There were times last season when Maryland coach Mark Turgeon begrudgingly turned his offense over to freshman point guard Seth Allen.
There were times when Turgeon looked like a genius because Allen looked like a future NBA player. There were games -- such as the home win over Duke -- when Allen won a game nearly singlehandedly (16 points in the second half) after nearly losing it singlehandedly (eight turnovers).
There were more games toward the end of the regular season and then after Allen broke his hand in a practice during the team’s NIT run when Turgeon had to give the job back to junior Pe’Shon Howard. There was some thought that Howard would have to be the stopgap next season until incoming freshman Roddy Peters is ready.
Now Howard is gone after leaving the program in April, Memphis transfer Antonio Barton isn't coming after picking Tennessee over Maryland on Sunday, and Turgeon needs to figure out his point guard situation once again for next season.
It looks to me like he has no choice but to go with Allen.
With Peters having not played in a competitive game in several months after undergoing shoulder surgery, Allen will likely go into summer workouts as Maryland’s No. 1 point guard.
Many think the 6-2 sophomore is too careless with the basketball to run a team, at least one with NCAA tournament aspirations. Based on some of his performances last season, they might be right.
Some even think that Allen’s ability to score, often at a high rate, would be compromised by having to get the ball to the likes of Dez Wells, Nick Faust, Jake Layman and transfer Evan Smotrycz.
But Allen is Turgeon's best option, and I think a kid whose ability to get to the rim and light it up occasionally from the outside makes him a pretty good choice the way the game is now being played.
I think back to something I wrote after the 2011-12 season, before Terrell Stoglin was thrown out of school. I thought he needed to be Maryland’s point guard – for his sake and Turgeon’s as well.
There are some who compare Allen to Stoglin for being selfish, for taking bad shots, for not trusting his teammates. Allen took his share of terrible shots last season, but I chalked it up to him being a freshman.
Before last season began, Turgeon talked about Allen’s “Olympic-caliber” speed and athletic ability. That might have been a bit of hyperbole, but I see a little of Louisville’s Russ Smith in Allen and a little of former Michigan star Trey Burke as well.
For the Terps to have any chance of going to the NCAA tournament this season, Allen has to be more Burke than Smith. But just as Indiana used Jordan Hulls as its point guard until Yogi Ferrell was ready – then started them together – I can see the Terps doing the same with Allen and Peters.
Allen has virtually no chance of making the NBA as a shooting guard, so taking on the point guard respeonsibilities for a good chunk of his sophomore year will certainly add to his resume down the road. I can see Turgeon using both of them at the same time as Peters gets more comfortable.
Barton definitely would have been a better option than Allen, or at least safer option. But Allen is not a fallback plan for Turgeon to follow. It’s interesting to follow Allen on Twitter. His Twitter page has a picture of Allen and Howard, his mentor.
Among the entries over the weekend were these tweets from Sunday:
“You gotta ask yourself who gunna be here in the long run,” Allen tweeted shortly after Will Barton tweeted that his younger brother was headed to Tenneessee.
“Who wanna hoop?” was another tweet from Allen an hour later.
You get the feeling that the kid thinks he’s ready to run Turgeon’s team.
I think he is, too.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun