Terps coach Turgeon realistic in his assessment of team

Maryland TerrapinsBasketballHuman InterestSportsGary WilliamsMark TurgeonAtlantic Coast Conference

Mark Turgeon knows next season's Maryland roster is literally thin up front. Its biggest returning player -- 6-foot-10 Berend Weijs -- has limited experience and is on a 5,000-calories-per-day regimen to bulk up.

But the new men's basketball coach said Tuesday that he loves his guards, expects to coach a more up-tempo style than he did at Texas A&M, and doesn't plan to add to his frontcourt-depleted roster for next season unless he finds the right fit.

In other words, Turgeon -- who held his first media question-and-answer session since being introduced as Gary Williams' replacement May 11 -- is realistic but not desperate.

"Obviously the roster is not where it needs to be, but Gary told me that," Turgeon, said during a conference call. Maryland is "not going to add a stiff to add a stiff."

With the coaching change, the Terps' 2011 recruiting class has dwindled from three to one, with guard Nick Faust (City) the lone signee. The Terps were also hurt by the loss of 6-foot-10 Jordan Williams, the Atlantic Coast Conference's rebounding leader, who chose to leave after two seasons and enter the NBA draft.

Retaining Faust was significant. The 6-foot-6 wing player, who can score in a variety of ways, was the most coveted of the three-member class.

Turgeon, who was chatty and amiable Tuesday, laughed when asked about Faust's committing to Maryland -- for the second time -- after discussions with the guard and his family. "That was huge," Turgeon said. The coach said he joked with Faust's mother, telling her: "Hey, Lisa, if Nick doesn't come to Maryland, I won't be here in two or three years."

Turgeon said he was disappointed in some of Gary Williams' other recruits "not giving me a chance to recruit them." He didn't mention names, and it was uncertain whether he was talking about either of the 2011 recruits -- point guard Sterling Gibbs is heading to Texas and forward Martin Breunig has been looking elsewhere -- or perhaps 2012 target Justin Anderson from Montrose Christian. Anderson, who had committed in March, has been weighing his options. Turgeon is not permitted by NCAA rules to discuss unsigned recruits.

At least for the coming season, Maryland might be left to play a version of "small ball." Turgeon's top three returning scorers are guards: Terrell Stoglin, Sean Mosley and Pe'Shon Howard. "Our guard play should be fantastic," the coach said.

Under Turgeon, Texas A&M was 24-9 last season while averaging 68.3 points, 182nd in Division I. Some Maryland fans have wondered whether the Terps -- who liked to run under Gary Williams -- will slow down under Turgeon.

Turgeon said he will adapt to whatever style might translate into winning. "I took over a program at Texas A&M that needed to walk the ball up," he said. "This year's team wasn't supposed to be any good and we won 24 games. I think next year's [Maryland] team will be a lot of guards, so we'll have to play faster."

Free throws: Forward Ashton Pankey's leg is healed and he's ready to play. Pankey (stress fracture) had surgery and missed most of his freshman season. "He hasn't felt this good since his junior year of high school," the coach said. … None of Turgeon's three coaching assistants -- Bino Ranson, Dalonte Hill and Scott Spinelli -- will be designated as "recruiting coordinator," and none is restricted to specific recruiting regions. "I think it comes down more to contacts than to region," Turgeon said. … Turgeon has heard about swingman Mychal Parker's potential, while also hearing that the freshman was "a little immature" and "didn't have a great year" last season. Parker played little, averaging just 1.2 points.

jeff.barker@baltsun.com

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