Is Varun Ram Maryland's 'most complete point guard'?

Is Varun Ram Maryland's 'most complete point guard'?
December 8, 2013, 7:00 am
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Turgeon: "We didn't make shots tonight"

(Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports)

COLLEGE PARK--In 2011, freshman Varun Ram was playing point guard at Division-III Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. On Dec. 30 of that year, he scored a game-high 24 points to help Trinity defeat Westfield State College.

In 2013, now-junior Varun Ram took the floor for the Maryland Terrapins to begin the second half as the team’s starting point guard against Ohio State in front of a packed Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 4.

Could he ever have had the drive or the ability to dream like that, to believe that he would go from a small gym tucked away in New England and end up here, as a second-half starter on national television?

“I feel like there was a small part of me that did, but everyone else was telling me no,” Ram said on Saturday with a laugh. “I feel confident in my abilities and it’s nice that Coach has the confidence in me to do that.”

A great deal has been asked of Ram as Maryland scrambled to delegate its point guard resources in the wake of a foot injury to starter Seth Allen before the team’s season opener.

[RELATED: X-ray scheduled next week to evaluate Seth Allen's injury]

Through eight games, he is averaging less than one point and one rebound in 11.3 minutes per game, but has been an essential minutes-eater and defensive sparkplug in the backcourt as the Terrapins adjust to life in the short term without Allen.

“He’s our most complete point guard right now,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “I think the guys believe in him. I think the coaching staff believes in him.”

With Dez Wells considerably more effective for the overall offense as a scorer off the ball and freshman Roddy Peters struggling with turnovers and still a liability on the defensive end, Turgeon’s assertion Saturday at first sounds like an overstatement, but then appears to ring true.

“Roddy’s got to play better for us to do that. Roddy didn’t have a good night [vs. Ohio State],” Turgeon said. “Chalk that up to his first road game against really good players. Got to get Roddy’s confidence back up.”

While Turgeon acknowledged that Peters’ ceiling is still very high and his development will continue to follow its projected path during his freshman season, the energy that Ram brings defensively is an asset to a team whose perimeter defense has been lacking.

[RELATED: Previewing Sunday's Maryland-George Washington BB&T matchup]

“He’s a good defender. He’s a really good defender,” Turgeon said. “I started him in the second half against Ohio State at Ohio State, so I’m obviously not afraid to play Varun.”

So that would seem to leave the door open for the possibility that Ram could start or see more significant minutes when Maryland takes on George Washington in the BB&T Classic on Sunday at Verizon Center.

“I feel like whatever this team needs me to do, I feel like I have the ability to do,” Ram said. “That’s run the offense, run the team, you know, I think I’ve been preparing myself for this opportunity.”

Tip is at 3:30 p.m.