COLLEGE PARK, Md. -- Maryland coach Mark Turgeon addressed the media Jan. 13 ahead of the Terps' Jan. 14 6 p.m. game at Illinois.
See what he had to say in the transcript below:
On Freshmen Wall
It’s early. We’re four games in, plus we’re not really in school right now which helps. We try to keep them fresh. I probably give teams more days off than most coaches in the country. We’re only going once [a day], and normally I go twice this time of year… But the good thing is we’re creating depth. The depth is getting better, it’s helping us in practice and in games too.
Luckily for us we have 13 players on scholarship, so we’ve been able to play through injuries to this point. I’d like to get Dion back to 100 percent, I’d like to get Ceko to 100 percent. But we have enough guys where if someone isn’t doing well, we can put in another guy. We’re thin, especially against big teams. It’s a balancing act. Guys are practicing hard and taking advantages of the chance they’re given.
He’s a veteran. He made two huge free throws and he guarded well. His team defense has been great. And [his shooting] really opens up the floor for us.
I think he’s practiced better than he has at any point in his career. He has that sense of injury, yeah, the lights coming at the end of the tunnel. He’s just a good player. He continues to work, he’s very intelligent on both ends of the floor. I was really happy for him the other night. Trying to guard those guys, he was terrific. We hadn’t had that rim protection the last two games… Damonte was great with six blocks, and we were much better around the rim defensively, primarily because of him.
Playing Smarter, no doubt about it. Great growth, and he had a big block with four fouls. My assistants said he had four fouls, he’s got to come out of the game. But I said, ‘I don’t care. He’s got to stay in.’ And he handled it well.”
On Kevin Huerter
I think you’ve got to concentrate on a lot of our guys. Melo, Kevin, Anthony…but as the season has gone on, we’ve been able to add more things for Kevin. We’re creating more ways to get him open.
On Focus Right Now
Just getting better. We’re really improving, that’s the good thing. There’s a lot of growth. Our whole thing is getting their minds right, getting htem prepared.
This is a tough task for us, because we did beat Illinois by 25 here. But we practice like we know what we’re getting into, so that’s exciting. But just getting mentally ready, keeping fresh and trying to play together on both ends. That never stops, whether you win or lose every game.
On Freshmen Production At End of Games
Nothing ever surprises me, anything they do. It’s good, they’re dialed in, they’re all smart players. Earlier, they didn’t have the sense of urgency on every play or scouting report. But they’re getting hopefully they’ll continue to do it. If not, we have depth to step in.
You’ve got to be sure the guys are aware of the two players that played a lot the other night. Nichols is a guy we didn’t know as well … but they didn’t play Thorne and moved 50 to the 5. They’re basically running the same stuff, but there are some adjustments that need to be made.
I wish we were going back to late February, so that [game] would have left their mind… you saw it [Jan. 12], Purdue whipped Iowa pretty good at home and Iowa got them [Jan. 12]. Our guys are aware of it. They realize Illinois didn’t play their best game here; they don’t miss those shots at home.