Mark Turgeon said the day he was introduced as Gary Williams’s successor that Maryland fans would find him honest and direct—sometimes to a fault. Turgeon was surely direct following the Terrapins’ 89-63 loss to Iona in the fifth-place game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Sunday. Maryland placed sixth in the eight-team tournament, losing its opening round to Alabama (which defeated Purdue 65-56 in the championship game), defeating Colorado and falling to Iona.
Here’s a transcript of Turgeon’s post-game remarks:
“Iona’s a great team potentially a top 25 team or better. They’re not going to lose many games. They’ve got great guards, great big guys. They pressure well and do a lot of good things.
“That said, we didn’t play well. We really never played well all day. Got in foul trouble, turned the ball over. We were confused. We were selfish, we quit running back. I don’t know how many times we can ask these guys to run back [on defense], and they still don’t do it the way they need to do it. It was a bad day.
“I thought the tournament up to this point—even though we lost to Alabama--we tried hard, we competed in that game. We’ve had a lot of good bonding in this tournament. It had been a good tournament really until the second half. We really weren’t playing well.
“…We just kind of gave in, which was really disappointing. After 56-49, after that, I’m not sure how many stops we had from that point to the end. And how many good offensive possessions we had after that point. Probably can count them on one hand.
“I can’t make it any easier on these guys. The lack of commitment to running the plays the right way right now is mind-boggling. I’ve never seen anything like it.
“This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever had in coaching. It’s not even close.
“I really felt good about them after the Colorado game. We ran a play against Colorado 10 times in the second half. I call it three times tonight in first half tonight. We ran it right 10 times, and we ran it wrong all three times today.
“The kids have got to care more. They’ve got to care a lot more than they’re caring. You can’t run it run 10 times two days ago and then run it wrong three times in a row two days later. There’s a lack of commitment there to what were trying to do. That’s why I’m saying this is the biggest challenge I’ve had in coaching with this group.
“I’ve taken over programs before that were picked low in their league, but the guys did what they’re supposed to do.
“I’m not saying they’re not buying in, because I think they are buying in. I do. They showed that in the Colorado game, and we played well against [UNC] Wilmington. When we’re not buying in, is when it goes bad. We splinter. I’ve been telling them that since the first practice: When things go bad, we’ve got to stick together and execute what were supposed to do.
“How many guys played well today? I mean, really? Not many. Maybe one. One and a half?
“….The message has pretty much been the same for the last six weeks. I’m giving them the same message. Something has got to change, or it’s just going to be a mediocre season, at best. I don’t want it to be mediocre.
“I don’t care if [walk-ons Jonathan Thomas] or Arnold Richmond and Jon Dillon are in in the first half because of foul trouble; I don’t care. We can still have a good season.
“Like I said, guys are buying in. We’ve proven that. We had come so far. They ended up with 89. I don’t know what they scored the last eight minutes of the game. Like 30? So we were actually guarding well. We’re getting there. We’re getting in better shape.
“It’s just, then thing go south, we hang out heads, and we don’t do what we’re supposed to do. It’s frustrating. Guys have got to be tougher.
“It’s our chance; it’s our chance. It’s our time.
“….It’s immaturity. I think its confidence. And I think it’s the willingness to be good. It’s hard to be good; it’s easy not to be good. When teams are making it tough on you, you’ve to still do what you have to do.
“….Early on we went right through their press. Had some good looks. I think substitutions had something to do with it. Terrell got tired; he had to play a lot. We had [Jonathan Thomas] in there. Guys panicked a little bit. I think it was a little bit of confusion. They do a good job of disguising what they’re doing, whether man or it’s zone. I think it’s more, guys just [not] doing what they’re supposed to do, to be quite honest with you. If it’s man to man, dribble it up. If it’s zone, hitting the guy that’s open. It’s frustrating because our guys have got to have a better feel for the game. We didn’t have a good feel tonight, and it showed.”