It’s time for another approach for Alex Len. At least that’s how Mark Turgeon sees it.
With his center struggling to establish himself in conference play, Turgeon is trying to come up with ways to make it easier for the 7-foot-1 freshman as Maryland (13-7, 3-3 ACC) approaches the halfway point of conference play.
“We’re trying to simplify things for him offensively,” Turgeon said Tuesday. “I think I had all these grand ideas and was piling it all on him when he came back and it was too much. Now we’re going to try to simplify it and give him a couple moves or one move and see if he can do that. He’s a very unselfish player and it’s hurt him at times. I hope it takes pressure off, but we need him. If we want to keep this going in the right direction, Alex has to help us and he knows that.”
Len scored in double figures in his first four games, looking very much like a difference maker entering conference play. But a combination of a right ankle injury, a lack of offensive assertiveness and foul trouble have hindered Len over the last three weeks.
In Maryland’s last six games, Len has 13 points and 16 rebounds. He also hasn’t played more than 18 minutes in any of his last four games.
The ankle injury kept him out of the second half of a Jan. 21 loss to Temple, and he’s played 25 quiet minutes over the two games since.
He could prove crucial against the likes of Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson when the Terps visit Miami on Wednesday.
“I think he feels more comfortable now coming off the bench,” Turgeon said. “I think he wants to play more than he’s played the last two games, and I want him to play more and I want him to play better. For us to have a chance Wednesday, he has to play and protect the rim for us against their big guys who are so good. He had his best practice in a long time yesterday, so hopefully that carries over.”
—- Patrick Stevens