Feature photo courtesy of Maryland Athletics.
Melo Trimble is healthy and ready to lead Maryland into non-conference play against American tonight at 7 p.m.
The junior guard injured his ankle in the first half of the exhibition game against Catawba on Nov. 5 and didn’t return. Head coach Mark Turgeon said he’s healthy and will play.
“He had no pain yesterday in practice,” Turgeon said. “He looked good. He actually looked fresh. He should be 100 percent.”
Junior center Michal Cekovsky, however, is questionable for the game. He has struggled with a sprained foot since Aug. 29, and Turgeon said he is day-to-day.
“I’m not as optimistic as I would have been maybe a couple of days ago,” Turgeon said,” but we’ll see on him.”
Senior forward L.G. Gill said possibly missing Cekovsky and the absence of sophomore forward Ivan Bender, who fractured his left wrist in late October, won’t change things too much.
“The lineups will probably be a little different,” Gill said. “We might have to go small at times. For me, I might have to play a little five some more. But nothing else will change.”
Turgeon said he is confident in his new players, specifically mentioning freshmen guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter, freshman forward Justin Jackson and Gill, who transferred from Duquesne.
“All four of those guys are going to be a big part of our rotation, especially early in the year,” he said. “We’ll see when guys get healthy, but those guys, they’re ready to help us.”
Huerter said going into the first practice he felt his class was strong, but coaches have preached modesty.
“The coaches have emphasized a lot that winning 27, 28 games is not what it was in high school, and that we need to follow the older guys,” Huerter said. “Even though we may be talented, there’s a lot of little things that go into winning in college basketball.”
An injection of new players means an adjustment period, Turgeon said. Long practices have been the solution.
“We went two hours and five minutes last night, and it felt like a day off,” Turgeon explained. “We did four and a half weeks of training camp basically.”
Gill said the long practices have been an adjustment.
“Last year, the longest practice I had was no more than two hours and 15 minutes,” he said. “This year, going into three hour practices, I had to get used to it. I’m used to it now, and now that we’re getting into the season practices obviously aren’t to be that long, but I think it was good. Since we have a lot of new guys on the team, the longer practices helped us to get to know how we play with each other.”
Gill said his coaches have put the team in game-like situations in practice. American plays the Princeton offense, which the Terps have prepared for this week.
“Past couple of practices we’ve been working on learning how to guard the back doors, not getting beat on those and being ready to help our teammates,” he said.
Turgeon refused to reveal his starting lineup, but said it will be fluid.
“We’re going to have a different starting lineup than we did in our exhibition game,” he said. “A lot of it will be based on who we’re playing and who’s healthy. We’ll have a lot of different starting lineups as we move forward and as we get healthy.”
Edited by Austin Kleber.