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5 for Friday: Mark Turgeon

In this edition we chat with Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon about coaching advice, his scouting process and how his mentors helped him succeed.

We get to interact with some pretty cool people here at Hudl. Between coaches, video coordinators, players and talent evaluators, we search for insights inside the basketball space, and we want to share that access with you.

Welcome to Five For Friday, where we sit down with one individual each week and hit them with five questions.

This week our guest is Mark Turgeon, the head coach at the University of Maryland. A coaching veteran of 19 years, Turgeon owns a 364-218 career record (.659) and has won four conference Coach of the Year awards (two Big 12, one Big Ten, one Missouri Valley). The Terrapins went 27-9 last season and advanced to the Sweet 16.

We got a chance to interview Turgeon this summer as he served as an assistant with the USA Basketball U18 squad that went on to win the FIBA Americas Championship in Chile.

What advice would you give to a young coach trying to get to the next level?

“For any coach, no matter what level they’re at, they need to be passionate about what they do. They have to love it, and they have to get in it to help young men or young ladies be successful. Ultimately that’s what we do. There is a lot that the public sees, but I think young coaches just need to be passionate about what they’re doing, be all in and never stop trying to learn. Here with USA Basketball this week I’m learning from (Texas coach) Shaka Smart and (Connecticut coach) Kevin Ollie. I’m learning a lot more about basketball and the way they teach things compared to the way I teach things. If you have that approach to your coaching career, it allows you to stay fresh and stay successful. It comes down to passion and really wanting to help people be successful.”

What advice did your mentors give to you that allowed you to take that next step?

“I’ve been really lucky. My high school coach won six straight championships and I won a couple with him. That was with Larry Brown as a player (at Kansas) and Roy Williams as an assistant coach, so I’ve been around some really good ones. In the end, I couldn’t be my high school coach. I couldn’t be Larry Brown. I couldn’t be Roy Williams. I had to be Mark Turgeon, and that’s what they gave me. I’m not a dummy. I soaked it up like a sponge. When I was with them I learned and took the good from everybody. In the end I had to be myself. From whenever I can remember I always wanted to be around basketball, so it’s a passion of mine and something I love to do. I’m very self-critical of myself. I want to be great. I don’t want to be good. I want to be great, so I’m always trying to get better and trying to learn.”

What would you tell a young player looking to better himself?

“There are a lot of things that go into being a great player. Obviously, talent helps you, but you have to be passionate about it, working on your craft and trying to get better. I’m a big believer in watching other players, seeing other players play, whether it’s on television or through video. You just have to try and become the best player you can be. You might not be the greatest athlete, but then you’d better be the smartest player on the floor. Figure out who you are and try to make the most of it as a basketball player.”

What does your scouting process look like?

“My assistants do a lot of work. They might watch eight to 10 game films on the computer depending on if we have a good feel for them or not. From there they’ll put together a 30-40 minute edit for me to watch. Me personally, if I don’t know the opponent well I’ll watch four to five games. If I do know them, I’ll watch four to five halves. We put together late-game situation scouts, close games. Any close game they’ve had, five points or less, we’re watching the last four minutes of that game. There are a lot of things we do with it. A lot of manpower goes into each scout. I can’t imagine how much manpower goes into each scout film wise, but I’d say the assistant probably puts in 20 to 30 hours, maybe more, with each scout, and as a head coach, I’ll probably watch six to eight hours for each opponent.”

How do you relay that information to your players without overwhelming them?

“So the assistant has gone from watching 20 to 30 hours of film to me, then I go through a 30-40 minute clip tape they put together for me. We’ll get that down to 12 minutes for the players. We try to show them everything they do a lot. We want them to see everything. We not might walk through everything, but we want to show them as much as we can. Our guys do a good job of getting it down to a point where our guys aren’t overwhelmed. You’re playing 36-40 times a year and it’s a long season, so we try to get it down to 12 minutes.”

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