Thoughts on Anthony Lee, Terps in the NBA and ACC subpoenas

Baltimore Sun producer-editor Jonas Shaffer and reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus weigh in on three topics from the past week in Maryland sports.

Could the Terps have used former Temple forward and much-sought-after transfer target Anthony Lee, a Columbia native?


Jonas Shaffer:  Yes, but so could just about every team in the nation.

Not often do you find 6-foot-9 graduate transfers who average 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Even less often do you encounter said transfers who hail from right up the road and, more than that, offer a conceivably perfect crutch for a wobbly frontcourt.


Lee won't be coming to College Park, however. His final five has a Midwestern flavor: Ohio State, Indiana, Louisville, Iowa State and Notre Dame. His parents now live in Iowa, and he wants to be closer to home.

Let's pretend, though, that Lee was interested. Would Maryland have pushed hard? Barring attrition, and accounting for their incoming four-man class, the Terps do not have a vacant scholarship available.

It will be interesting to see whether that changes. If a player leaves early, be it for another school or for the NBA draft, there are certain to be late-blooming big-man recruits in the class of 2014 or other graduate transfer possibilities worth scrutinizing. The Terps might just kick the tires on a few. After all, Shaquille Cleare is inconsistent and injury-prone. Charles Mitchell is undersized and no defensive stopper. Jonathan Graham is an end-of-the-rotation piece. Trayvon Reed and Damonte Dodd are far from polished.

There probably won't be any other Anthony Lees becoming available this summer. But if Maryland has a free scholarship, it might be worth seeing whether anyone out there would be deserving of it.

Alex Len was Mark Turgeon's first player at Maryland to make the NBA. Who will be his second?

Don Markus:  After watching Len on the court Wednesday against the Washington Wizards, I started thinking about which Terp will next join the 7-1 center from Ukraine in the NBA.

I had difficult time coming up with a definitive answer.

The most obvious answer is Dez Wells, but I've talked with enough NBA scouts about the 6-5 junior guard to say, without hesitation, that he needs another year of college and possibly a couple of more seasons either in the D-League or overseas to have the kind of skills that translate to a long NBA career.


Athletically, Wells is there. I have seen Wells do things in the court -- and especially in the air -- that are comparable to former Maryland star Steve Francis. While Francis was never a true point guard, Wells still doesn't shoot it consistently enough or handle the ball carefully enough to be a legitimate NBA shooting guard.

Jake Layman entered his sophomore year at College Park with a lot of people -- including me -- thinking he had the tools to be a star in the ACC. NBA scouts were touting the 6-8 forward as a possible first-round draft pick, and possibly a lottery pick, after his junior year and perhaps even sooner if he had a sensational season at Maryland in 2013-14.

One team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, even came to at least one early-season practice and started doing some background checks on Layman, calling the principal of his former high school near Boston. Just as it took only one team to make Greivis Vasquez a first-round pick in 2010, there seemed a good possibility that Layman was a good season from being gone in College Park.

Of course, we know now that Layman, at least on the surface, doesn't seem to be ready. If anything, he was exposed more this season when his role expanded for being something of a one-dimensional player who is a streaky shooter, an average to below-average ballhandler (a common trait among the Terps) and a defensive liability off the dribble.

That said, I still think NBA scouts are more excited about Layman than they are about Wells. It only takes one general manager to think Layman's range, length and athletic ability is worth taking a chance on in the first round. But I still think Layman will be back with the Terps next season after finishing his sophomore year in a bit of a shooting slump.

The only other player on the current Maryland roster who I think has a chance to make the NBA is sophomore guard Seth Allen. But as freakishly athletic as Allen was before his broken foot, I still didn't think he was the second-coming of Russell Westbrook. It will be interesting to see whether Allen gets all the way back physically next season.


One thing that is clear after watching Allen play after he came back from his broken foot is that he has not bought into being a point guard. He is a terrific scorer, both from long-range and around the basket, but so was one of his predecessors, Terrell Stoglin, who never stayed long enough to learn how to play the point. Like Stoglin, Allen is not making the NBA as a shooting guard.

If Wells doesn't develop a more consistent outside handle, if Layman doesn't put on a few pounds of muscle and learn how to put the ball on the floor with more authority, if Allen doesn't grow about three inches or ask Turgeon for another chance to be a point guard, there might not be a single NBA player on Turgeon's current roster.

Next season's roster might be a different story, but having not seen Melo Trimble play in person and having watched Trayvon Reed only a couple of times, I am not ready to come to any conclusions about whether they have an NBA future. But after talking with Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek and president of basketball operations Lon Babby, I am starting to believe more and more than Len does.

For Turgeon and the Terps, that's a start.

It's been 16 months since the Atlantic Coast Conference filed suit against Maryland to force collection of the $52 million exit fee, and Maryland recently sent out a flurry of subpoenas to ACC schools. Any signs where this is headed?

Jeff Barker:  This looks increasingly like a bad divorce. The initial separation now seems a long time ago – Maryland announced its departure plans in November 2012, and officially joins the Big Ten this July.


But the conflict keeps regenerating because of new tactics or claims.  The tensions between Maryland and the ACC appear less driven by  the original split than by all of the disagreements – on a variety of tangential issues – that have occurred since the separation was announced.

Attorneys say such cases usually settle, and that's what many legal observers still expect. There are no public signs that a settlement is in the offing as of now.

Instead, we have are allegations, suspicion and posturing.

The longer the stalemate continues, the more money Maryland loses in shared conference revenues. Maryland says the conference has wrongly withheld more than $20 million so far. The ACC says it is holding back the revenues as an "offset" to ensure that Maryland is held accountable for the exit fee. Maryland says the fee is punitive and unenforceable.

In the meantime, a number of side issues have emerged. Maryland is asking questions in the litigation about how the 2013-14 men's basketball schedule was formulated. The obvious guess is that Maryland suspects the ACC took out its frustration on the Terps by denying them home games with Duke and North Carolina.

A recent court document shows a side dispute I hadn't been aware of. The document says Maryland President Wallace Loh had wanted certain items added to the agendas of meetings with other conference presidents. The ACC told Maryland the items were inappropriate because they were related to the pending litigation. Besides that, the ACC said, the meeting agendas "had already been finalized and distributed," so Maryland was too late.


That gives you an idea of the tone of this dispute.