Michal Cekovsky was a major steal for Maryland
Romelo Trimble, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens, and Travon Reed are all known commodities when it comes to Maryland’s 2014 recruiting class. Michal Cekovsky is not. but he probably won’t stay that way for long.
From his practice at Maryland this past week, it’s clear that the Slovakia native has an accurate touch from the foul line and terrific foot work in the paint. The 7-footer also has a ready-made face-up game and finishes through contact at the rim.
Armed with unbelievable hands and a high IQ, Cekovsky is more skilled than Alex Len was at this stage and is different than Len in the sense that he’s not your typical back-to-the-basket post player. There’s a good bet that this freshman will be the Terps’ starting center once Maryland begins Big Ten play next season.
Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon announced the hiring of Cliff Warren as the team’s director of basketball operations.
“Cliff is an outstanding addition to our staff,” Turgeon said. “He brings a wealth of experience at the collegiate level and has had success at a number of different programs. We’re excited for Cliff and his family to return to the Maryland area.”
Warren spent the past nine seasons as head coach at Jacksonville University, where he accounted for 126 wins – a program coaching record – and led the Dolphins to a pair of Atlantic Sun Championships in 2009 and 2010. He was also named Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year after the 2009 season.
A native of Silver Spring, Md., Warren spent five seasons as an assistant to Paul Hewitt at Georgia Tech, where he helped lead the Yellow Jackets to 96 wins and three NCAA Tournament appearances – including the school’s first-ever trip to the NCAA National Championship game in 2004.
Warren began his career at his alma mater, Mount St. Mary’s, and helped guide the Mountaineers to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1995. He graduated from Mount St. Mary’s in 1990.
Syracuse is reeling right now. Two straight losses after an undefeated start. At this point of the season. Maryland is 15-12 and 7-7 in the conference but has 0 top 50 wins. If any hope exists at all to make the dance it must begin with a W tonight. Syracuse, a slight favorite plays the stingiest zone in the country but is definitely having its troubles offensively. So what do the Terps do to win tonight?
After Duke scored 89 in its first game against Cuse, by getting the ball to parker in the middle and then dishing to the wings===Cuse adjusted in game 2 and closed off the shooters. Duke relied on Parker and Hood to drive and facilitate and manged to pull the victory out. Dez and Faust will have to be at the top of their games because most likely they will be at the foul line. I really figure that Dez must be on the north side of 20 for Maryland to win.
Ennis, Cooney, Grant and City College’s CJ Fair can not all be stopped. Ennis was 2-13 against Duke Saturday night and is beginning to show the effects of playing 40 plus minutes a game. Turgeon will continue to mix defenses. probably using the 1-3-1 pressure zone trap to try to take Cuse out of its game.
The Orange has not been a potent team offensively but it seems like teams have had their way with Maryland. But not tonight. Listen, many are saying Syracuse will never lose 3 in a row. Why? Cuse has not been the same since Duke game 1. Dez will have a big game tonight, and the sellout crowd will lift the Terps to its first marquis win of the season over a tired former #1 squad—- Terps 70 Cuse 69.
Whereas I wanted Alex to be the #1 pick, in the long run being selected 5th could be the best result for him. Despite the drop in money, 2.9 million salary for the Ukranian is more then he ever could have imagined. Alex will not have the pressure of bing examined as the #1 pick. He will be far away from the scrutiny of the East coast media that could have haunted him. Phoenix is a great city with tremendous fans that will be more patient with his development. Overall a great fit for Maryland’s highest draft choice since Franchise was taken 2nd.
Synopsis from NBAdraft.net
When Maryland center Alex Len took the NBA draft stage Thursday night as the Suns’ No. 5 draft choice, it was not the first time that the 20-year-old Ukrainian outshined Kentucky center Nerlens Noel at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
To start the past college basketball season on Nov. 9, Len’s Maryland team lost to Noel’s Kentucky team, but Len won the center matchup. Len posted 23 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on Noel, the center who was often associated with the draft’s top pick until Thursday night.
The Suns did not just think Len was the best center in this year’s draft. The Suns thought Len was the best player in this year’s draft.
The Suns brass started salivating once Cleveland dropped jaws by taking UNLV’s Anthony Bennett first. Prior to that, the Suns discussed trading up in the draft order to be able to get Len, who teams began to believe was going to Cleveland.
The Suns passed on Noel and Kansas shooting guard Ben McLemore because of their belief in Len’s high ceiling.
University of Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon announced today that junior point guard Pe’Shon Howard has been granted permission to transfer for his senior season.
Howard (6-3, 190 lbs) averaged 3.3 points and 3.6 assists in 36 games with 24 starts in 2012-13. In his three seasons at Maryland, Howard averaged 4.7 points and 3.5 assists in 83 career games with 44 starts.
