Who Is Mark Turgeon?

Who Is Mark Turgeon?

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The question that many Maryland fans are beginning to ask themselves is not Who is this Maryland team? or Who is Melo Trimble? They understand this is a team that starts three freshmen and is extremely perimeter oriented. The question that begs answers and is weighing on Terp fans minds is, Who is Mark Turgeon?

 

Turgeon has turned this program around in the last three years. He inherited lacking talent when Gary Williams left and had to begin the process of rebuilding. In his first few years however, he swung and missed on the players he brought in. Nick Faust, Shaquille Cleare, Seth Allen, Charles Mitchell, and Roddy Peters all ended up transferring and having success in some way elsewhere. Peters success was very limited because he has since been dismissed from South Florida and transferred again to Nicholls State. So after the first few seasons, Turgeon was in desperate need of a turn around. Since the Terps have entered Big Ten play in 2014-2015, they have finished top three in conference play and made it to the semifinals in back-to-back seasons. This may have been what saved Mark Turgeon’s job. In his first three years at Maryland, he was just 59-43 with zero NCAA tournament appearances and just a trip to the NIT semifinals under his belt.

 

The success since joining Big Ten play has reinvigorated the fans and even brought back in the casual fan that slowly departed after the lack of success after the national title year in 2002. The problem that has begun to arise is that fans are starting to believe Turgeon is limited as a coach and is just a good recruiter. Turgeon has done many positive things in recent seasons. He has brought in talented transfers and recruits, and he has made Maryland relevant once again. These are all great things, but what seems to be lacking is the development of individual players’ skills, as well as the lack of consistent play on offense specifically. The players that came in have slowly developed or not at all, including all of the transfers mentioned above, plus Michal Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, Jared Nickens, and some would even argue Melo Trimble.

 

Let’s look at the coach that Turgeon is, not who he is not. Turgeon is a player’s coach. He gives his players a lot more freedom than other coaches do. When a coach does this it can help generate better camaraderie between teammates, but it can also backfire. In the first few years of his career at Maryland, it backfired. Some would even argue that it backfired last year, as the team seemed more focused on their payday than playing as a cohesive unit. Overall, since Maryland has entered the Big Ten, they have unarguably been successful as a team. Yes, everyone expected more last year with the immense talent on the team, but they also ran into a very good and balanced Kansas squad. This was the first year Maryland made the sweet sixteen since 2003, when Steve Blake led the squad. Turgeon has led Maryland to back-to-back NCAA tournaments and will do so again this year. Even toward the end of Gary’s admired reign, the team was very inconsistent in making the NCAA tournament. Nevertheless, Turgeon has provided some stability to that now, especially since he has brought in the right players in recent years.

 

Unfortunately for Turgeon, the future for this Maryland team appears to be vulnerable. Turgeon has had limited success in post-season play. In eighteen seasons as a head coach, Turgeon has made the NCAA tournament only seven times. In those seven seasons, he has led his teams to just two sweet sixteen’s- including one sweet sixteen game where he lead Wichita State by making a Cinderella run back in 2006. Turgeon’s teams seem to peak early in the season. This has also been shown while he has been at Maryland. His teams have won four straight early season tournaments, the Paradise Jam in 2013, the CBE Hall of Fame Classic in 2014, the Cancun Challenge in 2015, and the Barclays Center Classic this season. This all points back to the freedom he gives his players, especially on offense. Teams in early season play are still a work in progress; many teams struggle. Turgeon’s teams thrive in those situations. His players find ways to make plays and their freedom of play in the offense ends up working out for the better. You can get away with this in early season play. Once teams start improving and getting better is when other teams get exposed. This exposure has been happening to the Terps in recent seasons. They have become stagnant on offense later in the year and rely very heavily on perimeter-oriented play. Several examples of this are Terrell Stoglin, Seth Allen, Dez Wells and Melo Trimble. How many times since Turgeon has been coach do you see possessions in under ten seconds where the play ends with a pick and roll at the top of the three-point line where a guard forces a three or a drive to the basket? Maryland’s offense has been the same since Turgeon has been there; he just has better offensive weapons than when he started. One area where he has improved is drawing up plays after timeouts and in bound plays under the basket. In the past couple of seasons, Maryland’s execution has been leaps and bounds better than previous years.

