Reporting Brendan Darr
It’s incredible to think where Nick Faust is right now, as a player, compared to where he was at the start of the season. He came on the scene at Maryland Madness and wooed all the fans, like only a highly recruited player could on his debut. Then he hit the three-quarter court shot in an exhibition against Northwood.
And then, the season started.
Here was Faust’s scouting report “Bottom Line” from ESPN.com:
“Faust has been one of the biggest surprises of the spring/summer circuit that has emerged as an elite level shooting guard. He reminds you of a Stephon Curry-type in that he has a young, innocent looking face and unimposing frame, but will destroy the opponent without hesitation.”
That was anything but the Nick Faust Maryland got the first half of the season. The Nick Faust Maryland got fell in love with his jump shot, and rarely attacked the basket. Maryland did, however, have a full season of the Nick Faust who was a fierce competitor, stout defender and had more than enough skill to impact a game even if he wasn’t scoring. However, Maryland fans were promised a dead-eye shooter who would “destroy” opponents.
Rock bottom came in the form of the Cornell game. Faust went 1-for-11 from the floor, and 0-for-5 from three — most of which, were wide open shots. Faust even had an airball or two in the game. It was tough seeing the Freshman in the game towards the end, as he just could not get a shot to fall. Ultimately, the Cornell game was the final game before conference play began, and Faust needed to be ready to face stiffer competition.
The first two games of conference play weren’t all that better for Faust. Against North Carolina State and Wake Forest, Faust played a combined 25 minutes in the two games. He finished with 10 points (on 3-for-12 shooting), 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 8 fouls in the two games.
Coach Mark Turgeon kept telling members of the media that Faust just needed to continue to play defense and attack the basket, and his jump shot would eventually start falling. He was putting in the time and effort, but needed to stick with it.
Stuck with it he did, and Faust put together a few encouraging performances over his next nine games. Did Faust still have his struggles? Yes, but he responded well when Guard Pe’Shon Howard was lost for the season with seven games to go.
Faust went back into the starting lineup and was the primary ball-handler for the Terps down the final seven games — a position he felt uncomfortable with earlier in the season when Howard was hurt.
Faust was a steadying hand at the point guard position over the final seven games. While still not totally comfortable, Faust managed the game well and found his jump shot along the way. Faust scored in double-digits in seven of the final nine games of the regular season, and connected on a three-pointer in six of the nine games (including multiple three-pointers in four of the nine games).
After the embarrassing loss at Virginia, Coach Turgeon sarcastically remarked about the point guard situation: “If Terrell is our point guard, we’ll have 17 possessions where no one else will touch it.”
Faust also attacked the basket more frequently, with much more success. Faust even managed to make SportsCenter’s Top 10 during the win over Clemson with this dunk:
Up next for the improving Freshman is the ACC Tournament. The Terps earned the 8th seed after losing their final three regular season games and dropping to 6-10 in conference play. Faust will play, despite suffering a sprained ankle on Sunday against Virginia. Both Faust, and senior Sean Mosley are carrying injuries to the tournament, and Terrell Stoglin is clearly wearing down after carrying this team throughout the season. Faust’s play will be even more important with that in mind down in Atlanta if the Terps have any hopes of playing in a post-season tournament.
Regardless of what happens in Atlanta, Faust was still a member of the ACC All-Freshmen team, an accomplishment that should not go unnoticed. Bigger things will be expected of not only Faust, but the Terrapins in general next season. With a strong recruiting class coming in, and only losing two key role players, the Terps should be in a good position next year.
Here was Faust’s three-quarter court shot against Northwood:
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