The Maryland men's basketball season begins a week from Friday against Connecticut, which doesn't leave much time for the Terps to adjust to a new starting point guard.
What had been a clear-cut choice for months became clouded Wednesday, when it was announced that sophomore Seth Allen will be out eight to 10 weeks after breaking a bone in his left foot during practice Tuesday.
Though he would not publicly discuss Allen’s replacement, coach Mark Turgeon wrote in a text message to The Baltimore Sun that junior Dez Wells will shift over to the starting point guard spot with freshman Roddy Peters serving as his backup.
“We are devastated for Seth,” Turgeon said in a news release. “He was playing at a very high level throughout the summer and fall and was poised to have an excellent to the season. We will support Seth during his rehabillitation process and will prepare him so he can get back on the court with his teammates.”
Allen, who missed the final two games of his freshman season with a broken left (shooting) hand, averaged 7.8 points and 2.3 assists last year. He suffered the foot injury when he landed awkwardly on it during a drive to the basket. He’s scheduled to have surgery Thursday, performed by Dr. Craig Bennett at Kernan Hospital in Baltimore.
The Terps play their lone exhibition game Sunday against Division III Catholic University at the Comcast Center and then open the regular season against UConn at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Nov. 8.
It will be the second time in Turgeon’s three seasons in College Park that Maryland will be without its projected starting point guard going into the year. Two years ago, Pe’Shon Howard suffered a foot injury in the preseason and returned in late December.
The Terps could have used Howard this time, but he transferred for his senior year to Southern California.
Wells, a muscular 6-foot-5 junior, was not only Maryland’s leading scorer (13.1 points per game) last season but also led the 25-13 Terps in turnovers (2.8 per game). Wells had only five more assists than turnovers (113-108) as a sophomore.
Turgeon has other options, but he’s choosing to let Peters, his top recruit last year, start the season coming off the bench. Turgeon has said that Peters plays well in transition but is still getting comfortable with the team’s halfcourt offense.
Given Turgeon’s history of changing starting lineups, it would not be a surprise to see Peters get a chance to start early in the season. It seems apparent that Turgeon is not going to use junior wing Nick Faust (City) in a full-time point guard role, as he did for stretches during the past two seasons.
Aside from Allen and Peters, the only true point guard among the scholarship players on the roster is former walk-on Varun Ram, a 5-10, 150-pound junior from Clarksville (River Hill) who played his freshman year at a Division III school in Connecticut.
The loss of Allen takes one of Maryland’s most athletic players and potentially top scorers out of the rotation for a couple of months or more. Allen was expected to make the transition from shooting guard after playing well on the team’s summer tour in the Bahamas, including a 27-point, 10-assist performance.
Allen played in 36 games for the Terps last season — missing Maryland’s last two game in the National Invitation Tournament with the broken hand. He played a pivotal role in one of the team’s biggest wins last season, scoring all 16 of his points in the second half of a home win over Duke.
Allen still has screws and plates in his shooting elbow after a 2007 bicycle accident.