Oct. 12, 2011
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
New men's basketball head coach Mark Turgeon and his student-athletes met with the Baltimore-Washington press corps on Wednesday at the team's annual Media Day at Comcast Center.
Turgeon talked about how much he was looking forward to the 2011-12 season, how far his team has come during offseason workouts and what lies ahead for Terrapin Basketball.
A group of nearly 50 media members discussed the upcoming season with Turgeon and the team. Some quotes from the media session follow:
Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon
On the transition over the last five months:
"The most difficult thing was getting my family here. Traffic can be a pain in this area. Everything has been great. The people have really accepted me. I'm on a honeymoon with the media since I haven't lost a game yet. The players have been working hard for me. If there have been any surprises they have been pleasant. I knew everything wasn't going to be perfect and I'm not naive enough to think that it is going to be perfect. Since I have moved before both as an assistant and a [head] coach I am used to getting a lot thrown at me."
On the leadership of Sean Mosley:
"Sean is a great kid. He is one of the best I have been around even in the short time I have known him. From day one in our first team meeting, I made him speak. I have been very impressed by him. It's his senior year so he wants to do well. He has shown great leadership. He knows his teammates better than I do so he can help me out a lot. I had him in my office earlier and I was asking him some questions about the players that were here last year. He is a leader as well as a coach and player right now. I am going to lean on Sean a lot. Everything that I have seen so far in his leadership skills has been great. Sean has two great parents so that helps. I have been able to sit down with his mom and dad and have been very impressed with them. I see why Sean is the person that he is. He was raised the right way. That helps me as a coach and him as a leader."
On the importance of midnight madness:
"This is huge for me. Troy Wainwright did a tremendous job and took it off of my hands. Hopefully word spreads quickly as we have added Greivis Vasquez and Steve Francis to the list of alumni players. I'm not sure the last time that Steve (Francis) was back but to have everyone in the building is special. I think four of the five starters from the national championship team will be on the floor. All except Lonny Baxter who is overseas or he would be here as well. Hopefully that will create a huge buzz. That night should always be about the players. This first year it will be a little about me. They may introduce me differently this year and put a microphone in my hand. After that it's about the team, the former players and the fans. Hopefully we have a great student turnout. I have been on the phone with Lefty (Driesell) and Gary (Williams) and it's exciting for me to be where it (midnight madness) started. We want to create a buzz but I would rather create a buzz in January or February."
On how much freedom Terrell Stoglin will have:
"If Terrell is making shots he will have some more freedom. Terrell is buying in on the defensive end and is being a good teammate. We need Terrell to score. You're definition of freedom is different from my definition of freedom. I'm not going to do anything to hurt the team. I have to get the most out of the team and that's what I am paid to do. At this point I think that I am getting a lot out of the team. The thing that I have talked to Terrell about is that he can't just be a scorer. He has to do everything. He has to learn how to play without the ball in his hands. Terrell is great with the ball in his hands. I was fortunate enough to watch Larry Brown coach Allen Iverson, and I'm not comparing Terrell to Allen Iverson. I watched him and he took Allen off the ball to get pressure off of him but Allen was still a part of every possession. Hopefully I can take some pressure off Terrell but still have him be part of every possession. When the kid buys into that he will be a much better player. Once everyone figures everything out and lets me coach we will be okay."
On Ashton Pankey:
"The most we have had is an hour of practice so I haven't seen a lot of our players yet. I will say that he is pain free when he plays. He hasn't been pain free in a long time. From what I see he is by far our best rebounder. He played for a great high school coach in Bob Hurley. I imagine he will be great on defense, especially team defense. Whenever we do shell or defensive drills he has stood out a little bit. I think he has been a pleasant surprise. He has played with some confidence. Ashton isn't a guy who you can throw the ball to on the block and expect him to score. We have to have a guy who can rebound the ball and I think he will do a lot of that this year."
On the coaching staff:
"We have a great staff. Scott Spinelli has been with me a long time. He was with me at Wichita State for a year and at Texas A&M. He knows exactly what I want. He is one of my coaches that can also coach on the floor. He will do a lot of coaching especially as I teach the other assistants exactly how I want it. I have a lot of confidence in him and his job is first and foremost to go and get players.
"Dalonte Hill is a local guy with a lot of connections. He is going to go out and get the best players that he can. Ultimately they come because of the head coach and the system but he gets involved in them. Dalonte has been great. He is a great person and he loves being back home and at Maryland.
"Bino (Ranson) has been here. He did a great job in getting Nick Faust here. Nick is a great player. Bino is a great guy and I have been watching him for a long time. We have a lot of fun. We laugh, joke, and get along great for a staff that hasn't been together for a long time.
"I brought with me Dustin Clark who is our basketball operations guy. He does a great job and is a tireless worker. He makes my job a lot easier. He does a lot of things for me and protects me in a lot of ways. I think down the road he will be a great recruiter.
