Mark Turgeon on Alex Len's Fit With Wizards, Other Terps in NBA

Mark Turgeon on Alex Len's fit with Wizards, other NBA Terps originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

A decade can flash by like a blink of an eye. 

Fresh off his 10th season at the helm of Maryland's men's basketball program, Mark Turgeon joined the Wizards Pregame Live crew to talk about how well Alex Len, part of Turgeon's first two seasons in College Park, is meshing with the Wizards.

"Yeah it's really great. It's great to have him home. It goes quick," Turgeon said in an interview that airs Monday night on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Pregame Live. "He's happy, he's happy to be playing and happy to be in the rotation. Every time I talk to him he seems to be really happy."

Len's NBA stock skyrocketed after a productive sophomore season when he scored 11.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game for Maryland. The Suns drafted Len with the fifth pick in 2013 and he's played nine NBA seasons, five in Phoenix before a resurgent stint in Atlanta plus limited time with the Kings and Raptors. 

Now, Len is making an impact on the Wizards. Providing depth and another big body to sure up the middle along with Robin Lopez and Daniel Gafford while starter Thomas Bryant remains sidelined all season with a torn ACL. 

Though Len is listed as questionable for Washington's Monday night game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, the former Maryland standout has 7.4 points per game, 4.2 rebounds per game and 1.1 blocks per game in 41 games with the Wizards since arriving at the end of January

Len has been the starter as of late for coach Scott Brooks, but with Gafford's recent surge that could soon change. When given the green light, though, Len could have an even bigger impact with a certain mindset, Turgeon said. 

"There's a lot of things in his game just comes down to confidence. Alex can shoot the 3 if he's confident, he can hit the 15-footer, score on the block," Turgeon said. "Probably what I'm most proud of is defensively he tries so hard. Every possession he's committed to doing what's best for the team." 

Whether it's setting screens for Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook or accepting a smaller role with professionalism, Len's presence has been a welcome one for this year's Wizards roster. The former Terp was among the first of the Turgeon era to produce a long-term career with more recent Terps like Jalen Smith (Suns) and also Kevin Huerter and Bruno Fernando (Hawks) trying to do the same. 

"A lot of the guys I recruited weren't supposed to be NBA players when I signed them. They had some really good careers, and that's really good to see when guys are successful," Turgeon said. "It's great to see and when you recruit a young man they all want to get to the NBA, they all want to make it but when you help them reach their dreams, it's definitely a good feeling." 

With Len making a difference with the Wizards and the younger Terps settling into roles with their respective teams, Turgeon may have another exciting prospect coming in this year's draft in swingman Aaron Wiggins. Both Wiggins and Eric Ayala are going through the draft process without signing an agent to remain NCAA eligibility. 

"The one thing [Wiggins] can do, and if you look around the NBA, is shoot the ball. He hasn't shot as consistently as we all would like, but he's a good shooter," Turgeon said. "The thing I'm proud about Aaron is he's made himself a really good defender, he's a better ball-handler, better passer, better finisher than when he got here. So he continues to improve and get better." 

"He has goals of where he wants to go in the draft, and if that doesn't work out for him he'll be a Terp again. If it works out for him we'll be thrilled and happy for him and he'll be on this wall behind me here. If not he'll be back a better player and will make us a much better basketball team."

Check out the full interview ahead of Washington's Monday night game against Oklahoma City on NBC Sports Washington's Wizards Pregame Live at 7 p.m. 

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