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ACC basketball report: Terps’ Len experiences growing pains
BY ADAM HIMMELSBACH
Maryland freshman center Alex Len missed the first 10 games of this season after being ruled ineligible by the NCAA.
When the 7-foot-1 native of Ukraine made his début on Dec. 28, he gave the Terrapins an immediate boost, totaling at least 12 points and eight rebounds in each of the team’s first four games.
Since then, however, Len has struggled with foul trouble and inconsistency, and he has been bothered by a sore ankle. He has just four field goals over the Terrapins last six games.
“I’m just kind of hoping he gets relaxed and starts to play better,” Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon said Monday during the Atlantic Coast Conference’s weekly coaches’ teleconference. “He’s gotten in foul trouble, which hasn’t helped him, and it’s just a maturation process.”
CAVALIERS ON THE REBOUND
Virginia has been a menace on defense this season, but in its 61–60 win over North Carolina State on Saturday, the rebounding statistics were a bit alarming.
The Cavaliers were out-rebounded by the Wolfpack, 40–20, and North Carolina State junior Richard Howell had 18 rebounds on his own.
Virginia is not at full strength in the middle, with 7-foot starting center Assane Sene out with a broken ankle.
“We’ve got to be more efficient and more effective with everybody rebounding, everybody doing it the right way,” Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett said. “That’s something that you just have to emphasize.”
Virginia Commonwealth coach Shaka Smart created a bit of a stir Monday when he said on the Colonial Athletic Association’s conference call that the best teams in Virginia are in the CAA.
But Virginia Tech coach Seth Greenberg, for one, wasn’t in the mood to debate.
“Everyone is entitled to an opinion,” Greenberg said. “I’m sure Shaka is doing what he needs to do to promote his league and his program. I’ll talk about ACC basketball, our program. I won’t spend outside energy discussing anyone else’s program.”
WILLIAMS, TURGEON REUNITE
When Maryland plays host to North Carolina on Saturday, it will mark a reunion of sorts for Terrapins coach Mark Turgeon and Tar Heels coach Roy Williams.
Turgeon, a Kansas graduate, was a Jayhawks assistant coach from 1987–92. Williams was hired as the team’s head coach in 1989.
“He was a great asset to me and a big part of our success during those years that we were together at Kansas,” Williams said of Turgeon. “Just a fantastic person that is going to be a little difficult to coach against.”
BLUE DEVILS HONORED
Duke forward Mason Plumlee was named the ACC player of the week and guard Austin Rivers was named rookie of the week yesterday.
Plumlee averaged 19 points and 14.5 rebounds in the Blue Devils’ wins over Maryland and St. John’s, and Rivers averaged 11 points and four assists.
Adam Himmelsbach: 540/374-5442