Two days after none of Maryland’s three freshmen starters were recognized by the Big Ten on its All-Freshman team, coach Mark Turgeon and the players have moved on.
That doesn’t mean Turgeon and at least one of the players, forward Justin Jackson, won’t use the snub as motivation in this week’s Big Ten tournament.
Or in this year’s NCAA tournament.
Or even going into the offseason.
Turgeon acknowledged that his tweet Tuesday showing his obvious displeasure was “out of character," yet added that it was something he needed to do.
“If you have family, you have kids, you like to stick up for them,” Turgeon said Wednesday. “Basically just sticking up for my guys, I thought we had a terrific year. I stated facts. Disappointed for them, hopefully it puts a chip on their shoulder and the rest of our team and we continue to do well.”
Turgeon acknowledged that other freshmen in the Big Ten might have been overlooked as well, particularly Michigan State forward Nick Irvin.
“This might be the best freshman class the Big Ten’s had, ever maybe,” Turgeon said. “The kid from Michigan State didn’t make it, he’s pretty good. He was freshman of the week four times this year. He averaged 20 points a game his last four games. It should motivate our guys to work harder. I know it would inspire me if I were in their shoes. It would add a little fuel.”
Freshman guard Kevin Huerter said that all of his teammates appreciated their coach’s tweet.
“The players loved it,” Huerter said Wednesday. “We got in the locker room and we talked about it. It shows he’s going to fight for us. He’s not afraid to speak his mind, especially to everyone on Twitter.”
As for whether they deserved to be included, Huerter said, “We felt we had a really good year. Specifically, if any one of us had gotten on it, we would have been happy. Just because of the type of year we had, we thought there should have been maybe some recognition.
“We really weren’t looking individually. I’m [not] mad I didn’t get on it, Anthony [Cowan’s not] mad he didn’t get on it, Justin’s [not] mad he didn’t get on it. It was just, if any one of us had gotten on it, it would have been cool. It is what it is.”
Forward Justin Jackson, who statistically might have been the most deserving of the three Maryland freshmen, said “it disappointed me a little bit, but at the end of the day, they have a great freshman class in the Big Ten. No shade to those guys, congratulations to them, but I just feel one of us could have made it. Just puts more fuel to the fire.”
Huerter doesn’t think it will motivate him.
“I’ve never been a big believer in one specific thing is going to make you play any different, at least for me,” Huerter said. “I know just going into postseason play the stakes are going to be a lot higher and every possession, whether it mattered in the regular season, it’s going to be important. I think you’re going to see us play harder just because of the time of year we’re in, not because of people are mad about what teams they did or did not make."