Thursday, March 16, 2023 • Birmingham, Alabama • Legacy Arena
Maryland Terrapins: Head Coach Kevin Willard, Donta Scott, Julian Reese, Hakim Hart
Q. Kevin, what did you see from Jahmir early on, and how much did his kind of turnovers contribute to you guys falling behind there?
COACH WILLARD: Yeah, I think it’s one thing to practice against that defense for a couple days. It’s another thing to all of a sudden see a Coach Huggins’ defense live. For anything, it was just getting him to kind of calm down, see it. We have total confidence in him. And I think once he kind of saw it and everybody saw it, it was like a boxing match. He got hit a couple times, and I think it just relaxed him. He was able to see it. And I thought he was pretty good the rest of the game.
Q. Kevin, the fact that Jahmir may have had his troubles but then had three of the starters contribute double digits. What does that say about the diversity of this offense?
COACH WILLARD: Yeah. I think it’s been like that most of the year. You look at, obviously, Jahmir has had a tremendous year. But Hakim’s in 56% of our pick and rolls. Our scoring has been pretty balanced all year. I think the way JuJu played over the last month and a half, ever since he recovered from his shoulder surgery. And I think this is a team that understands if one guy is not playing well, you know, okay let’s step up and give that guy some help. And I thought Hakim and I thought Don Carey’s leadership in the huddles, especially early on, was huge.
Q. Congratulations on the win this afternoon. What was it like getting your first win with Maryland after the long good year that you had down there at College Park?
COACH WILLARD: Yeah. I’m more excited for the kids than I am for me. This group, I’ve talked about a lot. This group, they have come together, they have asked to do everything that I’ve asked them to do. They have had a great attitude. They have had an unbelievable work ethic. You know, we have been down all year at certain points in the game. They have never turned on each other. They just have a great attitude. We practiced yesterday morning at 9 a.m. for close to two hours. And they were upbeat, they were positive. So I’m more excited about this group, Jahmir is a transfer in, Don comes in, transfers in. Ju, Hawk and Donta stay. It’s not easy…