Maryland Basketball: 5 Things New Coach Mark Turgeon Must Do
Mark Turgeon has a lot of work to do this season as the new coach of the Maryland Terrapins. He has some stellar pieces to work with including sophomore Terrell Stoglin, star B'more recruit Nick Faust and Ukrainian big man Alex Len.
He also has to deal with the departure of Jordan Williams, the loss of Pe'shon Howard for 10 weeks and the expectations of a fan base missing legend Gary Williams.
In order to get College Park to warm up to him, here are five things Coach Turgeon must do in his first season.
1. Get Production from Alex Len
The departure of Jordan Williams left a big hole in Maryland's post game, but center Alex Len gives the Terps a serious defensive presence inside.
Len won't be able to play for the first 10 games due to recruiting violations by Maryland. Berend Weijs will probably be the starter in the middle on day one.
Once Len gets back, look for him to be a big part of the Terps' strategy in conference play.
2. Keep Maryland in the Elite Circle of ACC Basketball
The ACC is very top heavy. If the ACC were the American League East, a few years ago Maryland would have been compared to the Tampa Rays. They were always up for playing spoiler to the Yankees and Red Sox, or Duke and North Carolina. However, now they are looking more like their feathered neighbors in Baltimore.
They've lost two extremely talented players over the past two seasons (Greivis Vasquez and Jordan Williams). The road only looks tougher to stay in the hunt for the ACC title. The additions of Syracuse and Pitt to the ACC turn the quality of basketball in the conference to an 11.
They've started in the right direction with a bonanza recruiting class. They have to keep a quality stream of players coming to College Park if they want to keep pace with Duke and North Carolina.
3. Make a Statement Early
The Terps play No. 17-ranked Alabama on November 17th. It's an early opportunity to play spoiler and get some good attention.
4. Develop the Right Strategy at Guard
Returning point guard Pe'shon Howard is out until the end of December with a broken foot.
Terrell Stoglin isn't too much of a downgrade in the interim. He averaged 11.4 pts per game last season.
Turgeron is a defensive-minded coach, while Stoglin is a score-first type of player. These two need to make sure they are on the same page.
5. Don't Make Fans Miss Gary
It's hard to replace a legend. Gary Williams was as close to one as College Park will likely see in a while.
Of course, the easiest way for Terps fans to warm up to you is to beat Duke—easier said than done.
Turgeron should take notes from Arizona coach Sean Miller. He had the tough job of filling Lute Olson's shoes. In just two seasons he has revived Arizona's program.
Mark has his work cut out for him this season. There is a lot of talent as well as a lot of question marks coming from the Comcast Center. If Turgeon can win some key games, get production from big names and build the team for the future, it will be sunny days in College Park once again.
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