“We wish Pe’Shon the best and thank him for his contributions as a student-athlete at the University of Maryland,” said Turgeon. “We are disappointed that he is leaving, but Pe’Shon shared with me that his grandmother is ill in California and that he would like to finish his final season of eligibility playing closer to home. We understand this is best for Pe’Shon and his family and will support him through this transition.”
“I want to thank Coach Turgeon for allowing me to pursue an opportunity to complete my final season of college basketball at a university closer to home,” Howard said. “It was a very difficult decision because I really enjoyed my three years as a student-athlete at Maryland, but my grandmother is sick and I feel it is best that I be closer to my family. I love my teammates and wish them the very best and appreciate all of the support and guidance that I received from my coaches.”
My take—PeShon is a great kid and will be missed at Colege Park.
“I’m really happy to be here. I’ve got a lot of respect for these guys and their programs and what they’ve done. Scott and I used to go head-to-head in the Big 12 and Dave and I have had some encounters in the NCAA Tournament and obviously Fran and I have something in the future we’ll be playing each other quite a bit in the future.
So, Coach Rose said how proud he was of his team, I’m unbelievably proud of my team. About mid-February I didn’t know if we were ever going to figure it out and hit rock bottom at Georgia Tech and since then our kids have been great. They have embraced this.
We’re excited. We feel like we’re playing our best basketball of the season here late and have a great team; a fun team to coach and a fun team to be around. Got a little injury to Seth Allen which has set us back a little bit but guys have stepped up. So, we’re happy to be in New York. I was lucky enough to be at Texas A&M a few years ago and come in here and win the Preseason NIT. So I know how special this place is with Times Square and it’s been great for our families too. It’s spring break for families so we’re kind of treating this as a family outing so everybody’s happy. Thanks to the committee for getting us in. You’re always nervous when it comes to committees and for us to get in was great and our guys have taken advantage of it.
We’re looking forward to playing a great, well-coached Iowa team that has a lot of toughness and they run the motion as well as any team in the country. It will be a great challenge for our defense” Coach Turgeon
“Obviously that’s a great win for us. We know Alabama’s a good team. I think they’ve won 12 or 13 at home. They were undefeated in the SEC [at home] and I thought the crowd was fantastic. I thought it was a high-level basketball game – intense – two teams really defending and playing hard. The team struggled a little bit offensively. We turned it over, they missed some shots that they might normally make, but in the end it was a great game. I’m just really proud of my guys. Our last three road games – we won at Wake Forest, we lost in overtime at Virginia and now this one – and we’ve been talking about trying to get a great road win. To get it in postseason, against a team that I thought should have been an NCAA tournament team with 12 wins in the SEC, is just a tremendous win for us. Our defense was spectacular all night and Dez [Wells] was at a high level early. Alex [Len] was at a high level the whole game, and then Pe’Shon [Howard] hit a big three and Jake [Layman] hit two big threes for us. Then we just held on. I don’t like just holding on but this time of year any win is a great win.”
On how big of a “growing up moment” this win was for his team:
“It’s big and to hold on and get it is big. It’s hard to win in college basketball and this time of year is really hard. For us to do that, we had a lot of guts. We had a lot of guts defensively and it was good to see. And to do this without Seth [Allen] – Seth’s been pretty important to us – and he’s one guy that could have taken a little bit of pressure off, helped us in the press and he could have broken down their defense a little bit. So we had a lot of guys step up and play well for us. And we knew if we lost, we were done. If we won, we didn’t play for a week. So we played guys a lot of minutes, especially in that second half. I thought we stayed pretty fresh throughout the game. A big game – a big win.”
Without question the best Terrapin Victory since Grievis’ last game at home. Turgeon had this team perfectly prepared and once again out coached the King of the Evil Empire into the ground. HATS OFF TO COACH TURGEON!!!!!!!!!!!
When I was submitting my vote for ALL ACC–I just could not leave out Dez Wells despite the Terps 8-10 record. Look we all saw it –there were games when he was fantastic. Minus his plethora of turnovers, he really was great all season. Out of 77 votes only 4 writers picked him for any of the 3 teams as ALL ACC. I am proud that I was one of them.
Without question Duke was baffled by the press. though there weren’t many steals, it took Duke 10 seconds or so to break and through their offense off kilter. At some point of the 1st half Duke was playing racehorse bball just like Maryland.
Duke could never adjust to Maryland’s 4 guard set that virtually ruled Ryan Kelly useless. By the way this was the first loss Duke had with Kelly in uniform. Coach Turgeon virtually went with a 8 man lineup —Padge didn’t play and Logan got 2 minutes PT. The guys who did play just seemed more in rhythm all night. PeShon had 7 points but more important 5 assists and 0 turnovers.
So next up is Carolina. I have said all along that the magic number was 3 wins not 4. If by some way the Terps upset Carolina on the “Neutral” Greensboro court, to me it seems like the Terps will be in. But you know what, winning the ACC Championship in one of our final years in this dreadful conference would be dynamite. But the best thing about tonight was watching Coach K squirm.
