Terrapin Times scouted and interviewed Horace Spencer last summer in Las Vegas. We found him to be one of the more dynamic and explosive athletes in the Class of 2015.
Since then, the 6-foot-8 junior forward has relocated from suburban Philadelphia to Henderson, Nev., where he now plays for powerhouse Findlay Prep. We recently caught up with Rick Barrett, who runs the longtime Jersey Gym Rats AAU program, for whom Spencer plays, to get an update on Spencer's development.
"Horace made a big sacrifice when he went to Vegas," said Barrett. "He gave up family, friends, and the Warminster (Pa.) neighborhood. But he felt moving to Findlay would aid in his development. Jerome (Williams, former Georgetown player, and Findlay HC) is doing a nice job with him. He won't put up the huge numbers he did at Tennant (his old high school), but it's never been about numbers with Horace. He can score one point and be happy as long as his team wins. He's that kind of kid."
Barrett said the daily practices and Findlay's challenging schedule have paid off.
"When you go against outstanding D1 prospects every day, it can't help but make you better," said Barrett. "Findlay plays a big-time schedule, so you either step up your game, or you just stagnate. Horace's game is expanding a bit, as he now can hit those mid range jumpers and put the ball on the floor a bit.
"I think he's still a power forward in college for the most part, but the great thing about him is that he can guard ANY position. He's so long and bouncy, and now his body is really beginning to change.
"When he went to Findlay, he weighed about 200 pounds. He's already up to 225, and he just turned 17 in January. His body has transformed, his game is developing, and Horace is simply a great young man. There aren't any character issues with him whatsoever."
Spencer, who broke his thumb recently, is expected to return to action soon, and will again be playing for the Gym Rats this summer.
"There's only one open weekend this Spring, and I'm not gonna bring him back East for just a couple days for that," said Barrett. "I will let him stay in Vegas , finish his school work, and then he'll be playing with me in the Summer. We're going to do a tournament in California, but will also do most of the same ones we normally do back East."
There's not a lot to report in terms of Spencer's recruitment, according to Barrett.
"Horace is more concerned with his game than his recruitment," said Barrett. "Since he went to Findlay, UCLA, USC, San Diego State, and UNLV have all been in the gym to watch him play, and truthfully, he's wide open on schools.
"That said, he's going to want to play close to home. He wants his family and friends to be able to watch him in college, since they can't do that now. He's very close to his family, so I think schools that are in a few hours radius of Warminster will be the ones he considers.
"His Dad went to Temple, and all the Big Five schools are interested, and yet, they're not really flying out to Vegas every week to watch him. I think they will wait until the summer when he's back East to really make their push."
A number of schools have been mentioned with Spencer in the past: Iowa, Seton Hall, Oregon State, Cincinnati, Georgetown, West Virginia, Georgia and Maryland. So, what about the Terps?
"I know that Maryland contacted Horace's Dad early on and offered, and I know Horace was really excited about that," said Barrett. "I haven't been in contact with them though, and I most likely will be accompanying Horace and his father on any official or unofficial visits that they take. If Maryland needs an athletic power forward who can play over the rim and guard people at all positions, then it would seem to make a lot of sense for them to recruit him. Warminster isn't that far from Maryland, so geographically, it makes a lot of sense. We'll see what happens when the Summer gets here."
Spencer's name can be found on most preliminary 2015 Top 50 lists. He's not yet a polished offensive performer, but can impact games in other areas, all the while bringing elite athleticism and high character to any program he selects.
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