"Matt Braeuer is our video guy and he played for me at Wichita State and was on the Sweet 16 team. He knows me as well as any of the assistants. I have a great staff. We have one common goal to be as good as we can be. Hopefully it's good enough to hang some banners someday."
On Alex Len's ability:
"Alex has worked with us since day one. He started August 31st with our first individual workout. He is extremely skilled and extremely long. I think one of the things that he does well is he blocks shots and plays at a high level on the defensive end. We haven't been able to see that yet since we haven't scrimmaged a lot. Once we start getting up and down and Alex gets into shape he is only going to get better. There is a language barrier right now but that's get better everyday. Alex is still getting used to the speed and physicality of the game. He is a quick learner and a smart kid but I'm not sure when the light will come on for him. When it comes on, it will be an instant change. He has a high skill level and a lot of God-given ability. It's a different game for him to adjust to."
On when Alex Len might be cleared to play:
"Everything that we were in control of went well. What is going on now we are not in control of, the clearing house is. I do think that we are getting close. I was hoping to hear something this week...the initial judgment and then there will be further judgments after that. I feel positive about it because of what Alex (Len) and his mom did in preparing for him to come to the states to play basketball. They dotted their `I's' and crossed their `T's'. They were very organized and that makes me feel good about it. I think that the clearinghouse and the NCAA are just doing their due diligence. I do think when we get the next word - which hopefully will come Friday - I think it will be a swift movement from there. Hopefully everything will happen within a week from there."
On what's being said publicly about where the team will finish:
"I don't worry about it. I told Gary (Williams) this morning how much better the young guys have gotten. It's the best time of the year to be a coach. I have eight players on scholarship, hopefully nine soon with Alex (Len) but all eight guys think they are starting. They are all working their tails off for me. This is the time of year that you get to teach. If you ask any coach, they all love practice and they all love practice more than games. Games are exciting with the fans and everything. Practice is where you get everything done and get to teach. These next four or five weeks are exciting for me. I don't think there has been that much negativity. What the magazines have come out and said hasn't hurt our recruiting. Maryland has been great for a long time and will be great in the future."
Senior Guard Sean Mosley
On the responsibility of being the team leader:
"Having guys in the past like Greivis Vasquez, Eric Hayes, Landon Milbourne, they took it upon themselves to put the team on their shoulders, so for me it's another step. It's not a lot of pressure because the guys we have here are definitely talented and can respond to that very well so it's a matter of me coming out here and making sure the guys are ready each and every night."
On his parents' impression of Coach Turgeon:
"My dad is a type of guy who has to see Coach in person because he talked to him on the phone, but it wasn't enough for my parents. They wanted to come in and meet him and overall they like him a lot, so hopefully we get some wins here at the University of Maryland."
On the differences between practices last year and this year:
"There are some similarities. Coach Turgeon is very teachable so if you mess up, he'll stop a play and teach it and he expects you to get it after that first time he explains it to you and that's the same thing with Coach Williams. The intensity is definitely the same. I'm just looking forward for this season to start."
On Coach Turgeon's emphasis on defense:
"Defense is our new number one priority. Any sport you play, you want to play good defense because games can go either way so Coach emphasizes defense more than offense in the workouts that we have had."
Junior Forward James Padgett
On stepping up as a player this season:
"This is basketball; I'm always excited for an opportunity to prove myself, to make a mark for myself. Hopefully I'll move on as well as [Jordan Williams] did."
On changing styles with a new coach:
"Coach Turgeon's more detailed, there are a lot more details. In practice and workouts, it's a lot more up and down. It's a big difference. He's just as intense [in practice]."
On competing for a starting spot:
"We have eight players on scholarship. Everyone thinks they're going to start. We're all competing hard. We're all just trying to stand out. We just want to be a great team, and whoever comes out starting, and the people on the bench, need to be ready to contribute."
On adjusting to a new team:
"I bring veteran [experience], leadership. I've been through it, so I can help the new guys, help people like Alex [Len] who doesn't speak English to understand. Like Coach said, it's new to all of us, so we have to get used to and learn new things."
Sophomore Guard Pe'Shon Howard:
On Gary Williams leaving Maryland:
"I think with (Coach Williams) leaving, I didn't really think about leaving Maryland. Coach Williams has been here for 22 years, he's been here longer than I've been alive so him leaving was well-deserved. I didn't have any hard feelings about it at all."
On Coach Turgeon's approach:
"Coach Turgeon is very direct. He tells you exactly what's on his mind, exactly what he thinks about you messing up. Coach Williams and him are similar, just Coach Williams yells."
On expectations of Coach Turgeon:
"We knew that Texas A&M was good and tried to take that into account but they weren't really in the spotlight nationally, so we weren't really sure. We just kind of wanted to see what he was going to say when he got here and see what individual meetings would be like. Everybody likes him, everybody's here."
On what Coach Turgeon emphasizes:
"Don't turn the ball over. Keep it simple. If you want to play, don't turn the ball over. Play (defense.)"
On what he learned last year:
"I think the biggest thing I learned last year is poise. Every night you have to bring it."