Thoughts on Charles Mitchell, the ACC tournament and a final look at hoops recruits

Baltimore Sun reporters Don Markus and Jeff Barker and and producer-editor Jonas Shaffer weigh in on three topics from the past week in Maryland sports.

Should Mark Turgeon have suspended Charles Mitchell?


Don Markus:  When the news came out Thursday afternoon that Charles Mitchell is going to play Sunday against Virginia, I was not surprised.

Not that I agree with Turgeon in this case.

Having not been in the huddle when Mitchell, according to a source, had words with assistant coach Scott Spinelli late in the first half of Tuesday's win over Virginia Tech, I don't know what happened exactly.

And Turgeon sending Mitchell back to the locker room and not playing him the rest of the game might be enough of a penalty in the coach's eye. But in a year when some have questioned how tough Turgeon is with his team, I thought another game on the bench would have sent the right message.

It would have said to his players - and future players - that being disruptive isn't going to work at Maryland, that it's not about whether a player should be taken out of a game and substituted for with another. There have been players on this team who have been accused of being selfish, not just by media and fans, but by Turgeon as well. What Mitchell did was not in his team's best interest.

A one-game suspension would have also quieted Turgeon's growing number of critics among the team's fans, who now will use this to say that it shows why the Terps have been underachievers this season. I believe Maryland could lose to Virginia with Mitchell and could beat the first-place Cavaliers without him, just as the Terps beat Duke last year with Pe'Shon Howard suspended.

Beating Virginia -- or losing to the Cavaliers -- will likely not make a difference when it comes to Maryland's postseason fortunes, since the Terps will likely have to make a long run in next week's ACC tournament or perhaps win it to have any chance to make the NCAA tournament.

Turgeon is not going to be swayed by what is written in the media. (He is, in fact, the one coach who I believe when he says he doesn't read what we write.) I think he is aware of what the fans have been saying, but I think he is confident enough in his abilities to not put much credence into that either.


I don't know what the internal punishment for Mitchell was or will be, but I am sure Turgeon has or will discipline him in some way.

I just think a one-game suspension, particularly in light of the way the season has gone, might have been better than what some might call a half-game suspension. The one thing that is clear is that Mitchell will play Sunday.

Nobody has said how much.

What are your thoughts on Maryland playing next week in its final ACC tournament?

Jeff Barker:  I like proper closure. So Maryland's ACC exit doesn't feel right because loose ends and frayed feelings remain.

Dueling lawsuits continue over the legality of the conference's $52 million exit fee and the authority of a North Carolina court to force Maryland to pay up. The relationship isn't ending the way anybody could have wanted.


On the court, it would have seemed fitting for the Terps to play home-and-home series against Duke and North Carolina in their last ACC regular season.

Instead, the ACC put the Terps on the road against both traditional conference powers and provided no return engagements at Comcast Center.

The schedule-makers did the same to the Maryland women, who open the ACC tournament tonight against the Tar Heels in Greensboro, N.C. The men's tournament is March 12-16 in the same location.

The tension in the ACC-Terps relationship gave Maryland even more incentive than usual this season to perform well against their longstanding rivals. Neither coach Mark Turgeon nor the athletic department is pleased with the way the regular season has unfolded. With one game left – Virginia on Sunday at Comcast Center – the Terps have an 8-9 conference mark. Turgeon retains the department's unqualified support.

Imagine if the Terps managed to string some upsets together and win the ACC tournament.

For the ACC, crowning Maryland as champ would be the equivalent of the NFL handing the Lombardi Trophy to rogue Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis in 1984. It would be quite a scene.

How can I see see incoming Terps basketball recruits before their high school seasons end?

Jonas Shaffer:  If you really, really wanted to watch Jared Nickens play this season and had the means of driving out to West Chester, sorry. His Westtown (Pa.) season appears over.

Likewise, if you wanted to see just how tall Trayvon Reed actually is, again, I can't help you. Information on Life Center's (N.J.) remaining regular-season and playoff schedule is scant.

As for Dion Wiley and Melo Trimble? That I can help you with. Potomac, featuring Wiley and Class of 2016 guard prospect Randall Broddie, hosts Oakland Mills at 7 p.m. tonight in the Class 2A South regional final. With a win, it's off to Comcast Center, where the Patterson-Randallstown winner awaits in a 9 p.m. state semifinal game next Friday. Admission is $8.

Trimble's Bishop O'Connell (Va.) team fell short of a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference crown, and then a Virginia Independent Schools Athletic Association title, but the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament is just around the corner. The Knights open the prestigious competition, held at Frostburg State, with a 5:45 p.m. game Thursday against Baltimore Catholic League champion Mount St. Joseph. O'Connell is guaranteed another two games over the next two days, and could also face Calvert Hall. Ticket information is available here.