Are Gibbs and Bruenig Gone Or Just In Limbo?

5/12/2011 7:17:08 AM That's the million dollar question isn't it?  Everyone wants to know if yesterday's formal requests by both players to be let out of their LOIs means that they are officially out of the picture.  I'd venture to say that at this point, no one knows; not even the players themselves.

The decision to stay or go will likely come down to a couple factors:
1.  The school's that are now actively recruiting these guys
2.  Does Maryland retain Rob Ehsan, the assistant who has the strongest relationship with each player.

Let's try to look at these factors individually.

Other Schools
In the case of Sterling Gibbs, it appears the mid-tier Big East schools have interest.  Seton Hall is going to come after Gibbs hard.  They have an immediate need at PG and Gibbs attends Seton Hall Prep.  I've heard rumblings about Providence College making a run as well.  Gibbs is from New Jersey, so he's familiar with the Big East and the nightly battles that go along with it, so there is a real danger that Gibbs jumps to one of these programs and avoids the logjam that the Terps have in the backcourt.  However, neither program possesses the pedigree of Maryland and Mark Turgeon is considered to be a much better coach than Kevin Willard of Seton Hall or Ed Cooley at ProCo.  I'm going to go out on a limb here that the decision is going to rest on whether or not Mark Trugeon decides to go after Gibbs and retain him.  If Turgeon makes the pitch because he wants Gibbs in a Terp uniform; I think he comes regardless of whether we hang on to Ehsan or not (although retaining Ehsan helps).  It's hard to know what is in Turgeon's head.  He may be trying to flip one of his A&M recruits.  Who knows?  I think this is a toss up. 

Martin Bruenig's situation (and decision to opt out) is more difficult to get my hands around.  Before he committed to Maryland, Marquette had interest.  Buzz Williams is a highly respected coach and Marquette is a great program.  Do they have an open slot for Martin?  I don't know and am too lazy to go digging for the answer.  If not, Bruenig is most likely looking at mid-major offers. I've seen Bruenig play and I have to say that I don't think he will help Maryland much if he comes next year.  I think the American game is a bit too fast for him at the moment.  I'm guessing that Turgeon doesn't want to fill up his rosters with bodies who ultimately won't help much no matter how desperately they are needed for next season.  Turgeon is here to win the war, not the battle that is next season.  In the end, Bruenig is likely not to have many options, so his move to opt out is surprising.  My gut tells me that there are more things at play.

Rob Ehsan
It appears that Rob Ehsan's situation is dependent on whether or not Scott Spinelli joins Turgeon's staff or is named the next Head Coach at Texas A&M.  Turgeon is obviously high on Spinelli but the current Terps and incoming recruits love Ehsan.  If Turgeon desperately wanted Gibbs and Bruenig to stay; he'd retain Rob Ehsan.  I think that is a simple calculus.  The fact Ehsan's situation is in limbo should indicate that Turgeon is not enamored with either player.  I like Rob Ehsan.  I think he's got a great future and I'd love him to be part of the MD coaching tree.  As fans, we need (have) to put our trust in Turgeon.  If he lets Ehsan go and Gibbs and Bruenig exit stage left as well, it will because there is a larger strategic rationale behind the decision; the merits of which will not be known for a couple of years.

I hope we are competitive next year, but I'd trade a lackluster 2011-12 campaign for a decade of Top 20 finishes and a few Final Fours and National Championships thrown in.  Turgeon deserves latitude to sculpt the team to win Titles, not necessarily to earn an NCAA bid next season.


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