As sophomore Seth Allen sat on the bench healing from surgery to repair a broken bone in his foot and Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon experimented at the point guard position with junior Dez Wells and former D-III walk-on Varun Ram early in the season, the rumblings grew louder.
Freshman Roddy Peters should start at point guard because that would shift Wells back to his natural position, the logic went, and open up the offense with the way Peters can create in transition.
With some expected freshman bumps and bruises, 2013 treated Peters well. He scored in double digits three times, including a breakout game against Oregon State on Nov. 17 when he had 10 points, six assists, and just two turnovers.
What a difference the turn of a calendar year can make.
Since Allen’s return on Dec. 29, Peters’ minutes have slowly declined. He hasn’t played 20 minutes in a game in over a month and has played less than 10 in five of the last seven contests.
“It is what it is,” Turgeon said in a conference call with the media on Sunday evening. “But we, by no means, have we given up on Roddy. We need Roddy to be successful moving forward.”
With the quick turnaround Monday, a game on the road against a ranked opponent in Virginia just two days after beating Florida State, Maryland’s eight-man rotation isn’t sustainable in the short term.
That’s something Turgeon acknowledged Sunday.
“Hopefully Roddy can give us some good minutes [Monday] and make us a little deeper.” he said. “There’s still a lot of basketball left and, you know, hopefully Roddy can get his confidence back and start playing at the level he was, you know, before Christmas.”
Two major weaknesses have held Peters back during his freshman season, despite all of the positives and upside he has brought--defense and outside shooting.
With Allen has shown in his return the ability to shoot from the perimeter, Peters is limited outside the paint offensively and, though improved, is still not an asset defensively.
“It just has to do with what I think is the best for our team at the time,” Turgeon said. “So, Seth was so good yesterday, you know, he played 35 [vs. Florida State] and I think Roddy played three.
“Whatever I feel like is going to help us win that game is what I go with.”
Maryland takes on Virginia at 9 p.m. on Monday in Charlottesville.