Thanks first of all to Dave Tucker for joining us to answer some questions about new Buzz Williams acquisition, Combo Guard Seth Allen, formerly of the Terrapins. Most feel this is quite a haul for the Hokies, but even those of us who recognize the talent upgrade for the Hokies with his transfer are a bit puzzled as to the timing of the move; particularly considering that he is not the only movement Maryland has experienced this off-season.
What kind of a player are the Hokies getting in Seth Allen? How mentally tough is he?
Allen was one of Maryland's best players last season. Prior to suffering his foot injury, Mark Turgeon was praising how much Allen had developed over the summer. He was expecting him to step in as the starting point guard last year, while also playing time at the two, but his foot injury sidelined him until January.
Allen is a great scorer. His offensive rating led the team at 111.8 last season, he shot 38% from beyond the arc and was one of the best free throw shooters on the team. He was also second on the team in eFG percentage and assist percentage.
After returning from his injury, Allen made an immediate impact from Maryland. You could immediately see why head coach Mark Turgeon was so excited in the preseason about Allen. He had improved dramatically between his freshman and sophomore year, especially in both his ability to penetrate and score and in his jump shot. Furthermore, when Allen returned, he still wasn't 100%, but you could see him continuing to improve as the season progressed.
Had Allen been healthy all season, Maryland's last year in the ACC might have gone much differently. They very well could have been back in the NCAA tournament and probably would have won several of the close games they lost in November and December.
Now that his foot is close to, if not fully healed, Allen should continue to progress and be a player who can average at least 15 points per game. If he can continue to improve and develop his point guard skills, he will be a very good and important player for Virginia Tech in the future.
The biggest criticism I've seen is that he's a shoot first, ask questions later point guard. Is that fair?
I think Allen has a scorers mentality. He had to play point guard almost out of necessity but he also knows that if he wants to make it in the NBA in the future, he's going to need to be a point guard, as there aren't many 6' shooting guards in the league.
Allen took 25.9% of the shots when he was on the court, which led Maryland last year, but he was also one of their best scorers. I think Allen has a scorers mentality, but I don't know if I'd label him as a shoot first, ask questions later player. Allen is good at getting his teammates open looks but I think had a tendency to feel as if he had to score more if his teammates were struggling.
How do you see Allen fitting in with the Hokies' rebuilding effort? Especially with a Point Guard who played so many minutes this year in Devin Wilson entering his Junior season?
It seems pretty obvious that Allen wanted to leave because he realized that incoming freshman All-American Melo Trimble would be playing a lot of minutes at the one, which would force Allen back over to the two. While Allen surely would have thrived at the two, he seems determined to make himself into a point guard and make it to the NBA, so transferring to a team like Tech where there will likely be an established point guard like Wilson is a little odd, but I assume that Buzz Williams has convinced him that however he plans to use him fits into his goals. Allen was being recruited by a lot of major programs, including Kansas, Syracuse and several other ACC teams, including Virginia. As a result, I think he must feel very comfortable with what Williams' plans are for him in the future.
Maryland has an excellent recruiting class coming in next season including standout point guard Melo Trimble. Still, is losing Seth Allen's scoring ability a concern? Will it be as noticeable as the loss of Terrell Stoglin?
Losing Allen is definitely a concern. He was one of Maryland's best scorers and if he progressed and developed as much as he did between his freshman to sophomore season, he had the potential to be one of the best scorers in the Big Ten next year. Even with a top ten recruiting class, you can't easily make up that kind of production.
I don't think it will be anything close to when Stoglin left. Maryland has really restocked well and certainly has players capable of stepping in for Allen whereas when Stoglin left, Mark Turgeon was still trying to rebuild the talent level in College Park. And while Stoglin scored a lot, his departure was, in a lot of ways, addition by subtraction.
Allen was coach Mark Turgeon's first recruit at Maryland and now he's part of a mass transfer of players this off-season, what's going on in College Park?
I think anytime you have four players transfer out during your third season, you have to step back and scratch your head a bit and ask what's going on. From the outside, I think that's a fair question to ask. But the departure of Nick Faust, Shaq Cleare and Roddy Peters isn't really surprising when you consider who Maryland is bringing in next season. But when news about Allen broke, I, along with the other Maryland beat writers, were completely baffled about why he was leaving. At the end of the season, Allen might have been one of the last people we'd ever expect to transfer.
What was very interesting was how the players staying in College Park reacted to the Allen news, as well as head coach Mark Turgeon. I don't know what happened, but something appears to have gone down. Regardless of what it was, Turgeon is still going to be expected to have this team back in the NCAA Tourney next season or he's going to be facing a deafening cry for him to lose his job from a large portion of the Maryland fanbase.
What are your initial impressions of Buzz Williams, does this move the dial or does the Hokies' basketball credibility remain unchanged?
I think it's a great move for Tech and having someone like Allen on the roster will give them a lot of credibility when he's able to play. Buzz, I thought, was a great hire for them and should certainly allow them to crawl out of the ACC's basement. I think he should be able to have Tech in that 8-10 range in the conference, occasionally rising into the top five. He's certainly a good coach and I think his landing of Allen will really pay dividends in the future.
Also, while not really asked on here, I just wanted to say that having covered Maryland basketball and being able to talk to and interact with Seth Allen over the last two years, he's a great kid. He's a very nice, respectful, guy, in addition to being a great basketball player.
Can you address the quote below that we pulled from The Washington Post, dated May 6, 2014?
"I'm not here to badmouth the program," he said. "Just for me personally, it didn't fit me. It wasn't for me and a lot of people think I'm leaving because of pressure and this and that. It's not that. I was going to start and I was going to play probably 35 minutes a game. It's more than basketball. I don't want to say too much. I just everybody to realize that the decisions I make were my own and I did it for me and my family."
That's really the million dollar question. Something happened between the end of the season and when Allen decided to transfer. Are they implementing a new offense? Was there a rift in the team? I don't know and don't want to speculate. But Allen was an under the radar 3-star recruit that Turgeon recruited to College Park early in his tenure at Maryland, and he's grown into a great player. So that makes his departure even more perplexing.
Oh but speculation is so deliciously irresponsible, and I believe that's all we'll be left with until Seth can actual don the Chicoon (courtesy Flyers13) and Orange starting in 2015.
Thanks again to Dave Tucker, co-manager of Testudo Times for the excellent background. Please follow Dave @TestudoDave on Twitter to stay up to date on Maryland and their upsetting move to the Big 10 (or however many it is now).