Reporting Brendan Darr
According to multiple sources the University of Maryland has hired former Texas A&M Basketball coach, Mark Turgeon, to replace Gary Williams. Turgeon was offered the job earlier today, and according to multiple reports has accepted the job.
Turgeon has spent the last four years at Texas A&M averaging 24 wins and making the NCAA Tournament all four years. Before that he spent time at Wichita State and Jacksonville State, reaching he Sweet-16 once with Wichita State.
The story was originally broken by 106.7 The Fan’s own, Eric Bickel of the Sports Junkies, yesterday afternoon – this tweet was sent at 4:03 PM yesterday.
Tonight it was re-confirmed by multiple outlets, including Jeff Goodman of Foxsports.com, who has been on top of the story since the news broke about Gary Williams retiring. This tweet sent at 8:58 PM tonight.
Mark Turgeon is known as an X’s and O’s guy, someone who seems to have a lot in common with Gary Williams. He has little-to-no ties to the area. He did, however, recruit Naji Hibbert, a class of 2009 SG out of DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville, Md. He was the #15 SG and #70 overall in the country. Last year he averaged 5.2 points and 1.3 assists at Texas A&M during his sophomore season.
Maryland fans may find the lack of name recognition an issue with Turgeon. He’s not Sean Miller and he’s not Jay Wright. At first, I admit I didn’t like the idea of Turgeon taking over. He hasn’t recruited well, he hasn’t been past the Sweet 16 and he isn’t sending guys to the NBA.
Recruiting: My worry with his recruiting stemmed from being in Texas and failing to land any high-profile Texas recruits. He was similar to Gary Williams in that respect, he recruited guys for his system. Texas A&M also has little basketball history, and is definitely considered a football school. The fear over his recruiting was lowered after taking that into consideration. Getting Hibbert, despite him under-performing since beginning college, was a major coup for Turgeon. So maybe he can tap back in to the WCAC and get the elite talent that has bypassed Maryland for bigger schools of late (Last WCAC player to come to Maryland was Dave Neal).
Tournament Experience: This is definitely a worry. Turgeon never led A&M past the second round of the NCAA Tournament, despite finishing with an average of 24 victories a year. Although, Turgeon does have decent wins on his resume, non-conference wins over Temple, Washington, Clemson, Arizona, and Ohio State during his tenure. He was however, 2-14 combined against Texas and Kansas during his time at A&M. There is a concern whether he can defeat the best teams in the country, consistently.
NBA Development: Gary Williams was great at taking players who weren’t highly recruited and turning them into NBA-caliber players. Juan Dixon, Steve Blake, Chris Wilcox, Joe Smith, etc. The list goes on and on. Turgeon currently has one former player in the NBA, Clippers C DeAndre Jordan. Jordan was originally recruited by Billy Gillespie, but kept his commitment to A&M when Turgeon was brought on. Jordan was the 35th pick in the 2008 Draft.
Overall, the positives definitely out-weigh the negatives here. Let’s be honest, Maryland is looking for a head coach that it can count on for more than just a few years. Turgeon is 46 years old, and has already had success at a mid-major and a Big XII school. It’s not like he is coming out of nowhere. He is an established coach, who is ready to continue the winning tradition at Maryland.
UPDATE: Hearing reports that Kansas State transfer, Wally Judge, was set to sign with Maryland before Gary Williams retired. Reportedly after hearing about Turgeon, has decided to sign with Rutgers. Unconfirmed though.