With the start of the 2011 men's basketball just a few weeks away, we're previewing the 2011 Maryland Men's basketball team by answering some reader submitted questions, roundtable style. Thanks to everyone who submitted something. If your questions wasn't answered, it probably had to do with the fact that we chose questions that we could each elaborate on when we answered them, rather than ones that had a simple, short answer. If you'd like those questions answered, leave them in the comments and one of us will try to leave a response for you. Now onto the roundtable...
If so how succesful will it be in the ACC? How will that effect recruits?
That's the big-money question. Turgeon has never had an up-tempo team, even after having several years at both of his last two coaching stops to give him time to mold the team. Long-term, I'll guess that he probably doesn't run too much and prefers a system more along the lines of what you saw at A&M under him: a slow tempo.There are two minor caveats for that to me. First of all, he's always deviated a little in tempo, sometimes quicker than he might ideally want and sometimes slower, based on the make-up of his team. With a potential four-guard lineup, I expect that at least this year and maybe next we'll still see a fair amount of running, even if it's less than we're used to. Secondly, given that he's not a Gillespie/Calipari-type in recruiting, he's always been a little limited in being able to recruit high-level athletes at A&M and WSU. I don't expect that to be a problem here. (Or at least I hope it won't be).In terms of recruiting: it's probably a wash. Some players might find themselves turned off from that scheme, but look at the success that Virginia is having in recruiting, even with guys that are terrible fits for Tony Bennett's scheme like Justin Anderson. And some other guys, especially big men, will probably find themselves more attracted to it. There are a hundred factors that are more important than the scheme in modern-day recruiting.
I think you’re going to see a slow, grind-it-out style this year for sure. He’s already said something to the effect of "you can’t do a lot of running when you’ve got 8 guys." Also, with a lack of height, he needs as many players as possible securing defensive rebounds, which means less guys are available to make runs on a fast break.
As for the Turgeon era as a whole, I’d like to say you’re going to see him get up and down the floor, but nothing in his past makes me think that. From Wichita State to Texas A&M, Turgeon’s teams have been among the slowest in the country. I’m OK with that if it wins game. And frankly, the whole "conference styles" things seems overblown to me. Florida State plays a slower tempo than most other teams in the ACC, but the last couple years they’ve been #3 behind Duke and Carolina.
The recruiting affects of the ground-it-out style does concern me. You always hear kids saying they like how X gets "up and down" the court. Then again, high-school recruits say a lot of things. And if Turgeon can prove to kids that he’s going to maximize their skills and put them in the right places, I think that’s probably what matters at the end of the day.
Great question. I think Turgeon is going to employ a style of basketball that is much slower and different from what many Maryland fans are use to seeing. I'm sad to see the flex offense going away but you can't expect him to keep running that simply because Gary did. I do think the tempo will vary slightly, but as many people have mentioned, having only eight and hopefully nine scholarship players makes it harder to run an uptempo pace. Turgeon has already said that he'd love to be practicing longer during each session but he doesn't want to burn out his players.
As for recruiting, I don't think the style of offense Turgeon runs will have large impact on recruiting. There might be some players who want to play in a faster tempo scheme but I don't think that will ultimately have too great of an impact. Plus, Turgeon did say his style of basketball is winning, so if he ever has the horses to run faster pace offense, maybe he will.
the addition of Pitt and Syracuse does to the ACC’s (basketball only) prestige and the basketball prestige of UMD?
I'm sure there are a few guys in Carolina lamenting yet a further watering-down of the glorious ACC of old, but I really think it only helps. The glory days are over in the ACC anyway, and adding two very strong programs to the mix can only improve the conference. Everyone says the Big East is the best basketball conference, and these two teams are consistently at the top of it, which is telling. I long for the days of an ACC that goes seven or eight deep with quality teams, and this is a step toward that.
As for Maryland: much of its prestige is tied to its conference, so if the ACC becomes the premier basketball league once again, things get better. The only conceivable worry is that Pitt and Cuse become the main challengers to Duke and UNC, creating an even larger bridge between the haves and the have-nots, but that gap is always a worry. Either Turgeon will get the talent to compete or he won't; I don't think the addition of Pitt and Cuse is going to do much to that.
It's a major boost for ACC basketball. No doubt about it. The last couple years the Big East has been the country's best basketball conference. By program-stealing two of their top basketball schools, the ACC has reclaimed that title in an emphatic way.
