Maryland Basketball: Breaking Down the Terps' Best Options at Point Guard
While departed standout Terrell Stoglin did not necessarily assume the role of point guard, a drastic need for backcourt leadership is present for the University of Maryland.
Following the graduation of the point guard rotation consisting of Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez in 2010, the Terps have endured serious struggles to showcase a sufficient ACC court general.
With second-year head coach Mark Turgeon racking in his first full recruiting class, this issue is slowly on the mend.
Even with a talented five-piece recruiting class heading to College Park, only one true point guard is listed on the 2012-13 roster. That player is a preferred walk-on.
Still, someone has to bring the ball up for Maryland next season. Here are the most likely suspects to fulfill that much-needed role of Maryland starting point guard.
A silky smooth combo guard from Fredericksburg, Virginia, Seth Allen received minimal praise as a high school recruit. ESPN placed him nowhere near their top 100, as Allen was slotted as the No. 42 shooting guard.
Allen was a prominent scorer in high school. At Fredericksburg Christian, he averaged 24 points per game en route to a 31-2 team record. He has indisputable shooting ability that stretches beyond the three point line.
Allen is athletic and can penetrate the lane with ease. These attributes are significant assets to his proven ability to put the ball in the hoop.
So, what makes Alllen different than gunner Terrell Stoglin, who was far from a true point guard at Maryland?
Frankly, not much at all. Allen is definitely just a premier scorer who lacks reputable court vision or adequate passing ability to cut it as a starting ACC point guard.
Conner Lipinski initially was a preferred walk-on at Maryland, meaning he was recruited to play for the Terps', but would not receive a scholarship. When Maryland concluded their 2012 recruiting class and was left with an unused scholarship, they offered a free year to Lipinski.
So, while Lipinski isn't technically a walk-on at the moment, he surely is not as high profile as some of his competitors. Lipinski is a 5'10'' point guard from Baltimore, and is a pure distributor. He is tremendous at locating his teammates where they are in best position to score.
Lipinski isn't much of a scorer in high school, and he won't be at Maryland either. That isn't his game, which is why he plays point guard. In fact, Lipinski is the only true point guard on Maryland's roster.
Unfortunately for Lipinski, his fulfillment of a need for a true court general is more than counterbalanced by his major lack of physical tools and minor scoring ability.
He'll be an imperative part of the scout team at practice, but contributing important minutes during meaningful games will be a bit of a stretch for Lipinski.
Sam Cassell Jr.
Sam Cassell Jr. stands at a towering 6'4'', which is often considered a tad large for college point guards. To Cassell's benefit, former Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez was 6'6'', and he made out just fine as a Terp.
Cassell is physical off the dribble and is proficient at creating space for himself in the half court, which is important for point guards to operate efficiently. He can score at a quick rate, but Cassell is not as one dimensional as Seth Allen.
Cassell is developing into an effective passer, using his height to see over smaller defenders. ESPN lists him as a shooting guard, but his versatile game allows him to play point guard.
Coach Mark Turgeon will be able to put the finishing touches on Cassell's transformation into a true point guard, but he's still very raw. While Cassell will definitely bring the ball down the court on many occasions, starting at point guard may be out of the question until he fully develops those skills.
Transferring in from the University of Albany, Logan Aronhalt may be the spark Maryland needs in their back court.
Aronhalt is a deadly shooter with three point range. He has a beautiful stroke and can create his own shot. He averaged the second most points per contest at Albany last year, only trailing lethal scorer Gerardo Suero.
At 6'2'', Aronhalt seems ideal to take over at point guard, but his 2011-12 assist total would beg to differ. He averaged just one assist per game for the Danes last season.
While at first glance Aronhalt seems like a quick fix to Maryland's point guard woes, he just doesn't possess the qualities required to be an ACC court general.
Pe'Shon Howard saw considerable minutes at point guard last season. While he wasn't spectacular, he was far from a disappointment. When he wasn't injured, Howard created scoring opportunities for Terrell Stoglin on a consistent basis.
Howard's biggest detriment is his desire to do too much. He gets caught while trying to do crossovers and going through the legs, and ultimately ends up with a high turnover rate. With increased tutelage heading into his junior season, those issues can be resolved.
Howard is skilled at getting into the lane, but needs to work on his execution once he reaches that point. If he can learn to dish off to the assortment of big men at his disposal, Howard can become a legitimate ACC starter at point guard.
Howard is my pick to receive the starting point guard position at Maryland. His combination of experience and talent puts him over the top of the four other candidates competing for this coveted spot.