It probably won’t rival the battles that Gary Williams had with John Gilchrist, but this Terrell Stoglin-Mark Turgeon friction could make for some interesting times in College Park as the first-year Terps head coach winds down a surprisingly decent initial campaign.
The sparks flew in real-time following Saturday’s loss at Duke, where the 18-point deficit didn’t necessarily show how hard (and well) Maryland competed for the better part of 30 minutes. Afterwards, Stoglin took to the social networking scene to voice his displeasure with the way his day went, posting a handful of messages on Twitter (called “Tweets” if you’re living in a cave these days…) and most certainly drawing the ire of Turgeon and, perhaps, even his teammates.
(Here’s a tweet for you, Terrell. I’ll get it all said in less than 140 characters. “You’re not the whole team. Your coach is smarter than you. Just play basketball, son. Leave the commentary to the experts.”)
That Stoglin used foul language, questioned his coach’s judgment and threw out the word “nigga” in his Twitter rampage is only part of the problem. The issue is now Turgeon’s to handle, and I’m sure he’ll do the right thing with it.
The more pressing feature of this coach-player battle is more about why today’s athlete can’t simply take the role handed out to them and deal with it in the manner best fitting the team. Attached to that is this question: When things DON’T go your way, why would you ever seek to embarrass your coach?
Terrell Stoglin is a nice basketball player. At this stage, though, he’s nothing more than that. His game has lots of holes and, as Duke showed yesterday, he can be negated rather easily if you have the right players on your team to handle him.
For some reason, and Twitter is probably one of them, Stoglin thinks he’s better than he is, a problem that plagues a lot of “nice” basketball players in both the college and pro game.
After his Saturday evening outburst, Stoglin’s twitter account quickly filled up with replies from followers who basically took HIS side and reminded him of how great he (supposedly) is.
“Don’t let ‘em get you down, T, u the only reason Terps be any good.”
“Your (sic) the 4th leading scorer in the nation. Only way they win is with you on the court.”
“If they left you in, you mighta beat Duke.”
Anyone following Maryland basketball knows there’s a small sliver of truth in all three of those comments and – naturally – a larger chunk of non-truth in them.
Needless to say, folks following (and admiring) Stoglin on Twitter are far more likely to take his side than go against him. That’s one of the reasons why Twitter among athletes is somewhat dangerous. It can lull you into a false sense of promise and security, unless you’re someone like LeBron James and people use the social networking source to say hateful stuff to you over their computer that they’d never have the balls to say to your face.
It’s now Turgeon’s job to rein in his leading scorer, making him understand without any question or wonder who runs the team and who plays on the team. In doing so, the coach will also remind Stoglin that his legion of faithful followers don’t coach the Maryland basketball program, and therefore their opinion – to borrow a line from Chris Farley – doesn’t mean “jack squat”.
(Please see next page)