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Turgeon responds to talk of differences with Under Armour basketballs

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Turgeon responds to talk of differences with Under Armour basketballs

COLLEGE PARK -- For the second time this season, Under Armour basketballs are part of the conversation surrounding Maryland.

After Iowa players were asked about the balls following their loss to the Terrapins in College Park last month, junior Peter Jok described them as “heavy like a street ball,” but declined to tie the feel of the balls to the outcome of the game.

On Thursday, in advance of Wisconsin’s game against Maryland on Saturday, junior Badgers forward Nigel Hayes used the Under Armour basketballs as part of a larger answer to get a few well-placed jabs in at the economic model of the NCAA.

“It’s definitely different,” Hayes said of the equipment, per Madison.com. “Personally, we don’t like it too much. I don’t like the Under Armour ball whatsoever. But that’s the way this amateur sports league is set up. We’re supposed to be having fun, but all the money is in these basketballs that colleges play with. But it’s an amateur sport, we’re just here for fun. It’s not really that serious. So I guess any ball should be OK.

“Maybe we should have a universal ball like the NBA. You don’t go to the Clippers’ stadium and play with a Nike and then go to Golden State and play with a Rawlings. But in this amateur sport of college, where money isn’t the goal — it’s the student education and experience that you get — we play with a million different basketballs.”

MORE TERPS: WHY WE DON'T SEE MARYLAND IN NO. 1 SEED DISCUSSIONS

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon responded on Friday to the recent national conversation surrounding the balls after being asked whether or not he thinks the ball issue is a story.

“I don’t think it’s a story,” he said. “We played at Michigan and at Nebraska with Adidas balls and it ... took us a while to get used to it, so it is what it is. It’s the way college basketball is set up.

“You go play here, you’ve got Nike balls. You play here, you’ve got Sterling balls. You play there, it’s Adidas balls, so it’s the way the game’s set up -- until someone says, ‘You can’t. We’re all going to play with the same ball.’

“But I just think are making more out of it than they should.”

Hayes, like Jok, declined to tie any possible negative outcome to the balls.

Turgeon, pressed further on the topic, said variations in ball brands are just part of college basketball -- which could be an advantage, but an advantage that any number of teams can have.

“I always feel like when you play with a different ball than everybody else, it’s an edge,” Turgeon said. “We've played with The Rock in some places. I think it’s an edge for those teams that use it every day, so it’s an edge for us here, but we love the ball.”

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time. 

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