Mark Turgeon expects a "more complete" Terps team
Seth Allen recalls what it was like to be a wide-eyed, 17-year-old freshman in Maryland’s preseason practices last year in College Park.
Eager to make a game-changing play but prone to turnovers, Allen turned to veteran guard Pe’Shon Howard for guidance.
“Pe’Shon was always in my ear because Coach Turgeon used to be real hard on us,” Allen says. “Pe’Shon used to just tell me, you know, like, ‘Do the right thing. Do the right play and he can’t get mad at you.'"
Now, Allen is sitting around a group of reporters, having aged one year and, taken in context, turned into an old man.
Howard has departed, returning home to the West Coast to be closer to his family and finish his college career at Southern California.
Replacing him is freshman Roddy Peters, the same ripe age of 18 as Allen, making the Woodbridge, Va. native look like a seasoned veteran next to the lanky, 6-4 first-year player.
“I’m definitely helping him out, just how Pe’Shon helped me out last year,” Allen says. “He has common freshman mistakes like being at 100 percent all the time. He’s so fast. He wants to go full throttle. He’s going to get that pace to his game.”
How interesting that sounds, that the player who was so eager and perhaps even overzealous one season ago, tamed by a veteran, is now the veteran in charge of keeping an ambitious freshman in check.
He’ll look to improve on his 7.8 points and 2.3 assists per game, likely coming in more than the 22 minutes per game he averaged last season.
“Seth’s doing really well. Seth’s just such a dynamic scorer,” head coach Mark Turgeon told the media on Tuesday. “I think Seth can get a shot whenever he wants to get a shot. So that’s hard sometimes. But he’s doing a better job getting us into our offense and scoring points.”
At this point, close to one week before the program hosts “Maryland Madness” to unofficially kick off its season on Oct. 18, Turgeon says he feels more comfortable with Allen as a player who can set up the offense effectively in the half-court, while Peters has been impressive in transition.
And that will be the biggest question mark for Allen in 2013-14.
Maryland struggled to have a consistency at the point guard spot last season, leading to an often stagnant offensive attack and the underutilization of No. 5 overall pick Alex Len.
He averaged nearly as many assists per game (2.3) as turnovers per game (1.9) and had some nights where he struggled mightily turning the ball over.
That included in a slim win over Duke on Feb. 16 when he had eight turnovers and on Jan. 9 when he had five in a loss to Florida State.
“My decision-making is much better. Coach Turgeon and me working on making the easy play every time.
“That’s all he talks about, decision making and making the easy play. He’s a former point guard, so can’t do nothing right with Coach Turgeon,” Allen said with a laugh.
As of now, Allen appears to be the starter, but Turgeon left open the possibility of Allen and Peters being on the floor at the same time.
“We’re both point guards. He’s more of the scorer, I’m more of the distributor,” Peters explained. “Me and him playing together, we should be real good. I kind of feed off him and he feeds off me now.”
But if there's one thing Allen does not lack, it's confidence. Never mind the fact that he's the shortest rotation player by at least four inches, slotted into lineups that could often feature three players over 6-8.
“I just feel like I’m capable of being a great point guard,” Allen says. “I’m not one to just talk and talk...I’m more just action. My dad always told me, ‘Don’t talk about it, you know, be about it.’ I’m going to prove it with my actions more than my words.”