October 23, 2008

Big 12 Media Days: A look at the Aggies

OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA. - Things are getting easier in College Station for second-year men's basketball head coach Mark Turgeon, but that's the way it usually goes for coaches the second time around in new surroundings. A season ago, Turgeon followed Billy Gillispie in Aggieland after Gillispie orchestrated one of the most remarkable turnarounds of a college basketball program seen in the game in recent memory.

But even though the Aggies went through some rough patches during the 2008-09 season and Turgeon was admittedly playing catch-up throughout the year, A&M won 25 games, went to the NCAA tournament for a school-record third consecutive time and were a bad non-call away from upsetting No. 1 seed UCLA in Anaheim in the second round.

Not too bad for a program in flux.

"Year two is a little bit easier than the first year. I think I was trying to figure everything out last year, so I'm looking forward to this year," Turgeon said. "I'm used to being the most well-liked guy in town wherever I've been and that wasn't the case all the time last year. I followed a guy that did a heck of a job at Texas A&M, so that was different for me. I had to adjust to that. I didn't know the players that well and they didn't know me that well. Now I feel they know my personality and I know their personality and we know what to expect. To think of where we are now in practice No. 7 compared to where we were last year at practice No. 7 how much more comfortable we are with everything we are doing."

This year, everything is going much smoother for the Turgeon and his Aggies. Even though they lost leaders in Dominique Kirk and Joseph Jones, and untapped talent in DeAndre Jordan, Turgeon feels like an exciting and special year may be on the horizon.

"Everybody at this point likes our team. We've worked hard and everybody has stayed relatively healthy to this point. We had a good spring, good summer and a good fall," Turgeon said. "We're still upset at how we ended last season. We felt we let one get away, so our guys have had a chip on their shoulder working throughout the summer."

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