After completing an interview following his 14-point performance in the Maryland men's basketball team's exhibition win over Randolph-Macon on Thursday, guard Darryl Morsell heard shouts from crowd.
"Darryl! Darryl!" a fan screamed as Morsell looked into the stands. "Stay still!" she added, pulling out her camera.
He smiled and flashed peace signs with both hands before making his way to the locker room.
Morsell was the last player to leave the postgame interview room as a scrum of reporters fired off questions about the freshman's debut in a Maryland jersey. Guard Kevin Huerter and forward Justin Jackson smiled at him as they exited.
"Yeah, D," Jackson yelled.
Morsell savored every moment of his first time playing at Xfinity Center. He hopes to garner similar attention in meaningful games.
"It was only a matter of time before his hard work started to show," Jackson said. "He stays late after practice, and he comes early. Darryl's a great player, and he brings a lot of things to our team — toughness, scoring, pushing the ball, defense. I'm just happy you guys got to see a little taste of it."
Morsell prides himself on his competitiveness, and he's been tested in practice going against guard Anthony Cowan, whom coach Mark Turgeon lauds as one of the team's best defenders. So, when asked about the banter between him and Cowan, Morsell laughed before briefly pausing.
"Me and him go at it every day," Morsell said. "Going against an individual like him, there's really no off days."
Following Melo Trimble and Jaylen Brantley's departures, Morsell is slotted as Maryland's backup point guard. While he played point guard in the Amateur Athletic Union, Morsell played shooting guard at Mount Saint Joseph High School.
Cowan advised Morsell on how to slow down the pace of the game and be more vocal -— the same tips Trimble offered Cowan last year.
Turgeon, who played point guard at Kansas in the 1980s, has also helped Morsell adjust. Throughout the offseason, Morsell watched film of Maryland's offense from the past few years and tackled ball handling drills. He learned where his teammates want their passes located.
"I see a lot how me and Melo pushed each other, that's how me and him are in practice," Cowan said. "I'm loving it … He plays with a lot of intensity. People don't really see how athletic he is until he really gets on the break."
While Morsell was recruited for his athleticism and ability to attack the basket, his jump shot was a point of weakness entering the program. So during the offseason, he followed a team manager's advice and altered his form.
The manager noticed Morsell held the ball in his palm too long, so Morsell started shooting from above his head, a change he said has led to more consistency.
Morsell's revamped shot will help him contribute as he brings a playstyle Maryland didn't have last year. While Trimble was crafty in the lane and Huerter was primarily a shooter, Morsell can power through defenders using his 6-foot-4, 205-pound frame.
Growing up, Morsell played forward because he was bigger than most of his peers. He also played football, which helped instill his toughness.
"Darryl gives us a defender on the perimeter we really needed," Turgeon said. "It's a guy that loves to compete and loves to do the right things to win, is not afraid to do … little things that help you be successful."
Morsell compares his style to Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dwyane Wade. He watches film and replicates the moves of the 12-time NBA All-Star.
That was on display Thursday as Morsell finished layups through defenders and slammed a 360 dunk.
As Maryland aims to qualify for its first NCAA tournament without Trimble since 2010, Morsell will have more chances to send Maryland faithful into a frenzy.
"Darryl is a big time athlete, and one thing he wanted to do was play on a team where he can get to the rim," Turgeon said. "We space the floor and have shooters around him, so it allows him to do that. Darryl has come a long ways very quickly."