What in the world? It’s the Randy Edsall Exodus II. This time, Mark Turgeon is taking the hit. I was on board with Turgeon when he was hired. Gary Williams supported it, so why shouldn’t I?
So much has changed since Turgeon was brought on after Gary’s last season. For one, the team hasn’t been in the tournament in either of the three seasons. After reaching the tournament for the first time under Williams in 1994, Maryland missed the tournament only 3 times. Williams never won less than 19 games. The Terps have two 17-15 seasons in the last three. Things aren’t rosy. Now players are bailing. Rising senior guard Nick Faust (City), rising junior center Shaquille Cleare and rising sophomore guard Roddy Peters all announced they were leaving. Now Seth Allen has joined the fleeing. It’s a head-scratcher.
I look back and Gary’s turnaround started with a freshman class of Exree Hipp, Duane Simpkins and Johnny Rhodes in the fall of 1992. It was launched back into the national spotlight when Joe Smith, who became National Player of the Year, started in ’93. His arrival began a run of 11 straight tournament appearances, two final fours and a national title.
I’m hoping that this incoming freshman class, ranked 10th nationally by rivals.com, will have that sort of impact. ‘Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley and Trayvon Reed sound like they could do it but we’ve seen our share of flops here. One thing about Gary Williams’ teams though, they always seemed to over-achieve. No one can say that about Turgeon’s squads in three years on the job.
I’m sure he knows many will say ‘enough is enough’ if things don’t start heading upward in the Big 10 this year. My question is “what defines heading upward?” For one, full houses would help. But the school pushed many long time supporters away with the Comcast Center. Wins help fill buildings though. I think they need to win 8 in conference this year (8-10). Two versus Rutgers, Penn State and Nebraska with home games against Minnesota and Northwestern should produce some wins. And they’ll have to pull out some games that people won’t give them much of a chance. 8-10 i think should buy Turgeon a chance to find his Joe Smith. Anything less than that…well there could be a lot more turnover in College Park than just the basketball coach. The football coach didn’t buy much security last season. And the AD is responsible for them both.