We figured some new names might surface with Maryland's 2015 recruiting, and one recently did. His name is John Collins, a 6-foot-9 insider from Cardinal Newman HS in West Palm Beach, Fla. Since Collins wasn't someone we had seen in person, we checked in with Greg Tejada, Collins' coach with his AAU team, Florida Flash Elite, who was more than willing to fill us in on this emerging big man.
"John's going to be a tremendous player," said Tejada. "He just turned 16 in September, and he's been playing up in AAU ball. The doctors expect him to grow another inch or two, but even if he doesn't, he'll be a force.
"The thing with John is, he has tremendous hands and feet, and he can score in a variety of ways. He can post, he can face up, and he can score with either hand. To see a kid like this being so polished at such a young age, is unusual.
"He's just started to lift weights, but John is naturally strong. I think he'll probably project more as a power forward, kind of like a Tim Duncan type of player. John can be a '4' on offense, but still be able to defend a '5' defensively."
Tejada had more good words to say about Collins.
"John averaged 20 points per game and 12 rebounds per game last year," said Tejada. "He was invited to the Nike Top 100 Camp for underclassmen last year as well. We (Florida Flash) are an independent AAU program, so we don't get all the national hype as some of the shoe sponsored teams, but we play a solid schedule. Coaches are beginning to find out about John. And of course, lots of AAU programs are trying to lure him away from the Flash, but it won't happen.
"John's a military kid from a solid family, and he knows the meaning of the word 'loyalty.' He's the best kid I've been around, very respectful, and very receptive to coaching. I'm from New York, and I had a lot to do with the New York Rens program, and I've seen lots of players. This kid has a chance to be special."
Maryland is a program who has seen Collins this month, and came away impressed.
"Coach Bino (Ranson) was down here and fell in love with John," said Tejada. "He told me that he would get Coach (Mark) Turgeon down here to see him. Turgeon was here the very next day, and made the offer. They told me that John was just the type kid they want, and need, in their program.
"Kansas State, Miami, and East Carolina all offered in the past week. West Virginia is interested, and Syracuse is coming down in April. Everybody and their brother is going to recruit this kid, especially after they see him this summer."
As for Collins' possible interest in Maryland?
"Well, the Maryland guys told me they need bigs who can play both ends, and John wants to go somewhere where he can play immediately. I do know John loves the Big Ten, so that certainly helps Maryland's case," said Tejada.
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