Smooth Sailing

The trio of assistants are looking to reshape Maryland recruiting, which has come under fire in recent years for the failure to lure local talent to College Park.

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Since inheriting the Maryland basketball program, things have been looking up for Mark Turgeon.

After assembling his coaching staff, which includes his former assistant at Texas A&M Scott Spinelli, Kansas State associate head coach Dalonte Hill and carryover Bino Ranson, the new Terps regime has vaulted into the thick of the off-season.

"I feel great about my staff and the guys that we've been assembled, and that we're going to work well together," Turgeon said in a teleconference Tuesday afternoon. "Spinelli, Bino and Dalonte – they're all really plugged in this area and know a lot of people."

The trio of assistants are looking to reshape Maryland recruiting, which has come under fire in recent years for the failure to lure local talent to College Park.

However, with the continuity that comes with retaining Ranson, and the addition of Washington, D.C. native Hill and Spinelli, the team can extend their recruiting platform from Baltimore to D.C. and beyond.

In his first week as head coach, Turgeon has already gained a commitment from Virginia product Seth Allen, a 6-foot-2 combo guard from Fredericksburg Christian. Allen, touted for his Euro step and unique blend of speed and power, is expected to fit in well with Maryland's new style of play.

"Any type of momentum you have in recruiting is good. To do what we did that first week was big," Turgeon said.

While Allen joins the likes of Justin Anderson in the team's 2012 class, it was Gary Williams' retirement that spread havoc among the incoming recruits.

Nick Faust, Sterling Gibbs and Martin Breunig all re-opened their recruiting processes. Gibbs opted to change his college destination to Austin to play for Rick Barnes and the Texas Longhorns, while Breunig is still weighing his options.

Faust, the Baltimore native, has committed to play for the Terps.

Turgeon said he endured a number of sleepless nights waiting to hear Faust's decision, even suggesting he embarked on an unforeseen diet in the process. After Lisa Faust, Nick's mother, asked for her son's release from the school, Turgeon explained that his success at Maryland would rely heavily on Nick's commitment.

That conversation, one in which Turgeon called his most important yet, led to Faust recommitting. He will enroll in classes this summer.

Faust will join nine returning scholarship athletes, including Berend Weijs, Mychael Parker, Terrell Stoglin, Haukur Palsson, Ersin Levent, Pe'Shon Howard, James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and lone senior Sean Mosley.

After accepting the job, Turgeon met individually and in groups with all of the players, as well as their families.

"We wanted to make sure the [nine] scholarship players that were coming back felt comfortable. I feel pretty good about the relationships we've built," Turgeon said. "I felt really good about the character of the young men I was going to be coaching, and that gives you a chance."

Turgeon reiterated a comment he made during his introductory press conference that he will not watch a lot of film, if any, on the current roster. Because he is implementing a different system, he will hold off until June to form an opinion.

"I watched a lot of them coming out of high school. I know most of them. I have a good feel. I don't want to form my opinion on a different system. I want to form my opinion when I get to work with them."

With the loss of three seniors – Cliff Tucker, Adrian Bowie and Dino Gregory – as well as Jordan Williams to the NBA Draft, Turgeon pointed to the frontcourt as the team's biggest question mark heading into the summer.

When asked if he could foresee another recruit added to the 2011 class or a possible transfer coming in, Turgeon said it would have to be the right fit in order for him to pull the trigger.

"We'd like to add a piece but it has to be a right piece. I'm not going to add a stiff just to add a stiff. I want to add a basketball player. We're going to be real selective," he said, noting that the team would need length to help compete in ACC. "When you get the job in the middle of May it's tough to add that piece."

He added that if he does not add another player this year he would save the scholarship for 2012.

Possible in-house solutions to replace Gregory and Williams up front include Pankey, Wejis and Padgett.

Coming off of a season-ending leg surgery in late December, Pankey is cleared to resume working out in full June 1. Pankey had participated in an individual beforehand for which he was reprimanded.

Pankey has dealt with leg injuries dating back to his senior year of high school at St. Anthony's High School (NJ) when he suffered a stress fracture in his left shin. Turgeon said the forward feels best since his junior year – the last he was fully healthy – and expects Panky to really contribute this season.

From this point on, Turgeon and his staff will look to amp up recruiting, especially come June. Turgeon said he has made between 100 and 120 phone calls to people in the area and influential players, saying he would call anybody he believes can help the program be successful.

"I'm just trying to contact as many people to let them to know they're important to me…and all that we're all in it together," Turgeon said. "There's a lot of people in this area who want Maryland basketball to be the best, and those are the people I'm trying to contact."

While the staff focuses their attention on recruiting, Williams to host summer camps. Turgeon will also attempt to organize pickup games with former Terps players and some college and NBA players who live locally.

Comcast Center will also be receiving a makeover. New weight room facilities will be installed for the men's and women's basketball teams. August is the expected time for completion.

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