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Maryland athletics announces new basketball performance center

The Terps are currently one of two Power Five schools, along with Boston College, that doesn’t have a basketball facility.

Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon showed a rare display of excitement, throwing both of his arms in the air and shouting, “Yes! I am so, so excited, you have no idea,” before making some remarks as the athletic department announced plans for a $36 million, 60,000 square foot basketball performance center Tuesday.

The facility will be completely privately funded by donors, with $19 million raised so far, in large part thanks to booster Harvey Sanders. Athletic Director Damon Evans said the school has now launched the public phase of the fundraising campaign to get the extra $17 million needed.

“We’re going to build a unbelievably beautiful building. I think we’ve designed it 16 different times already. ... I’m all-in on this baby,” Turgeon said. “We’re going to get [the money] raised. The campus is going to be proud of it. We’re going to raise every dollar. We’re not going to have to borrow money from anybody. We’re going to get it done because we’re Maryland basketball.”

Once the money is secured, the design and construction is estimated to take 36 months, co-managed by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation.

The two-floor center will feature two full-size practice courts, a strength and conditioning center, sports medicine facilities, locker rooms and lounges for both programs, as well as coaches’ offices and locker rooms. It will be built next to Xfinity Center, with a tunnel leading into the arena.

“It will be one of the premier facilities in the country,” Evans said. “Sitting next to me are two of the best coaches and recruiters in the country. So just think what they will be able to do with this facility.

“...The new basketball performance center delivers on the vision that we set forth for our program. We will lead boldly, we will provide a student-centered environment and we will provide or inspire Maryland pride.”

Given that the Terps are one of only two Power Five programs without a practice facility, Turgeon said he’s had the vision of this facility for nearly seven years.

We have a great culture with our basketball program. And sometimes there’s just nowhere for us to use that culture. And now we have no excuses with this building. So it’s a tremendous day.

“This building is not about keeping up with the Joneses. It’s an arms race in college athletics, but this building is needed,” Turgeon said. “We have a really good culture of work. Our guys come early, they stay late. And there’s some days you just don’t have anywhere to go. And now that should never happen again.”

Turgeon talked about the various struggles his team has dealt with it didn’t have the proper practice facilites, including one particular instance this past winter, which he describes in the video below.

The game Turgeon references here is Seton Hall, which was a disappointing 78-74 loss for the Terps. It should be noted that Maryland got off to a very slow start in that game, with just 12 points in the first 10 minutes, and went 12-for-20 at the free throw line.

Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese said the two programs always have to coordinate with each other over practice times, creating many scheduling issues, and she’s excited to give her players more ways to improve their game.

“The fact that now, they will have 24-hour access to be able to get in at any time, we won’t have to juggle practice times, so we’re able to get extra free throws in whenever they want to be able to have that time,” Frese said. “[It’s] a big time element that I think will be able to separate both of our programs to even a higher level.”

Both coaches are also excited for the impact the performance center will have on recruiting, as not having one when everyone else does can sometimes deter kids. Turgeon says he can now start using the facility to entice 2021 recruits.

Having the plan of Cole Fieldhouse played in big role of landing guys like Anthony McFarland Jr. for Maryland football.

“We have a great game day facility, I wouldn’t trade it for any facility in the country,” Turgeon said. “But now, people go visit those schools and visit our schools, you know, it’s apples to apples now. ... It hasn’t been that way.

“...Now with the class of ‘21, I’m like, ‘Okay, I can promise you, we’re gonna have a practice facility. And this is what’s going to be in it and it’s gonna be so great for you.”

The facility will also benefit the athletic department as whole, allowing for Xfinity Center to be used for many other things.

“The impact of this facility goes well beyond basketball,” Evans said. “The construction of the new center will allow for upgraded locker rooms and sports medicine facilities for some of our Olympic sports. It will also finally allow us to start hosting more events in Xfinity such as shows and concerts.”

No construction date has been set as the fundraising now goes public.