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Turgeon, Terps excited for Wells to join team

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Turgeon, Terps excited for Wells to join team

When Dez Wells first heard the news that the NCAA would allow him to play this year for the Maryland Terrapins, his face lit up in a smile. As the news set in, Wells realized the importance of the NCAA's decision, and hugs and tears filled the room. 

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon explained that the scene in the room was emotional, and eventually those emotions turned into excitement.

"Obviously we're thrilled. We're thrilled for Dez," Turgeon said. The coach explained that he was very proud of the athletic administration at Maryland for continuing to fight for Wells, and that all parties involved -- coaches, players and administration -- worked hard to arrive at today's news. 

"I believed in Dez and I believed in my administration," Turgeon said.

Wells transferred to Maryland this season after playing his freshman season at Xavier University. Typically a transfer player is forced to sit out a season, but Maryland requested that the rule be waived in Wells' case. Maryland was first denied that waiver, but the circumstances for Wells were unique. His expulsion from Xavier University amid sexual assault allegations had many question marks -- an Ohio grand jury decided not to press charges against Wells, and the Xavier administration was later admonished for their handling of the situation --and the Terps appealed the NCAA's initial decision. 

"I wasn't surprised because I was in on the beginning of this," Turgeon said of the NCAA decision. "Once they had all the facts I wasn't surprised. I would have been surprised if it went the other way."

His comments were a far cry from some previous eligibility issues that former Maryland coach Gary Williams encountered. In those days, Williams and former athletic director Debbie Yow often bumped heads, and Williams did not always think he had the full support of the athleitc administration. Turgeon's experience sounded completely different from those days, and he personally thanked and saluted many of the athletic department staff who fought for Wells' eligibility. 

Now that Wells is eligible, the Terps immediately improve on the court. Wells, a 6'5", 215 lb. slasher that averaged almost 10 points and five rebounds as a freshman, gives Turgeon depth and an explosive athlete. 

"Dez is a good player," the coach said. He listed toughness and experience as two of Wells best qualities. In his freshman season at Xavier, Wells played on a team that went to Sweet 16. That experience gives other Maryland players confidence too, Turgeon explained. 

"He understands what it takes," Turgeon said. "He helps us in a lot of ways. He gives every player more confidence."

Senior forward James Padgett echoed Turgeon's comments.

"He makes us a much better team," Padgett said. "We're all excited for him."

Now that Wells eligibility issue has been settled, Maryland must focus on its next challenge: the Kentucky Wildcats. Maryland faces No. 3 ranked Kentucky Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. It will be a big stage for many of Turgeon's young players. 

"Our guys will be juiced up," Turgeon said, and he added a joke that the players won't know how to react when they see famous college basketball announcer Dick Vitale.

Despite any first game jitters, Wells makes the Terrapins a better team. Many pundits now project Maryland as an NCAA Tournament team with his addition. Even with the good news, Turgeon wanted to keep expectations in check. 

"Let's be realistic here," Turgeon said when talking about Kentucky. Wildcats coach John Calipari assembled another top notch recuriting class, with many players expected to leave college early for the NBA. But regardless of the outcome from the Kentucky game, Turgeon has postseason expectations for the 2012-2013 Terps.

Turgeon said he does expect Maryland to be a good team this season, though when that will happen remains a question.

"Do I expect us to be a really good team at some point this year? Yes I do," he said. "I think our young kids will grow up quickly. I think we have great depth." 

Wells is in great shape, Turgeon said, and though the coach would not comment on his starting five for Kentucky, most people around the Terps program expect Wells to start or get starter-type minutes.

With a nine or ten-man rotation that will lean heavily on freshmen and sophomores, the Terps may be a work in progress early in the season. But Turgeon and the players all seem confident that having Wells on the court will have a positive impact. 

"This definitely gives us a chance to be a better team than we would have been without him," Turgeon said. 

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Ranking Maryland's best basketball flash mobs

Ranking Maryland's best basketball flash mobs

Some things never get old.  Like flash mobs.

The Maryland Terrapins surprised us once again with their annual choreographed dance moves, despite their loss against Iowa.  This is the fifth year they have taken over their court to pump up the audience and show school spirit like no other.

See the tweet and video here.

It’s only right to compare the flash mobs of ghosts past to see if the Terps are getting better and better with every year. So here are the rankings:

5. 2014 vs. Syracuse

Though the choreography was tight, it lacked creativity.

4. 2013 vs. Wisconsin

Considering it was their first one, they get a leg up for the idea in and of itself.

3. 2015 vs. Wisconsin

Viewers are introduced to the t-shirt color transformation, leaving us to think how it was possible to coordinate that many bodies.

2. 2017 vs. Iowa

They took the “shirt transformation” to a whole new level as the crowd was the biggest yet.

1. 2016 vs. Wisconsin

Terps Mascot, Testudo led the crowd as Darth Vader after defeating storm troopers. Who doesn’t like Star Wars?

But, these are just flash mobs. At the end of the day, what brings them together is basketball.

May the force be with Maryland as they vie to take back their spot in the Top 25.

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Terps limp toward finish line, fall out of AP Top 25 following third-straight loss

Terps limp toward finish line, fall out of AP Top 25 following third-straight loss

The Maryland Terrapins seem to be limping toward postseason play. A 14-point home loss to the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday was the Terps' third in a row, and their fifth loss in seven games.

Once one of the hottest teams in the country, Maryland is now on shaky ground thanks to a weak non-conference schedule and a down Big Ten this season.

As the Terps prepare for their final two regular-season games, the team is no longer one of the top 25 teams in the country according to the latest Associated Press poll.

Only two teams from the Big Ten earned a spot, with Purdue (No. 16) and Wisconsin (No. 22) hanging on.

Minnesota, the team that handed Maryland a 14-point loss on Wednesday, is surging, having won seven in a row and is now tied with Maryland and Michigan State for fourth place in the Big Ten and grabbed the top spot in the "also receiving votes" section of the AP Top 25.

Maryland finishes the season with a road game at Rutgers on Tuesday night before closing the season at home on Saturday against Michigan State in a game with major Big Ten Tournament seeding implications. 

Updated Associated Press Top 25 Poll

1. Kansas (58), 26-3. 3
2. Villanova (2), 27-3. 2
3. UCLA (3), 26-3. 5
4. Gonzaga (2), 29-1. 1
5. North Carolina, 25-5. 8
6. Oregon, 26-4. 6
7. Arizona, 26-4. 4
8. Louisville, 23-6. 7
9. Kentucky, 24-5. 11
10. West Virginia, 23-6. 12
11. Baylor, 23-6. 9
12. Florida, 23-6. 13
13. Butler, 23-6. 22
14. SMU, 25-4. 17
15. Florida State, 23-6. 19
16. Purdue, 23-6. 14
17. Duke, 22-7. 10
18. Cincinnati, 25-4. 15
19. Notre Dame, 22-7. 21
20. Saint Mary's, 26-3. 20
21.Wichita State, 27-4. 25
22. Wisconsin, 22-7. 16
23. Virginia, 19-9. 18
24. Iowa State, 19-9. NR
25. Miami (FL), 20-8. NR