Nov. 28, 2011
COLLEGE PARK, Md. -
Quotes from Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon in advance of Maryland's game with Illinois as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
On playing on a big stage with the Big Ten/ACC Challenge and if the players are aware of it:
"I'm sure they are. We practiced well last night. There was a little bit more pop in their step; maybe it's because they got their confidence back because they won a game and performed well. We showed them the positives as well as the negatives. So I think so. Illinois is a big name; they were in a national championship game six or seven years ago and [Illinois head coach] Bruce [Weber] has done a great job. You'd have to ask them but I think our guys will be fired up and ready to go. Hopefully we'll have a Maryland crowd Tuesday also. That would be nice to see a lot of people come out and cheer these guys on."
On what concerns him about Illinois:
"The thing that scares me with anybody right now is if they have quality depth that scares me. They're playing 11 guys 10 minutes or more. So that right there kind of scares you. They pick up full court; they don't trap as much. I'm sure - Bruce is no dummy - they'll throw some traps at us watching us play. But we'll be prepared for that. Just their relentless, 11 guys, pressuring in the backcourt, they do a great job in their motion offense, they're hard to guard. It's great for me this early in the season to play a team that's well-coached and runs a good motion offense to see how our guys react to it and how they guard it."
On how the players are picking up on his game plan:
"It gets better every day. Before we played [UNC] Wilmington, our shoot around that day, I was ready to kill the guys. OK. Our shoot around before [Florida] Gulf Coast our guys were dialed in. And they just were, `OK this is the way Coach does it, this is way we're going to do it, this is how we're going to guard this screen, this is how we're going to guard this play.' And it carried over into the game until fatigue hit and we couldn't handle their pressure. So last night's practice, again, we're working on breaking down [Illinois'] motion. This is how we're going to guard these screens, this is how we're going to do it; they were dialed in.
"I see maturity happening. We're not only inexperienced, we're immature as a team. So they're maturing. We have guys that pout and make excuses. But there are guys that are pouting less and making fewer excuses. We're getting there. We have a long ways to go but we're making strides. It's been fun. I went home last night and I felt good about the guys. That doesn't mean we're going to win Tuesday but it means we have a chance. And that's exciting."
On slowing down and executing the offense:
"When I say inexperience, our guys continue to jump and run over people and we talk about it every day. Hopefully certain guys are going to quit doing that; we talked about that at halftime of the FGCU game. You don't have to penetrate to run over somebody every time. You penetrate and if there are three blue shirts in front of you, make a play. I do think we're a good running team, but we have to run at the right time. We can get some dunks, get some fast breaks, we cannot take that away or we won't beat anybody. So we have to be opportunistic, know when to run it and know when not to run it. And that's the hard thing. As a coach you can't control everything once the game starts and we're still learning how to play.
"I don't want to become this team that walks it up all time because that's not the way we're going to play when we get Alex [Len] and Pe'Shon [Howard] back in the fold. We're developing - John Auslander is coming along, Jonathan Thomas is getting better. Everybody is getting better so we're becoming a deeper team. You don't want to walk it up. I think to beat good teams we're going to have to control the clock some and execute at a much higher level than we're executing. I think we were 50-50 at best in Puerto Rico whether we were going to run a play right or not and I think we're much better than that right now. I think we're 70-30."