Maryland Madness recap: Dance moves and dunks abound

October 12, 2012

Some quick observations from tonight’s Maryland Madness, the first public look at the Terps as they enter Mark Turgeon’s second season in College Park. As  Turgeon said, the night was all about having fun.

>> The rosters for the 10-minute, running-clock scrimmage:

Red: Jake Layman, Logan Aronhalt, Spencer Barks, Seth Allen, Alex Len, John Auslander, Conner Lipinski and Shaquille Cleare.

White: Evan Smotrycz, Jacob Susskind, Dez Wells, Varun Ram, James Padgett, Nick Faust, Charles Mitchell and Pe’Shon Howard.

>> Behind a flurry of dunks — 22 in all between both sides — the Red team won the scrimmage, 36-25. Somewhere, two points disappeared into the Comcast Center ether. The scoreboard read 34-25. 

>> Faust, Wells, Layman and Allen all had eight points. Shaq had six, Len had five, Barks and Mitchell each had four, Smotrycz and Lipinski each had three, and Ram and Auslander had two apiece.

>> Cleare and Mitchell, two true freshman who have undergone drastic weight loss through the offseason to give the Terps a new-found depth in the post, got to run the fast break a couple times. “It’s easier running down the court,” Mitchell said. “I like to be the outlet guy.

“My body’s changed. I feel more explosive. I’m stronger, I can move, I’m more agile. I feel like a real college athlete right now.” 

>> Howard sat out the scrimmage. He only recently ramped things up to full strength in practice rehabbing from ACL surgery, and practiced earlier in the day. “When you do something like this you don’t have proper time to stretch,” Turgeon said. “With him we didn’t want to risk it.” 

>> Suitland’s Roddy Peters, 2013 commit Damonte Dodd and an assortment of 2014 recruits were all in attendance. 

>> True to Turgeon’s words, Len flashed his range with a step-back three-pointer. He and Mitchell also traded blocks. Friendly jawing ensued. “We were laughing at each other,” Mitchell said. “He had to block my shot out of bounds in front of all these people. It was just friendly, we don’t want to hurt ourselves before the season starts.”

>> Wells and Layman both threw down some impressive dunks during the scrimmage. Allen got up there a couple times as well, showing that athleticism that had Turgeon dubbing him close to a “world-class athlete.”

>> Smotrycz, a junior transfer from Michigan, drained a three-pointer for the scrimmage’s first points. Really the only time Terps fans will see him until the 2013-14 season as he sits out because of the NCAA’s transfer rules. “A lot of fun for Smotrycz, because he’s done for sure,” Turgeon said. “His mom and sister were here, this was his big deal. You could see how he’d shoot it.” 

Friday might have been the only time to watch Wells play this season, too. The NCAA’s ruling on his waiver could come shortly, but the Terps don’t have any new information on its timing. 

>> The team dance was a Seth Allen original, a choreographed medley of, among others, “Gangnam Style” while wearing jabbawockeez masks. Freshman Charles Mitchell graded the routine a C-minus, saying his team needed work, but achieved the intended goal of getting laughs. 

Before the scrimmage, Turgeon issued a dance challenge, this time to his charismatic, prized recruit. “This is going to be an exciting group to watch,” he said. “Right, Shaq?” 

“He likes my little dance moves,” Cleare said later. “Trying to act like he don’t, but he like my little dance moves. He ain’t got no shake on him. Leave that for the young people to do.”

>> Wearing the new Under Armour red, white and black jerseys, the Terps came out among the fire and flames and smoke machines for pre-scrimmage introductions. Auslander eschewed the traditional rap/hip-hop soundtrack for AC/DC. Turgeon, after a nice, sentimental video featuring messages from Lefty Driesell and Gary Williams, among others, came out to Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” If you hadn’t noticed, he’s not one for the fanfare. 

“I got in the wrong business,” Turgeon said. “I don’t like drawing attention to myself. I just can’t wait to tomorrow morning, 11 o clock and practice. That’s what I’m excited about. When I was their age I enjoyed the spotlight, I enjoyed being in it. It’s a lot of fun.”

>> When asked about the weekend schedule, including two-a-days beginning on Saturday, Turgeon was overcome with some spontaneous Natitude.

“We actually practiced tonight for about an hour, and then tomorrow we’re going to go twice,” Turgeon said, stopping mid-sentence. “Nats scored. That’s great. We’ll go at 11 o clock, work on defense, then we’ll come back tomorrow, do a lot of offense, put a lot of things in. We might go twice Sunday.” 

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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Alex Prewitt · October 12, 2012