In the offseason, Turgeon said he forged a compromise with Len.
"Last year, Alex would fight me — he wanted to be more of a finesse player than a power player," Turgeon said. "I know Alex is a finesse player. But I want Alex to be really successful after he leaves Maryland, so he quit fighting me on that stuff and so we're compromising. You'll see him shooting 3s this year. He'll really expand his game. But you'll also see a much better low-post player."
Len improved through conditioning and by practicing over the summer with first-year Maryland front court players Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, among others.
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"I think he's a lot tougher," said John Auslander, Len's roommate and teammate. "He knows what he wants to do, he's more confident, more assertive. When he gets in the post, he's not in a rush."
Before he played basketball, Len was taught gymnastics as a boy in Ukraine. He said he liked gymnastics because he liked watching Jackie Chan films and saw how the actor moved.
"It was a really funny story because the high school (basketball) coach came to the gymnastics gym and he saw me," Len said. "I was the youngest one, but I was the tallest one. He said, 'What are you doing here?' He took me and just grabbed my hand, took me to the gym, gave me a ball and said, 'Shoot it.' "
Len made the shot. "The coach said, 'You see? You were born to play basketball,' " Len said.
Notes: Maryland announced that this season's Maryland Madness will be held at 7 p.m. Oct. 12 beginning at Comcast Center . Admission is free…Maryland recruit Sam Cassell Jr., who didn't qualify academically to play for Maryland after attending a Massachusetts prep school, is enrolling in junior college in Florida. He might still return to Maryland in the future.