Maryland’s first summer practice lasted a whopping 40 minutes Tuesday afternoon, clearly enough time for men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon to dissect his roster, praise the good, scrutinize the flaws, project the starting lineup and predict Maryland’s record for the 2013-14 season.
Well, not exactly.
There wasn’t much to glean from the 40 minutes allotted by NCAA regulations. The Terps can practice two hours each week over the summer, so Turgeon has split that up into three 40-minute sessions, in addition to the six hours per week the team can officially spend in the weight room. (None of this counts “voluntary” workouts, on-court or otherwise.)
But one overarching takeaway stood out: This Maryland team is much further along than the group that assembled in College Park this time last year.
Now, in what’s effectively Year Two of his tenure — everyone internally seems to be chalking up Turgeon’s first season as an anomaly, given all the personnel overhaul in the ensuing offseason — Turgeon can delve deeper into the system, rather than simply covering the basics with a group featuring five newcomers, not including Dez Wells, who missed summer workouts altogether.
Speaking on Tuesday night aboard the Virginia’s Jewel, a boat that hosted the final Coaches Caravan stop in the District, Turgeon touched a few bases following the first workout.
>> Incoming freshman point guard Roddy Peters, expected to serve as the team’s backup behind sophomore Seth Allen, is healed from his shoulder surgery, though Turgeon said his body composition needs work after all the rehab.
“Roddy looked good today, and I’ve heard he’s been playing pretty well in pickup,” Turgeon said. “His body’s bad right now. Six months of being in rehab for his shoulder, he’s weak and out of shape. But [director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp] gets him for 12 weeks this summer, and another four weeks before the season starts. I imagine Roddy’s body is going to look a lot different come October than it does now. He’s a competitive kid. He works hard. He’s going to be fine.”
>> Speaking of weight transformations, Turgeon said rising sophomore Shaquille Cleare checked into summer workouts at 266 pounds, down from 284. He’s shooting for 255 by August. “Trying to move better,” Turgeon said, adding that rising sophomore Charles Mitchell is “trimmed down but still has a ways to go” and “has to learn to work hard every day.”
“Those two guys, even though they’re sophomores,” Turgeon said, “they’re veterans for us.”
>> Now that the Antonio Barton fuss has died down, with the former Memphis point guard announcing his transfer to Tennessee last week, the Terps will turn their attention elsewhere, primarily to the nine players currently on scholarship.
“You’re always looking,” Turgeon said. “Do every day I wake up and say we have to sign a different player? No. But the last two Augusts we got Alex Len and Dez Wells. What are the chances of us getting another one like that? Probably pretty slim. But we’ll keep our eyes open. We’ve got enough players to stay healthy, nine really good players on scholarship, some not on scholarship who have been around long enough to help us in a pinch.”
Reading between the lines, it seems that Maryland might even hedge away from pursuing long-term transfers who would have to sit out a season, simply to avoid disrupting a projected four-man class of 2014.