Wednesday night I commented to Coach Turgeon that the press was successful against Carolina, he then proceded to criticize the effectiveness of our press. I had a feeling that his answer was a disguise for the implementation of a more pressing type defense. Sunday night the press invigorated the entire squad early on and Maryland probably had it’s best half of the season, leading 32-19 at the break. But that was that.
It was almost like we allowed UVA so many chances to play itself back into game that it was just a matter of time before reality set in. Maryland’s swarming defense held Joe Harris to a 4-18 shooting night. But Maryland could only muster 22 points in the 2nd half, missing shot after shot. Turgeon employed a 1-3-1 zone that baffled UVA. Just remember how they torched the Terps in College Park
Nick Faust had another good game scoring 15 including 3 threes. But the Terps just hit another wall when it counted. They finish the regular season 8-10 in the ACC. As the 7th seed, they will face Wake Forest on Thursday night at 7PM. Should they be victorious, a rested Duke squad –now ranked #1 seed by Joe Lunardi –will be awaiting them on Friday at the “neutral” Greensboro Coliseum.. At this point the only ticket to the dance would be an improbable ACC Championship 4 game run.
The Terrapin boards were filled with criticism, and venom last night. I believe the more logical feeling is disappointment. Again when you shoot 20-61 from the field, you just aren’t going to win many games. I still believe greatly in Coach Turgeon and we all must remember this is but his 2nd season.
By the way, I have begun to hate playing in the ACC. Because I know how much the rest of the league despises Maryland for its move to the BIG 10, I can’t help but feeling suspicious the raw deal heads our way daily. I guess it’s just paranoia.
Coach Turgeon commented post game:
Maryland Head Coach Mark Turgeon
“Obviously, I’m proud of my group. We made a great effort tonight and it’s a tough place to play. We came out ready to play and built a big lead. We knew they were going to come back on us and they did. In the end we just couldn’t get enough stops, made a mistake on [Joe] Harris late, gave him a wide-open three when they tied it. That was just really bad defense. We just didn’t show on the screen. And then we just couldn’t make enough plays. We had the ball around the rim; we had their guys beat. They blocked a lot of our shots. We just couldn’t make enough plays, but our effort was there.”
On the last play of the second half:
“I’m 99% sure of what happened. We didn’t want [Joe] Harris to catch it. Jake Layman did a great job because he didn’t catch it. They threw it in, my guy tried to steal it, and let him [Mike Tobey] in for a layup – not very smart.”
On frustrations after many opportunities around the basket:
“We’re not capable of doing it. You just can’t fault our effort. You get to the rim and we can’t finish around the rim. We had a chance for second-chance buckets and just couldn’t do it. We missed a lot of shots, but even though we shot 32 percent and only scored 58 points in 45 minutes, it felt like we had control offensively. It never felt like we were being dictated by them, which is hard to do in this building.”
On his team
“We’re a young basketball team. We played well tonight and we played smarter tonight. We played with effort. If we had played with this effort on Wednesday night, we would have had a different outcome.”
Just a few thoughts after a tremendously disappointing night:
As to the charge of having too high expectations for this season, I guess I have to plead guilty.When it comes to most Terrapin sports, I am always the optimist. Before last night’s game hope was high for a 2 game conference ending sweep and becoming a virtual lock to getting an at large bid. When the Heels jumped out to a 12-6 lead, I felt we were in trouble. We just seemed flat early which is hard to comprehend with what was at stake.
Biggest misconception about the offense is that we don’t try to pound it down low. Every time Alex gets the ball low–2 and sometimes maybe 3 guys are holding him, punching, him etc. Guess what Alex had but 2 foul shots last night. So what does Alex do— dish it out to a wide open guard for a 3—Here’s how we fared on threes last night
Overall 3-23. Most of the shots were wide open. If we can’t hit open shots why would other teams not double down on Alex. By the way Alex will be a lottery pick in the NBA this year and one of the clear reasons is that this class is considered perhaps the worst class out of college maybe ever.
Coach Turgeon was just about despondent post game last night. The flurry of mistakes at the end of the half made him go ballistic at the end of the half. Here is his post game press conference. Memo-47
I thought his employment of the press was a good move and asked him about it. Listen to hear his response. By the way, for the first time in 4 games, Jake came alive during the press and helped cut the lead to 6. Minus a few not so well thought out decisions, Nick Faust played well last night finishing with 16 points.
So it’s farewell to James Padgett, who played his last game at Comcast (unless a NIT game is there). James always gave the Terps everything he had and last night he finished with 9 points and 7 rebounds in only 20 minutes.
The final possible track for a bid–Win the next 3 games and there would be hope but UVA is a terrible matchup for Maryland. Joe Harris has been unstoppable and the Terps have no answer for him.
That’s enough depression for one night. Tune in to Terp Talk tomorrow night at 6 for more discussion.