Big Ten Conference Basketball Media Days

Thursday October 19, 2017

Mark Turgeon

Maryland Terrapins

THE MODERATOR: We're joined by Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.

COACH TURGEON: Great to be in New York. Love this city. I've got a lot of great memories as a player and as a coach in this city. So it's good that we're bringing the tournament to The Garden. Should be great.

We've got a great alumni base up here in New York. Planning on having a lot of fans in The Garden come March. With that, like my team. Looking forward to the season.

Q. What do you think about the week off before the NCAA Tournament, after your conference tournament, is that a good or bad thing? And having postseason tournaments here in the East Coast, here in DC, how much can that help your recruiting going forward?
COACH TURGEON: First of all, personally I don't mind the week off, because I've experienced it when I was at Wichita State. It actually helped us. Going into that tournament, we were able to get fresh, put in a lot of new plays. We could disguise a few things, steal a few buckets, so to speak.

So I don't have a problem with it. Ask me in March, if we're lucky enough to be in the tournament, I might have a different answer. But my experience has been positive.

We love that Delaney decided to do this on the East Coast. We obviously wish we would have performed a little better in DC last year. But having it in The Garden, it's terrific. It's an area we recruit very hard, the East Coast. So I think it's terrific. It's terrific for us, and I think it's terrific for the Big Ten.

Q. Can you talk about the 20-game schedule, and in terms of your rivalries, Penn State and Rutgers, how that affects your overall strength of schedule and just the whole new concept?
COACH TURGEON: I think the idea behind the 20-game schedule is hopefully to get more teams into the NCAA Tournament. And data showed when we went from 16 to 18, we started getting more teams in the tournament. So hopefully that's the case when we go to 20, because that's such a big part of today's world.

I think being new to the league, rivalries are going to take time to establish themselves in the area. But Pat's doing a terrific job at Penn State. Steve is going to do a great job at Rutgers.

If those do become our rivals I guess we'll play more local games, I'm not sure the real breakdown, but got a lot of respect for their programs.

Q. Can you talk about how practice is going in terms of the new guys, Morsell and Bruno, and what you've seen from them and how you feel they would help you guys?
COACH TURGEON: Practice is off to a great start. I wasn't able to work with them at all this summer. So we're just getting started and I'm very pleased. I think he said 10 people back from last year's team -- I think it's eight of our top 10. So practice has gone well. We have a lot of great leadership.

Our young guys have grown up quickly. We have a lot of experience coming back. Practice is great. Darryl and Bruno have been fantastic. We haven't slowed down for them. They've kept up, with everything that we've put in.

You know, when I signed both those players I wanted to add toughness and physicality to our team, and we did that with both of them. Darryl is a big guard. He's playing point guard. He played point guard on his AAU team, did not for his high school team, he has a lot to learn there. And he's got Anthony up in him every day which is hard. Anthony is obviously pressuring the ball.

But Darryl is doing a terrific job. Really doing a great job. Worked hard on his shot. Shooting the ball well. And going to be a great defender for us also.

Bruno is kind of a guy that we really haven't had since I've been at Maryland, just a 6'9", really strong, hard-playing, really, really good basketball player. He's talented. He can do a lot of things.

I think he'll really help us defensively in shot blocking and rebounding. And he runs the floor. He's probably one of the hardest playing and practicing players I've ever coached.

So it's exciting, two good pieces, and we added Sean Obi a physical player, a transfer player, who makes our practices much more physical.

Q. When you talk about Justin Jackson, just what he did at the end of the year last year and going through the NBA draft process, how do you think that will affect him and just how he might respond to having more of a target on his back this year?
COACH TURGEON: To me, about Justin, it was just learning how to work hard every day and push himself. And that's where I've seen the most growth with Justin. It was something that we talked about when the season ended, if you want to be the type of player we think you can be, you've got to put in more than just what the coaches are putting in with you, extra time in the weight room, extra time in the gym.

So he's done that. He's gotten a lot better. We're going to use Justin a little bit differently than we did last year, the ball being in his hands hopefully a little bit more. He'll play perimeter. We played four perimeter guys last year with him. But his position, he'll play two positions for us.

He only played one last year. He's really doing well. He's an amazing scorer, shoot the 3, he's got mid-range game. He's got post up, scores around the rim.

He's really a good player. He can really pass the ball. And hopefully we're going to put him in positions coming off ball screens and isolations where things not only is he making plays for himself but he's making plays for his teammates. And I think it will be a big change from what you saw last year.

Q. You said you were going to play Justin at two positions, you didn't specify which two. Are you going to go bigger with him at the 2 guard or smaller with him at the 4?
COACH TURGEON: We'll do both. So he'll play wing for us, and we'll have a bigger lineup. As long as we're staying healthy. And then we'll go small. If you consider small with Dion Wiley at 6'5" and Kevin Huerter at 6'7", almost 6'8", and Jared Nickens in there and Justin Jackson, it's still a pretty big team. But he'll play the wing and the 4 position for us.

Q. After three years of having at times one or two dominant ball handlers, how much different is this year's team with the way it lines up?
COACH TURGEON: Well, I thought we've done a really nice job the last three years sharing the ball. I like our system. I like what we run. It depends guys playing together. I think we've been fun to watch and fun to coach. But we have a lot of guys -- being a point guard, you know, I like having a lot of guys on the floor that know how to play. And so almost every perimeter player on our team, including Justin Jackson, played a little bit of point guard for their high school team, except Jared Nickens, and they all think that way.

So if practice is any indication, we'll have a lot of different guys in position to make plays for us. And even Bender is one of the best big guys I've ever coached as far as passing the ball, having a great feel for the game. So have a very intelligent team that's talented. So that could be a good sign for us.


FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports
Rev #1 by #188 at 2017-10-19 15:59:00 GMT

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