One of the debates that comes with college basketball teams hitting the road during the summer for some sightseeing and competition against unfamiliar opponents is just how much we should take out of the performances.
If a team performs poorly, as Michigan did before the 2010-11 season, the jokes and prognostications forecasting regular season failure come at a rapid rate. That group of Wolverines, who went 1-3 in Europe with its lone victory coming in the finale, ended up taking Duke to the wire in the second round of the 2011 NCAA tournament.
Or a team can perform incredibly well against dubious competition, returning to the States to much fanfare only to struggle during the regular season. So in the aftermath of Maryland’s 3-0 trip to the Bahamas, it’s important to take note of both the positives and negatives of the voyage without overreacting.
Jake Layman capped the trip with 25 points in the Terrapins’ 88-77 victory over the Grand Bahamas All-Stars on Friday, the second time in three games that the sophomore reached the 25-point mark. Layman shot 5-for-8 from beyond the arc on Friday, and this stat is the one many Maryland fans will focus on based upon the team’s struggles from deep in 2012-13.
Maryland shot 33.9% from beyond the arc last season, a number that ranked ninth in the ACC (Maryland shot 31.7% in conference games) and played nearly as big a role as their instability at the point did in landing the Terrapins in the Postseason NIT.
Just as there remains the question of who will run the show for Mark Turgeon’s team (Seth Allen and Roddy Peters will likely handle the chores), there’s also the question of who the perimeter shooters will be. If Maryland can find some answers here, they’ll be able to reap the rewards in other areas according to Daniel Martin of CSN Washington.
Three-point shooting was a major area of concern for Maryland last season, having shot just 33.9 percent from behind the arc. If Layman is able to fill the role of go-to three-point shooter from the stretch forward position, it would open up driving lanes for guards Dez Wells and Seth Allen, as well as interior opportunities for Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell.
With Alex Len off to the NBA the Terps have some adjustments to make as they prepare for their final season in the ACC, and having extra practices and games will help in that regard with Layman’s performance one of the positives to take from the Bahamas.
But it’s important to keep in mind that this was just one step in the process of returning to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.