COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media Dec. 30 before the Terps' Jan. 1 game against Nebraska.
The transcript of his press conference can be viewed below:
On Nebraska Beating Indiana
I try not to watch other games, because I watch them anyway on film, but [the Nebraska win] definitely gets your team's attention. Nebraska goes in and beats [IU], and it's terrific. Nebraska is a handful for us anyway.
On Michal Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd Being Out
I don't think I really rush anybody back from injury. It's the players' call on everything. Where we are today, Ceko has an ankle/foot injury, and I'm pretty certain he's not going to play [against Nebraska]. He'll be reevaluated by the doctor next Wednesday and we'll get a timeframe for his injury. And Damonte is making progress and is truly day to day now. He'll do a little bit with the trainer, on the court, and we'll see how it goes. Whether he plays [against Nebraska], I don't know if that's going to happen. But he is making progress.
On Playing Tomaic or Thomas
It's just not fair to Josh. We have enough players where we can get by. We have nine players and guys know multiple positions. We've talked about Josh because of the injuries to our post guys, but I just don't think it's fair to him to play him. Especially if Damonte is back fairly soon. We don't want to cost Josh a year now for what could be four great years down the road.
On Dion Wiley
He's coming. He's starting to look more like Dion. The little jump shot he made at the top of the key -- quick release, good form. That's the Dion I've been waiting for. He took on a challenge [against Illinois], he guarded [Malcolm] Hill the other day, and that was a good sign. He hadn't been able to do that defensively all year. It's taking time; he was out a long time and it's taking longer than any of us wanted him to take. But he's getting more confident, and he's really giving us another scorer, and I think he's a really good passer too (he shows it in practice and hasn't done it as much in the games yet).
On Ivan Bender
He wasn't ready to play last year. Like I said in the preseason, he's one of our most improved players, and he continues to show that for us. He's got a bad knee, so that's why we don't play him as much. We try to limit his reps in practice and try to get him ready for games. He's got a great feel offensively and defensively, and he's a great communicator. I'm really happy for him, because he's a great kid and paid his dues.
On Anthony Cowan Getting To Free Throw Line
It's different than Melo [Trimble]. He's making better decisions, he's not settling for jump shots. He's driving the ball more, picking and choosing at the right time when to drive -- he's been great in practice for about a month. Sometimes when you get a new coach, he kind of screws you up a little bit. You try to get him playing how you want him to play as a coach. And I think we kind of figured that out, and now we're both on the same page.
On LG Gill Role
It's been hard for him, because he's had to bounce back and forth [with positions, subbing in for injured Damonte Dodd, Michal Cekovsky and Ivan Bender]. It's hard for big guys. He's really had to change his game for us. He shot about 35 percent from 3 last year for Duquesne, and he made one the other night for us and one against OK State. I'd like to think he'll be a pick-and-pop guy for us down the road. But he just kind of got locked in coming back from Christmas as a "5" man, and he's playing with great energy and effort. It's good for him. But it's also tough for him -- moving between the "4" and the "5." Our 4s and 5s are different, because of what we do with Justin [Jackson]. It's not the same system as last year where Robert [Carter] and Diamond [Stone] kind of did the same thing. So it's a little harder on LG than the rest of the guys.
He's really athletic. He showed that in the dunk contest earlier in the year. He has great energy, and his legs are live because he hasn't played as many minutes. I just told him to bear with me and I hope he enjoys winning, because that's why he came to us. That trumps everything else, but all kids want to play. He gave us good minutes against Illinois, and with the minutes he's getting now hopefully he's going to have confidence moving forward.
On This Being A Teachable Team
We have a great group of kids. It reminds me a lot of two years ago when we won 28 games. It's about winning all the time. It's not about shots they're getting and this and that. That can change... We're not getting a lot of press yet, which is good for me. That can change in the next few weeks or it could stay the same. But right now we're pretty levelheaded and we just try to get better every day. It's been a fun group. It probably took a little longer than I thought to really start playing well, but that lineup we had out there the other night against Illinois -- we had Ivan Bender and three young guys and Melo. It's definitely a work in progress, but it's a fun group.
On Forcing Turnovers Against Illinois
I hope [it continues]. We do whatever it takes to win. The press worked against Jackonsville State and another team. Other games we played a man-type deal. But we're going to play the way defensively I think we need to play to win the game. I liked the way we played the other night [against Illinois] though. [The press] gives us energy, and we did look quicker. That was nice to see. It's good to force turnovers and get points off turnovers, because it's so hard to score in league play.
On Kevin Huerter
He probably is one of our glue guys. Jaylen Brantley is a glue guy too. They're both smart players. I talked to Kevin after the Illinois game, and three shots is not enough for him. He's a good shooter. We talked about mid-range game, getting to the line a little more. But people [opponents] just aren't helping off him. There's a reason Anthony's getting to the free-throw line and other guys -- they're not helping off Kevin Huerter and certain guys. ... But as league play goes on, six or seven shots a game would be a lot better for us.