NCAA

Maryland's fast start could be deceiving

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Maryland's fast start could be deceiving

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) Mark Turgeon has worked magic in his second season at Maryland, leading his young team to 7-1 start that would suggest the Terrapins could be a force in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Or is it just an illusion?

``Our perception is a lot better than reality right now,'' Turgeon said Wednesday night after the Terrapins notched their seventh straight victory, a 100-68 rout of Maryland-Eastern Shore.

Sure, Maryland's victims include Morehead State, Georgia Southern and LIU-Brooklyn. But the seven-game run - which followed a season-opening 72-69 defeat against Kentucky - featured a 77-57 road win over previously unbeaten Northwestern in which the Terps outscored the Wildcats 49-31 after halftime.

That was the game that got people saying this Maryland team just might be pretty good.

``We played a nice game at Northwestern, really guarding them and executing the second half. We showed strides,'' Turgeon said. ``But we've got so far to go. I just don't want people thinking that we're this great team. Because we're not yet. We have a chance to be. We're getting better and improving each day.''

This squad has far more cohesion and depth than last year's team, Turgeon's first since leaving Texas A&M to replace the highly successful Gary Williams. Maryland went 17-15, leaning heavily on the inside play of raw 7-foot-1 freshman Alex Len and the outside scoring of guard Terrell Stoglin.

After leading the ACC in scoring as a sophomore, Stoglin was suspended by Maryland for a full year for failing to comply with the school's Code of Conduct for athletes. Instead of serving the suspension, he opted to hire an agent and enter his name into the NBA draft.

Fortunately for the Terrapins, Len is back - with more weight, confidence and skill under the basket.

With Len, senior James Padgett and freshmen Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare jamming the middle, the Terrapins rank among the national leaders in rebounding margin. Transfer Logan Aronhalt has replaced Stoglin as the designated gunner, going 15 for 23 from 3-point range.

``I think Logan is probably the best shooter in the country if you leave him open,'' Mitchell said.

The strength of the team is its depth, which runs so deep that Turgeon tossed three new starters into the mix against UMES. He also intends to shuffle his lineup again Saturday against South Carolina State.

That kind of ploy might not have worked last year.

``I have never had a team like this, that really likes each other as much as they do and are as deep as this team is,'' Turgeon said. ``There are no bruised egos because of who we started.''

Freshman guard Seth Allen, who received his first college start Wednesday, said of the lineup change: ``Our team is so close, so nobody really got mad or had a problem with it. Everybody was pushing the new starting five to be great.''

Len played only 17 minutes. Xavier transfer Dez Wells, who poured in 23 points against Northwestern and 25 in a follow-up win over George Mason, scored seven in 19 unspectacular minutes.

Maryland's defense wasn't up to Turgeon's standards, but he wasn't complaining too much after a 32-point win.

``Obviously we didn't guard or rebound well,'' he said. ``I'll give these guys a pass because we have been guarding our tails off in practice.''

Maryland has five non-league games at home upcoming before beginning ACC play on Jan.5 against Virginia Tech. By that time, Turgeon hopes a team with five freshmen, six sophomores and only two seniors (Padgett and Aronhalt) can grow up and fulfill expectations.

``Everybody expects us to be great. We're a very young basketball team,'' Turgeon said. ``We've gotten the cart before the horse. For these guys to do what they're doing is pretty impressive to me, but we're nowhere near where we're going to be.''

Former Maryland DL Mojo Rawley tells Mike Locksley how the Gronkowski brothers got him into WWE

Former Maryland DL Mojo Rawley tells Mike Locksley how the Gronkowski brothers got him into WWE

With Wrestlemania 36 underway this weekend, Maryland football coach Mike Locksley sat down on Instagram Live with former Terps defensive lineman and current WWE superstar Mojo Rawley to talk about his new career path. 

Rawley's real name is Dean Muhtadi, and he played for the Terps in for two years as a Division III transfer. He finished third on team in sacks that season and despite going undrafted in 2009, found his way to an NFL camp with the Packers. 

Muhtadi spent 2009 with Green Bay and 2010 with the Cardinals before suffering an injury that landed him on injured reserve. It was then where Muhtadi found a new career path thanks to two of his best friends. 

"Dan Gronkowski and Chris Gronkowski played with me at Maryland, two of my closest friends," Rawley said on "Late Night With Locks". "Their dad was one of our coach's roommates in the WWE, so it seemed like a natural fit. We were watching together, and I kinda made a comment like, 'this would be awesome if I could be one of [the wrestlers]. Mr. Gronk made the call and the rest was history."

Rawley has been a WWE superstar and currently stands as Rob Gronkowski's hype man. The former Patriots tight end is WWE's most recent signee and is Wrestlemania 36's host.

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The Rock's cheat day, what the Watt brothers are up to, Marcus Stroman get his reps in

The Rock's cheat day, what the Watt brothers are up to, Marcus Stroman get his reps in

First up in Saturday's round-up of the best sports moments on the internet, everyone is trying to stick to as normal of a routine as they can while at home. Quarantine wasn’t going to keep Dwayne Johnson aka “The Rock” away from his “cheat day”. Have you ever seen french toast this big in your life? 


Next up, the Watt brothers have been staying in shape working out together and they even have a football field coming soon. Check out JJ Watt painting the lines. He says he has a new respect for groundskeepers now. The stage is set for the Watt brothers!


Finally, no bullpen, no problem! Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman sets up a makeshift bullpen on his boat dock and it even has a mound. Now that is a beautiful place to get your reps in! 

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