Turgeon pleased by success of Nats, O’s
by Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – They aren’t used to meaningful baseball being played in these parts in October.
That’s why there were some empty seats at Maryland Madness, the Terps’ season-kickoff event Friday night at the Comcast Center.
The Baltimore Orioles were playing the New York Yankees and the Washington Nationals were hosting the St. Louis Cardinals; both series were playing the fifth and decisive games of their divisional series matchups.
“I was actually pleased with the crowd considering the Orioles were playing and the Nats were playing – two Game 5s,” Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon said afterward. “To have that many people was impressive.”
Fans mostly filled the lower seating areas, with some sparse crowds littering the seats above the band. They welcomed the start of college basketball season while Orioles fans said good-bye to baseball.
Turgeon, in his second season with the Terps, was rooting for the local baseball teams despite not having ties to the area. He asked reporters after Friday night’s scrimmage if the Orioles won and then watched the Nats game out of the corner of his eye during his informal news conference. “The Nats scored,” he notified reporters during the first inning.
“It’s been fun,” Turgeon said when asked about his new rooting interests. “I love it because it keeps them talking about something other than us for awhile.”
Soon, media and fan attention will turn to these Terps. Expectations are higher thanks to a crop of talented freshmen and some well-known transfers – most notably, Xavier’s Dez Wells, who was named to the Atlantic 10′s all-rookie team last season. Maryland fans welcomed Wells with big cheers during his introduction and after each made basket during Friday night’s scrimmage. Ex-Michigan forward Evan Smotryzcz got applause of his own when he opened the scrimmage with a three-pointer.
Wells has asked the NCAA for a waiver to play immediately, but Maryland hasn’t heard back yet. Smotryzcz will redshirt this season.
The highlight of the night for the Maryland players was a choreographed dance they performed in the middle of the Madness. Freshman forward Charles Mitchell said he graded his teammates’ dancing as a C-, but … [For more on Maryland's Turgeon pleased by success of Nats, O's, click here.]