Coming into July and fresh out of the NBPA camp, there are certainly many Terp targets having great summers. Some cynics would say too great meaning that they are rising up the chart and out of the waters that Terp faithful are used to fishing in. The idea that the minute a recruit reaches 5-star status, they are no longer viable as Maryland players. Coach Mark Turgeon and his staff are going to do their best to put that ugly notion to rest in 2012 and hopefully for the rest of his tenure. Here is kind of a summary of where the Terps are looking and how they seem to stand with some of the top players in the class of 2012. I am working on the theory that the coach and the staff feel they will sign up to 6 players in 2012 and let the scholarship situation in future years work itself out. That would suggest attrition of some sort, so always best to understand that college basketball is about student-athlete first but certainly in a sense, a business as well.
The big men:
o Shaquille Cleare - 6-9 from Texas (top 30) - He has been the top priority for Maryland under Gary Williams and now Mark Turgeon for two summers now. It looks very much like the big man will pop for Maryland once his parents visit the campus and approve, probably sometime early in July. Maryland has a huge lead on everyone.
o Robert Upshaw - 7-0 from Ca (top 30) - Big player who plans to announce late, wants to evaluate all the schools who get involved. Distance not a factor with this big man prize. He is a true center, not looking to be a 7-0 guard or superstar, understands it starts with defense and rebounding. He would be great in any case, but side by side with Cleare, no one would drive that lane! UCLA, Arizona, Kansas, all the heavy hitters will be involved here, I would imagine.
o Prince Ibeh - 6-10 from Texas (top 100) - Ibeh is a player recently located in Texas, so may be hesitant to travel to far away for school. Turgeon has continued to recruit him at Maryland. Turgeon recently visited Texas and made a point of visiting with Ibeh, maintaining the close relationship. Ibeh is definitely a Turgeon priority at this stage, pretty sure he has a firm commitable offer at this stage.
o Joel James, 6-10 from Fla (top 75) - Getting interest from a lot of local schools as well as UNC at this stage, almost a carbon copy of Cleare in terms of where and how they play. If Cleare comes, I would think Jones would be eliminated from consideration. He has an offer reportedly, definitely conditional I would imagine.
The power forwards:
o Mitch McGary - 6-10 from NH (top 10) - The staff (Bino in particular) is working hard but this one will have all the major schools involved in time. He wants to go through the full experience of recruiting, taking all his visits, paring down his list and looking for the right fit. It is a high profile national recruit that may prove a litmus test for Turgeon and staff. Regardless, they are putting in the effort and even McGary admits The Terps are coming at me the hardest!
o Amile Jefferson - 6-7 from Pa (top 25) - Interesting in that people were dropping and undervaluing Jefferson until this recent camp where he was the leading scorer and firmly established himself as a top 25 player. He is a high I.Q. player who glides and works the baseline and lane like a hummingbird. Playing hurt and having big time success did not hurt his cause either. Jefferson just has to sit down with Turgeon and relate, he is a big timer that would thrive at Maryland. For myself, would love him more than any one player that we are recruiting, including McGary.
o Jake Layman - 6-7 from Ma (top 100) - Rising forward who is versatile and has some range on his jumper. He is another fast riser, though he was not invited to the top 100 camp. Turgeon has made him a solid offer and seems he can commit if and when he chooses. It will be interesting to see if he can make a dent in the rankings (though Turgeon is obviously not driven by rankings, which he definitely should not be!)
o Elijah Macon - 6-8 from WV (top 50) - West Virginia former commit likely to head back there if academics get straight. Terps would love to have him but there are so many factors such as academics, the West Virginia factor, locale - he is probably a long shot as well. He is a heck of a talent though and worth the chase.
o Charles Mitchell - 6-8 from Ga (top 75) - He wants to have a visit down the road. Like a few of the big fellas, he occupies the post exclusively it seems, so hard to see him popping if Cleare comes. He has a nice skill set and would definitely be a welcome addition to a depleted front line.
