The Terps are struggling right now, but recruiting never stops. The class of 2016 looks strong nationally at this time, and one of the East Coast's best point guard prospects is Makai Ashton-Langford, who attends St. Peter Marian HS in Worcester, Mass.
Maryland has an unique connection with Ashton-Langford, which could pay dividends down the road. Terrapin Times spoke with his father, DeMarr Langford, to get the scoop on this fast-rising lead guard.
"The thing to remember with Makai is that he's very young for his class," said DeMarr Langford. "He just turned 15 in October, so there's a chance down the road that he may re-class (to 2017) in order to fully develop physically.
"And it will be interesting to see how big he gets. Makai is 6-1 now, but he plays bigger because he has extremely long arms. Physically, he reminds me of (Rajon) Rondo, who plays for the Celtics. That enables him to get in passing lanes, and helps him defensively.
"I'm 6-4, so we're pretty sure he will get a good bit taller. But even if he doesn't, as a lead guard, he's already got the size he will need in college."
Mr. Langford talked a little more about his son's game.
"Makai sees the floor very well, and, although I am biased, I have to say he's got a great handle," said Langford. "He is very fast and has a great first step. He's one of those kids who's very hard to stay in front of. He loves to get in the lane and kick it out to shooters, although he can get over the rim and finish as well.
"He's been working really hard on his mid-range game. Makai has one of those 'floaters' in the paint, and he's a very unselfish player, but he'll be a dual threat point guard, where he can both distribute and score if needed. He shoots it OK from beyond the arc, but I'd say his three point shot is the one area he needs to improve on. But that's coming along as well."
Ashton-Langford, who will play this spring and summer for the Massachusetts Rivals AAU program, has fit in well at St. Peter Marian, a strong academic school in Worchester. But the plan is for him to go to a prep school as a junior.
"Makai struggled a bit as a freshman academically, but he's really picked it up this year," said Langford. "He's on the honor roll now, and that's something I am very proud of. St. Peter Marian has a very good team, and he likes it here, but right now, we're planning on spending his junior and senior years at a prep school here in New England.
"Brewster Academy and Putnam Science are two possibilities, but we're also talking to Northfield Mount Herman, and we have a visit planned to Cushing Academy too. They're all good choices, and the competition is top notch.
"As I said, we may re-class Makai down the road, depending on his physical maturation, but we'll make that call later. Although Makai's only 15, he will be playing for the Rivals this year, and he's going to play with the 17 Under team. He wants to play "up," and it will be a good challenge for him to play older kids on the circuit. I think he will be up for it. Both his mom and I were pretty good players back in the day, so he's got the genes," said Langford with a chuckle.
Because of Ashton-Langford's youth, TT was a bit reluctant to get into college recruiting, but Mr. Langford did give us an insight which proved quite interesting.
"Well, it's still very early, but I can tell you Maryland will definitely be in the mix," said Langford. "Scott Spinelli's my guy. I played for him at Winchendon Prep when he was the head coach there. He's the best coach I've been around. He's been up to see Makai already, so yeah, Maryland will definitely be a school we consider when that time comes."
TT hasn't seen Ashton-Langford live as of yet, but plan to this summer. The reports we are getting seem to indicate we are talking about a potentially elite player, who is very good now, but also has considerable upside.
He is averaging 17.9 points per game, five assists per game, five rebounds per game and three steals per game at the moment.
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