CHICAGO, IL - MARCH 18: Head coach Mark Turgeon of the Texas A&M Aggies looks on in the second half of the game against the Florida State Seminoles during the second round of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the United Center on March 18, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Florida State won 57-50 in regulation. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Want a piece of fun information? If Maryland's three recent decommitments of the 2011 class - Martin Breunig, Sterling Gibbs, and Nick Faust - each end up somewhere other than Maryland, the Terrapins will have a grand total of eight players on scholarship next season. Eight.
That's getting close to Indiana-after-Tom-Crean-got-there levels. And Crean led that Hoosier team to a 6-win season. (Frankly, Maryland should be much better than that next year based solely on Terrell Stoglin's ability to take over games.) Mark Turgeon's first year is all but guaranteed to not be fun.
I've gotten two requests on this, so I figured I'd actually write a post about it: if Turgeon wanted to add players in the 2011 class, who would he go after? What would his options be? Short answers: I don't know, and not a ton. Long answers: after the jump.
To start with, he could keep Faust, Gibbs, and Breung, if possible. Each of them has the ability to contribute now and become bigger stars down the road. Each of them obviously likes Maryland. Re-recruiting them should be at the top of Turgeon's list right now, and if their quotes are any indication they're still giving Maryland serious consideration.
But if all three ended up somewhere else, Maryland and Turgeon would have six open scholarships for 2011. If they signed no one and retained Justin Anderson for 2012, they'd have seven open scholarships for 2012. If that's what happens, Turge would need to go absolutely Lavin on that class. And more than just with guys like Seth Allen, who I like, but with Shaq Cleare, Amile Jefferson, and impact-type players.
Turgeon has two options at his disposal in the immediate. He could try to plug the many, many holes in the 2011 class with late pick-ups and JuCos, or he could say, "Screw it, we're gonna suck next year anyway. I'll just save the scholarships and go HAM on the 2012 class." (Turgeon definitely looks like the kind of guy who'd say HAM.)
Remember that Turgeon touched on this a little bit in his introductory press conference, and he sounded just about right down the middle. He said that if a player could help them win even one game next year, he'd sign them, but he wasn't going to sign players just to fill out the roster. Frankly, that sounds like coach-speak for taking the latter option, but we'll have to wait and see.
(For the record, for those who think that it'd be pointless and just take up space from the 2012 class, Sean Miller came in to a similar situation at Arizona before picking up five commitments that formed the core of his Elite Eight team last year. At the same time, he had a lot more time than Turgeon does right now.)
If he does decide to take a few more players in 2011, it's unclear who he'd pursue. There are a couple of highly-touted, unsigned players left, led by DeAndre Daniels. Dave Telep said he wouldn't be surprised if he went to some team we'd never heard of. Somehow, I don't think he's talking about Maryland. Never say never, but I'd be very surprised if Maryland was able to get in on any of the unsigned stars left in the class, like Daniels or Trevor Lacey. I know some people will ask about them, though, so I'm just getting that out of the way now.
Marek Soucek is a long-time Maryland fling, and his size (7-0) would be a boon for a Maryland team short on height next season. He's Czech and there are some concerns about his ability to qualify (he's already 21), but if Turgeon likes his Dirk-esque game, I could see him being added as a developmental prospect with the ability to step in next year against the bigger frontlines Maryland has to face.
If you have a good memory, you might remember Matt Gorski, a 6-10 center who played for Team Takeover and got some Maryland looks awhile ago. He didn't develop as hoped and everyone just kind of forgot about him, me included, but he's still on the board. He has interest from Missouri with a few mid-major offers; he might get some looks if only due to his size. Hey, three stars on ESPN ain't too bad.
Past that, there are slim pickin's out of HS. Perhaps Kevin Ware, who's jumped around from Tennessee to Central Florida to yet another opened recruitment, would be an option to replace Faust's scoring on the wing. Jamari Traylor is a hard-nosed, 6-8 power forward with a wide-open list. But neither of those are particularly likely given that Maryland and Turgeon have had minimal contact with them in the past.
The other option is going the JuCo route. This is interesting, because obviously Maryland needs the immediate help, but Turgeon has no history with JuCos that I could find. Despite being in JuCo territory (ie, the South), he never signed a JC player in his time at TAMU. JuCo players still available at this point tend to have some academic issues, too, and we all know Maryland's record there.
The name that immediately comes to mind is Karron Johnson, but don't get too excited about it. Hes an extremely-talented former four-star who couldn't qualify to Oklahoma St. out of HS and had to go the JuCo route. He's back on the open market now, and is still unsigned. He's originally from Richmond and so has some ties to the area, but he kind of makes John Gilchrist look coachable. Getting him through admissions would be tough, and something tells me that Turgeon's "character" demand might not jibe with Johnson's past.
Other possible names (thanks to Benched Press' @mulebennett) are Dameatric Scott and Kevin Edmonds. Scott had some high-major interest out of high school but couldn't qualify and had to go the JuCo route. He's now a sophomore at Hagerstown CC, averaging 13.5 points and 7 boards as of January (hey, it's the most up-to-date we have). He's a 6-8 wing, perhaps with some Breunig in him.
Edmonds is a 6-8 forward from Harcum C.C., Berend Weijs' old home. He led the team in scoring (17 ppg) and rebounding (9 rpg) last season. At least compared to Weijs, whom Maryland took without much production at all, his track record is a bit more impressive. Given the connection Maryland has to Harcum via Weijs, that might be something to look at.
There are still plenty of people available. Bryant Crowder, a 6-10 big man, is still wide open and he seems to be considered in the top 30 nationally. Dwight Miller used to be at Pitt and had a bunch of other offers out of HS, but he was unimpressive in college and went JuCo. He's ranked #10 by JucoJunction and is still undecided, too. So are a bunch of others, presumably. But it'd be a crapshoot to try to pick out ones that Maryland might have legitimate interest in, and vice versa.
Looking at the options remaining in the 2011 class, I might go ahead and speculate that the most likely scenario is for Turgeon to recruit the decommitments and then just go to war with the roster he has, saving the rest for large 2012 class. But that's just a guess; we don't yet have a great indication of the way Turge will work.