Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Maryland’s Turgeon Talks Recruiting, Upcoming Season
GALLOWAY, N.J. — Maryland coach Mark Turgeon sat in the stands at Stockton College this week trying to find a few guards to help lead his program in the future.
Like all college coaches, Turgeon is not permitted to comment on recruitable student-athletes but among the guards he was watching were Rysheed Jordan, a point guard from Philly Vaux Roberts who plans to cut his list this summer, and Xavier Rathan-Mayes, a shooting guard from Huntington (W.V.) Prep with a slew of offers but not yet one from Maryland.
Maryland, of course, is also in the Harrison Twins Sweepstakes. Aaron and Andrew, two of the top players in the Class of 2013, are considering the Terps along with Kentucky, Baylor, Villanova and SMU and have said they will announce in September or October.
“We’re looking to add guards,” Turgeon, speaking generally about his recruiting needs, told SNY.tv. “One guard or two guards. We don’t have a lot to give.”
On paper, the Terps have three, possibly four, scholarships to give in 2013, “But we just signed a bunch of young kids, so we’re only going to sign one or two guards if we can,” the coach said.
Maryland’s incoming recruiting class includes guards Sam Cassell Jr., and Seth Allen, forward Jake Layman and big men Charles Mitchell and Shaq Cleare, who is close with the Harrison Twins and also hails from Texas.
“We have some good young guards, and it all depends on if they come around, we got a chance,” said Turgeon, whose team finished 17-15 overall, 6-10 in the ACC.
Turgeon said he expects guard Pe’Shon Howard to be fully healed from his ACL tear in time for the season opener Nov. 9 against Kentucky at Barclays Center.
“He started running straight lines and stuff,” Turgeon said. “He’s way ahead of schedule. He should be 100 percent when practice starts.”
Howard figures to play some point guard, along with Allen, Cassell and Nick Faust.
“I don’t know who our point guard is going to be, he’ll have a shot at it,” Turgeon said of Howard.
“I think Nick Faust going into his sophomore year has really improved, he’ll have a good year for us.”
With the transfer of former St. Anthony forward Ashton Pankey to Manhattan, Turgeon is also expecting big things up front from 7-1 sophomore Alex Len and 6-8 senior James Padgett, Lance Stephenson’s former teammate at Brooklyn Lincoln.
“All the returning guys have gotten better, Alex Len, Nick Faust, James Padgett and, of course, Peshon’s been hurt,” Turgeon said. “They’ve all gotten a lot better.
“Alex Len, he’s got a huge upside. As long as his confidence is good and he becomes more physical, he’s got a big upside. He’s really improved since the season ended. He’s got a chance to be really good.”
Turgeon also thinks Padgett can make a jump.
“James has really gotten better,” he said. “He’s changed his body, put on like 15-18 pounds this summer of muscle. He looks great, works hard.”
Maryland will open the season in Padgett’s home borough of Brooklyn against the defending NCAA champion Kentucky Wildcats, which should give both teams a quick indication of where they stand.
“It’s a chance to play Kentucky on a neutral court, ESPN, I think it’s a no-brainer for us to do,” Turgeon said. “Tough way to start, but we’ll have two young teams out there.”
A year from now, the ACC will add Syracuse and Pittsburgh from the Big East, which will only make the league that much more competitive.
“It’s great for the ACC,” he said. “Two really good teams. Some new coaches in our league, programs will get going again. With adding those two, we should have the best league.”
Finally, Turgeon repeated his thought that he’d like to see the summer AAU calendar break up Las Vegas and Orlando so that they don’t overlap in the final week of July.
“Yeah, I think that would be a lot easier on the coaches,” he said. “It’s a lot of travel and hard travel. I don’t know if they can do it but maybe do Vegas the first week, and Peach Jam the second week and Orlando the third week maybe and then sprinkle in all of these other events.
“It’s hard to cover no matter how they do it.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.