Terps Firmly in Play for Sheffield

Junior wing Marcus Sheffield is one of Maryland's top 2015 targets.

It's been a somewhat trying start to the season for Chattahoochee (Alpharetta, Ga.) wing Marcus Sheffield, whose team is off to a 3-6 start. The 6-foot-5, 180-pound four-star junior has had to lead a rather inexperienced group, and has been tasked with not only raising his teammates' play, but also handling the point guard spot. The results haven't always ended in "W's," but so far Sheffield is handling his role well, according to his father, Marcus Sheffield Sr.

"Sheff has played a lot of different roles this year, but he's done fine. He's had to play point like 90 percent of the time, and his ball-handling and running the offense has really improved from that," Sheffield Sr. said. "He's also really improved his rebounding, getting to the boards and getting inside position. And his defense has picked up too. Against a really good St. Frances team he did a great job staying on his man and just getting after it all game long.

"As for improvement, he just has to keep it up from a leadership standpoint and being that vocal piece. Conditioning is another area since he's had to play so many minutes and do so many things. He's running in the morning and at night to get to that level where he can go hard all game long, but he's got to keep it up."

During Chattahoochee's last game Sheffield dropped 32 points and 13 rebounds, and his father said his son has had five 30-point outings so far. He's averaging around 26 points, 10 rebounds and a handful of assists each night.

The talented wing, who holds offers from Maryland, Clemson, Florida State, Kansas State, Xavier and a few mid-majors, did not have one of his better games when Terps assistant Bino Ranson stopped in to see him in mid-December. But a down night for Sheffield still resulted in 15 points and close to double-digit rebounds.

"Sheff was a little nicked up in that game, but Coach Bino was there to see him and show his support," Sheffield Sr. said. "I know Sheff was really surprised Coach Bino was there for a Tuesday night game after seeing him just a couple nights before. I know [Sheffield] has a really good relationship with us and Sheff, and he really likes Coach Bino."

It's clear Maryland has made Sheffield a priority recruit in its 2015 class. The Terps offered him back in late September and have been showing interest since his sophomore season. Maryland has pulled several prospects out of Georgia recently, including Charles Mitchell and Trayvon Reed, and Sheffield is the latest target.

"Maryland has really started to stand out a little bit. We liked the school when we saw it initially last year, and now that we've had a chance to compare it to some other schools, I can say Maryland is right there," Sheffield Sr. said. "Things are still wide open, but Maryland is right there. It really has caught his eye, and I know both myself and my wife like the school as well, especially from an academic standpoint." From a basketball standpoint as well. Sheffield has spoken to head coach Mark Turgeon before, and Sheffield Sr. said the Terps would be a good fit in terms of style and system.

"Coach Turgeon talked about how Sheff could be like one of the players he had at Texas A&M, but basically he'd be one of those longer guard-types who can hit the boards and also start the fast break," Sheffield Sr. said. "He'd have a role similar to Nick Faust or Dez Wells.

"And with the guards Maryland is bringing in, Sheff is like a longer version of some of them but with a similar skill-set. He's an up-tempo, motion, dribble-drive guy who can get to the rim and also step out and knock down his shot. So, yes, I think he'd fit in very well at Maryland."

Sheffield is currently on winter break, but the family doesn't plan on making any college visits during the brief reprieve. In fact, with the season going on, the Sheffields will likely table the recruiting until the spring.

"We actually talked to Coach Ranson about visiting Maryland again, and there's a window of time in June that's good for us and the staff up there, and we'll probably get up there around then," Sheffield Sr. said. "We'll definitely be up at Maryland again and at a few other schools."

Though he hasn't taken any visits in awhile, Sheffield has seen his fair share of college campuses. Besides Maryland, he and his family have taken in Florida State, VCU, Clemson, Xavier, Georgia and Georgia Tech. Kansas State and Stanford, which Sheffield Sr. said is close to offering once the academics are cleared, are on the list of schools he'd like to see this offseason.

Sheffield had previously mentioned that he likes the coaches and facilities at Clemson and Florida State, the staff and style of play at Xavier and Maryland, and the combination of athletics and academics at Stanford.

"I can definitely say that Florida State, Clemson, Maryland, Georgia, VCU and Kansas State are recruiting him hard," said Sheffield Sr., who noted that Clemson, Florida State, Georgetown, Georgia Tech and Kansas State have stopped in to watch his son play this year. "He thinks very highly of all those schools. But, again, things are still wide open and there's a long way to go in the process."

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