A Tale of Two Programs - UMD vs. U of Oregon

I cannot wait any longer. I need to provide the ultimate comparison to "stoke" further debate. Please forgive the sensationalizing of my following intro....

Weed vs. Weed... (H/T Parker/Stogs vs. UO Football [1])

UA vs. Nike...

Turge vs. Dana..

8 Schollies vs. 10 (2 nubs) Schollies

Bball Success vs. Bball Mess

I've seen quite a bit of contentious wrangling after restarting with some contris on the board a few months ago. I was reading some when I had the chance during my hiatus, but my head has begun to spin a bit with all the valiant attempts at putting Coach Turge's current run into context. Some comparisons have been very good. Some have been, shall we say, misinformed or "apples to oranges."

I would like to take a stab at an interesting case that might make many of us on either side of the seasonal debate about whether or not our (S)Turgeon will produce a high quality set of eggs in the near future, or merely lay too many goose eggs in the loss column.

I believe it is reasonable to expect some initial bumps in the road when a coach takes over a program with expectation of success in the near future. It's a mixed bag, whether it be football or basketball. Some say it takes more time in football, yet an outlier like James Franklin turned that general rule of thumb pretty much on its head. We've seen some new basketball head coaches inject immediate life into a program, while quite a few other successful coaches follow a steadily upward trajectory.

But after presenting my example of the inconsistent Nova season of 2012-13 in contrast to this year's Nova team as a possible looking glass into next year for Terps fans, I also would like to present some passing thoughts I've had in my bball junkie mind (although it's pure - lol) these past three years.

Almost exactly a year before the hiring of Mark Turgeon, the University of Oregon made a hire that some hoops experts thought was a good hire, while others believed it was questionable. Dana Altman took over a rudderless Oregon basketball program. Jerry Green led the Ducks to their only 2A appearance in the 90s in '95, and Ernie Kent broke through with a visit in 2000. Kent experienced mostly middling results except for two exceptional years in '01-'02 and '06-'07 (Aaron Brooks helped a bit), making the Elite 8 both seasons while finishing the season with 26 and 29 wins, respectively. After Kent's 3 disappointing seasons (18-14, 8-23, 16-16) following the '07 Elite Eight visit, Kent was fired.

Dana Altman was viewed by most as a solid, unglamorous choice. He was Midwest (Nebraska) born, and had played his college ball in the Midwest as well (Neb and NM). Altman earned his coaching stripes toiling away in Colorado, Missouri, K St (asst - ed. note - a friend of mine was Frosh All Big-8 the year before Altman arrived)before starting out on his first good HC gig at Marshall U. K State followed, with Altman experiencing some big wins over 4 years (thorn in the side of Kansas, beating the #6 and #1 Jayhawks in consecutive years). Altman then took the Creighton job in his home state. He built up the program to a solid level of success in the Missouri Valley Conference over the next 14 years, and even turned down the Arkansas job after accepting in '07.

When Altman took over Oregon, I wondered how he would do on the West Coast after being a Midwest guy (yes, I do it for effect). Ernie Kent had left the program in a weakened state, and I was curious if the power of Phil Knight and Altman's 2 Mil per year contract was worth it.

Upon reading about Altman back in 2010, I thought Altman might not have fully grasped what he was getting into at Oregon. Not only were the previous 3 year's teams weak, with 6 departed players, Altman scrambled to get 10 scholarship players for his inaugural season ( ). It sure looked like a buzz saw to me (and many others).

But Matt Knight Arena opened the next season. After a first season that exceeded the low expectations from most everyone (21-18, CBI champs), Altman went to work. Despite 5 star Jabari Brown's defection from the 2011 recruiting class, Altman plugged away, sticking with his forte, teaching the game to his group of 3 star recruits. After a 24-10 season with 2nd place PAC-12 finish under his belt, the Ducks went 28-8 (2nd place Pac-12) and made the Sweet 16 in his 3rd season. For us recruitniks, you might think, "well, Altman must have been recruiting his butt off the next season." Not exactly, on paper at least. Altman followed up his 2011 (3) 3-star, 1 unranked player class with a 2012 (1) 4-star (Dominic Artis - orig. committed to UCLA), (3) 3-star, (2) unranked (1 of those Juco) player class. 2013 brought (1) 4 star (Tyree Robinson, dual sport athlete who plays on the Ducks football team), (3) 3-stars (1 of those a Juco), 2 unrated (Jucos). This has led to this season's 13-1 start (#17 rank, #7 RPI, #38 SOS). Oh, and the 2014 class - (2) 3-stars and (2) Jucos (although one player is formerly highly rated bball "vagabond" Michael Chandler who we all know was academically challenged for a while, but tried to get his school pieces together) - 7 Juco players thus far - amazing work...

I find it interesting that a coach from the MVC, known more as an x(s) and o(s) coach, by all accounts hasn't recruited that well, has attained the level of success in 4 years that Altman has.

I still the Terps will finish decently this season, but I am frustrated that a program like Oregon, without any sustained periods of excellence throughout its entire men's bball history, is experiencing what I was hoping we'd be achieving by this 3rd season season.

Rest assured, I'm still an optimistic lean towards a surprise for some doubters later this season, but it still is not where I thought we'd wind up this season.

Last season, I read many touting the scouting/coaching ability of Coach Spinelli, the recruiting prowess that our power 4 staff (and Dustin makes 5 - lol) was (to some) surprisingly displaying despite the twin "setback," and figured the staff was going to coach like no tomorrow and build our recruits into a tough out night in, night out. Instead, it's been fits and starts, ups and downs, head scratching and back slapping (last year was at least), and a disturbing lack of consistency permeating our squad.

But in the future, I encourage you all to take a close look at what has happened at Oregon as an interesting coach to coach, program to program comparison to Maryland. The whole Nike vs UA irony has me hooked too.

Lastly, I need to reiterate from previous postings that I will not count out Coach Turgeon, the staff, or our guys. I want them to all sit down and watch the ESPN 30 for 30 episode with Hank Gathers to center themselves with some finishing notes:

To our guys in the post - "Anyone can score 30 pts a night if that's what he's concentrating on. But rebounding is special because it comes from the heart." Be relentless on the boards.

To our guys on the perimeter - have patience. Pass more and find the open man when opposing Ds collapse.

To our guys in between - stop being spectators at times and keep a flow going. you've got to make opposing Ds move around more whether they're in zone or man - it opens it up as you know too well - execute. Protect the ball more - dribble less, pass more and get a better flow going like at the end of last season.

Gathers was said to have the heart of a lion. For that reason alone, I will not count out our scrappy coach - his middle name is Leo after all...


bball purist


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