Terps vs. Heels: Freshman point guards in the spotlight
If Maryland is to make a sustained rally down the stretch of the regular season, the Terps, in all likelihood, will have the emergence of freshman point guards Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard to thank.
Stoglin has averaged 19.2 points over the last five games and connected on 23 of his 24 attempts from the free-throw line in the last three outings. And Howard, while not as explosive a scorer, has proven a solid steward of the ball, dishing out 31assists in the Terps’ last seven games while committing seven turnovers.
Heading into Sunday’s all important game at 19th ranked North Carolina (21-6, 11-2), Stoglin has started 10 of the Terps 28 games to date; Howard, eight. Against N.C. State, they started together for the first time and combined for 29 points and 11 assists en route to an 87-80 victory.
“I think you can tell that they are ready,” said senior forward Dino Gregory, who also has elevated his play of late.
According to Maryland Coach Gary Williams, one of the bigger adjustments for Howard, and nearly freshmen who arrive in college with an impressive prep resume, has been gearing up to face great players in virtually every game—not just the occasional one.
“It’s just a little different level than he played at last year,” Coach Williams said last week of Howard, a product of Oak Hill Academy. “He has got to understand that there are no bad players. You play against somebody good all the time, and it requires you to compete every time.’
At Chapel Hill’s Dean E. Smith Center, Stoglin and Howard will face another freshman point guard who has adapted impressively: Dumfries native Kendall Marshall, who wrested the starting job from junior Larry Drew II after the Heel’s were throttled at Georgia Tech, 68-51, on Jan. 16.
Roughly two weeks later Drew, son of Atlanta Hawks basketball Coach Larry Drew, stunned Coach Roy Williams by announcing that he was transferring with nine games remaining in the regular season. Drew had been faulted by many fans for the Heels’ failure to make the 2010 NCAA tournament, and there rumblings that this year’s squad was under-performing offensively under his command.
Still, Drew’s departure left North Carolina with just one point guard on its roster. But the 6-3, 186-pound Marshall, who played high school basketball for coach Joe Wootten, has done well, recording a season-high 16 assists in an 89-69 victory over Florida State on Feb. 6. North Carolina has won nine of 10 since Marshall took over as its starting point guard Jan. 18.
| February 25, 2011; 10:30 AM ET
Categories: Gary Williams, Men's basketball | Tags: Kendall Marshall, Maryland basketball, North Carolina basketball, Pe'Shon Howard, Terrell Stoglin
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