New coaches get priority recruits

It was a big day for two coaches who landed priority recruits to get things started at their new schools.

Two of the more high profile hires made this off season were at Providence and Maryland. Both schools come from power conferences and are in areas where you can land impact players. Fittingly enough on the same day, both Ed Cooley at Providence and Mark Turgeon at Maryland snagged a priority commitment.

Cooley was officially hired at Providence on March 22, 2011. Probably that day at the absolute latest is when Kris Dunn became the top priority for him and his staff. With only 60 miles separating Dunn and the Providence campus, the Friars knew that he could be the type of recruit needed to compete at the highest level in the Big East.

From day one Cooley and company made Dunn the focus. They trailed him all summer long as he played with Connecticut Basketball Club, they hosted him on unofficial visits, and built a relationship that would stand the test of time.

Dunn began his ascent in the rankings in April at the Real Deal on the Rock AAU tournament, and simply continued it through his time at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp and also during the all important July evaluation period.

Schools such as Louisville, Georgetown, and Connecticut all made Dunn a focus, but it was the Friars that prevailed at the end, and that gives Cooley his signature recruit.

Winning is the best form of recruiting, and in order to win you need great players. Dunn is just that, and as a point guard, his presence could help attract other great players, such as Ricardo Ledo who also is very high on the Friars. Landing the top guy on the board is always a key for any coach, especially one in his first year, and Cooley and his staff just pulled that off.

While Dunn was the second big commitment of the day, Shaquille Cleare was the first. The Bahamian important who now resides in Houston has long been considered a lean to the Terrapins, and on Wednesday morning lean turned into commitment.

Turgeon made good in-roads with Cleare during his stint at Texas A&M, and when he was hired at Maryland on May 9, he continued to make Cleare a priority. Knowing the need for bigs, Maryland went all in on Cleare routinely sending multiple coaches or having Turgeon himself present at his games during July when he played with the Houston Defenders.

At 6-foot-9 and 275 pounds, Cleare is the type of big bodied center needed to compete against the ACC's best. Maryland lost Jordan Williams, but they may now have their replacement in Cleare.

By landing Cleare a huge need is filled, and it establishes Turgeon as a presence not only in the state of Texas where he has had recruiting success, but in the ACC as well. The next step is to surround Cleare with other quality prospects.

Like with Dunn at Providence, the argument could be made that Cleare was the top priority for the Terrapins coaching staff since making the move to College Park.

Two coaches, two programs, two players, and two situations, but it all happened one day that none of the parties involve with forget. It is never easy to play catch up on the recruiting trail after taking a new job, but both Cooley and Turgeon showed the ability to be able to do that by landing quality and priority recruits before ever coaching a game at their current school

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