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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Fans, at least, kind to Turgeon

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Little scores 15 in Jayhawks' victory

It looks like Mario Little made the right decision. Little, who pondered red-shirting this season, scored 15 points as KU beat Texas A&M by 20.

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2009 KU-TAMU Jan. 19

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Who was KU's first-half MVP against Texas A&M?

  • Sherron Collins 15% 12 votes
  • Mario Little 68% 53 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 5% 4 votes
  • Tyshawn Taylor 6% 5 votes
  • Other 3% 3 votes

77 total votes.

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6Sports Preview: Kansas vs. Texas A&M

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The Jayhawks take on Texas A&M on Monday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

Reader poll

Who do you think is KU's best defender?

  • Brady Morningstar 60% 1187 votes
  • Cole Aldrich 29% 579 votes
  • Tyshawn Taylor 5% 111 votes
  • Travis Releford 2% 40 votes
  • Other 2% 42 votes

1959 total votes.

Mark Turgeon’s first trip back to Lawrence as a head coach was going splendidly until the game tipped off.

In pregame, Turgeon’s Texas A&M; Aggies — who were destroyed by Kansas, 73-53 — were welcomed by the traditional chorus of boos during the player introductions on Big Monday at Allen Fieldhouse.

But then the Jayhawk faithful recognized one of their own and erupted in an ovation when the public-address announcer introduced the former Kansas point guard and assistant coach to the 16,300 fans in attendance.

“I’ve been coming to this building since I was 4 or 5 years old,” Turgeon said. “I have a lot of great memories and saw a lot of familiar faces here tonight, which makes you feel good. People always treat me well here.”

Then the referee tossed the ball into play, and the Jayhawk players — particularly Sherron Collins and Mario Little — stopped treating Turgeon so nicely.

In fact, after a 16-4 KU run to open the game, it’s safe to say the Jayhawks rained on Turgeon’s homecoming parade.

“KU’s great in this building to start games,” Turgeon said. “But we couldn’t make a shot, and we just turned it over...I’m really disappointed because you ask about effort, and that’s one thing I played with, and my team didn’t play with it tonight. So it’s a little disappointing.”

Kansas coach Bill Self, who knows a little something about homecomings given his personal history with Oklahoma State, believes Turgeon will not regret the experience despite the lopsided result.

“First of all, you want to come in and play well and put yourself in a position to win the game,” Self said. “But other than that, I would look back at this with fondness because of the ovation he got — it was fabulous.”

“He’ll be disappointed he lost, but I promise you he respects the way he was treated.”

Turgeon said besides the warm welcome, perhaps the best part of his trip north was simply walking onto the floor where he was the general for a Final Four team and an assistant coach for a national-champion squad.

“I was excited,” he said. “I came out early just to get a feel for the building again. Probably the first time I walked in for the shoot-around, I was just like, ‘Man, this place is cool. This is just a great place.’ But I wasn’t going to allow myself to get too emotional because it’s a game more than anything else.”

Turgeon said he was also excited to escort his oldest son, William, around Allen Fieldhouse for the first time.

“It was actually his second game. The first time he was too young,” Turgeon said. “I walked him through the Hall of Fame. It was a pretty cool deal.”

Self believes it will only get easier for Turgeon to come back to Lawrence, as the first time is always the most difficult.

“I’m glad it’s behind us,” Turgeon agreed. “I hope next time we play a little better.”

Comments

Lance Hobson 11 years ago

Now that we got that win, I hope A&M wins the rest of their games - I always root for Turgeon and love the way his teams play. Rock Chalk!

KUPROUD 11 years ago

“I have a lot of great memories and saw a lot of familiar faces here tonight, which makes you feel good. People always treat me well here.”The thoughts and feelings are mutual. Good luck to you Turg, but we needed to kick your tail last night.

Mark Winter 11 years ago

We all love Turgeon and we all gave him a great ovation before the game, then proceeded to kick A&M's tail as predicted. We wish him the best. But the best coaching was by our coach Bill Self & staff. They did their homework and hadour guys prepared for their big front line. I love the way the Jayhawks play. Howabout our scapers Morningstar & Little? Extra kudos for them. Bill is doing a great job bringing the team along. Keep it up Jayhawks!!!!!!! Rock Chalk

Jeff Hargate 11 years ago

Did anyone notice last night how Turg ket his team watch the pre-game video? No huddle or anything, just watching the video. Bad coaching move...I don't care how much he loves and respects KU. His team was psyched out before tip-off.

hillsborohawk 11 years ago

I agree with jeffthejayhawk.... Only thing better would have been a hi-light of Turgeon himself.. Ever noticed about 75% of all other visiting teams gawk at the video(s) instead of paying attention to their coach/staff. I marvel at how many opposing players cock their heads back and soak it all in. One more reason to "beware of the phog!"

beenahawk 11 years ago

Might have been a SHORT TERM bad idea to let his kids watch the video....but it may pay long range dividends if Mark can convince his kids that he wants the same for A&M someday.

swjhawk 11 years ago

Someone kick Holly Rowe in the nether parts for the half-time questions she asked Mark. It was disrespectful to any coach but especially to a coach who is "one of us." I was disgusted with her and the yellow journalism. She's not the show and that's not how we treat visiting coaches (unless you're Billy Tubbs).

Rick Arnoldy 11 years ago

I'm with beenahawk on this one. His players are already on board, now it's time to show them what the big time is like and give them a goal. Why not let them soak it up and challenge them?

kansas22 11 years ago

I hope I'm not the only one that notices, but coach Self is doing a fantastic job of bringing this ridiculously young team together. The pieces are almost put in place and we continue to make changes for the better after every game it seems. I can't wait to see what this team can accomplish in coming years, and even at the end of this one if we continue to improve at this pace. Hopefully, these baby jayhawks just figure out how to grind out wins on the road (not colorado that's a "home-road", thanks sherron) and we will be pretty dangerous as soon as this year.

actorman 11 years ago

I basically agree, kansas22, and they played a phenomenal game against aTm. But as you point out, the true tests will come on the road. ISU should be fairly tough, but let's see what they do when the really tough road games come up (Baylor, Misuse, KSUck, and then the ultimate test, Oklahoma). Those games will give us a true indication of how far this team has come. But it is very encouraging to see the improvement of all the young players, and it looks like we may soon have another "Super Mario" on our hands.

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