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Spencer Parlier | NCAA.com | August 4, 2020

Maryland's Mark Turgeon builds his ultimate dream player

Cowan Jr.: Maryland's first Big Ten title 'means everything'

Mark Turgeon has had an action-packed head coaching career mentoring many talented basketball players at several different universities. The current Maryland coach began head coaching at Jacksonville State in 1998 before moving onto Wichita State, Texas A&M and Maryland. 

Turgeon was this week's guest on March Madness 365. He and Andy Katz discussed Turgeon's dream player — a player he built through 10 different categories spanning his entire head coaching career.

Turgeon also talks about his involvement with his team as racial injustice has stood in the spotlight all summer long, how he can do better as a coach and his participation with other coaches in the McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative. Turgeon's interview begins at about the 13-minute mark. 

Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis also joins this episode of March Madness 365 as he talks about his decision to return to Bloomington for his sophomore season after withdrawing from the 2020 NBA draft. 

Here is the breakdown of Mark Turgeon's dream player: 

The Quarterback — Anthony Cowan Jr. (Maryland guard, 2016-2020)

Anthony Cowan Jr. lands here as Mark Turgeon's ultimate quarterback or playmaker, as his development over his four years under Turgeon helped Maryland win a share of the Big Ten regular-season championship in 2020. 

"He just became a great playmaker with the ball for us, scoring and making plays for other people," Turgeon told Katz.

Cowan was always a force with the ball during his stint in College Park. After averaging 10.3 points his freshman year, he improved upon that mark season-after-season, ending his college career averaging 16.3 points per game. Turgeon also mentioned Dash Harris, his Texas A&M guard (2008-12), as a potential pick for this category. 

The Clutch Gene — Melo Trimble (Maryland guard, 2014-2017)

There was no other Terrapin Mark Turgeon wanted with the ball late in the game in the mid-2010s than Melo Trimble. 

"I've never seen a guy make more big shots than Melo Trimble," Turgeon said. "No fear, loved taking the big shot and made so many big shots for us when he was here at Maryland." 

Trimble was Maryland's go-to man for good reason. He was three-time All-Big Ten and averaged nearly 16 points per game during his three years as a Terrapin. 

The Shooter — Kevin Huerter (Maryland guard, 2016-2018)

Kevin Huerter is another star that emerged from College Park in the 2010s, but not because of his playmaking or clutch plays, but because of his pure shooting ability. 

The 6-7 guard, who now plays for the Atlanta Hawks, averaged 15 points per 40 minutes and shot nearly 40-percent from beyond the arc during his two years at Maryland. 

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"The reason I'm going with Kevin is because Kevin went out to the Los Angeles Lakers at their workout for them. He broke the all-time record for most 3s made," Turgeon said. 

The Bucket Getter — Donald Sloan (Texas A&M guard, 2006-2010)

Texas A&M's Donald Sloan

The first non-Maryland player to grace this list for Turgeon is former Texas A&M guard Donald Sloan. Sloan played four years at College Station, and according to Turgeon, did whatever it took to go get baskets. 

"He could score anyway. He could make 3s, off the dribble, he had the floater, he had the finger-roll, he had it all man. The guy was terrific," Turgeon said. "It didn't always look pretty but man he got buckets."

Sloan really came alive his senior year for TAMU, as he averaged 17.8 points per game with a field goal percentage of 44 percent.

The Lockdown Defender — Jalen Smith (Maryland forward, 2018-2020)

One of Turgeon's most recent players lands here as his ultimate defender. Jalen Smith could do it all on the defensive end for Turgeon, as the NBA-bound power forward landed himself on this past season's All-Big Ten squad and the Big Ten All-Defense squad. 

"He could block shots, his timing was terrific and he was such a smart defender," Turgeon said of his big man. 

Smith not only averaged a double-double this past season, but he also dominated the rim on the defensive side of the ball averaging 2.4 blocks per game. 

The Dirty Worker — Bruno Fernando (Maryland forward, 2017-2019)

Bruno Fernando lands here as Turgeon's ultimate dirty worker, or the guy who wasn't afraid to get under the basket and scoop up rebounds and loose balls. 

"I've had a lot of great rebounders, a lot of great athletes but I just feel like Bruno, he could get rebounds no one else could get," Turgeon said. 

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Fernando, like Jalen Smith, averaged a double-double his final year at Maryland and had 21 double-doubles throughout the season. Fernando had a career average of 12 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. 

The Athletic Wonder — DeAndre Jordan (Texas A&M center, 2008-2009)

Texas A&M's DeAndre Jordan

It's hard to put together a list of pure basketball athletes and leave DeAndre Jordan off of it, and for Turgeon, he got to experience Jordan's athleticism first-hand. 

"The things he could do, at that size, you sit there and just marvel at it," Turgeon said of his former 7-1 big man. 

Jordan, who has built himself an illustrious career in the NBA, played for Turgeon for one season at Texas A&M. Only averaging 20 minutes per game, Jordan recorded an average of six boards and 1.3 blocks each game. 

The Glue Guy — P.J. Couisnard (Wichita State guard, 2004-2008) & Darryl Morsell (Maryland guard, 2017-2020)

Turgeon couldn't pick just one glue guy for his ultimate dream player so he went with one from his second head coaching gig at Wichita State — P.J. Couisnard — and one form his latest gig at Maryland — Darryl Morsell. 

"They're a lot alike, those two," Turgeon said of his two picks. "Those guys have been guys that I just love to coach and guys that helped us win a lot of games."

The Coach — Khris Middleton (Texas A&M forward, 2009-2012)

Turgeon taps Kris Middleton as his extension of himself on the floor, or the player who excelled in the basketball IQ realm of the game. Middleton played for three years under Turgeon and is now an NBA All-Star.

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"Khris is really one of the smartest players I have ever coached," Turgeon said. "Just had a great feel when to shoot when to pass, great feel for the game."

Middleton had a solid career at TAMU before breaking out in the NBA averaging a career 11.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and one steal per game. 

The Captain — Cameron Ledford (Wichita State guard, 2002-2006)

From Wichita State walk-on to orthopedic surgeon, Cameron Ledford lands here as Mark Turgeon's ultimate captain. Ledford walked on for the Shockers in the early-2000s, and according to Turgeon, really helped keep that team together. 

"Just really helped me lead that team. There were some things that went on during the year that a lot of kids would've let go, he wouldn't let it go," Turgeon said. 

Ledford helped Wichita State win a conference championship his senior season in 2006 — the same year the Shockers made it to the Sweet 16. 

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