By Jeff Barker and Don Markus
7:00 AM EDT, October 10, 2011
Maryland basketball media day is scheduled for Wednesday and "Maryland Madness" is Friday night. Terps beat writer Jeff Barker and Sun reporter Don Markus took some time to chat about the upcoming season.
Jeff: Don, you know that Maryland is small in the frontcourt. Even the roster is tiny. I tweeted recently that you could write the roster of actual scholarship players on a cocktail napkin. Maryland has almost as many walk-ons (six) as scholarship guys (eight).
Maryland may be helped by signing Olexiy ("Alex") Len from the Ukraine. He's listed at 7-1, but I don't know yet what sort of inside presence he has. The school is waiting to see if he'll be approved by an NCAA clearinghouse. The question remains, what can new Terps coach Mark Turgeon do with this group? You ever cover "small ball" before?
Don: I think the Terps will often have to go small, especially if Len can't play and some of the other frontcourt players can't play prominent roles. I can see Turgeon using Sean Mosley at the 4, Nick Faust at the 3, along with Terrell Stoglin and Pe'Shon Howard in the backcourt. I remember the Illinois teams from the late 80s going with a lot of guards, but that team had much physically stronger guards than Maryland does. The Terps might be able to get away with it against some of its lesser non-conference opponents, but I think Turgeon needs to identify some usable "bigs" as early as possible. Are you hearing me, James Padgett? Ashton Pankey, I'm talking to you, too.
Jeff: It's a rough way for Turg to start. He finally gets to play regularly against one of his mentors, North Carolina coach Roy Williams. And what happens? He's shorthanded ("short," get it?). Maryland has two games scheduled against the Tar Heels this season. Turgeon is a realist -- he knows what he's up against. But he'll stay positive because that's what good coaches do.
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