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Terps' starting lineup still uncertain, Mark Turgeon says

By Don Markus

The Baltimore Sun

3:31 PM EDT, November 1, 2012

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His team might not be in midseason form, or even early season form, but Maryland coach Mark Turgeon seems to hitting stride when assessing the Terps with his typical honesty.

The first question in Thursday's news conference was about his team's starting lineup in Friday's exhibition game against Indiana (Pa.).

"To be quite frank, I'm not sure I could start five guys, I'm not sure we have five guys practicing well enough to start," Turgeon said. "Don't want to go 'Hoosiers' on you, play four, play three. It would be tough to pick five guys right now."

Turgeon said he would likely start Alex Len at center and Nick Faust, presumably at shooting guard or small forward.

Turgeon said he has been most disappointed in the overall play of his point guards -- junior Pe'Shon Howard, freshman Seth Allen and Faust (City), who played a lot of point last year with Howard missing much of the season because of injuries and Terrell Stoglin, well, being Terrell Stoglin.

"We've just been really inconsistent. Our guard play has been quite poor, to be honest with you," said Turgeon, who played point guard at Kansas under Larry Brown. "From day to day, I don't know what I'm going to get. Throwing the ball around the gym. Defensively, we haven't really been consistent enough to be any good there. I do think we have a chance to be a good team, but right now we're not practicing that way."

Of Faust, Turgeon said: "Nick's shot's gotten a lot better, Nick's gotten a lot stronger. He's still same making some of the mistakes he made last year. I know it's early. We're three weeks into practice. Yesterday at times was his best practice and at times he was back to the old Nick turning the ball over too much and making bad decisions. Has he gotten better? Absolutely.

"He's gotten better defensively. I 'd like for him to a little be more of a leader, he's not talking enough in practice. I know I'm being pretty critical today, but if you were at my practice yesterday, you'd feel the same way I do today. Nick's definitely improved. He's passing the ball better, thinking of passing it more. Defensively, Nick has a chance to be really, really good if he makes up his mind that he wants to be good."

Based on what Turgeon has said during the preseason, I think it's going to be Howard's job to lose and Allen's job to win, with Faust spotting minutes there while playing mostly on the perimeter. Regardless of the number of points Stoglin scored, you also get the feeling that Turgeon is happier that more players are getting involved in the offense.

Asked what the biggest difference will be without Stoglin, Turgeon said: "I imagine we'll have a lot more assists than we did last year."

That won't be difficult after Maryland finished 331st out of 338 Division I teams a year ago in that category.

"You'll see more of a team," Turgeon said. "I think we'll be a much better offensive team than we were a year ago."