Usually when asked about potential lineup changes before a game, Maryland coach Mark Turgeon says it will depend on how his players perform in practice. But on Friday Turgeon volunteered the information that Shaquille Cleare will start along with Alex Len in the frontcourt.
“I’m just tired of him sitting on the bench,” Turgeon said. “He does everything I ask every day.”
The move comes after Cleare played just eight minutes in Wednesday’s loss to Florida State. He failed to score, had two rebounds and three personal fouls. It is an attempt to get Maryland’s two best frontcourt players on the floor. Cleare, a 6-9 freshman, has often been on the court when Len has been on the bench as they have shared the five spot. Sunday night at Miami, Cleare will start at the five and Len at the four.
“Alex can play the four,” Turgeon said. “Alex is a good shooter. If they start playing together a lot, hopefully we can get Alex spacing the floor. We couldn’t space the floor the other night.”
The 270-pound Cleare, who is averaging 5.1 points and 3.3 rebounds, was pleased with the promotion and anxious to play with Len instead of as his substitute.
“It’s gonna be kind of scary,” Cleare said. “I think it’s gonna be a great lineup. Alex and me haven’t played together too much. We’re trying it in practice now … two-headed monster.”
Turgeon hinted at another lineup change, possibly playing Seth Allen at the point.
“He can really score. It’s nice to have a scorer [at the point],” Turgeon said. “Him and [Miami guard Shane] Larkin are a lot alike.”
Rotating 10 players, the Maryland lineup has been a work in progress and will apparently continue so.
“I don’t know what our best lineup is,” Turgeon said. “I’m still trying to figure it out. Shaq’s starting. I know you guys like nuggets like that. You got two days to write about it.”