COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media Dec. 9 ahead of the Terps' Dec. 10 game against St. Peter's.
On Second Half Against Howard
Yeah that was a good half for us. We didn’t particularly play well the last six minutes, but for the first 14 we were active, shared the ball, play with a purpose on both ends and were much more physical. It was good to see.
But it’s a long season and we have to figure out who we are. I thought we did that in the second half.
On Keeping Trimble Fresh
I think we’ve kept him fresh. He had to play a little too much during that one stretch, he had to play a lot of minutes when we were down by double digits. I rest him a little more in practice; I used to not be able to take him out of practice. I’ll say, ‘Go sit down’ now, and he’ll actually sit down.
And that’s good, because other guys need more reps. Dion Wiley needs more reps. The young guys need more reps. To be honest with you, I’m more worried about the three young guys playing so many minutes than Melo. It’s new for them; it’s different than high school. But during Christmas and with finals they should be able to get fresh and be ready for the Big Ten.
On Brantley Belonging and Confidence Level
He’s actually a little more than I envisioned. I saw him as a shooter and kind of a leader, and he’s become more than that. He’s become a really good defender for us and has a really good feel for the game. He’s had to work hard, and because he’s worked so hard he’s gained confidence. Last year was tough for him because it was such a big jump from where he was to this level, and he had the summer to regroup. His knowledge and understanding of the game with the work ethic he has makes up for his lack of size. At his height, he has to play harder than he ever has, and he’s done that.
On Brantley’s Maturity
He’s been through a lot with his friends and different things he’s been through. He’s been through things academically to get eligible. But he’s still a kid at heart, which is great. But he is mature, he helps the young guys and has a lot of respect. The more confident he gets and the better he plays on the court, it broadens his leadership skills, which is good for our team. He’s going to help Damonte [Dodd], L.G. [Gill], Jared [Nickens] and Melo lead this team. He’s really taken on that leadership role these last couple weeks.
On Dion Wiley Improvement, More Minutes
One, he needs to get his confidence back with his knee. Dion was a really good defender for us before he got hurt. Right now it’s just not there for him.
The last few games he’s played better. He’s not great every rotation, but overall he’s getting more comfortable.
He missed a layup the other night, and he’s not going to miss that. He was dunking that before he got hurt. So we just have to be patient with him, and he has to be patient with himself. I think he’s gaining confidence with his defense, ball-handling.
But he’s not himself yet, and yet he’s still helping us. I just hope he keeps improving, playing time increases and in January, February he looks like the Dion we saw before the injury.
It’s been by committee. It’s a pretty easy team to lead, because we have a bunch of good guys that want to try and do the right things. It’s still Melo’s team and he’s talking a lot more, but it’s nice to have a guy like Jaylen who really understands the game. He can be a coach one day, because he really understands the flow and has an idea of what the team should do.
On Cekovsky Progress
His offense is ahead of his defense, which is kind of shocking. It’s usually the other way around. He worked hard all summer, but because he had a leg injury, I mean, you’re still shooting and doing a little skill work, but you’re not running. He’s had multiple leg injuries since August.
But defense is where we need him to get better – ball-screen defense, protecting the rim, rebounding. He’s got to rebound better, and he knows that. But each game he gets more confident
On One Issue To Improve On
Our thought for the day, tomorrow, yesterday and the day before that is, ‘Play harder.’ We sometimes just go through the motions, so they key is just playing hard, consistently, all the time.