Williams talks Terps identity, Whittington transfer
COLLEGE PARK--Maryland junior guard Dez Wells stood in front of the media and rattled off the names of the quality point guards his team has faced so far this season, Ryan Boatright and Shabazz Napier from Connecticut, Duke’s Quinn Cook last season and on the horizon when ACC play begins.
So what of Boston University point guard Maurice Watson, a 5-10, 165-pound sophomore who leads his team in both scoring and assists?
“No challenge that we haven’t seen as a team. We’ve played against really, really good players,” Wells said. “We play against really, really good guards year in and year out ... We’ll be ready for him tomorrow and I’m pretty sure they’ll be ready for us tomorrow too.”
Watson, a native of Philadelphia, is during his sophomore season quickly carving out as spot as one of the best mid-major guards in the country. He is compact and a strong ball handler. He is difficult to speed up and even harder to rattle.
The sophomore ranks 15th in the nation in assists with 6.5 per game, while also pouring in 14.6 points per game. He is a dual threat as a facilitator and a scorer, something that Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has taken notice of especially considering his young starting point guard, freshman Roddy Peters.
“He’s got a tough matchup tomorrow. The little guy for them is really good,” Turgeon said. “So, it’ll be a good challenge for him.”
Turgeon said that Peters will start out on Watson defensively, meaning we’ll see two contrasting styles at point guard, one of length and lankiness, one of compactness and strength.
The biggest question about Peters so far this season has been about defense so matching up against a guard who would seem to be able to exploit his weakness will be, as Turgeon put it, a good challenge.
Watson didn’t just end up at Boston University. He had offers from high-major schools, including Texas Tech and Virginia. Instead of being a role player, contributor, or starter as an upperclassman at a larger school, he chose to play in a league where he could very well win conference Player of the Year during his career.
He almost always has the ball in his hands to begin a possession, which helps to account for the high number of assists--and comparatively high number of turnovers--that he has. But what matters is his assist-to-turnover ratio, which is nearly two-to-one: 1.91.
For context, Maryland’s team assist-to-turnover ratio is 0.91-to-1, good for 216th in the country.
Watch for him Saturday afternoon at Comcast Center.