Washington

Turgeon: I'll think about Terps' canceled NCAA run on my death bed

Washington

As the Terps get ready to begin their 2020-21 basketball season tomorrow against Old Dominion, it's hard not to think about what could have been last year. 

Before the 2019-20 season was canceled over the coronavirus pandemic, the Terps were 24-7, owned a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and were poised for a deep run in the NCAA tournament.

There was no consensus top team in the country, so the title was more or less up for grabs, especially for experienced teams like Maryland.

But the pandemic claimed the season, Anthony Cowan graduated, Jalen Smith declared for the NBA Draft and just like that, the best team Maryland has had in years ended its season with an endless number of "what ifs?"

In an appearance on The Sports Junkies Tuesday morning, head coach Mark Turgeon admitted he still thinks about what could have been last year.

"You feel bad for the seniors, you feel bad for Jalen, we all knew Jalen was leaving," Turgeon said. "It's tough, we'll never get over it. I'll be laying on my death bed being like, 'Man I just wish I had that team to play in that NCAA tournament.'"

Fortunately enough, the team was able to get together after the season ended to celebrate what they managed to accomplish during the regular season in the form of a ring ceremony.

"We kind of got everybody back together which was great," he said. "Just kind of celebrated that year, talked about that year so we could put it behind us and move on. I know how hard it is to win a league championship, especially with 14 teams in the best conference in the country, so it was one of the things we celebrated and we're glad we did that."

 

Last year is in the past now. Cowan is searching for opportunities in the NBA after going undrafted, Smith is gearing up for his rookie year with the Suns and Aaron Wiggins figures to be the next leader of the team on both ends of the floor. 

Can Chol Mariol blossom into one of the best bigs in the conference? What kind of production will the Terps get at guard with Cowan gone? These are the new questions facing the Maryland basketball program now instead of what could have been last March. 

For more interviews, tune into Sports Junkies on NBC Sports Washington, weekdays from 6-10 a.m.