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Scouting Notes: Maryland



Indiana basketball, Maryland basketball
A deep dive into Maryland and some of the challenges it could give the Indiana basketball program in Sunday's matchup. (Maryland Athletics)

The Indiana basketball program is back in action inside of Assembly Hall on Friday as Maryland enters for the Big Ten opener.

The Terrapins enter under year two with Kevin Willard as its head coach. Following a 23-11 record last season, Maryland has been shaky to start this year. It is just 4-3 entering Friday. Maryland is very similar to Indiana on both ends of the floor through the first month. The Terps rank 116th in the country in offensive efficiency (107.3) and 23rd in defensive efficiency (94.8). Overall, they rank 58th in KenPom’s ratings.

Here is a deep dive into some of the challenges Maryland could give the Indiana basketball program.

Key Players

Maryland is led by Jahmir Young. The talented guard is a very aggressive scorer who can do so at all three levels. He has a quick first step that allows him to get into the middle of a defense and can either finish in the mid range, at the rim or use his playmaking skills to find an open teammate. Young’s offense starts at the rim and moves out. He uses his slashing ability to open things up for his perimeter play. He’s shooting 34.1 percent from three this season on two made 3s per game and has attempted an average of 4.7 3s per game for his career. Young has a shiftiness about him that allows him to create numerous scoring opportunities wherever he is on the floor. It also allows him to have tremendous finishing ability at the rim. While Young isn’t an extremely strong guard, he seeks out contact. Young attempts 4.7 free throws per game and shoots 87.9 percent from the line. While he has an assist rate of 30 percent, third in the Big Ten, he has been very sloppy with the ball this year — averaging 3.1 turnovers per game — leading the conference. Indiana needs to be physical with him, both on the perimeter and on drives.

In the front court is Julian Reese who has emerged as one of the best bigs in the league. Reese is having a career-year thus far, averring 15.0 points and 9.9 rebounds. While Reese’s offense has come along in a nice way, he’s best on the defensive end of the floor as a rim protector. Reese is averaging nearly three blocks a game and is fourth in the league in block percentage. His 8.8 percent block rate is nearly identical to Trayce Jackson-Davis last season, for reference. In ball screen action, Reese has the ability to switch on smaller and perimeter-oriented players. Offensively, Reese is going to be used exclusively at the high-post and in. He’s hasn’t attempted a single three in the last two years. Reese has great length and athleticism to finish over just about any defender at the rim. While he has an ability to play with his back to the basket, he likes to utilize his athletic ability with more face up opportunities. Because of the effectiveness that Young has off of high ball screens, Reese will be used as the screener at the top of the key and roll hard to the basket to start a lot of possessions. If he’s not a focal point on a possession, Reese typically cleans up most misses on the glass, averaging 3.6 offensive rebounds — a 13.3 rate.

Playing alongside Reese as a hybrid forward is Donta Scott. Scott is who he is at this point — 136 games into his career — and that is a big shooting forward. 50 percent of his attempts are from three this year with 43.8 percent of his total shot attempts in his career coming from the perimeter. He’s shooting his best percentage (34.5) since his sophomore year, however. Scott is typically a floor spacer to allow more room for Jahmir Young and other guards to penetrate. Despite his desire to play on the perimeter, Scott is best attacking off of the dribble. He has good size at 6-foot-7 and 225 pounds to force the issue with defenders. He is very effective once he gets inside of 15 feet, it’s just a matter of if he wants to get there. If Scott is getting to the line frequently, the defense is doing something wrong. He’s attempted less than two free throws a game in three of his five seasons.

Deshawn Harris-Smith has been a much-needed piece to the puzzle for Maryland this season, despite some of his early struggles. The 6-foot-5 freshman guard has allowed Young to play more off of the ball if need be and provides an another versatile playmaker in the backcourt. Harris-Smith is best attacking the basket. He’s an extremely physical player who loves to draw contact, attempted over four free throws a game. While he’s struggled with his shot this season, (36.4/5.3/48.4), he’s not shy about taking them. Harris-Smith has a terrific motor on both ends and is a great defensive player. But, sometimes he can be over aggressive and cause some collapses at the top of the key. Indiana needs to force him into being a perimeter player and a jump shooter.

