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Mark Turgeon discusses offseason, high expectations on Andy Katz’s podcast

This is the Maryland Minute, a short story followed by a roundup of Terps-related news.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Jacksonville Practice John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland men’s basketball’s Mark Turgeon has high expectations for the 2019-20 season and has spent the spring and early summer trying to prepare his squad. Turgeon has championship aspirations for the Terps, he said on Andy Katz’s March Madness 365 podcast Tuesday.

It's a lowkey summer for Maryland, but a crucial one. The Terps came a bucket away from a Sweet 16 appearance, an experience his team is using as fuel this offseason. Outside of Bruno Fernando’s departure, the Terps will return seven of their top eight scorers. With continuity, along with five incoming freshmen, Turgeon expects the team to make real noise next season.

“I’ve spent a lot more time doing X’s and O’s this time of year than I have in the past,” Turgeon said. “Normally I’m just trying to build a team and recruiting players, but we’re in the position now where we only need to sign two in our next class, and that’s a good feeling moving forward.”

Turgeon was not surprised at how his players handled the NBA Draft process. Fernando now awaits the draft later this week, while Anthony Cowan Jr. tested the process and returned, and Jalen Smith skipped it entirely. Turgeon said he felt confident advising Fernando to remain in the draft once it became “pretty obvious ... he was going to be a first rounder.” Cowan entered the draft along with Fernando, but Turgeon said he was always sure Cowan and Smith were returning.

Expect the last three nonconference game to be more of the Rhode Island, Seton Hall ilk, rather than teams in the lower half of Division I. With Maryland popping up in the top five or top 10 in a lot of offseason predictions, Turgeon is preparing the Terps for a run at postseason success.

“We want to take the next step. We feel like we’ve been really good for the last four or five years,” Turgeon said. “We had one off year there, but we really want to take another step, maybe try to win a championship whether it’s the league championship or the [league] tourney, or advance in the postseason. We have the talent, it’s just us coming together and playing well at the right time.”

In other news

The men’s and women’s basketball programs will be facing some self-imposed sanctions until the 2021 season. Turgeon alluded to the men being down an offseason practice hour on the podcast, while the women will lose a scholarship until 2021.

With the draft rapidly approaching, Bruno Fernando is receiving mixed reviews about where he’ll land. He’s currently mocked anywhere from the middle of the first round to the early second.

Katz currently has Fernando going with the same pick as Kevin Huerter a year ago, projecting him to go No. 19 overall.

Women’s basketball’s matchup for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge was also announced Tuesday, with the Terps hitting the road and taking on former ACC foe NC State.

Running Backs Week continued Tuesday with football’s most potent offensive weapon: Anthony McFarland.

Former Terp Qwuantrezz Knight was denied immediate eligibility in his transfer to Kent State. He’s in the process of appealing the decision.

Our State of the Program series continues with a field hockey team that’s looking for its 25th straight NCAA Tournament appearance and is trying to make it back to the mountaintop.

The Mystics improved to 5-3 Tuesday night, running away from the Los Angeles Sparks in a 81-52 win. Three former Terps scored double-digits with Shatori Walker-Kimbrough posting a career-high 17 points and two steals, Kristi Tolliver chipping in 12 points, nine assists and three steals, and Tianna Hawkins added 10 points, five boards and three steals.