"I actually think they're undervalued," Turgeon said Wednesday, by phone from his office at College Park, Md. "I guess they're [18th in AP, 19th in the coaches poll]. I think they're better than that. We played Kentucky in the first game last year and we came up short, but I think UConn is a lot better team than Kentucky was last year when they had a lot of young guys. UConn is a lot further along."
"Obviously, UConn's got great guards. Two guys who can get the ball anywhere they want to, any time they want to. A lot of teams have one, they have two. DeAndre Daniels is a special player, and it looks like he's even playing at a higher level right now than he was last year. But the thing I've noticed this year in scouting is that UConn has a lot more depth. Last year, I heard a lot about how thin they were. But now they've got a lot more pieces, whether it's the transfer from GW [Lasan Kromah], or the freshman guard [Terrence Samuel] or the young big man [Amida Brimah]."
Maryland finished 17-15 in Turgeon's first season and 25-13 last season. As he begins his third season, he has nearly all his own recruits now, with more experience. And they are more accepting of the team concept, he said. But the Terps suffered a blow when point guard Seth Allen broke his foot last week. He will miss the first few weeks, so Turgeon is moving his shooting guard, Dez Wells, to the point. Wells, 6 feet 5, averaged 13.1 points, 3.0 assists and 4.9 rebounds last season.
"Dez is not a natural point guard, but he's doing a nice job," Turgeon said. "We've got a freshman, Roddy Peters, who will play some at the point. We're adjusting. We were a pretty deep team, 8 ½ or nine. Now we're not as deep as I thought we were going to be, 7 ½ or eight."
Who Will Start?
Kevin Ollie wasn't ready to name a starting five after practice on Wednesday.
"We have one more practice left," he said, meaning Thursday. "We'll figure it all out on the way to Brooklyn. … But you know, if you're a starter, you get your name called. But starters, those are the guys I like. The guys who stay in the game are the guys I trust."
Shabazz Napier, Ryan Boatright and DeAndre Daniels are certain to start. Omar Calhoun, who started last year, would likely start at the wing, unless Ollie wants to give senior Niels Giffey the honor. Based on minutes and productivity in the exhibition games, it will probably be Phil Nolan getting the start over Tyler Olander at center. … Calhoun and freshman Terrence Samuel, both from Brooklyn, are obviously thrilled to be playing in their home neighborhood, "especially as a Husky," Samuel said. "I've been dreaming of this day for so long." … Ollie did not play Shabazz Napier much against Southern (24 minutes) or Concordia (14 minutes), choosing to keep his legs fresh for the opener and taking the opportunity to get a long look at Samuel. Napier admitted to being a little miffed. "I'm a competitor," he said. But he understands and is over it. "I got to see Terrence get a double-double, and [walk-on] Pat Lenehan scored, so it was fun to watch." … Daniel Hamilton, one of the Huskies' big recruiting gets for 2014, is coming from Los Angeles to see the game Friday. … Asked what he's learned about the Huskies the past six weeks that he didn't know before, Ollie immediately mentioned the freshmen and how pleased he is with their progress. Next, he mentioned Giffey, and the more confident air he returned with from Europe. … Ollie compared Napier's "basketball IQ" to NBA vet Andre Miller's.