Let me start this by saying a few things:
- I am not a Gary Williams hater. He brought to MD something I thought I may never see in a National Championship. He and Gilchrist gave me a come from behind ACC Championship on over Duke on my birthday. I love what he did for MD basketball.
- This has nothing to do with how well Mark Turgeon can coach players up and teach them how to play team offense and defense. These facts are definitely up for debate, but I will say that at least he has had success at every other stop in his coaching career.
This post has to do with what I observed for 20+ years watching GW's teams and what transpired a couple of years ago right after MT arrived at MD.
Gary Williams rarely recruited out of his comfort zone. He recruited under the radar, chip on their shoulder players that would stay around for 4 years. When he did finally get a blue chip class, they did win an ACC Championship (see my birthday reference above), but he never really could them to play that well as a team and I think everyone can agree that the class of Gilchrist, McCray, Strawberry and Garrison underachieved as a group. After that he went back to what he new and achieved some success when Vasquez grew into a top college player and he found another overlooked big man in Jordan Williams.
When Mark Turgeon arrived on campus. he hired a boom or bust assistant coach that was meant to bring in top flight recruits and bring the Terps back into the fold in the Baltimore/DC area. He went after the two most sought after guards in the country and battled the mighty John Calipari and UK to end and almost struck gold. These are two actions Gary would have never lowered himself (in his mind) to even contemplate doing.
Today I had the chance to watch UK for the first time this year and I couldn't help but wonder what MD would be like with the Harrison twins on board and a little bit of backcourt depth behind them.
Mark Turgeon took a huge gamble trying to beat out UK and get some top recruits to come to a program that has not been relevant, save for GVs senior year, for almost a decade. He gambled his third year, a year in which coaches should show great improvement, by putting a great deal of eggs in the Harrison basket.
Whether it was the right decision or not, it took guts to what Turgeon did and it's a road that Gary pretty much refused to travel down. That is why I think that Mark Turgeon has more balls than Gary Williams.