Turgeon: Slovakian freshman Michal Cekovsky "not Alex Len"

Turgeon: Slovakian freshman Michal Cekovsky "not Alex Len"
June 25, 2014, 5:15 pm
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(Associated Press)

COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon wants to make one thing clear about his new seven-foot Slovakian freshman, Michal Cekovsky.

"He's not Alex [Len]. I don't want to compare him to Alex," Turgeon said. "They're different players."

Despite the scouting report labels -- international, tall, athletic, runs the floor -- and the way his introduction to America is mirroring Len's, Turgeon insists that the player they call "Checko" will bear little resemblance on the court to the NBA's no. 5 overall pick in the 2013 draft.

As opposed to a rim protector who stalks to paint and spends the majority of the time in and around the paint, Cekovsky is a stretch-four at the power forward spot who can keep defenses honest on the perimeter while also feeling comfortable on the block.

He's fluid, Turgeon says, thanks in part to a markedly small shoe size for his height -- just a 13.

But for as much as Cekovsky and Len may diverge when it comes to the skills they possess, Turgeon sees a lot of same social progressions set to take place for the freshman.

"Like Alex, I'm sure it's going to take him a while to feel comfortable," Turgeon said.

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"Doesn't know anybody. He does speak English pretty well, but I'm sure he's a little bit nervous and anxious right now and hopefully being here all summer is going to help him feel more comfortable by the time school starts in September."

Cekovsky has secured his visa and officially enrolled in summer classes at Maryland. He was spotted on campus in the program's athletics office on Monday, but had not yet been able to begin offseason conditioning drills as of the early part of the week.

That, of course, will soon change.

Within the confines of Maryland's offensive system, he fits well as a part of the secondary break that often features four players around the three-point line and one in the middle.

Depending on the lineup and how Turgeon wants to use Cekovsky, the Terrapins could simultaneously have four legitimate mid-to-long range shooters -- say, Melo Trimble, Dez Wells, Jake Layman, and Cekovsky -- and two seven-footers -- Cekovsky and Damonte Dodd or Trayvon Reed -- on the floor.

That would means points on one end and length on the other, two things Maryland could have used more of in 2013-14.

The question will be how quickly Cekovsky acclimates himself to the American game, but there will be no shortage of confidence in him as he does so for one main reason, Turgeon says.

"He's a talent."