Former Kansas basketball point guard/staff member Mark Turgeon carefully maneuvered his rental car on congested KU campus roads Friday afternoon before re-directing to Sports Pavilion Lawrence on the far west edge of town.
The 52-year-old, seventh-year Maryland head hoops coach dodged various detours while catching a glimpse of Allen Fieldhouse, Memorial Stadium, Strong Hall and some other familiar structures along the way.
“I talked to Bill (Self, KU coach) about all the growth on campus,” Turgeon said Friday after watching a Hardwood Classic AAU game with Oregon coach Dana Altman — the two seated in the same row of bleachers as Self. “It’s all over, but that’s growth. Growth is great and they are doing a lot of great things on campus. It’s good to see.”
Topeka native Turgeon had last been to Lawrence in March 2011, when his fourth and final Texas A&M team fell to the Jayhawks 64-51 as part of KU’s Senior Day festivities at Allen Fieldhouse.
Since then, there have been renovations to Allen, as well as construction of a new residence for the Jayhawk players along with a building to house the rules of basketball.
Also, various buildings of academia have been either constructed or are in the process of being raised.
“I see a lot of great things happening,” said Turgeon, who played on Larry Brown’s 1986 Final Four team and was a staff member on the 1988 NCAA championship squad.
One of the “great things” ahead is Self’s Sept. 8 induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
“He deserves it,” Turgeon said of Self, who worked as a KU graduate assistant for Brown in ’86 when Turgeon, known as “The Surgeon,” served as a team captain on that Final Four squad. “What that guy (Self) has done is amazing. It didn’t surprise me. I’m happy for him. He’s such a good guy and obviously a tremendous basketball coach. I’m probably more happy he’s at my alma mater and they continue to kick butt every year.”
Turgeon — who is about to begin his 20th year as a head coach, with stops at Jacksonville State (25-29 in two seasons), Wichita State (128-90 in seven seasons), Texas A&M (97-40 in four seasons) and Maryland (138-68 in six seasons) — says he’s had a “fun” ride as a player, then a coach.
“It’s been a great journey. I think about it all the time, where I’ve been, where my family has been,” said Turgeon, who along with his wife — former KU basketball manager Ann Fowler — is raising a family of two sons and one daughter.
“I’ve been very fortunate that Larry Brown gave me a chance (to play at KU when Turgeon told Brown during recruiting he was better than any guards on the KU roster) and help me get into coaching. I talk to coach Brown all the time, talk to Roy Williams all the time. Those two have been awfully good to me,” noted Turgeon, who also worked on Williams’ coaching staff in Lawrence.
Turgeon’s record at Maryland includes three straight NCAA Tournament berths, including a spot in the Sweet 16 in 2015-16. He’s directed Maryland to two second-place finishes and a third since the Terps joined the Big Ten Conference.
“It’s a great job. It reminds me a lot of Kansas. People are passionate. They love their basketball,” Turgeon said of Maryland. “We’ve got tradition. We’re in a great area. It’s been a really good move for me.”
Of recruiting, which is what he’s been doing in Lawrence the last couple of days, he said: “It’s never easy to recruit. Recruiting is really hard. We’ve had some good players. There’s a lot of good players in the area,” he noted of the Washington, D.C. area. “Like Texas … you don’t have to get on a plane too often, just try to keep the best ones home.”
There’s a future college basketball player in Turgeon’s own family. Mark’s son, Will Turgeon, is a 6-foot-3 guard at Gonzaga High School in Washington, D.C.
“My oldest is going to be a senior in high school. He’s a pretty good little player,” the 5-foot-10 Turgeon said. “He’s got my wife’s height. He’s 6-3. Right now he’s on target to be a Division III player.”
Turgeon’s favorite assignment comes next week, when as a dad he’ll get to watch his son play youth summer basketball.
“It’s hard,” Mark Turgeon said of not seeing all of his son’s high school games because of college coaching duties. “His high school team is really good, too. He’s out playing ball this summer. I miss most of it. I’ll see him play next week in Orlando (Fla.).”
Mykhailiuk scores 17
KU senior guard Svi Mykhailiuk scored 17 points on 8-of-24 shooting (0-3 from three), grabbed seven rebounds and had five assists in Team Ukraine’s 77-74 victory over Sweden on Saturday in the FIBA Under 20 European Championships in Crete.
Mykhailiuk had nine turnovers and three steals in 40 minutes. Ukraine will meet Turkey in the tourney’s ninth-place game on Sunday.
Azubuike, Vick faring well in Philly
ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla has been impressed with sophomore forward Udoka Azubuike’s play at the Under Armour Association All-America camp in Philadelphia.
“Advice to Allen Fieldhouse maintenance crew. Get couple extra rims for Udoka Azubuike. Still raw but strength is ridiculous,” Fraschilla wrote on Twitter.
KU junior guard Lagerald Vick has also played well in Philly.
“One guy that generated some buzz from NBA guys here was Kansas’ Lagerald Vick. Super athletic, made perimeter shots, defended well,” tweeted CBSsports.com’s Jeff Borzello.
Garland lists finalists
Darius Garland, a 6-0 senior point guard from Brentwood Academy in Nashville, Tenn., who is ranked No. 12 in the recruiting class of 2018 by Rivals.com, listed his six finalists on Twitter: KU, Duke, Kentucky, Indiana, UCLA and Vanderbilt.
His dad is former NBA player Winston Garland. Darius lived in Indiana until seventh grade, when the family moved to Tennessee.
Grimes to attend Late Night
Quentin Grimes, a 6-5 senior combo guard from College Park High in The Woodlands, Texas, tells Rivals.com he will attend KU’s Late Night in the Phog on an unofficial visit.
Grimes, Rivals.com’s No. 20-rated player, also has Arizona, Texas, Kentucky, Texas A&M and Marquette on his list.