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October 16, 2013

Mark Turgeon


JEFF FISCHEL:  Maryland head Coach Mark Turgeon.
I have a question from Twitter.  Is it true you made Jake Layman cut his hair?  If so, why?
COACH TURGEON:  It's not true.  He does have a haircut.  I think his mom and dad made him cut it.  That's the second question I've had on his hair today.
JEFF FISCHEL:  It had its own Twitter handle last year.
COACH TURGEON:  He told me when he came back with his haircut that it was the new Jake.  He's trying to do more things right on and off the floor.
I like his haircut.  Makes him look like a kid again.
JEFF FISCHEL:  I've heard a total transformation as a player as well.
COACH TURGEON:  He's playing well.  He has his confidence.  Transformation as a student, too.  He's doing better in the classroom, which is important to me and his parents.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Let's talk about this season and what your expectations are big picture.
COACH TURGEON:  Our expectations are pretty high.  First year it was new to me, only had a few players.  Last year we had a bunch of new players, trying to teach them the system.  This year kind of feels like the way it's supposed to feel.  We have a lot of good players.  We can go big, small.  We have added some good pieces.
We're much further along than we've been.  We were able to go on a tour this summer, that really helped us.  The maturity level is at a different level from last year.  I think we lost a lot of games because we were so young and immature.  That's changed.
Our leadership is better.  We're going to miss the big fella, Alex, in the middle.  He did a lot for us, defensively especially.  But we have a lot of good players.
Across the board, the pieces fit.  We're excited about this team.
JEFF FISCHEL:  I know Dez last year, you had to figure out how to make him fit into the puzzle.  He was starting to take leadership for this team.
COACH TURGEON:  That's where he's really improved.  He's really worked hard on the leadership part.  He's become a phenomenal leader for our team.  Him and Nick Faust and even Smotrycz feed off each other, three juniors.  Don't have a senior I recruited.  John Auslander is a senior for us.  We're still somewhat young.
Those three guys fit off each other.  Dez Wells has been more of a vocal leader in practice we Evan.  Dez works, he's hungry, wants to be part of something special.
He had a great spring, a great summer.  He's had a great fall so far.  Hopefully he'll have a great winter.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Questions.

