COLLEGE PARK — Danny Manning‘s reaction to the coaching change at Maryland was pretty similar to the rest of the college basketball world’s.
“Complete and utter shock,” Manning said.
Although he has plenty of experience as a head coach, Manning is fairly new to the Maryland program. He was hired in April as an assistant to Mark Turgeon — his former teammate at Kansas — and when Turgeonabruptly stepped down Friday, Manning was put in charge.
Turgeon‘s departure was described by the school as a mutual decision. The timing — less than a month into the season — was jarring. Manning released a statement that day, but Sunday’s postgame news conference was his first chance to discuss the matter at length.
Guard Eric Ayala said Friday seemed like a pretty normal day of film until Turgeon gave the news to the team.
“I am a big believer in paint touches,” he said. “I’m a big believer in ball reversal. I thought paint touches led us to 22 free-throw attempts. We want that to be part of our formula for scoring points.”
“I hope Coach Turgeon is being celebrated for what he did here. For 10 years, I’ve competed against that guy. A couple at Duke when I was an assistant, and then eight years here in the Big Ten,” Collins said. “He’s a good basketball coach and a good man.”
He inherits a team that’s been relying on a couple of significant transfers, so it’s certainly possible that the Terps simply need time to build more cohesion. But it’s been a disappointing start for a team that began the season in the Top 25. Even Maryland’s victories haven’t been all that convincing.
“You go through a lot, our families go through a lot and it gets tough at times,” Manning said. “He just made the decision that he felt was best for himself, for his family, but more importantly, for this team. He thought that our team needed a different voice, and that was one of the lasting things that he said to me.”
Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.