Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media Dec. 12 ahead of the Terps' game against Jacksonville State at Xfinity Center. The transcript from his conference call is below:
On Staying Motivated Next Two Games
It’s a time for us to improve. And Jacksonville State is a little scary because they have four guys really shooting at a high level from beyond the 3-point line. They have a good coach too. They’ll challenge us defensively.
And we really didn’t like the way we finished against St. Peter’s; we haven’t put together a full game this year. It’s something we’re working on and talking about. Hopefully we’ll be a little better for a bit longer [Dec. 12].
And during finals we’ll give the guys days off, and when we practice we’ll practice hard. It’s really hard to find practice time this time of year, because we play so many games and with finals. But we’ll practice when we can and hopefully get better.
On Team’s Mentality After Pitt Loss
I don’t know if it was a bad home loss. I wouldn’t call it that. We were coming off an emotional week and played two 9:30 p.m. games. We didn’t have the energy and Pitt played well.
We’ll get better; we’re young. We’re playing three freshmen 28 minutes a game. I’m proud of this team, but we’re a work in progress. We’re battling through some injuries. Damonte Dodd will be out for awhile, we don’t know how long it’s going to be. So we’ll just keep working and try to get better.
On Playing Deep Rotation Against St. Peter’s
I obviously was upset the way we finished the game. St. Peter’s had 33 points with seven minutes to go, and they ended up with 56. Up until that point I felt we really guarded and guarded as well as we had all year. We followed the game plan, I played everyone equal, and shared the minutes. But I’m not sure that’s what’s best for our team. If guys play well, they’re going to play. They know that. We’re playing 10 guys right now, and we’ll play 10 [against Jacksonville State]. But whether it’ll be 10 guys over 14 minutes, we’ll see.
We’re about two weeks away from Big Ten play, so I just want to get this team better.
On Bench Contributions
The bench is getting better. It’s not where it’s going to be, but we feel good about it. Hopefully we’ll get Damonte back sometime early in the Big Ten. We’ll know more in three, four days [about Dodd’s status]. I think we’re close to being healthy, but we could have an injury tonight or tomorrow – it’s been that kind of year for us.
There’s still a chance we could play Micah [Thomas]. He’s been working hard in the weight room and in practice. There’s still a chance he might not redshirt.
On Creating More Opportunities For Kevin Huerter
I think Kevin looked fresh for the first time in a long time. Nine games in 22 days, it took a toll on the young guys. But Kevin looked fresh. His shot looked good, his touch was good and he was more involved in the offense.
I think a little bit of it is our offense. We have so many new guys and we threw a lot at them. We’re figuring out how to win these games, and I think the guys are getting comfortable. Kevin is getting more comfortable in the offense, and we need him – we need him to get up shots. Over time, I think we can use him in different ways too.
On Melo Trimble
He’s been great. Melo does what he has to do to help us win. He’s really passing the ball well, finding his teammates, reading the defense, making the right decisions. But when we need him to take over games when it’s close, he does what he does. He’s been very patient with the offense and with this team, and he had his best defensive game of the year [against St. Peter’s].