Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hey Terps, give Turgeon a chance


Let’s acknowledge the obvious right away: The hiring of Mark Turgeon won’t have Maryland basketball fans dancing in the streets.

It’s a solid choice, sure.

Turgeon, 46, has done a terrific job in his four seasons at Texas A&M.; His record there was 97-40, and the Aggies went to the NCAA Tournament every year. And the guy was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year the past two seasons.

Turgeon did a nice job at Wichita State before that, too, compiling a 128-89 record in his seven seasons there.

All in all, he’s considered an up-and-comer in the business, with an innate feel for in-game strategy and exploiting player matchups.

But he sure isn’t a sexy pick.

He isn’t boy-wonder Sean Miller from Arizona, Brad Stevens from Butler, Mike Brey from Notre Dame or Shaka Smart from Virginia Commonwealth.

But two or three or five years down the road, when we look back at this hire, he might be the perfect choice to move the Terps beyond the Gary Williams era.

What athletic director Kevin Anderson and the Maryland search committee have done is basically roll the dice.

And coming so soon after the hiring of Randy Edsall as football coach — another move that underwhelmed Terrapin nation — Anderson will probably get plenty of backlash from fans on this one.

It’s the way it goes when you’re at a high-profile school that plays in the prestigious ACC and you lose an iconic coach who single-handedly resurrected a program that was in disarray 22 years ago.

Again, Turgeon is no slouch and the Big 12 is no doormat of a conference.

The problem is that Turgeon might as well be in the witness protection program for all the name recognition he has with basketball fans on the East Coast.

With sophomore Jordan Williams moving on to the NBA, Maryland loses a ton of inside scoring and rebounding.

The Terps should have a solid backcourt with rising freshmen Terrell Stoglin and Pe’Shon Howard.

What you have to like about the hiring of Turgeon is that he’s still a relatively young man who’s hungry enough to bring instant energy to the program. Especially to the recruiting process.

Gary Williams made no secret of the fact that jumping on planes to woo today’s high-maintenance high school phenoms was the part of the job he hated.

And it showed in some of the weak recruiting classes he had in recent years.

But if Turgeon has any fire in his belly and any kind of touch with that part of the business, he’ll be working in a fertile area, between Baltimore and Washington (and not far from Philadelphia) for top-notch high school talent.

So the Mark Turgeon era begins, just three days after Maryland said farewell to a sure Hall of Fame coach whose shoes will be hard, if not impossible, to fill.

No, they’re not popping champagne and throwing confetti in College Park today.

But that doesn’t mean Kevin Anderson was out of his mind when he made this hire, either.

He went for the solid, if unspectacular, choice.

Now he has to live with it.

So does Terrapin nation.


kusportsdotcom 8 years, 6 months ago

turgeon seems like a good guy. if bill self should ever decide to leave, retire, go to the nba, or anything like that, turgeon is a guy i'd love to see ku pursue.

ku1otaku 8 years, 6 months ago

I like Turgeon and I root for his teams whenever they are not playing KU...however, I would NOT want to see him coaching the Jayhawks. His team's never seem to have any offensive power. Sure they play great D, but there is hardly any offense to get you excited.

gr33 8 years, 6 months ago

a&m and witchita state don't exactly provide an avenue to the type of athletes he'll have if he's at kansas. if turgeon ever mans the bench in allen fieldhouse, his squad will have plenty of offense. whether or not he's the coach to follow possibly the school's best ever in HCBS will be determined through his performance at maryland. consider this his tryout

ku1otaku 8 years, 6 months ago

Sorry but I disagree. Billy G. recruited decently at A&M, but Turgeon couldn't. I'm not trying to knock on Turgeon, because I do like him. I just don't think he would be a great replacement for Bill Self. Maybe he will prove me wrong at Maryland.

d_prowess 8 years, 6 months ago

I still think it is funny how Shaka Smart has somehow become an incredible coach that would be less of a gamble than Turgeon. He had 1 great NCAA run with players he did not recruit. He is still pretty unproven, and although could become great, the hype around him just seems a bit over the top.

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