Jan 17, 2015; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard/forward Jake Layman (10) celebrates after hitting a three point shot during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Xfinity Center. Maryland Terrapins defeated Michigan State Spartans 75-59. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Things are really starting to take shape for the Maryland basketball program now. Junior forward Jake Layman has officially announced that he will forgo the NBA Draft and return to College Park for his senior season.
Layman’s decision to return to the Terps not only has a significant impact on the Maryland basketball program, but also on his future in basketball. Obviously with Layman back in the fold, Maryland will be considered as a national championship contender for the 2015-16 college basketball season.
While it is pretty cool that he is returning to finish out his college career, one has to believe that this decision was about more than just that. The fact that Layman was deciding between returning and entering the 2015 NBA Draft, shows that he was strongly considering leaving. Him forgoing the draft appears to be because he and those he confides in were not necessarily pleased with his draft stock.
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This past season, Layman averaged 12.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game, all improvements from the previous season. He also improved his free throw and three-point percentages, shooting 75.2 percent and 37.8 percent respectively.
Despite the numbers, just watching him play all season long, Layman is not ready to play at the next level just yet.
Oftentimes college players make the mistake of bolting for the NBA before they are actually ready. See Josh Selby (Kansas), Austin Rivers (Duke), and Fab Melo (Syracuse). Layman made a great decision by staying because his game is not yet fully developed.
Layman has added to his game, however. Before this season, he had not yet displayed an ability to get to the basket on a consistent basis, but as the season went along, he proved that he was capable of just that.
In his junior season, Layman was able to become a more well-rounded player, making him more desirable to NBA scouts. Now, with his senior year approaching, he will need to prove that he is worthy of a team drafting him. He has the opportunity to take his game to another level.
Another reason why this is such a smart move is because of the team Maryland will be putting on the floor next season. As a senior, he will be called upon for leadership, especially with the departure of Dez Wells. In addition to leadership, he’ll have an even bigger role in the offense. He was the third leading scorer for the Terps last season and they’ll need similar, if not better numbers from Layman next season.
There has been some debate as to whether or not Jake Layman is even good enough to be a sure-fire NBA player. The verdict is still out on that one and it is evident in his return for his senior season.
The final chapter of his career at Maryland will be his biggest one yet. With plenty of NBA eyes on him and the pressure of playing on a preseaon top-five team, how will Layman respond?