With Thanksgiving coming up, there is a ton I am able to be thankful for. I get to play basketball at the University of Maryland, I have an awesome family, I have a great basketball family, life and friends. It makes you think about sacrifice around this time and what it means to be growing up, moving forward, and how fast this thanksgiving came with the last one feeling like it was yesterday. In the past 4 years I haven’t gone home for Thanksgiving, which has been extremely tough; however, I have been invited into my teammates homes and treated just as any other member of their real family. I’ve got white brothers, black brothers, international brothers, all types of family from every inch of the world and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Being in the position I am in, it really makes you wonder how anyone can hate. I’m not talking about hating Duke, but how anyone can discriminate, stereotype, etc. I always joke that at my biggest life events, I am going to have the whole world there because the people I love represent every country, gender, and race. I can’t be thankful enough for the people given to me in my life. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Be thankful for what you have, work for what you want, and don’t complain about what isn’t there. Have love for everyone, black, white, asian, whatever...They might turn out to be one of your brothers someday.
I’m gonna switch up the pace this week and give you the scoop on this years team. Over my career here we have had some really talented basketball teams and players. Jake Layman’s, Melo Trimble’s, Kevin Huerter’s, etc. I’m talking some freaks man. But the team the University of Maryland has this year is different than those for a variety of reasons both on and off the court.
Let’s start with off the court… We got a bunch of nerds, man. I mean Reese Mona literally puts his TV in his closet so that he can focus while he’s studying. I know all the moms out there reading this right now are clapping their hands, but you gotta admit… that’s like really nerdy, right? No? Okay, well what about our freshman - combined, Aaron, Serrel, Stix, Eric, Ricky, and Trace probably clock in about 200 hours of video games a week. Which you have to admit is borderline impressive, definitely committed. For all you “math majors” out there, that’s averaging about 4 hours a day. Ant, I know you’re probably reading this right now and laughing, but you probably exceed that 4 hour average. Did you just smile, Darryl? You’re right there, too buddy. On top of that, nobody really goes “out,” they “go to the gym.” Our team literally just goes to the gym and shoots or chills on weekends. I’m serious. Facetime Mr. Wiggins next Saturday at 11 p.m. and see where he is when he answers the phone… Dude will be in the gym with 10 others throwing up shots. And that’s the difference between this team and a lot of other teams around the country.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that any of the other teams that I’ve been on haven’t been committed or loved this craft. But like Coach Turgeon has said, “it’s one thing to have dogs, it’s another to have hungry dogs.” And that’s what we have. We have guys who have grown up and come from the trenches, guys who want to make their family proud, and guys that just want to prove their people right and their doubters wrong. Bottom line - we have guys who are here to work. Usually when you lose the Melo’s, the Kevin’s, the Justin’s etc. to the draft, your team can lose that edge. Lately it seems like everyone wants to write us off and count us out. But with the guys Coach Turgeon and our assistants Broadus, Bino, etc. have brought in, we have a newfound grit and f*ckin hunger about us. We have some real dogs. Believe that.
For all you non-math majors, there’s about 130 days till April. For someone around the age of 20, you have about 21,800 days until you are 85 years old (if you are 50, you have about 10,900). Our team is willing to sacrifice anything during these next 130 days, that I haven’t seen before on any other team that I’ve been a part of, in order to change the remaining 21,800 days that we all hope to have. This team understands what winning does for not only themselves but for everyone else around them… And that drives the shit out of us. There are no ego’s, there is no “me.” And believe me, if I thought we sucked, I’d just tell ya. What do I have to lose?
Practice is a grind man. We wake up early in the off season and we f*cking grind. We work harder than anyone in the country. Again - that is a product of the guys we have and where they came from. Practice is competitive as shit. Every single person competes with passion and brings out the best in each other. Practice is different than games - everyone plays and everyone pushes one another. For those with the notion that “walk-on’s” aren’t as good or that the guys who play stick together, you just haven’t ever been on a team. No one gives a f*ck if you get PT in our basketball family, we care about each individual person.
