Mens Terps basketball has a coach. Ok, ok, no NCAA Tourney or NIT for second year in a row. Have to swallow that one. Stand firm Terp fans! This may be the last year in many to come, when we do not see the mens basketball team in post season play. I like this Mark Turgeon guy. He’s smart, he’s tough on the kids, he has experience and most of all………… he seems to care. The man exudes passion – nice transition from the Gary Williams era. Throw some sweat on the suit coat and the sideline antics continue along the Terp bench. He is animated (I like that). He wears his emotions on his sleeve. He expects effort from his team. The man is a coach and that alone is refreshing.
When you ask fellow Terp fans about the outcome of the season – there is a consensus – “They were better than I had anticipated.” After the football team debacle and some guy named Edsall supposedly coaching that team, Turgeon was on the hot seat. Just who is this guy from Texas A&M? What is he going to bring to the table? Will this coaching transition be as painful as football? Will there be a mass exodus of team players following the season? There are two new sheriffs in town and so far only one survived. Welcome to Terpland Mark Turgeon and thank you.
Towards the last half of the season, the new coach let his emotions get the best of him. And in my book gang, that is when he gained Terpland respect. “Yo – Stoglin – if you’re not going to show the effort – you’re sittin’.” “Yo – you guys who are just going through the motions out there – you’re sittin’.” Now, there’s a coach. And then there’s the Turgeon side with a capital “T”, as in Technical fouls. “Yo – ref – are you blind, call it both ways, (dare I say it……………..that was a horrrrrible call), are you calling the same game I’m watching, etc.” Those are not Turgeons word verbatim, in fact I do not think it would be advisable to print what was being expressed by our concerned coach during those tense moments. What I do know, is that all of those “T’s” were warranted. I like this guy.
Four “T’s”, over the last 12 games of the season. Two (2) with an ejection at Miami. Here’s a statement from assistant coach Scott Spinelli, “I’ve been with the man for the past 6 seasons and I have never seen him ejected.” Terps were down by like 20, Turgeon lets loose, gets T’d up twice, exits to locker room. Terps come back – 2 overtimes – team responded – but ended up losing. He received a “T” at UNC (2nd to last game of the season) and then a “T” at home vs. Virginia, during the last game of year. Emotions were running high that day; Moselys last game, lack of team effort in the first half, two starters benched at the beginning of the second half and finally the pi’ece de r’esistance, there was the assistant coach who had a momentary lack of judgement and stepped in front of the new sheriff when he was meerly trying to express concern over another blown call.
Note to assistant coach (if he is still around) – “Do not do that again!” That moment, of which I was lucky enough to witness on television, was one of the those moments that define “Passion” – (Rod Stewart). Let’s just say the Terps new coach exercised his right to forceably redirect that “assistant” back to the bench. It was a defining moment. First season in ACC, better than anticipated, better than the football debacle, a “coach” who seems to care, has a base to grow (unless Stoglin books), a coach who should have won the confidence and fan appreciation of Terp fans throughout the land, is a welcomed new sheriff.
The question of whether Mark Turgeon can recruit still remains to be answered. What I have read, is that apparently the Terps have recruited “big”. I mean…… real “big” – Shaquille Clear (6-9, 285lbs. – watch out for this lad), Damonte Dodd (6-9, 240 lbs. – from eastern shore of MD), Charles Mitchell (6-7, 250 lbs. out of Georgia), Jake Layman (6-8) and a guard Seth Allen (6-2). Stand firm Terp fans – the future looms large. Outlook – Stoglin stays, Faust is the new point guard, Pe’Shon for back-up, “7-foot Lenny” gets stronger hands and then the addition of young large ones – all appears promising. Get on your most comfortable shoes Terp fans, ’cause next year we be dancin’.