Freshman guard doesn't let errors hold him back
Maryland's Alex Len is still working to master the English language. But the Ukranian import had no trouble describing the rare ability of freshman point guard Seth Allen to forget his mistakes and move on.
"He plays with amnesia," the sophomore said. "He can turn the ball over, and he doesn't think about it or anything. His mindset is just next play, next play."
Allen's unshakable confidence was never more apparent than in Saturday's 83-81 win over Duke. Despite committing eight turnovers, Allen remained the relentless commander of the Terps' offense. With less than two minutes left, he hit a driving layup. Then in the game's defining possession, Allen made a breakneck drive to the hoop and drew a foul. That led to the decisive free throws, which he made with an audacious smile on his face with 2.8 seconds left.
|Maryland at Boston College|
|When »||Tuesday, 9 p.m.|
|Where »||Conte Forum,||Chestnut Hill, Mass.|
|TV »||Ch. 20|
"You can't ever lose confidence when you're a basketball player because that's what you have on the court," Allen said. "Growing up I was always playing against older kids, playing against my brothers and stuff, so I kind of had to have that confidence to play my game."
Coming off his clutch performance against Duke, in which he scored all 16 of his points in the second half, Allen was named ACC rookie of the week. The Terps hope it was a breakthrough instead of another example of his boom or bust play.
A test of that comes Tuesday night when Maryland (18-7, 6-6) plays at Boston College (11-14, 3-9).
It's a chance for Allen to prove he can play on the road. His averages in ACC home games (12.1 points, 2.0 assists per game) are superior to those on the road (3.8 ppg, 0.8 apg). In ACC games at Comcast Center, Allen has hit 49.1 percent of his shots and 44.0 percent of his 3-pointers. On the road, his ACC figures are 23.6 percent and 11.8 percent.
Allen's numbers closely mirror those of Miami point guard Shane Larkin, who struggled at times in his freshman season. This year, Larkin has blossomed into an ACC player of the year candidate. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon picked up on the similarities in the preseason.
"I said, 'Man, he reminds me of the Larkin kid,' because Larkin is really fast and Seth has some speed," Turgeon said. "I think there's a lot of comparisons. The difference is Larkin is under control most of the time, not all the time, and Seth's not yet. Larkin knows how to change gears, and Seth doesn't."
It has become increasingly clear that Allen's ability to create and score must be cultivated for the Terps to maximize their potential. There is no better example of how a dynamic point guard can transform a team than No. 2 Miami, which Larkin has driven to a 12-0 start in the ACC.
While they wait for their Larkin to arrive, there's one thing the Terps know they can count on from Allen.
"He has a lot of confidence with the ball in his hands," Turgeon said. "And he was a very confident player with 2.8 seconds to go, which is nice."