Side note: I get f*cking buckets in practice. So does Travis and so does Reese. Best believe that. Our shell drill team (Reference Section) is nearly undefeated and I’ll put it against any other shell team in the country. Yeah Joey Lane, talking about your group of delinquents at the end of the bench over in Ohio. LOL.
If you have been lucky enough to see us practice you know what I am talking about. There are no friends on the court, every drill is an audition, and you have to treat it that way. Coach Turgeon doesn’t care if you’re the best player in the country or the worst player on the bench - you come in and you earn your spot on the court every day. You talk shit, you go right at someone’s neck and you challenge the other person. You embarrass your opponent, even if it is just practice. And the thing that separates good and bad teams is when you walk off that court, do you let that competitive energy dwell? Or do you drop it on the court and understand that you were just trying to make the other guy better because you f*ckin care about him? Pushing someone to be the best they can be is how you show someone you care, not babying them and making them think they are the best player ever.
We are one of the youngest teams in the country. That being said, it takes time to put together a full 40-minute game (i.e. Delaware, Mt. St. Mary’s, etc.). But when we figure that out, we will undoubtedly be one of the toughest outs of the year because of our hunger to prove the state of Maryland right and show all of those who love to doubt us wrong. More than that, we are just a group of kids that don’t really care what anyone else thinks except each other, and we will all do anything for Coach Turgeon and everyone involved in the program. I’m thankful that my last year here we have a passion that I have never seen before in my previous 18 years of being on a team. I’m proud of what we have done so far and how far we have come in such little time. I am excited about where we still can go.
I’ve been getting a lot of emails asking questions over the past few weeks (thank you everyone for showing love and checking in each Tuesday!), so rather than responding individually, I thought it’d be cool to share some stories with you all through a Q & A post. Over the next week, shoot me some questions that you want to see answered, and I’ll reply and post some of the best ones.
I hope that by now you’ve realized that the reason for this post is that Thanksgiving is this week, and I wanted to make sure that I talked about one of the things that I’m most thankful for and why. Got it? Good.
Enjoy the rest of your week, remember to be thankful, remember to show your terps some love this upcoming Friday against Marshall, but before you go… Pass me the towel buddy, it’s cold down here.
Shell Drill - 4 on 4 defensive drill. However, Reese, Travis, Willy C, and myself are all time offense. Everyone else hates the drill, we f*cking love it. We literally get to shoot whatever we want and if we play a team that guns it, we get to shoot every shot.
Hofstra - What a game this was. Little do a lot of people know but Justin, #3 on Hofstra is the leading scorer in the country. He was the second leading scorer last year (behind Trae Young) and is an absolute Unit. For me, might be my favorite player in the history of NCAA basketball. Dude just gunned it. No conscious. However, we put together a heck of a second half. We limited his ability to get shots off and shut the rest of their guards down. People complain about ‘Oh he took 30 shots to score 25 points blah blah blah…’ Do you know how good you have to be to get 30 shots off? As a team we stifled him to 16 shots, which is beyond impressive with the green light that kid has. Speaks to our team defense and how Turgeon game planned. They are a heck of a team and we beat them soundly. Happy about that W.
Mount St. Mary’s - We handed it to them. We ended up winning by 15 in total but that was a very clear 30 point game. F*ck all that though, I scored. In, out, cross, off the ball screen, keep the defender on the hip, create space at the last second, look at the big guy DEAD in the eye and let him know you are about to raise up. Sling. Ding. FINGER GUNS. Check Video below. I always provide finger guns. I broke a 3 year scoring drought in style and the only way someone does, by shooting.
Our team is figuring it out. We are playing better together and people are doing what they need to do in order to win.
TERRELL TRILLION TRACKER
No trillions this week… Didn’t play against Hofstra on some fluke shots at the end by Justin and got 4 minutes against Mt. St. Mary’s but as described above had to pull one in the big man’s eye.