On Thursday, Maryland men's basketball coach Mark Turgeon spoke at the Big Ten Conference's media day. Maryland was picked to win the Big Ten in their second season as a member of the conference while sophomore guard Melo Trimble was named the conference's preseason player of the year. Senior forward Jake Layman was also named to the preseason All-Big Ten team.
Here's Turgeon's full transcript, via the conference:
COACH TURGEON: Obviously, we're, you know, looking forward to this season. We're excited. Really like my team. Really like my guys. The thing I like about them the most is, with all the expectations, they've really just worked harder because they had a great off season, great fall, and worked really hard both on and off the school year. So I'm excited. We're all looking forward to this season.
Q. You talked about how your players are handling the expectations. How do you expect them to handle the high expectations throughout the entire season this year?
COACH TURGEON: Well, I don't know if anybody's looked at our schedule like I've looked at it. We have an unbelievably tough schedule. We've challenged our guys. And then we had an unusually hard Big Ten schedule, I think. It goes in cycles. I think we play six of the top seven teams on the road. So we have a really tough schedule. I think we'll stay humble because of our schedule, which will make us continue to work hard. But, while we're going through all that, I think we'll become a better basketball team and we'll be prepared for anything as the season goes on. So expectations change quickly. We've had a lot of hype throughout the summer, but they change quickly. But we've got a good team. So we'll just tackle it like we would.
Q. Coach, I think a lot of us didn't know what to expect from Maryland coming into the Big Ten last year, and a lot of people had you in the lower few teams of the league. But the way that your team performed last year and now expectations for this year, did you see this coming at all?
COACH TURGEON: I knew when I was sitting here last year that I had a good basketball team. I knew last summer, two summers ago that I had a good basketball team. Did I see 28 games? No, I didn't see that. Did I see Diamond Stone coming to Maryland? No, I didn't see that. Did I Rasheed Sulaimon popping open and he ends up at Maryland? No, I didn't see that happening. So it all came together. I knew we were going to be good last year. It's kind of all come together for us this year with the talent. And now we've got to do it, of course, on the floor. So we've been good. We've been lucky. And, you know, Maryland is a great place. And I don't know if you've ever been here to a game. It's an amazing place. We've got a great basketball tradition. And we can do great things there. We really can.
Q. Coach, as far as Diamond Stone goes, how good can he be right off the bat? And what are the two or three things he's improved on since came to campus over the summer?
COACH TURGEON: Well, what he's improved on, he's changed his body. He's lost a bunch of weight. He's done that. His work habits have become a little bit better since he's been there. I think off the floor, he's managing his time. Those are things he'd really improved since he's been there. How good can he be? I think offensively he's already there. He's got a great feel, Right, left-hand hooks. He can shoot to 15 feet, tremendous passer. And, like I said, has a great feel for the game. The way we run our offense, our big guys have the feel. So he has that. Like most young guys coming into the college ranks, defensively, he's going to have to really improve. And that's just going to be a process for us. But he's a talent, and he's going to help us win a lot of games.
Q. Coach, I know it's kind of lost in the fact that the preseason expectations and other talk, the fact that it comes the same night as the Champions Classic. But how excited are you personally to play Georgetown? And is there kind of a buzz building in the DMV for that game yet?
COACH TURGEON: "Kind of a buzz" would be an understatement. I think we need about 50,000 tickets. We could probably use about 100,000 tickets for that game. It's going to be great. Two great teams. I've got a lot of respect for John and his program. They're going to have a heck of a season. I think they'll take second in the Big East or something like that. It's going to be a great game. Everybody is excited. I think the coaches, the players, the fans. It's going to be a terrific night. We're looking forward to it.
Q. With all the talk about the rule changes and how different teams are adjusting, what did you guys do this summer and what are you in the process of doing right now, whether it's on the defensive end or what have you, to kind of maybe to adjust to the changes?
COACH TURGEON: I think the biggest adjustment in the game is getting used to the different defenses you're going to see because of the shot clock. So we've added some things to our practices early that we might not do normally to help us prepare for certain situations that might arise early in the season. So we're going to try to play -- we're going to play them faster than the 30. We put a 24-second shot clock up when we practiced. So we're playing faster than we have. So not a big part. But it's getting used to different defenses and how people are going to play. I think it's a challenge for coaches. It was hard to get a good shot up at 35 seconds, and it will be a big challenge for us to continue to figure out how to get great shots up with a 30-second shot clock.
Q. Coach, with Melo Trimble being named Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year, there's a lot of expectations to him during the season. How has he handled that pressure so far? And what do you expect of him?
COACH TURGEON: I'm sure he's excited he got named Preseason Player of the Year. I don't think he was hoping -- laying in bed thinking, "Oh, I hope I'm Preseason Player of the Year" type thing. We told him about it. The thing about Melo is he had a good year. But he wants to be better, and he knows he has to get better at some things. So what he's done, he's completed work on his body. He's lost more weight. His first step has gotten better. Defensively, he's gotten better. His leadership skills have gotten better. I think you'll see a more complete player. Last year Melo had to do a lot of scoring for us. He'll still have to do that. But I think he'll be a guy that distributes the ball a little more. He's got a lot of good players around him. But Melo doesn't get caught up in all that. He knows people are gunning for him. He knows people get excited to play against him. He had a lot of hype last year, too, so he's gotten used to it.