Turgeon more comfortable after year one

With a year under his belt, A&M head coach Mark Turgeon says he's much more comfortable after his first season at Texas A&M. Aggie Websider's Dallas Shipp continues his series in an exclusive one-on-one interview with the Aggie hoops coach.

Anytime you move a family halfway across the country, there's going to be an adjustment period. But when you're the head basketball coach at a major Division-I program, there isn't much time to get settled in. After a sluggish start in Big 12 play last season, it appeared as if Turgeon's welcome party was going to end quickly.

But with a season-ending run through the Big 12 Tournament and NCAA Tournament, Turgeon was able to prove that he has what it takes to keep the Aggie program rolling.

"I was relatively pleased with the season," Turgeon said. "I thought we lost a couple of home games we shouldn't have lost, but for the most part I was happy with what we accomplished and the way we finished. Of course you wish you would have finished out the UCLA game but we didn't. But for the most part, being a new coach, inheriting a group of players, I felt we represented ourselves and the Big 12 pretty well."

Turgeon said that he does feel more comfortable heading into his second year at A&M because he is more familiar with his players and they know what to expect from him.

"There were a lot of challenges last year, but the good thing was I had a good team and I knew that when I took the job," he said. "It was just a matter of trying to get them on the same page. But it's hard the first year, moving a family and all that stuff, but starting the second cycle is so much easier. The guys coming back have all bought into the way we do things and we'll play a little bit different next year. Will it get us to 25 wins? I don't know. We lost a lot of good players."

That's an understatement. Over the last two years, the Aggies have lost the entire nucleus that helped build the Texas A&M basketball program over the last four years. This season, Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones—two of the all-time favorites in A&M basketball history—were among those to go, along with Beau Muhlbach and DeAndre Jordan, who led the team in rebounds.

"Obviously we lost four of our top eight guys, so we have a lot of holes to fill," Turgeon said. "But I feel good about going into next year with (Donald) Sloan and Josh (Carter) and Bryan Davis, guys who have proven themselves at a pretty high level, and having Derrick Roland back, who was playing some pretty significant minutes for us too. We're really going to rely on those four guys and hopefully everyone else can step up."

Turgeon just hopes that he and his staff can continue to build on the momentum of the final weeks of the 2007-08 season.

"I'm not the kind of guy that walks into a room and changes everybody's opinion of me the first time they meet me," Turgeon said. "They get to know my character and what I'm about and I can see that happening here too. I know that this year there are eight to 10 guys on the roster that I've already coached for a year and they're going to help coach the new guys, so that will make it a lot easier, too."

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