Mark Turgeon thought highly of Roddy Peters before the freshman point guard joined the Terrapins men’s basketball team over the summer. That’s the reason the third-year coach doggedly recruited Peters and lured him to College Park.
Now that Turgeon has seen Peters practice with the Terps, though, he’s thinking he may have underestimated the highly-touted prospect a bit.
“I knew Roddy was really good, but he has a gear I never saw,” Turgeon said after Monday morning’s practice. “I thought he was a fourth-gear guy, but he kind of gets into a fifth gear and I didn’t know he had that.”
Turgeon lauded Peters’ skillset and decision-making after the Terps held nine summer practices in preparation for a tour to The Bahamas, and the District Heights native has continued to impress since regular season practice began Friday.
Peters is 6-foot-4, 180 pounds and seems naturally suited to play the point guard position. It’s not clear whether he will start this year, sophomore combo guard Seth Allen may handle the first-team point guard duties, but Peters is in position to play a major role this season either way.
“He’s just a bully when he’s going to the rim, he’s just knocking people over,” Turgeon said. “Not charging people, but he’s just physical and we need a slasher.”
While scouts mostly praised Peters’ passing and slashing ability coming out of Suitland High School, there were questions about his shooting touch. But Turgeon said that Peters has made improvements to his jump shot since ending his prep career and if he improves his range, he’ll become a more versatile threat.
Peters has also spent time in the weight room since arriving on campus in an attempt to add muscle to his naturally slim frame.
“He’s gotten stronger, he’s a different kid physically,” Turgeon said. “He likes taking his shirt off now.”
With the Nov. 9 regular-season opener against Connecticut at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center still more than a month away, Peters has time to improve before making his college debut.
And when meaningful games do start, Peters will likely use his slashing ability and newfound strength to provide the Terps a scoring jolt at times. But thanks to several talented teammates, he can pick his spots and won’t be expected to shoulder to heavy of an offensive load.
“I tell him all the time, it’s not Suitland anymore,” Turgeon said. “He doesn’t need to shoot every time he’s open unless he made the one before, he just needs to run our offense.”