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Terps Host Annual Media Day Tuesday

Maryland Athletics
10-31-2017
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland Basketball team hosted its 2017 preseason media day Tuesday afternoon at the XFINITY Center. Members of the local media met with head coach Mark Turgeon and the 2017-18 Maryland basketball team in Heritage Hall to preview the upcoming season.

Turgeon addressed the media in his opening press conference, and has been thrilled with the team’s energy and excitement throughout the preseason.

“I like my team, we are off to a good start in practice,” said Turgeon. “We are working extremely hard. We’ve been getting better. It is a fun team to coach and we are much more experienced than we were last year. We have eight of our top ten guys back. The three freshman become sophomores and we added three physical guys…we are a little more physical than we were last year. It is a team that is coachable and intelligent. So far so good as we get started this week.”

The Terps will hit the floor for the first time this season on Thursday, November 2 at the XFINITY Center for an exhibition game vs. Randolph-Macon. UMD will open up the 2017-18 campaign on Friday, November 10 on the road vs. Stony Brook at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum at 7:00 pm.

Below are quotes from Coach Turgeon and sophomores Anthony Cowan Jr., Kevin Huerter and Justin Jackson from today’s media sessions.

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Head Coach Mark Turgeon

On how practice has been going:

“I do think the three new guys have caught up, we didn’t slow down for them…we’ve had a couple ankle injuries that have slowed practices down a little bit. Practices have still been good. I do think Darryl [Moresell] is a quick learner and I do think Bruno [Fernando] is a quick learner. A guy like Sean Obi has been with two different programs and is a bit older so he’s been able to adjust. Practices have been really competitive. When everybody’s healthy they’re really competitive and we have a competitive group. We’ve had a lot of competition in practice and guys are trying to win each drill. We’re getting a lot better quickly.”

On relying on the sophomores:

“Well we’re going to rely on them, but we relied on them quite a bit last year too. I think they’re much more prepared. They’re much more prepared in practice and much more prepared in the Summer with how they handled things. Academically they’re also further along. I do think every one of them has gotten a lot better. Anthony has gotten a lot better; I think last week in practice he was like 18 assists and four turnovers which is really good. He’s shooting the ball well and is a lot better in every phase. Kevin Huerter has just naturally gotten better. [He] feels more comfortable doing more things and we’re putting the ball in his hands a bit more. I think Justin Jackson is one of those guys that is much more competitive every day. He’s added to his game and has a lot more on the plate with playing the three more this season when we play bigger lineups. Right now there’s a lot on Justin’s plate, but he’s improved a lot. Those three guys had terrific freshman years and we feel like they’ll step up and be a big part of what we do.”

On adjusting to life without Melo Trimble:

“I think our system will look the same. We’re trying some different things like our small guard lineup. Kevin is going to be more involved. I think late last year he was pretty involved. I think everybody, like Anthony and Justin will get more opportunities. Last year Melo was 71 percent of our ball screens, and we won’t have a player around that this year. It’ll be more like across the board, 40 or 30 percent, whatever those numbers are. There will be more guys involved.”

On leadership on the team:

“I think we have a bunch of leaders in this group and it’s a really easy team to lead. We have a lot o coachable guys who are about winning. We have guys like Jared Nickens and Ivan Bender, those guys have stepped up. We have guys like Michal Cekovsky and Dion Wiley, those guys have stepped up and been leaders. I think the guy that is the most natural and likes to talk the most is Kevin Huerter. I’m not saying he’s our leader, but he’s the guy that gets it the most and does it without even knowing he’s doing it. Even like Justin Jackson has become more vocal and comfortable with who he is within our system. We have a bunch of leaders and a bunch of guys who follow the right way.”

 

Sophomore Guard Anthony Cowan Jr.

On how the offseason has been:

“My offseason has been good so far. I learned a lot and got a lot better in a couple different areas. I have added some pieces to my game and gotten a little bit bigger and stronger. I have learned to be more of a leader.”

 On how the leadership role has grown:

“I learned a lot from Melo last year as far as being a leader. He showed me a lot of what to do on the court. I am trying to be vocal as well as leading by action. I’m working hard in practice and doing the extra stuff to show the guys I can be a leader.”

On what Anthony likes about this team so far this year:

“We’re a close team. I could see that from the beginning. I think we are competitive and coach always tells us how versatile we are. This team is going to bring a lot to the table and we will be fun to watch.”

On how Bruno has impacted this team so far:

“He is such a hard worker and doesn’t ever take plays off. I have never seen a big-man like him be so vocal. He has a lot of different things he can bring to our team.”

 

Sophomore Guard Kevin Huerter

On how much was learned during his freshman year:

“We learned a lot. We started off the year and won a lot of close games so we figured out pretty quickly how competitive college basketball really is. Toward the end of the year when we didn’t finish the year how we wanted to; we learned from that and hopefully don’t make the same mistakes.”

On how the confidence level has grown this year:

“I think a lot of our players are playing with more confidence. This year without Melo, many people know they are going to have increased roles and will have to step up. As a basketball player, you want that so we all have more confidence.

On if he will become one of the leaders of this team:

“We may still be a young team, but we have a lot of guys that have played a lot of minutes already. Coach Turgeon thinks there are plenty of guys on this team that are capable of becoming great leaders. He wants us to step up and be more vocal.”

On how the team has collectively come together and how everyone can play a role:

“Coach Turgeon told us if we wanted to get better we need to work hard in the offseason. For me I want to get a little bit stronger and become a better shooter. Everyone wants to come in and have an increased role and improve from last year.”

 

Sophomore Forward Justin Jackson

On learning about himself during the NBA combine:

“I learned a lot. It was a great experience, especially with Melo there to have someone I could talk to after games and after playing. He really helped me just told me to be calm. He told me at the end of the day just keep all the noise out. You’re at a good place now just keep doing what you’re doing.”

On how happy he is to be back at Maryland:

“Im really happy to back, you don’t understand. There was a lot of pressure and a lot of things weighing on my while making that decision, but at the end of the day I feel like I made the decision that was best for me.”

On conference play starting earlier in December:

“Like said last year, and like I say all the time, I take it one game at a time. I don’t like to put one game on a higher pedestal than the others. You just have to give 100 percent every time you step on the court and hopefully great results follow.”

On what he learned this offseason:

“I learned a lot. The main thing I gained was confidence in myself, knowing that I can go out there and be the player that I truly can be.  I feel like a lot of that is coming from the combine and just going out there to play with some guys that are in the NBA right now. That really helped.”

On playing small forward:

“Me personally, I’m a guy that likes to set my teammates up. Playing the three will help me with that since I’ll have the ball in my hands a bit more than I did last year. Just making the right decision and making great plays for my teammates. I’m trying to be more aggressive and trying to score with the ball more.”

-Terps- 

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