If there was a surprise in Maryland’s season opening loss to Kentucky, it was Pe’Shon Howard‘s eagerness to shoot.
And if there’s been a surprise about the junior point guard since, it has been the utter absence of field goal attempts.
“After the Kentucky game i sat down and he was 1-for-8 and said ‘I don’t need you shooting eight times,’” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. “Knowing Pe’Shon, he took it a little too far. He’s not making shots in games, but he’s making them in practice so that’s a good sign for me that he’s going to start making them in games.”
Howard is only 3-for-21 on the season from the floor, and has tried only eight field goals over his last four games (with none of them falling). Nonetheless, he has more than three times as many assists (49) and turnovers (15) entering Saturday’s game against South Carolina State.
Sometimes, Howard simply is doing what Turgeon asks. Such was the case in Wednesday’s rout of Maryland-Eastern Shore, when Turgeon instructed the Terps to get Alex Len involved. Len was triple-teamed, and Howard passed to Nick Faust who then got it to Len.
At other junctures, it is Howard passing on a scoring opportunity of his own.
“Everybody yells at him,” Turgeon said. “I don’t have to yell at him anymore because his teammates yell at him. One, for example, is the George Mason game, he’s 15 feet away and not a guy within 10 feet of him and he threw it out of bounds.”
It hasn’t made much of an impact on the Terps (7-1), who will try to match their longest winning streak since an 8-0 start to the 2006-07 season Saturday. Howard is 10th on the roster in scoring and has attempted a shot just once every 9.4 minutes he’s on the floor.
At some point, though, Maryland will need him to provide at least a threat of scoring as the season unwinds.
“I want him to shoot when he’s open,” Turgeon said. “If they’re going to help off him, he needs to step up and knock it down. … If a guy’s not within 10 feet of you, you have to shoot it, I think.”
—- Patrick Stevens