Turgeon will not be Gary Williams because no one is going to be Gary Williams. The relationship between Williams and Maryland was unique: He was the prodigal son returned home to save the family, and he did exactly that. One of the reasons some of us chafed — okay, got angry — over the recent whining that Williams wasn’t winning enough was that we remembered how dire things were when he took over.
Turgeon is walking into a far better situation than his predecessor did. There is no NCAA investigation hanging over his head. There is a national championship banner hanging in Comcast Center, which is absolute proof that Maryland can scale any and all heights in college basketball.
The playing cupboard isn’t as full as Williams would have liked, in large part because Jordan Williams decided to pass up his final two years of college to be part of the NBA lockout next fall. But there are good young guards in the program already and more scheduled to arrive next fall. Turgeon will have to re-recruit them because that’s the way the game is played, but they’ll be at Maryland once all the appropriate bowing and scraping is done to make them and their posses happy.
Turgeon will win at Maryland. Of course, until he does, a lot of Terps fans will moan and groan about the selection and whine about how their school doesn’t get enough respect.
Seriously folks, get over it.
A persecution complex is a long-cherished tradition for many at Maryland. No one embodied that more than Williams, who liked to say that Maryland was “the Siberia of the ACC,” which presumably makes Boston College the North Pole.
On the night Maryland won the national championship in Atlanta, a large group of fans stood a few yards from Chris Wilcox screaming as he hugged his teammates. They were not yelling, “Way to go Chris, we did it, we won the national championship!”
Not even close. “Wilcox, you have to come back next year; we have to do this again!”
So much for enjoying the greatest achievement in school history.
No doubt those same people will point out that Turgeon has never been past the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. They’ll lament that Maryland couldn’t find a way to entice Stevens or Miller or Brey or Wright or Dixon.
They will be wrong. Maryland’s last basketball coach hadn’t been past the Sweet 16 when he arrived in College Park either. He did okay. Check the banners in the rafters next season and the name on the court.
Maryland may not have gotten its first choice to replace Gary Williams but it may very well have gotten the best choice. The point isn’t to win the press conference. It is to win championships. Mark Turgeon can do that.
For more from the author, visit his blog at www.feinsteinonthebrink.com