Former Maryland guard Terrell Stoglin thinks he was wrongly portrayed, on and off the court, in College Park, and seems confident he will get a chance to change his image in the NBA.
Displaying the same bravado that helped the barely 6-foot guard lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring as a sophomore — not to mention exhibit the candor that sometimes got him into trouble — Stoglin said he would be surprised if he is not picked in Thursday's NBA draft.
If not, Stoglin believes he will be in the NBA within two years.
"I'm getting great feedback right now and I have all the confidence in the world that I'm going to be drafted," Stoglin said Saturday, a few hours after working out for the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City. "If I'm not drafted, I have time. I'm very young right now. I'll go overseas and make good money and come back and I'll make a team [in the NBA] next season. That's the worst-case scenario."
Stoglin, 20, entered his name in the NBA draft hours before the April 30 deadline, shortly after learning in a telephone call from first-year Maryland coach Mark Turgeon that the athletic department had suspended him for a year for failing to comply to its Code of Conduct for athletes.
"Coach Turgeon and I were very shocked. We didn't see it coming," Stoglin, who was suspended along with Mychal Parker, said in an interview with The Baltimore Sun in his first public comments about his departure from Maryland.
Stoglin said that he never heard from athletic director Kevin Anderson, who announced the suspension. Stoglin said that he never considered returning to Maryland to serve out the penalty or transferring to another school and sit out a year in accordance with NCAA rules.
Turgeon recommended that he enter the draft, Stoglin said.
"Things happen for a reason and I'm happy with the decisions that were made and what has happened," said Stoglin, who has worked out for eight NBA teams and has two more workouts scheduled this week.
Asked what he tells NBA executives and scouts for why he was suspended, Stoglin said: "I tell them what happened. I tell them exactly what happened. Some of the things that are happening on the inside [at Maryland] that people don't know about. I tell them how I've matured and that I should never have put myself in the predicament to have something like that happen to me. That's pretty much it. They understand."
Stoglin said that he heard all the speculation about why he was suspended, including a report on CSN Washington that he and Parker tested positive for marijuana three times. Though he would not clarify the situation, Stoglin said emphatically, "The only thing I can say is that I did not smoke marijuana the last year at Maryland — not once."
Turgeon said in an interview Monday that he is not allowed to comment on the circumstances surrounding the suspension in accordance with privacy laws. An athletic department spokesman said that Anderson was not available for comment but also was not permitted to talk about what Stoglin and Parker did to get suspended.
Stoglin said that his reputation for being a selfish player — one who hoisted 533 shots, more than teammates Sean Mosley and Nick Faust took combined (516) — has not followed him into the eight NBA workouts.
"Pretty much they understand the situation I was in at Maryland. I had to score, but they always ask me if I was told to score," Stoglin said. "So I let them know that I was told by the coach in most situations that I had to score, so that's what I did.
"When I work out for these NBA teams, they understand my freshman year, my assist-to turnover ratio was very good (108-75, compared to 62-71 last season.) They look at that as well, they look at the situation I was in my last year at Maryland."
Turgeon said Monday he has told "some NBA guys that with the ball in his hands, [Stoglin] can score with anybody. He's also one of the most competitive kids I've ever coached. He got a lot better in terms of being a good teammate as the season went on. With the right team, the right situation, I think he has a chance to play in the NBA."
One NBA scout said the consensus was that Stoglin needed at least another year in college to prove he could be a point guard in the pros.
"I didn't think he would get drafted if he had come out without everything happening at Maryland," the scout said. "That stuff didn't help him. But he showed that he can score at a high volume and that's something you can't overlook."
Stoglin said that the only regret he had about the way he played last season was his shot selection. He said that he has watched tapes of many games and came away thinking, "'Oooh, why did I take that shot' or 'What was I thinking on that shot?'" Stoglin said.
He also thinks that his reputation for being a selfish player was unfair.
"I feel that I was misjudged because people were just seeing that I was scoring and they feel all I wanted to do was score," said Stoglin, who averaged 21.6 points as a sophomore. "All I wanted to do was win and I was supposed to do that to win. … Regardless of what a lot of critics say about my game, honestly they have no clue. I have all the confidence that I'm NBA-ready right now."
While he and Turgeon had a combative relationship during the first half of the season, Stoglin said that their communication improved toward the end. When the suspension was announced, Stoglin said, "We were both hurt, because we both wanted another year with each other. I honestly learned so much from Coach Turgeon this year and I felt there was more to be learned."
Had he returned to Maryland for his junior year, Stoglin said that he expected to be a full-time point guard. While he is still in touch with many of his former teammates, Stoglin doesn't seem to regret the fact that the Terps might have finally brought in enough inside players to show off his point-guard skills.
"Honestly, I haven't even thought twice about it. I'm happy with the situation I'm in right now," he said. "This is my dream right now and Maryland was a step to get to my dream and right now I'm chasing it."