o Robert Carter - 6-8 from Ga (top 20) - Maryland has come in late to this party not to mention that it will equally difficult pulling him away from the SEC and the South in general. He has publicly stated that he wants to visit and that is a great sign, if nothing else. Alabama, Georgia and Florida will be factors.
o Shaquille Goodwin - 6-8 from Ga (top 20) - As with Carter, will be hard to get him out of the South. Another player who has publicly stated he wants to visit College Park, though this is a long shot at best. He is definitely a prime SEC target as well as a national recruit.
o Zach Auguste - 6-8 from Ma (top 150) - Bino Ransom guy who the staff may get a visit from this summer, feel he is a fall-back option at this stage based on the avid interest of the staff in other power forwards. He is potentially a top 100 player if he has a productive summer. Certainly if you have a ship when all the dust settles this time next year and he is available, definitely worth consideration. Watch out for Boston College or UMass.
The small forwards/wing men:
o Danuel House - 6-6 from Texas (top 25) - One of the fastest risers in the class of 2012, possibly to 5-star status when the next set of rankings come out. Turgeon was on House very early at Texas A&M and now at Maryland. House wants to visit Maryland and seems to have a great respect and relationship with Turgeon. I would imagine that Kansas and Texas will start to knock on the door if they have not already. The quicker it gets done, the better for Maryland.
o Arnaud Adala-Moto - 6-5 from Va (top 60) - Turgeon has met with Moto, needs to see his game and evaluate him more, though reportedly some tentative offer is on the table. Moto is a rising top 60-type player who will be recruiting by all the Big East schools, I would imagine. For some reason, I think his game fits a team like Pittsburgh or Georgetown. I would hope the Terps would make a solid offer soon and would gladly take a commitment, though many options at this slot.
o Jerami Grant - 6-8 from Md (top 30) - Renewed interested in Terps now that Gary Williams has moved on. The Gary-DeMatha rift was never spoken but seems to have been very tangible. There is an offer there, but Syracuse and Clemson still lead I think. Grant has been fast-rising and may become a national recruit as the summer progresses.
o Jodan Price - 6-7 from Mich (top 150) - Price is a rail thin shooter who definitely has a sweet shot. His skill set seems one-dimensional at this stage. He may be a nice option if some other prospects don't pop for Maryland. A player whose best years are probably ahead of him to be sure. Big 10 might have something to say as well.
o Twymond Howard - 6-5 from Miss (top 75) - Still maintains interest in Terps though hard to tell if it is being returned. He is a talented mid-range scorer who will get significant interest in the local Mississippi schools as well as the rest of the SEC. I would be surprised if Howard and the Terps even schedule a visit.
o Seth Allen - 6-1 from Va (top 100 - committed) - A player who has shown some great skills against perhaps some weak competition. He can really elevate on the jumper, shows great form and consistency. The measure for him will be when the heat is turned up against ACC-caliber defenders. Still, the chance to grow and adapt are there and hopefully he will be a solid contributor in time. The Steve Francis comparisons got everyone excited and while that is ridiculous, the young man shows some talent to be sure.
o Christian Sanders - 6-4 from Texas (top 100) - His recent visit to Maryland with family in tow was by all accounts a success. Sanders will weight his options, waiting to get a solid offer from Kansas and Texas as well as visiting Stanford. He is a Kirk Heinrich-clone who has a great skill set, great player that will win a few games for a team with his shooting alone. Obviously for Turgeon, despite the back court seemingly full, he wants talent now and will let the chips fall where they may.
o Jamel Artis - 6-6 from Md (top 150) - Artis is a very solid multi-skilled guard who for Maryland, kind of a victim of the numbers game. The back court is pretty full already, with Seth Allen committed and the potential for Christian Sanders to commit soon. He is a tall lead guard who might land somewhere prominent in the Big East or Atlantic-10.