One of the prevailing story lines in the early segment of Maryland’s basketball season was if and when guard Pe’Shon Howard would return from a broken left foot.
He did before Christmas —- exactly five weeks ago today. And he’s been back long enough to have played in more games (10) than he missed (nine).
He’s averaged 32 minutes, more than anyone else on the roster. Howard is, as expected, Maryland’s sole true point guard, with Terrell Stoglin still sliding over to spell him at times.
But is he all the way back? His 3.5 turnovers a game suggest not. He would suggest he is.
“I think so,” Howard said. “I think it’s more getting into basketball shape. My foot feels fine. I feel like I’ve been out there way more than five weeks. I think I’ve hit the turning point where my body feels pretty good and I can go pretty much most of the game and still be in pretty good shape.”
Coach Mark Turgeon backed up Howard’s assessment and declared the sophomore to be 100 percent.
“He scored double figures the last two games,” Turgeon said. “He did an unbelievable job on Austin Rivers the other night. Austin made four buckets in the second half. He had 10 points on shots. On two, Pe’Shon made mistakes on which way he was forcing him and he had no help. We just gave him two wide-open layups in the second half. But he’s really guarded. He’s run our team. His decision-making has gotten better. He’s started to make a few shots. I couldn’t be happier with the way he’s playing.”
In a year when an onus was placed on nearly all of the Terps’ guards —- Terrell Stoglin for scoring, Nick Faust for playing out of position initially and Sean Mosley for leadership —- Howard had the double-whammy of recovering from injury and stepping into 30+ minutes a night immediately upon return (he’s played less than 30 minutes only twice in 10 contests and never less than 27).
So how does he think he’s fared?
“I think I’m doing well,” Howard said. “I’m just adjusting. At first, I really didn’t have my legs, so I was trying to pick my spots and trying to guard the ball and get my teammates involved. Now I feel like I have my legs under me a bit more, so I’m being more aggressive and trying to score. I feel like maybe in the next two weeks I’ll be all the way back. It’s just adding a little bit more as I can.”
—- Patrick Stevens