Oct. 19, 2011
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon, senior guard Sean Mosley and senior center Berend Weijs spent Wednesday meeting with members of the ACC media in Charlotte, N.C. for the 50th Annual ACC Operation Basketball. Quotes from the three follow.
HEAD COACH Mark Turgeon
On how things have gone since taking over as head coach and what it's like to follow Gary Williams:
"Things are going great. Maryland is a great basketball school. They love their hoops. I've been well accepted from day one. They want me to win; they don't want to go through any losing seasons, so everyone has been behind us from day one.
"I've said a number of times I don't really care who I follow. I was lucky enough to play for Larry Brown, who is in the Hall of Fame, and coach with Roy Williams, who is in the Hall of Fame. Hopefully Gary gets there. But Gary's been great. Gary has gone out of his way to introduce me to the right people and do all the right things, say the right things. I've leaned on him a lot. He wants Maryland to be successful and he wants [me] to be successful, so I can imagine our friendship is just going to grow and grow as time goes on. Things are going great - we haven't lost a game yet."
On the new things he's implemented and what to expect from Maryland basketball this season:
"Well I'm just doing what I do. If you've seen our teams - I don't know what's new, I didn't watch a lot of their team from last year - we're going to try to defend and rebound and play with toughness. We're going to play man-to-man defense. If you watch my teams we're going to do that. And right now I'm just trying to get our guys to pass the ball a few times on offense. But we'll figure out the best system offensively for them.
"Gary and I are a lot alike. I'm a little bit old-school; he's a little bit older-school than I am. So a lot of the things are the same, the discipline and different things are the same. The great thing for me is I inherited great-character kids, because that's what Gary did when he recruited and we'll do the same thing. I don't know if we've implemented anything new, we're just putting in our system. There are a lot of things you have to do your first year and I think first and foremost what I've tried to do is develop relationships with my players to where they trust me and believe in me, so when times get tough will stick together and get it done."
On how good North Carolina is going to be and if he had second thoughts after seeing their program:
"No, I mean [North] Carolina and Duke are always going to be good and we're not trying to be Carolina or Duke. We're just going to be Maryland and that's good enough. Maryland has been to Final Fours, they've won league championships, and that's what we're going to try to do.
"Coach Williams is stacked this year; good for him. I wouldn't be sitting here if it weren't for Roy Williams. He had a big impact on my life and grabbed me at an age when I really needed to grow up. He helped me grow up so I owe a lot to him. We'll try to compete against them.
"I'm so excited about being in the ACC. I was in a great league; the Big 12 is a great league and we had great teams. Kansas won a national championship when we were in it. But this league is special. It's about basketball, great tradition. I'm just looking forward to coaching in it."
On changing from Gary Williams' flex offense to his motion offense:
"I'm trying to be patient. Obviously Gary was a Tom Davis guy, ran the flex. Won a lot of games with it. I'm not going to run the flex; I'm not a flex guy. We'll have a lot of movement in our offense, hopefully have great spacing in our offense. That's important. Then like every coach you try to get the ball to the best players when the game's on the line to help win games. I've tried to be really patient. It's new to them, it's new to some of my assistants. I think we need to build confidence with this group. We don't have a lot of guys that have played a lot of minutes so we need to build confidence."
SENIOR GUARD Sean Mosley
On low preseason predictions:
"I don't care where we're ranked, at the end of the day it's where you finish. A lot of teams that are underdogs usually finish on the top, like my freshman and sophomore year. Ever since I've been at Maryland, we were always an underdog, but we've found some way to get through and use it as motivation to work hard each and every day at practice."
On being the underdog:
"In a lot of ways, the magazines have you ranked here, here and here, at the end of the day, it all depends on which team shows up. Each day you try to overcome that underdog atmosphere. I think we do a great job. The University of Maryland has always been the underdog and always had to fight for everything we earn. We've just got to get better as a team."
On Media Day:
"It's good just to get out and meet other guys in the ACC. Having Media Day in probably one of the best college conferences, I played with a lot of guys and know a lot of guys who are here today. This is our only time to associate with one another because usually, it's all about business. So having that fun and joking around is definitely a pleasure."