 

All of this is not to deem Turgeon a failure. He has shown improvement over the years and also an ability to recruit at a level that his predecessor could not. He gets the most out of his players and gets them to buy in. Turgeon is still evolving as a coach, and he is only 52 years old and appears to have a lot left in the tank. For right now what you see is what you get in Coach Turgeon. You get a coach that has been extremely competitive since joining a new conference. You get a coach that loves being at Maryland. You get a coach that will bring in some of the best talent Maryland has had in the past 25 years. Yes, he is still a work in progress as far as X’s and O’s; but he will improve, as all good coaches do.

 

Since losing five of their last seven games, supporters have turned into haters at a rapid rate. Once the grumbling and complaining is silenced, Terp fans need to realize he just took a team that lost four pro’s last year and replaced them with three starting freshman and led them to the best start in Maryland’s storied history at 20-2.

 

So who is Mark Turgeon? That is up to him to decide.

Melo Guides The Terps Past Rutgers 67-55

Melo Guides The Terps Past Rutgers 67-55

 

 

College Park, MD – Melo Trimble led Maryland past Rutgers 67-55. Melo had been battling a sickness the previous few days before this contest. Quite honestly, it was hard to tell. Melo looked like his normal and steady self. He made some timely shots and was the veteran presence the Terps (18-2, 6-1) needed to pull away in the second half. Rutgers (12-9, 1-7) showed great toughness. They guarded hard all night and forced the Terps into many ugly turnovers, 18 to be exact. Rutgers had a tough time getting into any offensive flow. They really struggled from the foul line going just 10-24. If Rutgers could have made just even a handful more free throws, this game could have gotten interesting. Coach Steve Pikiell has his team doing all the right things to succeed in time. Once more talent comes through, Rutgers should compete in the middle of the pack of the Big Ten.

 

Melo Trimble proved that no matter the circumstances he is a leader on the court for Maryland. Coach Mark Turgeon said he had no idea how Trimble would feel, because the day before he looked terrible. Sickness does not always stop a player from playing at a high level. Some players rise through it and play at a high level, that is exactly what Melo did. Melo finished with a game high of 17 points, 3 three-pointers, six rebounds, four assists and five turnovers. The other main contributor for the Terps was Kevin Huerter. The freshman guard continues to show that he has a tremendous feel for the game. He see’s the passing lanes like few players do. Many times he passes the ball to open teammates and they have no clue it’s coming because they don’t even realize they are open. Huerter impacts the game for the Terps in so many ways. He defends at a high level, and helped limit Corey Sanders to 15 points, on 5-19 shooting. Huerter is a very solid rebounder as well. Despite not being the biggest or most physical presence (6’7 190) he led the team in rebounds with eight. Huerter has such a versatile skill set and is destined to be a solid contributor for the Terps for many years to come, as long as he stays in college. Huerter finished with eleven points, eight rebounds and six assists.

 

Another contributor for the Terps was Damonte Dodd. Dodd had eight points, five rebounds and three blocks.

 

The guard play for Rutgers is what fuels them. They rely way too much on sophomore guard Corey Sanders (6’2 181) and junior guard Nigel Johnson (6’1 186). Sanders is a very explosive scoring guard. He struggles with his outside shot and shooting jumpers in general. He is much more comfortable attacking off the dribble or off of the pick and roll. He turns the corner hard in pick and roll, and has great leaping ability allowing him to rise over defenders or perform acrobatic lay-ins. Sanders struggled shooting in this game, but a lot of that may be due to the fact that his team has only one other scoring option, Nigel Johnson. Sanders was shadowed by Huerter in the second half and that is when he became really limited on offense. Sanders finished with 15 points, three rebounds and three assists.

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Sanders back-court mate Nigel Johnson had a decent impact on offense as well as defense. He compliments Sanders well and if they had more teammates that could run and gun that may suit their team better. Johnson is not the best shooter. Like Sanders he thrives when he gets into the lane. He has a crafty floater and understands when to get all the way to the rim. Johnson is a solid on ball defender. He has great quickness and his active hands bother players with a suspect handle. Johnson posted 14 points, two three-pointers, four rebounds and two steals on the night.

 

Maryland continues to surprise many and probably even themselves with their hot start. This matched their best start ever, back when Steve Francis was their star guard in 1998-1999. Maryland at 18-2 and 6-1 in the Big 10, has officially put the conference and the rest of the country on notice.

