COLLEGE PARK -- Before Saturday’s game against Ohio State, Maryland sophomore Jared Nickens had been enduring the worst shooter slump of his career. He was 4-of-26 from three-point range over his previous six games, a difficult stretch for a player who makes his living from deep.
So head coach Mark Turgeon pulled the sophomore aside after practice this week.
“You know Kyle Korver?” Turgeon asked him, referencing the Atlanta Hawks guard who is a 43 percent career three-point shooter.
“Yeah,” Nickens said.
“You know he missed 17 straight threes this year? He’s a pretty good shooter, right?” Turgeon asked rhetorically. “It happens. You just need to relax.”
That must have helped, because Nickens might now be back on track.
In Maryland’s 100-65 blowout win over Ohio State on Saturday, Nickens hit two of his three three-point attempts to finish with six points off the bench for the Terrapins. Sure, that’s a small sample size, but seeing the ball go through the net can often do a lot for such a pure shooter.
Senior Jake Layman has gone through the same sorts of stretches in his career, including offensive droughts this season. The solution can take time, but it’s rather simple.
“In games, just keep shooting the ball,” Layman said. “We’re not going to not want Jared to shoot an open shot.”
So Nickens kept shooting and here he is.
Turgeon has been more impressed with his continued development as a defender, but he knows the value the sophomore brings when some of those threes start to fall.
“We’re much more explosive when he makes shots,” Turgeon said. “It’s good to see him make a couple.”