Berend Weijs

Berend Weijs (Baltimore Sun photo by Algerina Perna / March 4, 2012)

Berend Weijs was a favorite of Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon. It’s not that the 6-foot-10 center was a top scorer. But he was affable, worked hard in practice and was a shot blocker.

Weijs had an eventful two years. He played under two coaches – Gary Williams and Turgeon – and has witnessed the recent departures from the program of Terrell Stoglin, Ashton Pankey and Mychal Parker. Forward Hawk Palsson, who left before last season to play overseas, was also part of the class that entered with Weijs in 2010.  Point guard Pe’Shon Howard, who is trying to come back from knee surgery, is the only class member remaining with the Terps.

Weijs has been studying for final exams this week. Then the Maryland center will graduate before heading back – his visa expires in July – to the Netherlands.

Weijs transferred from Harcum (Pa.) College before his junior seson. He had 19 blocks in 120 minutes in his first year. Last season, he averaged 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds and had 23 blocks.

There has been so much transition of late. Terrell Stoglin, Mychal Parker and Ashton Pankey aren’t coming back to the team. How does that make you feel?

Everybody has his own reasons. Coach Turgeon, he wants to start with his own players. That might not be a bad thing. He just wants to build on what he wants to do, and maybe some guys don’t  fit in the system.

We in the media haven’t gotten to know Alex Len very well yet. What’s he like?

He’s a very nice guy, great kid. ... I was pretty close with him.  Sometimes he conveniently doesn't speak English. I used to do that, too.

What were the differences in style between your two Maryland coaches -- Gary Williams and Mark Turgeon?

I think Coach Turgeon, he’s a little more laid back in practice. It took a little more to get Coach Turgeon cursing and yelling at us.

Who were the most memorable fans – besides Maryland’s own?

Duke’s. When we did our stretches, they counted along with you. I don’t know if they (the Cameron Crazies) said anything about me. I wasn’t a big-time player.

What are the moments you’ll remember most?

I had a dunk against Duke at Comcast this past season (over one of the Plumlee brothers).  From my first season, I remember  playing at Madison Square Garden (against Pittsburgh and Illinois).

Of course, I had some frustrating moments with basketball. We lost a lot of depth (near the end of last season) with Pe’Shon out (and lost at Georgia Tech, which finished 4-12).   We could have won that game. There was just mistakes. But I just had a great time, a great experience overall.

One of our great moments was when we played at Miami and came back from like 15 down before losing in double-overtime. You could see us grow as a team.

What are your plans? Will you try to play ball?

I’ve got to leave the country in July (because his visa expires). I’ve got to figure out if I want to play pro. I would love to play in Spain — or maybe Turkey or Greece. I have a bunch of agents talking to me. They’re doing the work for me.

What about after hoops?

My dad has his own business -- hardwood doors.  I could work with my dad and eventually take over. Holland is my home. But I will miss my friends.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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