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As season nears, Mark Turgeon undecided on Maryland’s starting five

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Maryland's basketball season commences in a week.

In a related note, coach Mark Turgeon is flustered at his youthful team's progression entering Friday's exhibition game against Division II Indiana (Pa.) at Comcast Center.

"To be quite frank, I'm not sure I could start five guys," Turgeon said Thursday. "I'm not sure we have five guys practicing well enough to start. I don't want to go 'Hoosiers' on you and play four or play three, but it would be tough to pick five guys right now."

Well, someone will start Friday night. Count sophomore center Alex Len among the few certainties. And odds are good sophomore guard Nick Faust will be on the floor somewhere on the perimeter.

Beyond that, the absence of answers reflects the up-and-down play of several newcomers.

Maryland has four freshmen likely to factor into the rotation, as well as Albany transfer Logan Aronhalt. Junior Pe'Shon Howard, who is coming off surgery on a torn knee ligament, also is a factor.

None has distinguished himself since the start of practice, beyond perhaps a consistent effort level from freshman center Shaquille Cleare. Maryland's best player to date in practice is Evan Smotrycz, who must sit out in accordance with NCAA rules after transferring from Michigan.

"Practice has been a little ragged, but we're young," Faust said. "We could start off a little rocky, but I think we'll be fine."

So it's left Turgeon vexed eight days before the Nov. 9 season opener against Kentucky in New York. The ever-candid coach can only hope so at this stage after growing ever more frustrated in the last week.

"I'm disappointed," Turgeon said. "I think there are expectations on us this year, and I haven't tried to temper them at all. I think people are excited about our team. But they have to understand we have four returning players and the rest are new guys. We've just been really inconsistent. Our guard play has been quite poor, to be honest with you. Day to day, I don't know what I'm going to get."

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