Quotes - Mark Turgeon
Dec. 22, 2011
On the status of Pe'Shon Howard
"Pe'Shon is going to play. He looks great, has no pain in his foot, played every drill, every practice. He is still a little bit out of shape, but he's doing amazing well. He'll probably help us more defensively than anything. He'll help out the intensity on defense and then of course he can take Terrell [Stoglin] off the ball which really helps.
"I probably won't start him tomorrow night, but he'll definitely play and he'll be in the starting lineup soon."
On a playing-time target for Howard
"No, he's totally free. We were unbelievably patient with him. I think we did everything right. I think the doctors did a great job. He could go 10 hours without a day off is what we thought about doing, but we've had so many days off because of finals so he's there. We have the (December) 24th and 25th off. There are no limitations."
On when Howard started live drills
"They cleared him on I think Saturday. It was a magical date. He was out there and I said, 'Is he supposed to come out?' They said, 'No.' He just kept staying in there. I said, 'Does it hurt?' He said, `No.'
"The only thing he doesn't do is he doesn't run sprints, which wasn't really hard to talk him out of. We don't do a lot of them, but he rides the bike during sprints and we only run sprints when guys aren't doing what they are supposed to be doing. We don't run as many as we used to."
On how Howard's return affects the gameplan
"We weren't showing it in the games, but we are really coming along. We really have come a long way in practice. I'm really hoping we can show it in the game. I think Pe'Shon will have a little bit to do with it obviously because it gives us another body, a guy who's been there and played a lot last year.
"We're able to run a little bit more. We've been practicing running for about the last three weeks and now, with him, I think we're defending better. It hasn't been a lot of fun for these guys the last week, practice-wise. They've really worked hard. I think defensively we're a little bit better. It is kind of contagious. Mike Parker is better. Shawn [Mosley] is better and Terrell [Stoglin] is getting a little bit better. It's been contagious for us."
On the source of improvement
"It's practice. We've really been drilling the guys. We went back to basics and we've done the basics for two weeks. I think the guys know and have a better feel for how they are supposed to guard. There are no excuses the way we teach it. You have to do it this way and they know that. I think we were coming without Pe'Shon, but he definitely helps us defensively."
On how Howard's return affects Nick Faust
"This is so good for Nick. This is the best. We'll play lineups with Nick at the 3. We'll have Pe'Shon and Terrell [Stoglin] in together with Nick and then Nick can rebound. He's got rebounds in practice this week, that's what Nick can really do, offensive rebound, and that gives him confidence. It's going to be great for Nick. I think playing point [guard] was great for him because it was a whole other animal. It wasn't fair to him. He still may play a little point at times depending on situation. It's really good for Nick. This is like a load has been lifted off his shoulders. He's really been working hard, coming early and staying after."
On potentially being a different team with the return of Alex Len
"It's like my third team this year. We had Pe'Shon healthy. We were really getting better and then he broke his foot. We had to regroup and do it all over again. We just figured out how to squeeze by the teams we were supposed to beat with that lineup. The last 10 days in practice I've had Alex on the first team. I've been moving the other guys back and forth from first team to second team with Pe'Shon.
"We are a different team. Number one is because we have more depth. We are a little bit faster and we can pressure a little more. We actually look like how my teams usually look. The second half of the Florida International game was the first time we actually kind of looked like one of my teams defensively. It's really like our third team. It's crazy. It's hard enough being a new coach, new players and all that and then having to go what we've gone through. Luckily for us, we've had a lot of time to practice. That's been really helpful because you can work on you instead of working on who you are playing. It's been really good timing for us."
On the learning curve after returning from injury
"I think defensively, because he's always worked at it, is what probably came back first and naturally for him. I think his leadership skills are natural. His talking and telling guys what to do is natural for him. I think sometimes when you play and then you have to sit and you know what it takes to play, you can learn so much more. I think he would probably be a little further along if he wasn't sitting, but I think mentally he is further along because he sat out. He knows exactly what I want. He watches me coach the guys. He sees me correct the guys the same things every day so then he can help them on the floor. It was a blessing in disguise. It wasn't a lot of fun going through it for all of us."
On what he wants to see from the team prior to start of conference play
"The same things I've been talking about. We don't rebound very well. We got to rebound better. Defensively, knowing what we're supposed to do. I really would like them to grow up at some point, start maturing. That would be huge for us. We have one really mature guy, maybe two with [James] Padgett, but Shawn [Mosley] is really mature and James can be. We are just a really immature team. That would be huge for us to start to grow up a little bit.
"Execution, we've added a lot, we are doing different things. Our execution is sloppy. Our execution has got to be a lot better if we want to win. If you ever want to be any good on the road, you got to defend and rebound and you got to execute. Those are the things we are really going to work on because we have a lot of road games coming up. We've got to be a good road team if we want to play in the postseason."
- Terps -