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Summer school: Turgeon, Frese tasked with figuring out how to lead their Terps during busy offseason

Since the NCAA established a rule five years ago allowing men's and women's basketball coaches to work with their respective teams for two hours a week over the summer, Mark Turgeon and Brenda Frese have tried to figure out how best to utilize the time.

A lot depends on the schedule of their players, and sometimes on the schedule of the coaches themselves.

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Two years ago, Turgeon rarely had incoming freshman center Diamond Stone, rising sophomore point guard Melo Trimble and graduate transfer Rasheed Sulaimon at the same time. Stone went home when his mother had knee surgery, while Trimble played for the United States in the Pan American Games and Sulaimon spent the first half of the summer finishing his undergraduate studies at Duke.

Last year, it was Turgeon and incoming freshman wing Kevin Huerter who were unavailable because of their involvement with USA Basketball. Turgeon was an assistant to Texas coach Shaka Smart on the under-18 team that won the gold medal in the FIBA Americas championship in Chile. Huerter was a member of the team.

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"Every team is different," Turgeon said Thursday night at the Baltimore Aquarium, where he and Frese were among several Maryland coaches to attend a Terps on Tour event that drew more than 200 fans. "If you have a lot of new guys you want to have the summer workouts, it's really important. We still had 'em last summer, I was just doing USA Basketball, my assistants ran 'em. They're important just to teach the workouts to the new guys."

While Frese didn't have as many problems with her team the past couple of years, this summer is going to be different. With the Maryland women's team representing the U.S. at the World University Games in Taiwan in August, Frese has given her players off for most of June to concentrate on summer school.

But unlike other years, Frese's time with her players once they return won't be limited by NCAA rules since the Terps are playing under FIBA rules, which allow as much practice time as the coach deems suitable.

With a team that lost its two senior stars, Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough, as well as national freshman of the year Destiny Slocum, one of three players to transfer after the season, Frese sees the extra court time as a huge bonus to a team that will have only two returning starters.

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"We have no restrictions," Frese said Thursday. "For us, the makeup of a new team, you lose your two All-Americans, it will be really good for us to have this extra time to practice through the summer and put things together and go to compete internationally."

Both coaches agree that the other six hours a week through the summer of off-court team activities permitted by the NCAA — typically used for weight training and conditioning led by other non-coaching staff members — is more important to a team's development.

The off-court workouts started in the spring, Turgeon said.

"We had a great spring," Turgeon said. "We had seven healthy bodies — Dion [Wiley] was still kind of hurt with his back and Ceko [center Michal Cekovsky] was hurt [after breaking his ankle late in the season]. Those seven guys really got better in the weight room and on the court. It's not only what we put in with them…it's what they do on their own. The six hours [a week] with Kyle [Tarp, the director of basketball development] is huge."

While Turgeon will be busy on the recruiting trail trying to solidify what could be a blockbuster class for 2018, Huerter and two others could be away playing in international competition.

Huerter will be trying out for the U.S. team that will compete in Egypt in the U19 FIBA World Cup, where freshman forward Bruno Fernando could go as a member of the Angolan team. Redshirt freshman forward Joshua Tomaic, who grew up in the Canary Islands, is expected to play for Spain in the U19 European Championships in Slovakia.

Freshman guard Darryl Morsell (Mount St. Joseph) has already started summer school, Fernando is expected to arrive on campus later this week and forward Sean Obi, a graduate transfer from Duke, will be in College Park later this month.

As for Frese, the summer months will be among the most challenging in her career.

Frese acknowledges that there will be some pressure, given that the U.S. representative has won the last four gold medals.

"Anytime we step on the floor, it's to win," Frese said. "It can be an exhibition game, it can be the World University Games seeded No. 1..the goal doesn't change. To take this whole team with some limited experience and give them this international experience to represent USA Basketball and our program and our university is going to be incredible."

NOTE: The Terps on Tour schedule continues June 8 at Dave & Busters in Silver Spring, headlined by second-year football coach DJ Durkin as well as men's lacrosse coach John Tillman and women's lacrosse coach Cathy Reese. The final event will be held on June 21 at Top Golf in Alexandria. Both of the remaining events will run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

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