Maryland players Damonte Dodd, Dez Wells and Jared Nickens discussed the Terps' March 3 7 p.m. game at Rutgers. Below are their quotes from the March 2 press conference at the Xfinity Center:
How leg injury affected him
It affected me when it first happened. It hurt and things like that. I think I let it affect me mentally, more than physically. … It doesn’t hurt anymore, so now it’s just more mental and getting my head back together – back to where I was.
On mastering mental part of game
Oh yeah. My teammates are telling me that everyone goes through a dry spell, just get back to being who you are. … So I’m just trying to find myself again. And like I said, my leg doesn’t hurt anymore, so I’m just trying to get back to where I was.
On whether he’s been trying to do too much after showing flashes of coming out earlier this year
It did kind of get me away from my role. But it was kind of exciting everyone telling me I could do this, do that. Maybe I was trying to do a little more than I was supposed to.
But at this point, we’re top 10 now, we’re on our way, and it’s about trying to get back to being the best basketball team we can be. Coach always says, ‘At one point, we all got away from who we were’ with trying to play too much one-on-one basketball. So now everyone is getting back to their role, and that’s going to [determine] whether we’re successful or not.
On Cekovsky going down
Yeah it’s big. Defensively, we’re down, of course. But I heard [Cekovsky’s injury] wasn’t as bad as they thought it was, so hopefully he’ll be back. But me and Jon Graham, we have to be smarter on defense, step up in our role, and try to stay out of foul trouble.
On starting despite his struggles
It shows Coach has confidence in me. Even when I get in foul trouble, he trusts me to still go out there, play my hardest and do what I can to help the team win. He has confidence in me to do that.
On Jared Nickens’ shooting
I’ve always been confident [in my shot], but I couldn’t shoot the ball like he can; I still can’t (laughs). But that’s something, you just always play to your strength. You know, if you can shoot the ball and do the things he can do with the basketball, you can have that certain level of confidence and excellence you expect out of yourself every time out. He’s been great for us.
On Rutgers’ record
I don’t pay attention. I just worry about our team and doing whatever we have to do to get the win. That’s all I really care a bit.
On four seniors and four freshmen in the rotation and what he’s tried to impart on the freshmen
I’m one of those guys to let others know how tough it is to have this kind of success, and the things that led us to the point. It’s almost like it’s establishing a culture, a work ethic and a mindset this program had at one point. It kind of lost it with some things that didn’t belong here.
But at the same time I want these guys to know, you can have whatever you want, you just have to put in the work and take the blows you have to take.
Have the freshmen taken to that message?
Yeah, of course. They get it.
How’s it feel to be going home?
It feels good. I’m going up to see my family before the game. My mom, dad, cousins, friends I grew up with, friends of my family, and a couple others will be there.
They’re just happy that I’m doing well and we’re playing well. They tell me they watch the games on TV, and they’re supporting me.
Dodd, Wells, Nickens Talk Rutgers
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