It was Media Day for ACC basketball today, which means the preseason media poll was released earlier today. The findings? About what you'd expect, with UNC and Duke running away as the top two. Maryland, meanwhile, fell in at 9th, beating out only Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, and Boston College.
We've been critical of this thingamigs in the past, primarily because the sportswriters have an unrepresentative Carolina bias in terms of location. But I have to say that things were pretty well on the up-and-up here, and are more or less how I would've slotted them. My only grumble is that I do think Wake Forest will surprise some people this year, and should certainly be ahead of GT and potentially Maryland as well. Virginia Tech is actually too high as well - these guys do know they lose Malcolm Delaney and Jeff Allen, right? - but they won't fall from the 6th-place they're slotted.
More interestingly: Nick Faust got a vote for ACC Freshman of the Year. Sure, it was only one vote, but one guy thought Faust would be better than both Austin Rivers - the heavy favorite, garnering 57 of the 59 votes - and James McAdoo, a top-10 five-star power forward. That probably has something to do with how much Maryland is likely to use Faust, but after that showing at Maryland Madness, I can't say I'm not dreaming.
The official site has quotes from the event, which is worth going through. Some of the best from each of Maryland's three representatives, starting with Mark Turgeon:
"Gary and I are a lot alike. I'm a little bit old-school; he's a little bit older-school than I am. So a lot of the things are the same, the discipline and different things are the same. The great thing for me is I inherited great-character kids, because that's what Gary did when he recruited and we'll do the same thing. I don't know if we've implemented anything new, we're just putting in our system. There are a lot of things you have to do your first year and I think first and foremost what I've tried to do is develop relationships with my players to where they trust me and believe in me, so when times get tough will stick together and get it done."
And then Sean Mosley:
"Coach always says his seniors play well for him. He has a lot of plays where I can score. He's putting me in good position where I can make a basket or make a play for my team. Playing at the defensive end is something I love to do. That's what gets me involved in the offense. I think if I don't come out and be aggressive on both ends, I think I'm not giving it my all and helping my team win. I'm the leader and captain and my job is to lead my team to victory and try to do all the things possible to get the win."
And lastly, Terrell Stoglin ... wait, it wasn't him? Uh, Pe'Shon Howard then, or maybe even Nick Faust? No?
Wait, Berend Weijs? Really? Okay, let's hear from the Flying Dutchman, too.
"For me, it's important to keep eating. Whatever I eat, it doesn't matter how much it is, it burns and it's gone. I've just got to keep food in my body. I walk around with my bag with Gatorade bars and Muscle Milk... For me, the summer was to bulk up as much as you can, but most important was to get stronger, and maybe faster, which is one of my strengths. Gaining weight for me might be somewhat a disadvantage because of my running, because I'm a fast runner. I like to be fast, I just have to get my footwork straight. If people push me off, I have to use my footwork to get around or work against it."
The runner-up quote comes from Mosley, who says Alex Len is teaching the team some Russian. Which is awesome.
Also, all 12 ACC coaches did a chat on ESPN.com, taking questions from fans. Fun to page through, especially because Turgeon is so ridiculously straightforward compared to everyone else. Jeff Bzdelik and Steve Donohue give some pretty lengthy answers; Turgeon's are two sentences max. The bummer: if you were angling for Maryland Pride basketball uniforms, they ain't coming ... this year.