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Feb. 3, 2012
By Bill Hass
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – High scorers are becoming a rare breed.
As basketball teams struggle to reach 60 points in a game, the era of the big-time scorer seems to be vanishing. As of Friday morning, only a dozen players in Division I were averaging 20 or more points a game.
One of those, Terrell Stoglin, plays in the ACC. The Maryland sophomore is averaging 21.8 points, tied for fourth in the country. He’s the top scorer in the league by four points per game.
“There’s not many kids out there who are natural scorers,” said Terps’ coach Mark Turgeon. “There’s guys who can play hard and set screens and rebound and defend, but there are very few guys who can put the ball in the basket night in and night out and he’s one of them. So he’s pretty special when it comes to that.”
What makes it even more remarkable is Stoglin’s size. He’s listed at 6-1 but admits to being 5-11. But he’s quick to the basket with drives and floaters, draws numerous fouls and hits 3-pointers with regularity. That part of his game is no accident.
“When I was in the eighth grade I understood that I could score,” Stoglin said. “I was always able to get to the basket but I knew that in order for me to be a great scorer I was going to have to develop a shot.
“So I worked on it from the eighth grade all the way through high school, just trying to get a better shot so I could be more of a threat on the perimeter as well as taking it all the way to the basket.”
He has developed a routine that seldom varies.
“I shoot 375 jumpers a day,” he said. “I get a manager to rebound and I come into Comcast (Center, Maryland’s home court) and just shoot pretty much from every position on the court – 3-pointers and mid-range, I work on my floaters and I end by shooting free throws.”
It takes a lot of shots to score a lot of points. Stoglin has hoisted 341 attempts, an average of about 16 per game. Seven of those per game are 3-point attempts (he makes 38.4 percent). But he has a knack for getting to the line and he averages seven free throw attempts per game. His 149 foul shots are tops in the ACC, and he converts them at a rate of 75.2 percent.
Turgeon has said Stoglin believes he can score “every time he touches the ball.” He accounts for nearly one-third of the Terps’ offensive average of 69.4 points. While the rest of Maryland’s scoring is balanced, there isn’t another consistent scoring threat.
Stoglin’s game is not as one-dimensional as people might think. He thinks scoring first but he’s third on the team with 42 assists. Turgeon wants him to be a complete player and Stoglin is willing.
“I want to show people that I can pass,” he said. “I’ve heard people say I can’t defend so I’ve been working on my defense and I’ve been defending better. I don’t want people to say I’m just a scorer, I want them to say I’m a great player.”
He certainly has drawn the attention of opposing coaches. Against Virginia Tech, Stoglin scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half to help the Terps win 73-69.
“I think he’s fearless, first and foremost,” said Hokies coach Seth Greenberg. “He’s not afraid to take shots, he’s not afraid to make plays, he’s very strong, he has a good ability to change speeds. The guy made two ridiculously tough shots with people all over him; he does that every game. He has the ability to make tough shots and he attacks you in transition.”
Miami coach Jim Larranaga was concerned with how his team would match up with Stoglin before the teams played Wednesday night. After a poor first half, Stoglin helped ignite a Maryland comeback that overcame a 16-point deficit. The Terps tied the game in regulation but lost in double overtime, 90-86.
Stoglin finished with a career-high 33 points but shot only 9-for-26. His 3-pointer tied the game with a minute to go, but his long attempt to win it in regulation hit the rim.
“It was a pretty good look,” Stoglin said. “I was disappointed in myself; I felt I should have gone to the basket instead of settling for the (jumper).”
The loss dropped the Terps to 3-4 in the ACC, 13-8 overall. Somehow they must erase the sting of that defeat and prepare for their next game, which comes at home Saturday against North Carolina.
“Coach said don’t think about it too much,” Stoglin said. “Think about it right now but once we come back to practice we need to focus on the next opponent. Just don’t harp on it too much.
“We’ve got North Carolina coming in and it’s going to show us as a team if we’re mentally tough to lose a game and come back and get one at home. Our crowd is going to be crazy so we owe it to them to get this win. We’ve got to make sure we execute and if we defend the way we’re capable of defending, we’ll be fine.”
So what is a player from Tucson doing playing college basketball nearly 2,000 miles from home?
Stoglin was the second-leading scorer in Arizona history among large high schools. West coast colleges were interested, but a member of Maryland coach Gary Williams’ staff saw Stoglin in an all-star camp and struck up a relationship. Eventually, Stoglin was swayed by the coaching staff, the enthusiasm of the Maryland fans and the lure of playing in the ACC.
He averaged 11.4 points as a freshman and survived the burning intensity of Williams in practice.
“It was a big change for me,” Stoglin said. “Coach Williams is a legend, so I was just learning from him every day in practice. He was a guard, too, (in Williams’ playing days) and he was real hard on me, but it made me a better player last year.”
Then one day the players were summoned to a team meeting and Williams told them he was stepping down. Stunned by the announcement, Stoglin considered transferring to a school closer to home.
“But I wanted to see what kind of coaching staff we were going to have,” he said. “When they hired coach Turgeon I knew he was a good coach and he was a winner so I decided I wanted to stay.”
The two were familiar with each other. Turgeon’s staff at Texas A&M had recruited Stoglin before deciding he wasn’t quite what they needed.
“I thought he was a kid that was good with the ball, exactly what he is,” Turgeon said. “He was kind of a pudgy, little bit overweight kid coming out of high school, and he’s redefined his body, got rid of a lot of body fat. I knew he could score but I didn’t know if he could score this much at this level, so he’s been a lot better than I anticipated when I watched him in high school.”
Stoglin owned up to the overweight part, something he knew he had to change to be a top-flight college player.
“Once I got to college I knew I had the resources to lose weight and get myself in better shape so I could become quicker and more explosive,” he said. “That was my main focus, to become more explosive once I got to college.
“I changed my diet, started eating healthy. The trainer helped me with my nutrition. I’m from Tucson so I love Mexican food and ate a lot of it back home. That’s pretty much what I gave up, that and ice cream. I ate ice cream every day but since I’ve been in college I don’t really eat it.”
It didn’t take Turgeon long to discover that the slimmed-down, quicker Stoglin could put the ball in the basket.
“The first couple days of practice I realized he could really score and do some great things with the ball,” Turgeon said. “My whole thing was to try and make him a complete player and it still is today.
“ I’m proud of Terrell because he’s trying to guard, he’s really gotten better defensively, he’s become a better teammate. He’s got a ways to go but he’s doing the right things.”
Bill Hass is a long-time observer of ACC sports. His career at the Greensboro News & Record spanned 36 years, from 1969 until his retirement in March 2006. He is now writing "Bill Hass on the ACC" for theACC.com. His weekly columns will keep fans plugged in to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
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