Q.  Being the last year in the league this year, any extra motivation to want to go out with a bang?
COACH TURGEON:  We haven't talked about that a lot yet because we're just trying to get through practice.  We have non‑conference.
But there's no doubt in our mind that the success we've had in the ACC over the last 60 years, we've had a lot of individual players that have gone on and had great careers, great careers at Maryland.  I've had some really good coaches in Lefty and Gary.  We've had some really good teams, ACC league champions, tournament champions, national champions.
We know we have a responsibility our last year to represent Maryland in the ACC.  Means a lot to us, to our players.  I'm hoping it gives us extra motivation.  I hope it allows us to win a couple more games knowing this is the last time we're going to play at this building, play this team in the ACC.  Hopefully that will give us motivation and hopefully sneak out a few more wins because of it.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Talking to the guys this morning, they had the sense that wherever you traveled, the crowd was going to be extra fired up about playing Maryland.  It's not a focus for you.  It becomes part of the reality you are dealing with.
COACH TURGEON:  Yeah.  The road's never easy.  I think the best way to handle the road is just play well.  If we lost, we usually heard ACC chants last year.  If we won, you didn't hear 'em.
They didn't make the decision, but our kids know what lies ahead.  But the road is tough.  The better team we are, the more hostile the road crowd is going to be.
That's fun.  There's nothing better than being on the road and playing in front of hostile crowds.  We look forward to that.
JEFF FISCHEL:  How pumped are you and the players to do Maryland Madness?
COACH TURGEON:  Not as pumped as the fans are, but we're pumped.  It was a great idea.  Our players will be excited when they see a full house.  To me it was a no‑brainer.  I hope this leads to us doing some more things down the road in Cole Arena.  It's going to be a fun night, there's no doubt about it.  I just hope it's filled to the rafters.
I've heard from a lot of former students and players how excited they are about it.
JEFF FISCHEL:  No doubt Maryland fans get fired up in a tent.  That has to be fun.  Wherever you're playing, Friday night or home games, that crowd is always there.
COACH TURGEON:  They are.  Our student body has been great.  We have to do a better job filling the seats most nights.  In the ACC we have great crowds.  Hopefully we can have better crowds this year because our team is better.
We scheduled better this year.  Our home games are much better non‑conference.  Hopefully that will put more people in the stands.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Are turnovers still a concern with this team?
COACH TURGEON:  Turnovers and decision making, shot selection is a main concern.  We've gotten better.  We've worked hard at it.  Actually stole a drill from Jim Larranaga that I think has helped with our turnovers in practice.  Can't do the same drill in the game.  It's helped us.  Our guys have been more conscious of taking care of the basketball.
Another concern of mine would be defensively without the big fella Alex there.  He covered up a lot of our mistakes.  Individually we have to get better.
Our two best defenders are gone, Pe'Shon Howard and Alex Len, so guys have to step up.
JEFF FISCHEL:  When you had a ball handler you could trust, it was Pe'Shon.  Who will step up?
COACH TURGEON:  Seth Allen got better as the year went on.  Roddy Peters will be in at the point guard, too.  They're both good players.  They're both very good on the break.  They both need to get better in the halfcourt as far as running our team.
But we had turnovers.  Nick Faust had turnovers.  Dez Wells led us in turnovers at the three spot.  Jake Layman turned the ball over.  Charles Mitchell turned the ball over.  Individually they all have to get better at taking care of the basketball.
I have a better feel for this team than I did last year's team.  We're much further along.  I think the things we're doing offensively will help us take care of the basketball.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Who was your favorite college player growing up?
COACH TURGEON:  Growing up was Darnell Valentine at the University of Kansas.  He was a guy I really looked up to.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Then you followed in those footsteps.
COACH TURGEON:  He was a guy from Wichita, Kansas, that was part of my life, formative years, 8 through probably 12.  Good player at the University of Kansas.  At the University of Kansas basketball player is a guy I looked up to.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Game of horse amongst the ACC coaches, who wins?
COACH TURGEON:  Probably Tony Bennett.  I don't know.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You're more of a point guard.
COACH TURGEON:  I'm a better shooter now that it doesn't matter.  I played for a guy that wouldn't let me shoot either, Coach Brown.  So I blame him.
I think Tony probably if I'm quickly going through would probably be the best shooter.
JEFF FISCHEL:  If you could make one rule change, what would it be?
COACH TURGEON:  One rule change?  I like the rule changes we made this year.  I think the blocked charge is a tough call.  I think freedom of movement is something that I really like.  I try to teach the game that way.  You get penalized sometimes that way.
That's really about it.  I'm one of the guys, whatever the rules are going to be, I'm going to try to play that way.
JEFF FISCHEL:  The one‑and‑done rule, would you like to see that changed?
COACH TURGEON:  I think that would be tremendous for college basketball.  Probably what everybody else has said, you know, treat it like baseball, football.  I guess football can't do it.  Baseball, if you want to go out in high school, let them go.  If you want to go to college, you have to stay three years.
I don't know if we'll get to three years, but if we get to two years, sometimes kids get to two, they realize they need to stay three or four.  A little bit more mature at that time.  Halfway through with their education.  I think it would help our game if we could get that rule changed.
There's kids that are good enough to go pro out of high school.
JEFF FISCHEL:  You recently said you see a new Nick Faust this year.  What did you mean by that?
COACH TURGEON:  He's concentrating on the things we need him to concentrate on.  One is being the best defender.  He needs to guard the best perimeter player every night.  He has the ability to do that.  He's been dialed in in practice, making the right decision, do what's best for our team.
JEFF FISCHEL:  Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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