Terps ready for Kentucky

Returning players are becoming leaders, meshing well with the younger guys.

Coach Turgeon has given mixed reviews about his basketball team this year, but there's no doubt they're excited to step on the national stage and prove themselves. They will have that chance against powerhouse Kentucky on Friday night at the Barclays Center Classic in Brooklyn.

“We can compete on any level,” said freshman point guard Seth Allen who led the team with 16 points in the exhibition against IUP Friday. “We can play anybody in the nation.”

Prior to the Terps 73-61 win in the exhibition, Turgeon expressed his disappointment with the inconsistencies he is seeing from his players in practice. Returning sophomore Nick Faust sees it too, but isn't worried.

“Practice has been a little ragged but we're young,” he said. “That's how it's going to be, a little rocky, but I think we'll be fine.”

With last year's leading scorer Terrell Stoglin gone, some say Nick Faust will have pressure on him to carry the weight, especially in scoring. His teammate begs to differ.

“I don't think Nick is alone this year,” said freshman center Shaquille Cleare. “We brought in a great freshman class. We'll back up Nick, Pe'Shon, and Padge, all the veterans, and I think we're going to have a great squad this year.”

“They should have no pressure at all because they know we are their backbone, and they know we are going to take care of business,” he added.

According to ESPN, Maryland's 2012 recruiting class is ranked 18th in the nation.

With a mix of only four key returning players, and many new faces, the Terps have found a way to mesh with good leadership. According to freshman forward Charles Mitchell, senior James Padgett and junior John Auslander are the vocal leaders that stand out to him the most.

“They're the coaches on the court and off the court for us,” he said.

Seth Allen agrees that Padgett has taken a strong leadership role and adds that Pe'Shon Howard has also helped him out greatly in this first month.

“He's like my big brother on the court,” Allen said of Howard. “He tells me when to calm down, when to relax, and when things are going too rough, just to have fun.

The Terps will have to play like brothers Friday if they want to take down the defending-champion Wildcats. Despite much of the attention surrounding Kentucky with ESPN's “All-Access” show on Coach Calipari and his team, the Terps are focused on one thing - getting better. They aren't buying into all the hype of other programs.

“Kentucky's just another team. We'll put on the sneakers to see what they can do,” Shaquille Cleare said. “I think our coach is better, and I think we're going to get the job done.”

Maryland fans are excited for the Terps basketball season to commence and the players have mutual feelings. The team feels the buzz around College Park, especially the young guys who are quickly discovering the atmosphere and expectations of the program.

“I'm just excited for everybody to see the new Maryland Terrapins basketball team,” Mitchell said. “I just can't wait.”

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