The Maryland Terrapins wing position is a place that should make the team so versatile this season. The athleticism and the length provided will allow them to match up with any team in the country. It dictates the game in so many ways. Right now, Maryland can go small and play a fast paced game, or they can slow it down and play half court offense if they need to.
With that, the Terps have a flexible situation at their small forward position with a star in the making in senior Jake Layman and a potential star in sophomore Jared Nickens as he is getting ready for his own opportunity at the position as well.
While Layman and Nickens will see the majority of playing time at small forward for Maryland, don't rule out Rasheed Sulaimon or Dion Wiley possibly getting some minutes as well, barring an injury. Both players are 6'4 and are the next players available in terms of size to fill that role. With the talent that is on this roster, there are only so many minutes to move around but Sulaimon and Wiley seeing a good amount time at small forward would be due to injury or foul trouble by Layman or Nickens.
Jake Layman, Senior
With Layman, he is a guy who the Terps used in a multitude of ways during his career. Layman gave the team an option that could play on the perimeter and defend big men for decent lengths of time. This season, with all of the talent the Terps have, Layman will be more comfortable playing at his natural position.
In terms of staying in shape, Layman is doing what he can to maintain the right body weight to help him over the course of the season as he will get ready for the NBA next season.
"You're never hungry," noted Layman, who, told reporters at the Baltimore Sun that he had dinner a steakhouse."If you feel hungry, then that's a problem. It's really on me this year to keep up with."
Layman has the opportunity to play at small forward more than usual, which is a good thing considering it is his natural position. Layman thought about leaving for the NBA after his junior year but decided to come back for one more season.
"I'm happy for Jake. That's not only his natural position for college, but that's his natural position after he leaves college," Terps head coach Mark Turgeon said to the Washington Post. "He's got a chance to show people what he's about at the three. All Around, Jake has just gotten better."
Jared Nickens, Sophomore
Layman's primary backup should be Nickens, who has the opportunity to really shine for this team. His athleticism and his deadly range from the perimeter has a lot of people excited for his future. Nickens has the talent to surpass Layman. He's that good.
On this roster, Nickens is the best pure shooter the Terps have regardless of what the stats show. He is a guy regardless of the outcome over the course of a game, needs his touches. There were times during the 2014-2015 season where the Terps were ice cold on offense for four to five minutes at a time and Nickens would hit a bucket to help the team go a run.
Nickens' spark off the bench this season will are one of the many reasons why the Terps are ranked number three in the country in the coaches poll.
The next step in Nickens growth will be the ability to create his own shot. Nickens is expected to have better ball handling this season as he was pretty much a spot up jump shooter in his freshman campaign last season. His ability to take the ball up the floor from time to time will be key as it will make not only make the Terps offense more flexible, but also less predictable.
The small forward position is currently an x-factor for the Terps. The size and length between Layman and Nickens will allow the team to go small or go big against certain opponents. Layman pretty much a lock to be the starting small forward for this team but Nickens talent should not be underestimated.