Hard to tell how good Maryland Terps will be

You've gotta love Mark Turgeon.

The man is an open book when it comes to his young Maryland basketball team. How many other coaches would take questions from the media after a big win and a great performance by a star freshman -- and then disclose that the kid had underperformed of late because he'd basically been a big fatso who was speed-dialing Domino's far too often?


But that's exactly what Turgeon did after Maryland's 79-50 rout of Delaware State Saturday, when Charles Mitchell lit up Comcast Arena and led the Terps with 19 points and 14 rebounds.

In his post-game presser, Turgeon said Mitchell hadn't been getting the playing time or the conditioning drills he needed and "was probably eating a few pizzas at night that he shouldn't be eating."

Think Gary Williams would ever have ever fired off a line like that? Not a chance.

You also have to love how candid Turgeon has been in assessing where the Terps are as a team as they begin preparing for their ACC opener against Virginia Tech Saturrday.

He's admitted the Terps' preseason schedule has been softer than he wanted -- they play another tomato can tomorrow at Comcast in IUPUI. And with highly touted freshmen Mitchell, Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare having typical up-and-down starts to their college careers, it's been hard to figure out exactly how good the Terps are right now.

There are lots of reasons for Turgeon to be optimistic about this team, of course.

Star Xavier transfer Dez Wells looks like a stud. Center Alex Len has improved so much he's being touted as a No. 1 NBA draft pick by some. Nick Faust, James Padgett and Pe'Shon  Howard figure to be solid contributors. And guard Seth Allen has been a pleasant surprise for the Terps as a freshman, giving them consistent play at guard.

By how can you tell how good you're loaded with talented freshmen and playing weak sisters like Morehead State, Georrgia Southern, UMES, South Carolina State and Monmouth?

Sure, lots of big-time teams beat up on road kill from weaker conferences to turbo-charge their confidence going into the new season.

But in Maryland's case, it's definitely made it harder for Turgeon to accurately guage the Terps' strengths and weaknesses going into ACC play.

On the other hand, it sure hasn't made his post-game media sessions any less insightful -- or entertaining.

The pizza line was a howler.

Knowing Turgeon, we'll be hearing a few more of them this season.

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