That's a fair argument to make. Nobody can argue with that. All things being equal, experience is superior to inexperience.
But if that is the argument you are going to make it's worth considering the last 7 years of his stay in College Park, a time that none of us would consider to be acceptable for Maryland Basketball if we are being honest (I was a big of a defender as Gary as anyone).
The Last 7 years of Gary: Success with Experience but Not Acceptable
Were, as much as I love Gary Williams (and putting aside the fact that I think the 2009-2010 team was a buzzer beater away from a Final Four run) not acceptable for Maryland Basketball.
|2005–2006||Maryland||19–13||8–8||6th||NIT 1st Round|
|2006–2007||Maryland||25–9||10–6||T–3rd||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2007–2008||Maryland||19–15||8–8||T–5th||NIT 2nd Round|
|2008–2009||Maryland||21–14||7–9||T–7th||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2009–2010||Maryland||24–9||13–3||T–1st||NCAA 2nd Round|
The trend was clear when it comes to experience:
06-07 season with 25-9 record
Strawberry (SR), Vasquez (FR), Gist (JR), Jones (SR), Ibekwe (SR), Hayes (FR)
08-09 seson with a 21-14 record
Vasquez (JR), Hayes (JR), Mosely (FR), Milbourne (JR), Neal (SR)
09-10 season with a 24-9 record (maybe a buzzer beater away from a FF)
Vasquez (SR), Hayes (SR), Milbourne (SR), Mosley (SO), Williams (FR)
Thus it's fair to say that we had success when we had experience and the opposite of success when we did not. Now, many will interpret this as evidence in favor of giving Turge a pass on this year, and reason to be optimistic about the future. However, I think the point needs to be made that the last 7 years of Gary's tenure were not acceptable for Maryland Basketball.
And so if you are saying, we have to wait until the kids grow up to judge Turgeon, I'm not really feeling that argument, because to me what you are really saying is that the next seven years are going to be a lot like the last seven years. Unless of course you hold onto the fairy tale notion that we can be experienced every single year (yes, it is a fairy tale Virginia--kids transfer, kids become ineligible, kids leave for the pros and Europe). Maybe Turge, through consistently restocking the cupboard can limit the number of years that we are going to be inexperienced, but there are going to be 2 years out of every 7 at least where the basketball gods hate us and we have to rely on youth, and/or guys in the padgett mold--career backups who are thrust into the spotlight. If the next seven years are going to improve over the last we are going to have to win and make the tournament with young and inexperienced teams. This is a point that I don't think is raised often enough when blaming our current season on youth and inexperience.
To me, given that we already know that Turge isn't going to put an inexperienced team over the top--this means we have to look for him to start landing higher quality recruits if we are truly going to improve on our recent past.
As "after it" as he has seemed on the recruiting trail, he's yet to land a true blue chipper. Anyone watching our team this year can see that plain and simple. There are some nice program recruits, some guys who can be studs that lead us to a sweet 16 when they are juniors and seniors if they really put the work in, but I do not see many true, true game changing recruits out there, those kind of recruits that could carry a team like this year's comfortably into the tournament or a team like the 09-10 team into the Final Four on their backs. Those are the recruits we need to start landing. If we don't, there are goign to be years like this years team, where we are inexperienced and I think we already know how that will play out. And if we don't land those game changing recruits, when guys like Dez and Nick are seniors, I don't think we will really have the firepower to make a run at a final four. Thus, the next seven years will be a lot like Gary's last 7: several first and second round losses (maybe a sweet 16) several years of NIT or worse.
The bottom line is that those are the recruits we are going to have to start nabbing if we are truly on the path to becoming nationally relevant again. And so in '14, it will be CRUCIAL that we land a kid like Vaughn, or Morgan. Someone with real 1 and Done potential. A true McD's AA. That to me would signal that we are on the rise. Otherwise, I think what we are in store for is a slightly better version of the last 7 years, with maybe 1-2 torunament misses instead of 3-4, given that Turge seems more after it in terms of keeping program depth. To me that would not be acceptable, and not what I had in mind when Turge came in. Maybe others will disagree as to this last point.