Mark Turgeon joined radio personality Jhonny Holiday live at Buffalo Wild Wings for the one-hour premier of the weekly Mark Turgeon radio show.
Joining Turgeon was former Terp Eric Hayes, who played for Maryland from 2006-2010 and is currently a graduate assistant for Turgeon. Hayes talked about how after college he played for two different European teams before coming back to pursue coaching at his alma mater.
Turgeon was also joined on the show by senior forward James Padgett. The senior talked about how he is excited for the first game against Kentucky, especially since it is being played in his home state and his family will get to see the game. Padgett says he has put a lot of focus into his defensive rebounding skills, and also his team defense and communication with teammates.
Turgeon talked about the scrimmage Maryland played on Friday when they hosted IUP. He said he was very impressed with the play of freshman Charles Mitchell, Seth Allen, and Jake Layman.
Seth was never ranked, said Turgeon, no one thought he was any good except us, I think he showed the other night he has a chance to be a really good player.
Pe'Shon Howard, who was sidelined last season with a knee injury, has gotten back in shape and is ready to go. Says Turgeon, He looks great, way ahead of where he was last year, he's moving well and shooting the ball really well.
Turgeon was also pleased with the offseason work put in by returning starting center Alex Len, noting that he has bulked up, improved his scoring abilities, and he adds, Alex is really improved, he is physically and mentally tougher.
Regarding returning starter Nick Faust, Turgeon says, Nick really worked hard on his game, he's gotten bigger and stronger, improved his shot. Turgeon also added that Faust would be playing mostly as shooting guard, which is his natural position, whereas last year he was often forced to play point guard due to Howard's injury.
James Padgett, Turgeon says, has done great, he's done everything I've asked, he's gotten better, bigger, and stronger.
Turgeon also complimented senior Logan Aronhalt, who transferred from Albany in May. He said Aronhalt has a great shot, and compared him to the show's guest Eric Hayes, who was a sharpshooter for the Terrapins for four years.
Turgeon says he has noticed an improvement in the teams overall chemistry from last season. I don't think you can fake chemistry, you either have it or you don't. I think our guys have it. They are getting along well which is good to see, it helps you get through the ups and downs.
Another major improvement Turgeon notices from last year is the team's depth. He says they have a strong nine man rotation, noting that all nine were able to play at least 18 minutes in the scrimmage and everyone was able to stay fresh.
Turgeon also talked about his staff's offseason recruiting success. Said Turgeon, We have a great staff, recruiting's not easy, our guys worked really hard. Turgeon talked about how the first three class of 2012 commitments were guys he had recruited while at Texas A&M, Allen, Layman, and Shaquille Cleare. They were also able to land Charles Mitchell, who they had been recruiting all year, as well as three transfers in Aronhalt, Evan Smotrycz from Michigan, and Dez Wells from Xavier.
Turgeon spoke briefly about their nonconference schedule, pointing out George Mason, Northwestern, and LIU-Brooklyn as tough matchups. He also said Maryland has a really good ACC schedule, especially at home, saying it will be an exciting schedule for their fans.
Maryland plays their first regular season game against Kentucky at the Barclays Center in New York on Friday. Turgeon had all positive things to say about Kentucky coach John Calipari. He's done an amazing job there, I don't think people realize how exhausting it is to reload every year, coach young guys every year, it's amazing what he's done.
In order to beat Kentucky, Turgeon says, Maryland must control the tempo and keep the game fast paced, using their depth to their advantage. He also stressed the importance of defending Kentucky's offense, We've got to defend and take away their transition and get our defense set. They're great at driving, we've got to keep them out of the paint. Turgeon added that his team has to be smart with the ball and get a great shot every time down the court. Turgeon finished, we have a good team and good players, were looking forward to the challenge.