10.12.13: Terps basketball practice news, notes

10.12.13: Terps basketball practice news, notes
October 12, 2013, 12:45 pm
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Mark Turgeon expects a "more complete" Terps team

(Associated Press)

COLLEGE PARK—With his roommate, Shaquille Cleare, coming down the lane late in Maryland’s open intrasquad scrimmage in College Park on Saturday morning, Charles Mitchell planted his feet and tried to take a charge.

The two collided and Mitchell fell to the floor, got called for a foul, and slapped on a look of disbelief as he glanced in the direction of the referee.

As Cleare stepped to the line and Mitchell took his spot on the block, he turned to the referee with a smile on his face and said in protest of the foul call, “Ref, I was there yesterday.”

Don’t tell Mitchell it’s an intrasquad scrimmage and, hey, it might not matter if you did. He and his roommate, Cleare, are used to going at each other in practice.

The development of those two in the paint for Maryland--post-Alex Len—will be one of the main early season story lines. More on that below.

But for now, take a look at news and notes from Saturday’s practice.

FINAL: Red Team 38, Black Team 36 

Red Team Stats

Jake Layman: 20 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist

Nick Faust: 10 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists

Charles Mitchell: 3 points, 5 rebounds

Damonte Dodd: 3 points 

Black Team Stats

Dez Wells: 12 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist

Seth Allen: 8 points, 3 assists, 2 rebounds

Evan Smotrycz: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist

Shaquille Cleare: 4 points, 2 rebounds

HEADLINES

Mark Turgeon absent on Saturday at Comcast Center

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon did not attend Saturday’s practice due to illness, with assistants Scott Spinelli, Dalonte Hill, and Bino Ranson taking the reins.

Spinelli said Turgeon has strep throat and felt it better to stay away from the team and reduce the risk of infecting them, but the staff stayed in contact with him throughout via text message.

"If it had been the real season, in terms of a game or something like that, knowing Coach and being with him for eight years, he would have been here," Spinelli said after practice.

Jake Layman's development is real

After the sophomore's strong performance from the perimeter during the team's trip to the Bahamas this summer, there was a buzz about improved confidence for Jake Layman.

During Saturday's scrimmage, we saw it in action. Layman finished 3-of-4 from three-point range and poured in 20 points to help the Red Team to victory. 

The improvement in Layman is rooted in confidence. He is physically stronger, his shot form is straight from a textbook, and his offense Saturday was geared toward getting him open looks off of screens. And he converted.

"Everybody talks about your freshman or sophomore jump and I think it goes back to that strength he's got going," Spinelli said. "He's able to do a little bit more physically and when he gets bumped...his legs are under him so he's gotten stronger. So he's got a little bit more of a swagger to him."

Shaquille Cleare struggles finishing around the rim early

Without Alex Len this season, Maryland will need an inside presence when its outside shots are not falling. That likely means Cleare or Mitchell will need to be the go-to scorer.

Cleare struggled early against pressure from Mitchell on the block, missing layups and hook shots in the paint.

Toward the of the scrimmage, he was a bit more assertive and had one major dunk on Mitchell after taking a dish in the lane.

Roddy Peters/Seth Allen continue to show contrasting strengths

Mark Turgeon said at his team's media day earlier this week that he has options at the point guard spot.

Sophomore Seth Allen, wired to score, had earned the vote of confidence from the staff in the half-court game. Roddy Peters, a talented freshman, had looked stronger leading the transition game, but was still working on running a college-level offense.

Peters was most impressive on Saturday. Just as Kendall Marshall used to run North Carolina's offense in transition, always seeming to hit teammates in stride in a position to score, Peters did the same during the scrimmage.

On one sequence, fellow freshman Damonte Dodd pulled down a rebound and threw a quick outlet pass to Peters, who took two dribbles up the floor and lofted the ball perfectly into the hands of Nick Faust in transition, who finished for the layup.

"Roddy's a competitor," Spinelli said. "He's got that D.C. swagger to him out there and he's continuously getting better and better and he's going to be a valuable asset to our team this year in a lot of ways."