better? When everyone clicks, Maryland's offense can absolutely boom.
"Teams have to worry about so many guys that if one guy is hot, they're going to worry about him," forward Jake Layman said after the Terps' 80-55 win on Friday night against Mount St. Mary's. "And then another guy will get hot, so it's going to be nice to have that all year."
Against the Mount, that's what happened. Four of Maryland's five starters reached double figures, plus sixth-man shooting guard Jared Nickens. The only starter who didn't score 10 points, Rasheed Sulaimon, led the team with 5 assists and only bothered with 4 shots from the field, choosing to act as a playmaker.
"It's nice to see," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said afterward. "Those numbers are nice. I think in the exhibition game, we had five guys in double figures. It means you're a pretty good team if you can do that. If we can average five guys in double figures, then we've got something going well."
Forward Jake Layman had 16 points. Guard Melo Trimble had 14. Forward Robert Carter and center Diamond Stone each had 10, and Nickens had 11 off the bench. Nobody in that group shot worse than 4-of-9 from the field. The Terps were scoring in volume and scoring with efficiency. They totaled 80 points on 56 shots, for a terrific 1.43 points per attempt from the field, running up a gaudy final total despite squandering 14 possessions with sloppy turnovers. It was very much a collaborative effort.
"That's the way it's set up to be," Turgeon said. "We're hard to guard because we've got so many guys that can do things."
Diversity of talent is a major benefit for Maryland. On Friday, a handful of its stars flashed a variety of the abilities that have brought so much hype to College Park this fall. Within a few second-half minutes, 3-point gunner Nickens crashed the rim for a put-back score, forward Damonte Dodd slung a pinpoint interior pass to Michal Cekovsky for a dunk and Sulaimon darted around the court playing every role imaginable.
The Duke transfer – a former five-star recruit who's been regarded as one of college basketball's most talented players for four seasons now – only had 4 shot attempts from the field, among the fewest of his career.
"I'm really comfortable," he said. "Honestly, I just want to win. Whatever the team needs me to do to win, whether it's be a facilitator, be a defender, be a scorer, I think I have an all-around game to do that. Whatever the team needs from me that particular game, I want to step up and do that."
Part of the problem Sulaimon poses for Maryland is just an exacerbation of what Trimble already did last year. He's not especially guardable in one-on-one situations, giving Maryland two guards that often require double-teams. Carter and Stone demand the same thing in the frontcourt, and defenses start to leak.
On Friday, no one benefited more than Layman. Against Georgetown on Tuesday, it could be someone else entirely.
"Since we have a post presence, a lot of teams are going to key on me and Rasheed, and even Jared," Trimble said after the game. "I think Jake will get a lot of wide open shots, because we can drive to the rim and also when we throw it down, teams are going to double down, and I think Jake's going to get a lot of wide-open looks."
The Terps come in waves, and it's going to be immensely challenging for NCAA defenses to get in their way.
"The special thing about our team is that we don't look at the first five or the second five," Sulaimon said. "We just have 10 good basketball players."