Gary Williams reflects on time spent in Cole Field House
COLLEGE PARK--Sunday’s exhibition against Catholic couldn’t have started much worse for Maryland.
The Terrapins turned the ball over on four of their first six possessions, appearing sluggish and disjointed in the process as junior Dez Wells shifted over from his natural position at shooting guard to the lead guard spot.
Maryland led by a score of 6-5 at the under-16 media timeout.
“I would say I was thinking too much when I first started out,” Wells admitted postgame. “Once you settle down, the game starts to slow down for you. So that was just an adjustment I had to make.”
Maryland found its rhythm after the timeout, helped along by Jake Layman’s string of 11 straight points in an 84-39 blowout victory over Catholic University on Sunday afternoon at Comcast Center.
Wells, in his first game starting at point guard after Seth Allen went down with a fractured foot, finished with seven points on 3-of-4 shooting while adding four rebounds and three assists and turning the ball over twice.
For context, Wells averaged close to 10 shots per game last season.
“He was playing at an unbelievably high level and then we moved him after the Villanova scrimmage to the point,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “We need Dez to shoot more than four shots a game for us to be successful.”
So that’s the adjustment, as Turgeon put it, not necessarily teaching Wells the point guard position, but helping him to find how he fits in the offense that went from simplified to complex, then back to simplified after Allen’s injury.
The question will be what the balance is between “Wells, The Scorer” and “Wells, The Facilitator” when the regular season starts on Friday.
“I don’t care. I just want to win,” he said. “I can still have that scorer’s mentality when we’re not doing so well and we need a basket. It’ll just be me scoring from a different angle or a different position on the court.”
Wells shared time with freshman Roddy Peters and D-III transfer Varun Ram on Sunday.
Peters finished with seven points on 2-of-5 shooting and added two assists while turning the ball over twice. He changed speeds well in transition, where he has excelled for much of the preseason, and got to the free-throw line twice after strong moves to the basket.
“Where I was really proud of Roddy was on the defensive end because that’s where he doesn’t really like to play a lot,” Turgeon said.
“The thing with Roddy is he tries to hit the home run every time and we just constantly telling him he was able to do that in high school. He gets in there and he gets in too deep.”
Ram finished with two points and no turnovers in nine minutes. But with Allen’s injury, he’s not just a longshot backup getting reps in an exhibition. Turgeon said during the week that he could see some time in live-game action until Allen returns.
The lack of backcourt depth could be compounded by the fact that refereeing styles have changed, especially on the perimeter, which will likely result in more fouls.
Foul trouble and a lack of depth often are not a good combination, especially with the No. 18 team in the country waiting for them at Barclays Center later this upcoming week on Nov. 8, and Turgeon acknowledged that.
“It’ll be a little bit different Friday.”