Another versatile forward and newcomer for the Terps is Jordan Geronimo. Geronimo played three seasons with Indiana but has found a home with Maryland this year. He’s playing that small-ball four that he was best at during his IU tenure. Geronimo is obviously best known for his athleticism and length. He’s using that to his advantage on the defensive end, landing in the top 10 in the Big Ten in steal percentage. He’s used that length to get out in passing lanes and start easy fast break opportunities. In half court settings, Geronimo feels much more confident in his role; a screener and someone who can finish at the rim. He’s attempted just six 3s this year, with all six coming in just two games. He’s averaging about two offensive rebounds per game and is once again using his above the rim talent to finish in the paint. His passing ability is better, as well. He’s been used in the middle of zones numerous times and been extremely effective finding backdoor cutters on the wings.

Someone Indiana needs to be able to focus on when he’s in the game is freshman guard Jamie Kaiser. The 6-foot-6 wing is a terrific shooter, although he’s been streaky this season and shooting just 20 percent. 72 percent of his attempts this year have been from three, however. He can get hot and with Indiana’s inability to defend the perimeter, it could be a matchup Kevin Willard and the Terps try to exploit.

Related: Indiana Basketball Game Preview: Maryland – key storylines, injury report, how to watch

Key Tendencies

Maryland is a team that likes and wants to get out in transition but severely struggles in a half court setting. The Terps are going to live and die with the ball in the hands of Jahmir Young and his ability to get in the paint and create for the rest of the team. Maryland has an effective field goal rate of just 46.8 percent, ranked in the bottom third of the entire country. And, it doesn’t get any better from there. Maryland ranks 354th in the country in 3s, shooting just 23.8 percent and making just 5.4 3s per game, ranked 320th. Overall, just 23 percent of the Terps total points come from three — rated 315th nationally — IU is ranked 362nd nationally for reference (12.7 percent). What Maryland does well, however, is clean up those misses and get to the foul line. They are averaging 13 offensive rebounds per game and rebounding 34.9 percent of the misses — rated 60th in the country. The Terps are also shooting 26.3 free throws a game (26th) and while they are getting 25.3 percent of their total points from the line, they are also just shooting 67.9 percent as a team.

Defensively, Maryland is one of the toughest teams in the country. They are a versatile group that can switch off numerous positions and have a lot of quickness and athleticism at all five spots on the floor. The Terps are a team that force you inside, allowing just 13.9 attempted 3s per game — ranked 3rd in the nation. Teams are turned into a very one-dimensional team when playing the Terps, which due to Indiana’s style could benefit the Hoosiers. Maryland is forcing opponents to 15.6 turnovers per game and is ranked 31st in steal percentage.

Overall, despite the struggles from Maryland on the perimeter, Indiana can’t help off of the wings on Jahmir Young drives. Maryland has good shooters, it just hasn’t translated into makes right now. If IU stays home on those shooters, Maryland will struggle to score in the paint. The manner in which these teams play are all too similar at times and it will likely come down to two things; who can win the toughness battle and who can hit one extra shot from the perimeter.

Projected Starters

G- Jahmir Young (Senior; 6-2, 185)

Stats: 15.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 34.1% 3pt

G- Deshawn Harris-Smith (Freshman; 6-5, 215)

Stats: 8.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.6 apg

F- Donta Scott (Senior; 6-7, 225)

Stats: 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 34.5% 3pt

F- Jordan Geronimo (Senior; 6-6, 220)

Stats: 7.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg

F-Julian Reese (Junior; 6-9, 230)

Stats: 15.0 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.6 bpg

Key Notes

  • Jahmir Young is the only active NCAA player to have 2,000+ points, 600+ rebounds and 350+ assists
  • Maryland is averaging 54.7 points per game (all losses) away from home vs 82.8 points per game in home games (all wins)
  • Maryland is 6-3 all-time in Big Ten openers
  • Jahmir Young’s 43 20-point games are the most among all active Big Ten players
  • Indiana has won four of the last five meetings with Maryland and hold a 12-9 advantage overall

SEE ALSO: Early returns are in and Indiana basketball is reaping the benefits from its young but talented front court

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.