COLLEGE PARK -- It has never really been a question of skill for Maryland senior Jake Layman, but more of assertiveness. Would he take the prerogative in a given situation and take over a game?
With a senior leader like Dez Wells now having graduated and with a collection of younger players in key spots this season, we might have begun to see the answer on Friday night when Layman scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting in a season-opening 80-56 win over Mount St. Mary’s.
“It’s good to see,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “I’m happy for him, but he just seems really comfortable, which seniors should and he’s playing like a senior.”
At times Maryland’s offense looked like an elite shot-creating machine, with the ball moving inside and outside and freeing up Layman and others on the perimeter for open looks from three.
With two ball handlers often on the floor in Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon, passes move around crisply and Layman gets hit in stride.
“I feel confident. My shot feels good right now,” Layman said. "Having guys like Diamond [Stone], Rob [Carter], Ceko [Michal Cekovsky], and Damonte [Dodd], who have all improved over the summer on post offense, I’ve been getting a lot more open shots than I have in the past.”
He is also getting the best of both worlds positionally. He is back at his natural small forward spot, especially helpful on the defensive end of the floor, but he is now equipped with all of the offensive skills he needed to thrive at the power forward spot, which he played for long stretches last season.
His game is more diversified, with the ability to take smaller players down into the post or step out to the perimeter.
“He’s just very comfortable,” Turgeon said. “He’s comfortable in the system, he’s comfortable playing game, he’s been through it all, he’s seen it all, he’s very relaxed, and we have a really nice team.”