“That’s on the veterans. We have to demand more from them and stay on them and say a lot more than we do to the other veterans,” Wells said. “We have to guide them and stay in their ear and keep their confidence up and keep them motivated.”
*** Layman’s lack of confidence these days is noticeable. When the Terps opened the season, the 6-8 forward seemed to have a bit of swagger with the way he ran and a high energy level, even if he wasn’t shooting the ball well.
But his shooting woes, which bottomed out with an 0-for-6 afternoon against South Carolina State, have led to the rest of his game getting out of sync. A couple of times when he had to put the ball on the floor as the shot clock ran down, Layman looked completely lost.
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Layman was the only one of the players in Turgeon’s regular rotation not to be used in the first half Wednesday night – and Turgeon made it clear afterward that it was because of an off-court issue involving academics.
“He didn’t care of his academics so he had to be in study hall instead of practice Monday,” an obviously peeved Turgeon said. “When I left on Saturday [after the game], I said, ‘It’s 4 [p.m.] and you have until Monday at 3 [p.m.] to get everything done, and he didn’t get it done. He’s lucky he played.”
I am not sure why, given the combination of his academic issues and his on-court struggles. But if Layman doesn’t improve in both areas, it could be a long freshman year for the second highest-rated freshmen behind Cleare.
“He’s got to be tough enough to have confidence,” Turgeon said. “He’s got to give himself confidence. He’s got to get it back. He doesn’t have it. It’s painfully obvious.”
*** I have written a few times over the course of the season – even going back to the preseason – that I thought Maryland’s schedule was too soft and it wouldn’t do the Terps any good. Turgeon went as far as to say that he didn’t know he would have Wells and Aronhalt when he finalized the schedule last spring.
But now it’s pretty obvious why Turgeon has played mostly a home schedule – only one true road game at Northwestern and the season opener against Kentucky in Brooklyn, N.Y. – before the ACC season begins in early January.
“I scheduled so I could throw these guys into the fire,” he said Wednesday. “We’re playing Monmouth. Nothing against Monmouth, but our guys should play better against Monmouth. I think the problem is that everyone is telling these guys how good they are because of our [9-1] record, and they’re listening instead of listening to me. We’re all going to fine.”
LOOKING AHEAD: The Terps don’t play again until Dec. 21 against Stony Brook (7-2). Aside from Kentucky and Northwestern, the Sea Wolves could be the best team the Terps have played to date, with decent size and experience back from a 22-win season and a second straight NIT appearance. Given the nine-day layoff between games – and the fact that Stony Brook, which has won four of five road games, plays on Dec. 18 – this could be an interesting test.