Scouting Winston-Salem State
The Maryland men's basketball team will return from its 10-day hiatus tomorrow night when the Terrapins host Winston-Salem State at Comcast Center. The Rams are 2-6, but to be fair, they could totally be a 3-6 squad for all we know. Their game Saturday against Ferrum College got postponed due to the avalanche that blanketed the East Coast over the weekend.
Regardless, Winston-Salem State is an independent program unbound by conference affiliation and one that has struggled so far this seaon under fourth-year Coach Bobby Collins. Of the Rams' six losses, four have come by at least 20 points, and another came by 17. Winston-Salem State does not shoot particularly well from the field (35.6 percent) or from three-point range (28.0 percent). The Rams are not prolific rebounders (-5.1 rebounding margin), nor are they particularly efficient in the turnover department (-0.9 turnover margin).
In a phone interview, Collins repeatedly spoke of a need for greater confidence and consistency among his players.
"We’re an opportunist, fast break team," Collins said. "We shoot quickly on the three, or if we turn it over we’ll break. We like to run a lot of sets and defensively we like to do a lot of different things, man-to-man at least 75 percent of the time and specialty defenses the other 25 percent. I think we’re very capable of shooting the ball if we shoot with the confidence that we’re capable of having."
One of the players Collins said he relies on the most is senior guard Brian Fisher (6-foot-2, 178 lbs.). Fisher is the team's leading scorer (12.1 points per game) and one of its top defenders (team-high 10 steals). He also is averaging 3.1 rebounds per game.
"We need him to score for us," Collins said of Fisher. "We need him to defend for us. We need him to lead for us. There’s a lot of things we ask him to do. He’s just got to get better at it. You know, too whom much is given, much is required. We tell him that every day. He’s got to step up and be the leader that he’s capable of being."
The Rams' second-leading scorer, junior forward Shelton Carter, came off the bench Dec. 8 against Charlotte, the last time Winston-Salem State played. Carter (6-foot-5, 185 lbs.) transferred in from Charleston Southern and does not display the consistency Collins would prefer. Carter is averaging 11.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 35.2 percent from the field and 36.2 percent from three-point range.
"He can do a lot of things," Collins said. "I just got to get him to be more assertive offensively, play with a little bit more confidence and do the things that he did when he was at Charleston Southern. He led us in scoring the first three games, but he’s got to be more consistent. I want him to do more, as far as rebounding and defending."
Sophomore guard Lamar Monger (6-foot-0, 185 lbs.) started in Carter's place against Charlotte and scored a season-high 14 points. He is averaging 6.1 points per game and is shooting 38.5 percent from the field.
Junior guard Andrew Jackson runs the point for the Rams. Jackson (6-foot-2, 180 lbs.) is averaging 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. He has tallied 29 assists and 22 turnovers while shooting 40.4 percent from the field.
Jackson's understudy at point guard, freshman Marcus Wells (6-foot-1, 175 lbs.) has a high ceiling, according to Collins. But Wells, who has tallied 12 assists and 19 turnovers, is adjusting to the college game. He is averaging 4.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per game off the bench.
"Marcus is a very talented point guard who can do a lot of things," Collins said. "He’s still looking for his way. I’m still looking for him to lead as a point guard, but he’s extremely talented, and I think in time he’ll be one of the better point guards to come through here."
Junior forwards Paul Davis and McIntoche Alcius make up the Rams starting frontcourt. Davis (6-foot-9, 195 lbs.) is arguably the team's best defender. He has tallied a team-high 10 blocks and nine steals thus far. He also is averaging 6.6 points and 6.3 rebounds per game, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field.
"He’s getting a lot more confidence in scoring, and he’s doing some good things for us," Collins said. "I’ve just got to get more consistency out of him on what I’m going to get every night, as far as his rebounding and his activity on the offensive end."
Alcius (6-foot-7, 230 lbs.) is averaging 6.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, while shooting 37.0 percent from the field. Collins described Alcius as "very active" and "agile."
The Rams can bring some size off the bench via junior center Corey Morris (6-foot-10, 255 lbs.) and redshirt freshman forward Stephon Platt (6-foot-8, 235 lbs.). Neither, however, has proven all that productive. Morris is averaging 2.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while Platt is averaging 1.9 points and 1.4 rebounds per game.
Collins is well aware of the sizable challenge in front of his squad, but laid forth a game plan he thinks can be successful so long as his players can stay consistent and confident against the Terrapins.
"First of all, we’ve got to contain their transition offense and not let them hurt us in transition," Collins said. "We make them go against our zone and make them go against our man-to-man defense a little bit and not let them score easily. I think the more we score, the better defense we’ll play."
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