On practices so far:
"One of the challenges is trying to get familiar with both offense and defense. It's different for us. It's a new beginning for most of the guys. Some of the coaches came with Coach Turgeon, but for the players it's hard not running the flex offense that Coach Williams designed for us to run and having to step out of our boundaries to try to run something new. It's something we have to adapt to because this is the new offense. This is how things are going to be through the rest of the year. It's a matter of just getting comfortable and familiar with the defensive and offensive schemes that Coach Turgeon is putting in."
On Turgeon as a teacher:
"He's great; he's very patient. He's snappy sometimes after he tells you something more than once, but other than that, he's a good coach. He's a good guy to get to know, first of all. As far as his coaching style, it's going pretty well. His patience is there, but you can tell he's got another side to him that the discipline side is going to come out - if you don't box out or do this, you're going to go on the line and do sprints. A lot of guys are buying into it and doing the things they are supposed to do to help the team win. That's one of the things I like about him."
On his role in the offense:
"Coach always says his seniors play well for him. He has a lot of plays where I can score. He's putting me in good position where I can make a basket or make a play for my team. Playing at the defensive end is something I love to do. That's what gets me involved in the offense. I think if I don't come out and be aggressive on both ends, I think I'm not giving it my all and helping my team win. I'm the leader and captain and my job is to lead my team to victory and try to do all the things possible to get the win."
On maximizing his playing time:
"I'm trying to get in the best possible shape I can. I'll play some at the three, some two and maybe some four if we go four guards. We've just got to make sure that we're prepared and having all the guys on the same page. That will be the most important thing. If we can get Alex (Len) eligible, we're definitely going to be making some noise in the ACC."
On what Alex Len is doing now:
"He's working out after the team leaves. He's working out on his own, trying to get better. That's one thing I like about him. He has fit in right away, it's unbelievable. You'll think he's probably a sophomore or junior the way he reacts at things and the chemistry. He doesn't speak as much English, but he's teaching us some Russian. It's good to have guys from another country come here and play."
SENIOR CENTER Berend Weijs
On the improvement of the returnees:
"I think Mychal Parker has improved, but everybody improved a lot this summer. Everybody made a lot of sacrifices. Since we knew we were going to have a coaching change in May, we knew that people wouldn't expect us to do very well. So we all were very motivated. We've been in the gym sometimes this summer where we walked in at 8 and didn't leave before 1 a.m."
On being motivated by low predictions:
"The best `coaches' sometimes are not the real coaches. Everybody is always a coach and tries to tell you something. For me, I use it as motivation and get back into the gym. If someone says I can't do something, I'm going to get into the gym, go work on it and try to prove I can do it."
On his best memories of his first year in College Park:
"First was Maryland Madness, because I never saw anything like it before. There have been a lot of highlights - all of the ACC games that were packed, I played in Madison Square Garden, I played in some legendary places. It's been a great experience overall."
On trying to gain some weight:
"For me, it's important to keep eating. Whatever I eat, it doesn't matter how much it is, it burns and it's gone. I've just got to keep food in my body. I walk around with my bag with Gatorade bars and Muscle Milk... For me, the summer was to bulk up as much as you can, but most important was to get stronger, and maybe faster, which is one of my strengths. Gaining weight for me might be somewhat a disadvantage because of my running, because I'm a fast runner. I like to be fast, I just have to get my footwork straight. If people push me off, I have to use my footwork to get around or work against it."
On differences with the new staff:
"It's different hanging around them a little bit. They interact differently with people. There is a different kind of energy. I can't really put it into words, you just notice it. It's a good different, it's not awkward."
On Coach Turgeon's demeanor:
"He's a straight-shooter. But if you mess up the same thing two times in a row, he will have a spicy side. He will tell you. Then he's very direct with you. He says if you don't do it, you're not going to play. It's a little different. You've got to mess up a little more for Coach Turgeon to get upset."
On the first few practices:
"The practices are very intense. There is a lot of running going on. Yesterday was the (fourth) day in a row; it was kind of hard on the legs. We go into ice baths and recover, but yesterday I was running out of energy a little bit. It works for us to be able to play late in games in the season. We'll be fine then, because you're used to being tired and fighting through it."
On the walk-ons' reaction to being there:
"It's a combination. Some of them are very excited to be there and nervous. All of a sudden, unexpectedly, they're playing on the University of Maryland basketball team. That was the same thing for me last year, so I know a little bit how they feel... take a picture, put it on Twitter. They have to relax a little bit more in practice, don't try to be the hero."