 

Rutgers continues to struggle in conference play. They lack the skill players and veteran leadership needed to compete in a high-major conference like the Big 10. The effort and commitment to defense is definitely there though.

 

Up next for Rutgers is a home game vs Wisconsin on Saturday.

Up next for Maryland is @ Minnesota on Saturday.

Maryland Starting 5 Scouting Reports

Maryland Starting 5 Scouting Reports

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Click on the word documents to view players scouting reports

Melo Trimble

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Anthony Cowan

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Kevin Huerter

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Justin Jackson

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Damonte Dodd

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Melo Trimble Scouting Report – This Year Compared to Last Year

Melo Trimble Scouting Reports

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Click on the word document below for Melo Trimble’s scouting report from last season.

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Click on the word document below for Melo Trimble’s scouting report from this season.

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Scouting Report For The Maryland Terps Backcourt

The Maryland Terps Backcourt

Anthony Cowan and Melo Trimble

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Click on the word document below for the Anthony Cowan scouting report.

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Click on the word document below for the Melo Trimble scouting report.

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Maryland Opens BIG 10 Play With Decimation Of Illinois

Maryland Opens BIG 10 Play With Decimation Of Illinois

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College Park, MD – Maryland opened Big 10 play at home with a very impressive win over Illinois 84-59. In a game that was supposed to be a lot more competitive especially with Maryland having two of their big men out, Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky, Maryland made easy work of Illinois. Maryland decided to play small ball. Sometimes having L.G. Gill (6’8 230) playing center. This style of play allowed Maryland to spread the floor creating a variety of mismatches on the offensive end. Illinois lacks the team speed and athleticism to be able to recover after the guards of Maryland penetrated the lane.

 

For Illinois it was much of the same story of the past several seasons. Riding the back of senior shooting guard Malcolm Hill (6’6 225) the Illini tried to stay within respectability, but that in and of itself was very difficult on the night. Illinois was down 39-23 at half and Hill had twelve of those points. Hill lacking true point guard skills, plays mostly off the ball. He Has a solid stroke from deep and has an ability to post up smaller defenders. He is the main source of offense, and his team requires much of him to stay competitive. He just had zero help this game from his teammates. On the night Hill finished with 21 points and seven rebounds.

 

This may have been Maryland’s best performance of the season thus far. Mark Turgeon’s decision to play small may have opened a new realm of possibility for his team. Maryland’s strength is in its guard play, so we may be seeing a lot more of these smaller lineups in the future. Leading the way for Maryland was star point guard Melo Trimble (6’3 185). Trimble is continuing to show that he has his explosiveness back that was not there a season ago. Trimble got into the lane whenever he wanted and finished at the rim on several occasions over taller defenders. Trimble also showed an ability to pull up from mid range on drives and stay balanced to knock down shots. Trimble is starting to show why he was considered a first round talent after his freshman season. There were several scouts in attendance and his stock has to be on the rise. He did turn the ball over six times, which is a bit uncharacteristic of him, but that could be more of an anomaly. Melo finished with 20 points, 7-10 shooting, three rebounds and two assists.

The most impressive player on the floor had to be freshman point guard Anthony Cowan (6’0 170). Cowan continued his stellar play and showed more poise than he has in any other game this season. Cowan blew by defenders on the perimeter opening up the lane for dump off passes to cutters or open big men on several occasions. Cowan has a quick first step and finished extremely well against bigger defenders at the rim during this game. Cowan also hounds opposing ball handlers and uses his quickness to bother players especially on double teams. Cowan had three steals on the night and it could have been more if he was not called on a couple of reaching fouls. Cowan finished with twelve points, six assists, three rebounds, three steals and only one turnover in 34 minutes.

Two other players that had huge contributions for the Terps were Justin Jackson (6’7 225) and Jaylen Brantley (5’11 170). Jackson’s versatility was on full display. He showed an ability to hit perimeter jumpers, as well as his ability to put the ball on the floor and drive the lane. Jackson can finish with either hand on the drive, which is impressive at his size. He also provided solid interior defense using his length to get two blocks. Jackson finished with twelve points, four rebounds and two blocks. Brantley continued his stellar play coming of the bench. He provides another solid scoring option, as well as good leadership to keep the team on the right track. Brantley has a high motor when on the court. He is a constant effort player and it rubs off on his teammates. He had several tough rebounds in traffic and even scored on a put back while amongst the trees down low. Brantley has become a luxury for the Terps and it provides immediate impact when he is inserted into the game. Brantley finished with 13 points, five rebounds and three assists.

