COLLEGE PARK--The broken foot of starting point guard Seth Allen and the planned 10-week recovery period have made Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon adjust--significantly. And like any other attempt to solve one problem, he has run into unintended consequences as a result.
“Not only we lost Seth, we lost about half of Dez [Wells], moving him to point,” Turgeon told the media on Tuesday. “Dez was playing at a really high level at the two and three. I’ve got to figure a way to get guys in their natural positions where they’re comfortable and what’s best for our team.”
In an attempt to find Maryland’s best option at point guard, Turgeon said, he neutralized one of Wells’ best attributes, the ability to score when starting a possession without the ball in his hands.
Running the offense in Maryland’s loss to Connecticut on Friday night in Brooklyn, Wells was 3-of-10 from the floor for 13 points and added six assists and six turnovers.
But with injuries come a reality that all can’t be as it was once planned.
“Dez is still going to play point guard.” Turgeon said. “He’s going to play a lot of point guard, but I also got to get him off the ball where he can really help us.”
Wells struggled to find his footing in the first half, but played better in the second. He had two opportunities to give Maryland the lead with under a minute to play in regulation, but missed a floater and a jump shot on successive possessions.
“I thought Dez tried to play in fifth gear too much,” Turgeon said. “Dez gets going downhill pretty fast. We talked about that with Dez. He gets a little excited.
“Maybe he was trying to do too much in the game. He’s got a lot on his plate, which I’m going to try to ease as we move forward.”
And when Maryland takes the floor against Abilene Christian on Wednesday night at Comcast Center in College Park for its home opener, Turgeon will have options to implement that “easing.”
Freshman guard Roddy Peters saw time at point guard against Connecticut and will see more on Wednesday. Junior Nick Faust, who also ran the show against UConn, could also take the reins again.
Peters is the most intriguing option, though. At 6-4, he showed on Friday his ability to change speeds and find players in a position to score. He will make mistakes, but as Turgeon said during the preseason, depth issues will force him to play through those blunders.
“You learn a lot from playing a good team with such great guards,” Turgeon said. “We learned a lot about ourselves. I learned a lot about how I’ve got to try to coach this team going forward.
“I was really proud of Roddy and the things that he did…Our high-ball screen action, he was the only one who ran it right all night and got Charles [Mitchell] a three-point play. He did some really good things.”
We will have to see on Wednesday night how Turgeon experiments. Will he use it as an opportunity to give Wells more time to get reps at point guard, or will it be Peters’ chance to take control and run the offense?
“I’m going to coach my team like I have since halftime of the Connecticut game,” Turgeon said. “Going forward I’ve got to figure out what’s best for this team until we get Seth back. Got five months left in the season. Got a lot of time to make us better.”