As for what it means for Maryland, the answer is a bit murkier. For as long as I've been alive, Maryland has been the de facto #3 program in the ACC. With the addition of Pitt and Syracuse, competition for the 3rd ACC spot becomes more intense. Having said that, I'm not sure the additions of Pitt and Cuse have any significant impact on Maryland's prestige per se. It's more about what Maryland does than what Pitt or Syracuse do. If Turgeon can win championships and consistently make the second weekend of the Tournament, Maryland's prestige will rise. If the Terps remain a perennial bubble team, it won't.
The ACC has always been synonymous with great basketball. Since the addition of Boston College, Virginia Tech and Miami, I think that reputation has slipped some over the last few year, especially with the underperformance of several of the original nine schools, including Maryland to some extent. Adding Pitt and Syracuse to the conference definitely adds two schools that instantly make the ACC the best basketball conference, bar none.
As for the impact it will have on Maryland, a lot depends on how well Turgeon is able to reestablish Maryland within the conference. Pitt and Syracuse are going to challenge Duke and UNC for the top spots most years, but as Ben B. mentioned, if Maryland can't challenge Duke and UNC, it won't matter much if Pitt and Syracuse are added. As long as Maryland can compete with Duke and UNC, they can compete with Pitt and Syracuse. I am interested in a potential rivalry developing between Maryland a Syracuse, as well as a potential 18 game conference schedule. The other big impact to Maryland, which can't be understated, is the shift in focus away from North Carolina. That's important, especially for things like the ACC tournament. I'm hoping adding Pitt and Syracuse signals the end of the ACC tourney being in Greensboro seemingly every year.
For both the season and Turgeon’s career here? Where will he rank in comparison to Gary and Lefty when it’s all said and done?
This year I really don't have expectations. I don't think they're nearly as good as last year's team, and given that last year's team missed the NIT, I'm not really expecting much. If they get to any kind of postseason, it's gravy. If not ... well, whatever happens happens. I'm guessing they'll probably finish around 8th in the ACC but be on the NIT bubble, and at least for one year I'm okay with that. This is the honeymoon era.Long-term, it's obviously a little tough to predict, so let's all agree that this is more for fun that it is serious prognostication. But I do think Turgeon will ultimately find some measure of success here. I don't know if he's a National Championship winner, but with the staff he has and his Xs & Os pedigree, he can certainly get Maryland back to an elite level. Verdict: a successful coach who develops a solid track record, but slots well below Gary and Lefty. (Really, he'd be below Gary and Lefty no matter what, unless he won two natties or something - they built Maryland basketball from the ground up, while he's taking over a relatively stable environment.)
I’m not expecting major results this season. Eight scholarship players, one fourth-year senior, and a lack of proven guys in the frontcourt will do that. I do, however, think this year could be a lot of fun. Will Stoglin throw up 30 shots a game? How will Turge coach these guys up? Is Nick Faust the second coming? All of these storylines should make the season exciting.
In the long run, I think Turgeon will succeed here. Recruiting is already better than it’s been in years, (most) the players seem to have bought in, and he’s got a proven track record of winning. Four straight NCAA Tourney trips with Texas A&M is impressive, and the team he left at College Station is probably his best ever. It’s hard to project how he’ll stack up with Gary and Lefty, two HOF-caliber coaches, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Turgeon hangs a banner or two before it’s all said and done.
For this season, I actually think Turgeon will have this team performing above expectations, especially if Len is cleared. It really depends on how well this team can execute Turgeon's offense and what productivity the team gets out of the front court. Most likely, I think this team will be similar to last year's in terms of overall record. As far as career, I think Turgeon can have a lot of success here at Maryland. He's certainly proven he can win at schools where he's arguably had lesser resources, so I'm anxious to see what he can do at a basketball school like Maryland in a big time basketball conference like the ACC. Comparing him to Gary and Lefty, I think that's hard to do and probably somewhat unfair. Gary is always going to hold a place in most Maryland fan's hearts, as is Lefty. I think Turgeon would have to win multiple national titles to surpass either of them. I think in the end, he'll have Maryland at the level they were in the mid-nineties to early 2000s and maybe they'll grab another national title. I think Turgeon is certainly capable of that, but only time will tell.
What players do you want to see at the beginning of the season starting? End? Who will Turge be starting at the beginning? End?
To start, I'd like to see a Pe'Shon Howard / Terrell Stoglin / Sean Mosley / James Padgett / Alex Len lineup. And I'd keep it the same through the season, with only one change: I'd be ecstatic if Ashton Pankey was good enough to start over Padgett at the 4 by the end of the year. That'd be a pretty massive boost. And if Len can't go right away, bump up Padge to the 5 and Mosley to the 4, then sub in Faust at the 3. That's more the fan in me talking than the rational blogger, but whatever.As for Turgeon: it'll probably be fairly similar to start, something like Howard/Stoglin/Mosley/Padgett/
Berend Weijs that morphs into Howard/Stoglin/Faust/Mosley/* post player* as the game goes on. As the season progresses, I'd look out for the emergence of both Len and Pankey, as well as Faust to get more and more PT.