 

As BIG 10 play has begin the NBA scouts were in full attendance for this game. For Maryland, Melo Trimble will have to continue to show his improvement and for others like Justin Jackson the chance to make a lasting impression will be plenty. For Illinois, Malcolm Hill will have to show more effort on the defensive end, while also showing more of an ability to create for his teammates.

 

 

Up next for Illinois is a home game against Ohio State on Sunday.

Up next for Maryland is a home game against Nebraska on Sunday.

 

Maryland Survives Yet Again

Oklahoma State @ Maryland

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Maryland stormed back late in the second half to steal a win away from Oklahoma State 71-70. Melo Trimble made two free throws with under ten seconds to play to seal another late nail bitter win for the Terps. Jawun Evans of Oklahoma State made an off balanced floater, but it was after the buzzer had sounded. This game had the feel and energy of a tournament game in March.

 

Leading the way for Oklahoma State was star sophomore point guard Jawun Evans (6’1 185). Evans was a huge force in the first half penetrating the lane at will and putting himself and his teammates in positions to score. Evans also showed his quickness and pesky play on defense forcing Terps point guard Anthony Cowan into several turnovers. Jawun displayed why the NBA scouts may be keeping a close watch on him despite his lack of size. Not to mention his wingspan is reportedly over 6’4 and is quite noticeable. Evans fizzled off in the second half however only scoring six points. Cowan did a solid job guarding him and Damonte Dodd stepped up his pick and roll defense. Evans finished with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and two steals.

Also making a huge impact for the Cowboys was junior small forward Jeffrey Carroll (6’6 215). Carroll had a massive impact on the boards. He seemed to have an instinct that only the great rebounders have. He was constantly around the ball keeping it alive or just corralling the board himself. On offense Carroll showed an ability to hit the corner three in catch and shoot situations, as well as put the ball on the floor once the defense over commits. Carroll still has some work to do with his ball handling and playmaking abilities, but he has a solid skill set to start from. Carroll finished with 15 points, 3 of 6 from three and a game high 12 rebounds.

Phil Forte III (5’11 195) struggled shooting the ball all night. He went 3 of 16 from the field, including just 2 of 10 from three. Forte did play some solid defense on Melo and others to contribute in a different way. Forte finished with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists.

 

For Maryland Melo Trimble (6’3 185) led the way. Trimble impacted the game with his veteran leadership and his defense that has vastly improved over the last two seasons. Trimble’s shooting woes continued from three going 0 for 5 on the night. Melo’s shot looks good and has consistent form it just still isn’t falling for him. When Melo struggles from three he just drives the lane and does what he does best. He may be the best penetrator in the country. Trimble finished with 13 points, six assists and four rebounds.

The Terps received unexpected contributions from a couple of role players on the night. The most impactful in the second half was junior guard Jaylen Brantley (5’11 170). Brantley provided a much need spark when Maryland was down 60-48 late in the second half. He was in the game while Melo was taking a rest and the Terps erased a twelve point deficit and took a lead 61-60. Brantley made several key jumpers and even attacked the rim where he drew contact on several occasions. Brantley finished with twelve points and two rebounds.

The other impactful player for the Terps was senior center Damonte Dodd (6’11 250) or also known as Doddzilla. Dodd was a force in the paint on both ends of the floor. On offense he crashed the glass hard, getting five offensive rebounds. Dodd mainly scored off of very close range lay ins or put backs. His offensive game is still very limited and raw. On defense Dodd was a nuisance to anyone who dared to come in the paint. He altered many shots and finished with three blocks. If Dodd can consistently provide this effort and impact for the Terps that will vastly help balance their perimeter heavy attack. Dodd finished with twelve points, eight rebounds and three rebounds.

 

This game provided positive signs for fans of both teams. For Oklahoma State it showed that they can compete in a tough road environment. They just need more work on how to put away an opponent on the road, which is easier said than done. For Maryland it showed that they will never give up no matter how dim the situation may seem. The question for Maryland is how long can they live on the edge like this?

 

Up next for Maryland is a home game vs Howard on Wednesday.

Up next for Oklahoma State is an away game vs Tulsa on Saturday.