Excitement at Maryland over visit by President Obama
Point guard play became a real problem for the Maryland Terrapins last season, and many fans hoped freshman Roddy Peters could be the answer this season.
In a season opening loss to the University of Connecticut, Peters played just 18 minutes, taking a back seat to junior wing Dez Wells. Playing point does not come naturally for the athletic Wells, and the offense struggled for long periods while he served as floor general.
It appears Terps coach Mark Turgeon noticed, as Peters saw increased playing time in Sunday's loss to Oregon State. In 25 minutes Peters registered six assists and 10 points, and the Maryland offense seemed to run with more fluidity with Peters in the game.
"He’s doing great," Turgeon said of Peters following the loss to the Beavers. "I was really proud of him."
A greater opportunity emerged for Peters when news hit in October that sophomore guard Seth Allen broke his foot and would miss the season's opening months. Allen gives the Terps a valuable scorer, but is hardly a true point guard. Peters is, and has shown flashes in his three games with the Terps.
"He had some nice drives," Maryland sophomore forward Jake Layman said of Peters. Layman added that Peters' quickness allowed him to attack the Oregon State zone, opening up the court for the Terps offense.
"I think against the zone, he was our best player," Layman said. "It’s great because it gets me open looks."
Open looks will help Maryland shooters like Layman, who had 15 points and three 3-pointers against Oregon State, and Evan Smotrycz, who had 16 points and three 3-pointers in the game.
For any true freshman, adjusting to the college game will take some time, but speed may not be the biggest issue for Peters. Turgeon has said frequently that Peters can handle Maryland well in transition, but struggles in the half-court.
Defense presents another area for Peters to grow, though Turgeon seems pleased with his freshman's effort.
"We don’t need to go fast. We need to be efficient," Turgeon said. "I thought his defense was better."
With Allen hurt and the departed Pe'Shon Howard playing his final college season in Southern California, Peters needs to grow up fast for Maryland.
"I was proud of Roddy. He was excited about the crowd. He played well," Turgeon said. "He’s going to be a great one for us."