My starting lineup would probably go as follows: Stoglin, Mosley, Faust, Pankey, and Weijs (assuming no Len). By the end of the season, I’d like to see the first four with Len filling in for Weijs.
If I was betting man, I’d say the five I named start the season for Turge. By seasons end, it wouldn’t surprise me to see Howard starting over Stoglin, if Stoglin isn't doing what Turgeon wants (focusing more on passing, less on scoring).
from last year’s team. Granted, they ranked 21st in the country in that category, but do we have the personnel to compensate for that loss? Who do you expect to be the primary contributors?
Well, talent-wise, yes, I think they have the potential to make up a large chunk of that 47 ppg. By all rights, guys as talented as Mychal Parker and Nick Faust should be scoring a fair amount a game, and you'll see natural upticks in the numbers of Stoglin and Howard. In an ideal world, Stoglin averages 17, Howard 10, and Parker and Faust 8; that alone is nearly 30 ppg over last year without factoring in Mosley or the post players. The worrisome part is that you'd be a fool to rely on Parker or a true freshman to be one of the major scorers on the team. Who knows if the light turns on for Parker, or if Faust transitions well? If those don't happen - which is a very real possibility - then you're looking at a fairly substantial hole.Ultimately, I don't expect Maryland to average the same ppg as they did last year, partially because I don't know where the points are coming from and partially because I expect the scheme to limit that a little bit anyway. The development of Parker and Faust will play a pretty role there, though.
Obviously, replacing that kind of scoring is going to be tough. It’s part of the reason why I think Turgeon will focus more on defense and being efficient offensively as opposed to running up and down the floor.
If you’re looking for one guy to pick up some of that scoring slack, I’d go with Nick Faust. He’s young (obviously) but in terms of raw talent, he’s probably the second or third best player on the team. An effective three point shot, coupled with his ability to get to the basket and the large amount of playing time he’s expected to receive, tend to make me think he could be one of the primary scorers on this team.
Another guy to keep an eye on is Stoglin. He’s the team’s remaining leading scorer from last season, and I expect that his point production will increase.
I think replacing the production from Jordan Williams will obviously be hard, but I also think a lot of people undervalue the contributions from players like Dino and Bowie, especially on the offensive end. But in college basketball, you often have to replace a lot of lost points each season. I think Maryland has to be more concerned with replacing the lost rebounding production more so than points. I think the points will come. Stoglin could obviously be a big contributor and lead this team in scoring. Mosley will have the opportunity to step up as well and of course Faust could have a big impact. I honestly think Howard is a dark horse candidate for being a big offensive contributer as well. What will have a larger impact will be who can step up rebounding wise. I think Pankey, Weijs, Padgett and Parker are going to have to come up big in that arena if Maryland is going to have any success this season.
Ben G.Well, it makes things a lot easier, that's for sure. Again, it's foolish to rely on a true freshmen or expect a set performance out of them, especially a freshman like Len, who is not only making the transition to the college game, but also to the American game (and even America itself). But I don't think Maryland and Turgeon have a choice but to give Len 10+ minutes per game once he's ready to go.The big change is that it'll allow Maryland to run more traditional, 2/3 guard lineups on a regular basis. But with any luck, it'll also give the Terrapins a talented rebounder and scorer in the post, and every team could use that. If you look at some of the teams expected to finish above Maryland in the ACC, a lot of their strength comes in the post - Virginia with Mike Scott, Miami with Reggie Johnson, even N.C. State has C.J. Leslie. And don't even start on Duke and UNC. The hope is that Len being good to go will give Maryland an effective counter to some of those guys. Even if he doesn't, he can at least spell the other big men, or make sure that Sean Mosley doesn't have to guard John Henson when they play UNC. There's something to be said for that.
The million dollar question. Well actually, the million dollar question is if/when Alex Len is allowed to play.
All in all, I don’t think the game plan changes too much. The addition of Len would be huge for this team (no pun intended) but he sort of has a skill set similar to Berend Weijs. They’re both tall, relatively lanky players who can block shots and have a decent shooting stroke. Len is probably more athletic, and he’s got a couple inches on Berend, but they’re not totally different players. Adding Len gives Maryland more depth, a bigger defensive presence, and a guy who can rebound and score. But I’m not sure how much it changes the game plan.