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Maryland Basketball: One Early Season Adjustment Each Terp Must Make

Ryan SatskyContributor IIIDecember 10, 2012

Maryland Basketball: One Early Season Adjustment Each Terp Must Make

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    Maryland's 8-1 overall record looks promising on the outside, but further investigation will highlight numerous areas in need of improvement.

    Turnovers, and overall decision-making on offense, have overshadowed any positives for Maryland this season.

    I picked out one adjustment that each Maryland rotation player needs to make early this season before it's too late. As expected, turnovers and offensive IQ are a common topic.

    Note: Players who do not receive substantial playing time were excluded

Seth Allen: Three-Point Trigger

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    Fredericksburg product Seth Allen has provided a nice change of pace from Pe'Shon Howard at the lead guard position, but by no means should Allen have more three-point attempts than Maryland's designated sniper Logan Aronhalt, regardless of minutes.

    Allen has attempted four more threes than Aronhalt—28 to 32 respectively. To put that number in perspective, just look at their made three pointers. Aronhalt has knocked down 17, compared to Allen's 11.

    Allen has displayed a slight tendency to make a decision to shoot the ball before the ball has even arrived into his hands. He needs to adjust that trigger-happy style, and read the perimeter defense before firing ill-advised trifectas.

Logan Aronhalt: Perimeter Defense

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    Speaking of Aronhalt, the Albany transfer, fifth-year senior has obviously found his niche behind the three-point stripe, from where he stands third in the nation in shooting percentage.

    But being a one-trick-pony can often detract from your minutes, and that's exactly the case with Aronhalt.

    There's no question that Aronhalt is a major liability on the defensive end, and frequently struggles to match the mobility of his opposing backcourt counterparts. He is often beat off the dribble, which causes some of Maryland's interior players to provide defense and ultimately find themselves in foul trouble.

    Whether it be conditioning or repeated practice, Aronhalt needs to tighten up his perimeter defense if he wishes to remain in coach Mark Turgeon's shrinking rotation as stiffer opponents arrive with conference play looming.

Shaquille Cleare: Blocking out on the Boards

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    Maryland was hoping that consensus top-50 big man recruit Shaquille Cleare was going to be able to step in immediately and provide a physical, relentless presence primarily inside the paint.

    While it wouldn't be fair to say that Cleare has disappointed overall, he hasn't been the bully that most expected. As a 6'9'', 270-pound center, his weak 3.2 rebounds per night cannot be attributed to that lack of physicality.

    If Cleare improves his ability to block out the opposition on the boards, he'll unquestionably be an interior force come conference play—but he needs to make that adjustment now.

Nick Faust: Offensive IQ

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    Watching Nick Faust play a few times every week this season has nearly given me a heart attack with his unpredictable decision-making on the offensive end.

    Thus far, there have been multiple instances where Faust is driving towards the hoop on a fast break, and instead of dishing it off to the trailer or maneuvering around the charge-drawing hopeful on defense, he'll inexplicably bolt right through that defender and pick up an easy offensive foul.

    In addition, similarly to Seth Allen, his three-point trigger has been too happy this season. Faust has been knocking down an utterly disgusting 22 percent of his 27 three-point attempts through the first nine games of his sophomore season.

    Faust needs to get his mind straight when he has the ball in his hands, because with his unmatched athleticism and length on defense, he has the tools to be a special player.

Pe'Shon Howard: Unselfishness

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    It's not very often that you can knock a player for being too unselfish, but then again, it's not very often that a starting point guard, averaging 25 minutes per game, has only taken 24 shots through nine contests.

    Howard's shown an abundance of maturity this season. While that has certainly been impressive, I'd like to see the 6'2'' junior create his own shot more often, which would open up Maryland's offense a bit.

    Howard is unquestionably the primary reason that Maryland ranks third in the nation in assists with almost 19 per game, but he's not even putting up three points per game. An obvious adjustment needs to be made in that department to improve Maryland's offensive efficiency.

Jake Layman: Finishing at the Rim

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    Massachusetts product Jake Layman is one of a very small bunch of perimeter players standing 6'9'' or taller, which allows him to penetrate the lane pretty easily against physically and athletically overmatched wings.

    The problem so far, though, is that Layman's inside shots haven't been falling. He's even missed a few bunnies.

    It's no secret that Layman's in danger of losing minutes if/when Turgeon inevitably cuts down his nearly-impossible current ten-man rotation. Showing some poise and finesse close to the rim would surely help his cause.

Alex Len: Tendency to Alley-Oop Everything

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    Honestly, it took me a while to even garner a thought on how to criticize, or think of an adjustment for Alex Len. He's dominated the post, stretched the floor, stayed out of foul trouble, etc. It's no secret that Len's had an All-American caliber season so far.

    So what did I come up with? Well, Len does often try to alley-oop everything that's thrown his way. But he's converted most of them, so I guess this is a future concern.

    Seriously, Len has been phenomenal so far. He contained Nerlens Noel in a glass jar against Kentucky, and hasn't really been tested since en route to an eight-game winning streak for Maryland.

Charles Mitchell: Free-Throw Shooting

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    No one expected Charles Mitchell to break school records in his first month in school. Nor did anyone expect Mitchell to be the Terps' top freshman performer so far. But that's what happened.

    Mitchell became the first Maryland player to haul in ten rebounds in his College Park debut. He's had multiple double-doubles, and since he's been the perfect addition for Maryland, there's not much of an adjustment to be made for Mitchell.

    To nitpick, Mitchell's been noticeably awful from the charity stripe, shooting six of 15 thus far—which translates to 40 percent. That puts the Georgia product in Ben Wallace territory, and he needs to repair that going forward.

James Padgett: Using His Post Moves Like Last Season

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    I've honestly never seen a college basketball player use his pivot foot more effectively than James Padgett did last season as a junior. This season, Padgett hasn't shown those magnificent post moves.

    Padget''s scoring average is down nearly two points per game from last season, and his reluctance to use those great post moves is a major reason.

    If the Lincoln High School alum can adjust back to his junior-season-self, he'll be able to retain his starting position once conference play arrives.

Dez Wells: Silly Turnovers

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    Without a doubt, Maryland's biggest concern this season has been turnovers. Their 15 giveaways per game have completely overshadowed their top-five rebounding and assist marks nationally, and Dez Wells is at the forefront of this issue.

    Wells leads the team with 2.6 turnovers per night, which is the only thing hindering him from evolving into an elite player.

    It's never a good sign to see a backcourt player have an assist/turnover ratio near 1.0, and Wells is hovering there. The Xavier transfer needs to make an adjustment to make smarter plays when the ball in his hands.

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