Tuesday marked the first opportunity for college basketball coaches to work out players during the offseason. In the case of Maryland's Mark Turgeon, it meant specifically getting a look at incoming freshman point guard and heralded recruit Roddy Peters.
The Suitland High School product's recovery from shoulder surgery was already going to be a notable story line over the summer. Now that the Terps did not land any of their backcourt transfer targets, leaving Peters and rising sophomore Seth Allen as the primary ball handlers, even more so.
"Roddy looked good today and I've heard he's been playing good in pick up. The players like him," Turgeon said shortly before taking a cruise on the Potomac River aboard Virginia's Jewel Yacht as the fourth and final leg on Maryland's coaches caravan.
Peters underwent shoulder surgery back in December after suffering an injury last summer. Whenever Turgeon and his coaching staff are not teaching the District Heights native the on-court finer points, the 6-foot-4 Peters will be enduring strength training with the program's director of basketball performance, Kyle Tarp.
"His body is bad right now," Turgeon said of Peters. "Six months of being in rehab for his shoulder, he's weak and out of shape, but Kyle gets him for 12 weeks this summer and another four weeks before the season starts. I imagine Roddy's body is going to look a lot different come October than it does right now. He's a competitive kid and he works hard. He's going to be fine."
Maryland opens the regular season against Connecticut on November 8 in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center.
In recent weeks Turgeon targeted, but missed on a trio of veteran guards that could have played immediately, including Memphis transfer Antonio Barton. The Baltimore native announced last week that he would attend Tennessee. For now, the coach is prepared to enter the 2013-14 season as is, though late summer surprises have been the norm in Turgeon's two years at College Park.
"You're always looking, but do I wake up and say 'we have to sign another player', no," Turgeon said. "The last two August's we've gotten Alex Len and Dez Wells. Is there a chance of us getting another one like that, probably pretty slim.
"We'll keep our eyes open. We have enough players. We just have to stay healthy. We have nine really good players in scholarship and some guys that are not on scholarship that have been with us two, some three years that can help us out in a pinch."
Other notes from Turgeon:
*Shaquille Cleare ended last season at 284 pounds. The 6-foot-9 center weighed in Tuesday at 266 and isn't done with the slimming yet. "He's trying to get that weight down to about 255 so he can move a little bit better," Turgeon said of Cleare, who averaged 3.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 12 minutes in 37 games last season.
Cleare, fellow rising sophomore Charles Mitchell and incoming freshman Damonte Dodd will attempt to replace Alex Len, who entered the NBA Draft in April. "They're going to have too," said a grinning Turgeon.
*While Peters and Dodd will be making the leap from High School level to college, Evan Smotrycz, Maryland's other newcomer, is going through a different type of transition. The stretch-four sat out last season after transferring from the University of Michigan.
Turgeon has big plans for the versatile forward, who will provide a perimeter-shooting element Maryland lacked at times last season. "He's a weapon we don't have. He gives us another dimension," said the coach, who was also asked what he hoped to get out of the 6-foot-9 forward this summer.
"Just trying to get used to a different mindset. He had a redshirt year where he was just trying to improve his body and work hard, which I think he did. I think he really worked hard, became a better athlete."
With James Padgett graduating and Pe'Shon Howard transferring, Maryland's 2013-14 roster does not include any seniors outside of walk-on John Auslander. Smotrycz will be part of the junior class along with Dez Wells and Nick Faust.
"This summer is about acclimating himself with the team and becoming a leader," Turgeon said. "When you're redshirting its hard, you're new. We don't have any seniors - John Auslander is a senior of course - so I think Evan has a chance to be part of the leadership for us. I'd like to him see him do some of that, get acclimated, get more vocal."
* After revealing last week that Maryland will play Morgan State, Turgeon had no additional news on the scheduling front. Besides Morgan State and Connecticut, Maryland's non-conference slate includes a game at Ohio State, George Washington in the BB&T Classic and three games in the Paradise Jam held in the Virgin Islands. The team will also play three exhibition games in the Bahamas this summer.