Lots of buzz surrounding Maryland Basketball these days. Let's touch on some topics.
Is Kenny Johnson the guy Mark Turgeon wants to add to his staff?
Sure sounds like it, and Johnson is definitely a hot commodity nationally. Apparently Louisville is interested, and Virginia Tech made a play as well. I have to think we'll know how this turns out by the end of the week as to whether or not he's returning home.
What does he bring to the table?
Johnson's a sharp guy, with a molecular biology/chemistry degree from Maryland. And he has loads of connections in the high school ranks. I can't really comment on his X's and O's, and that's important no doubt, but to be honest, the Terps need impact players now, because lest we forget, this program hasn't danced in quite awhile. From what we've seen during his tenure at Indiana, Johnson can bring in talent.
What's the latest on the DBO slot?
Again, we see that being filled shortly, and all we know is that Turgeon wants an experienced guy in that role, perhaps a former head coach. Not a lot of names have surfaced, but the job has closed, so again, we should know in the very near future.
Would John Carroll be in the mix for either position?
I am told he's interested, and the guy has been a college head coach, a pro assistant coach, and currently coaches the powerful New England Playaz AAU program. So, there's little doubt he is qualified. He'd be a nice addition.
What about Juan Dixon?
Dixon's very highly regarded by Coach Turgeon from what we hear, and it's pretty clear he knows the game, and can motivate players. He has a future in coaching, but again, he's been doing it for one year. I don't see him being a serious contender for either post at this time.
Do I anticipate any further additions in the 2014 class?
I do, but I would think adding fifth year players might be the way the staff would like to go. Adding a big to replace Shaq Cleare, and a guard to replace Roddy Peters, would be smart. The Terps have two scholarships to play with.
What about a transfer who might have to sit out a year?
My inclination is that it would have to be a special player, or a difference maker. As I said, the Terps need to win now.
Any interest in Jon Horford?
Haven't heard, but Horford (6-foot-10 F/C from Michigan) is a fifth year guy, and former teammate of Evan Smotrycz, who publicly tweeted his desire for the staff to pursue him. He's a decent player who would help, and certainly fits the mold of someone Maryland might be interested in.
Any other transfers with Terps interest?
My goodness, there are over 350 players who have declared their intention to transfer already, with more expected. Again, though, I would concentrate on a big and a guard who can play immediately.
What's my overall feel regarding 2015 recruiting?
Can't say I am overly optimistic right now, and perhaps the staff is a bit behind considering the recent transfers and with all the staff questions still to be answered. Still, it may only be a three-man class, so it's not like the coaches have to recruit a ton of players.
Have the priorities for the '15 class changed some?
It would seem that point guard now has to be addressed, with Roddy Peters no longer here. Hence, the recent offer to Justin Robinson (St. James, Md). It's great that Melo Trimble (Bishop O'Connell/Arlington, Va.) is coming, but should he falter, or get hurt, you have to have another floor leader ready to step in. And yes, I am hoping Seth Allen plays mainly off the ball. Cleare left as well, and you always like to recruit bigs in every class, but the addition of Michal Cekovsky (Canarias Basketbll Academy/Canary Islands, Spain) might make that a little less of a need. Trayvon Reed (Life Center/Burlington, N.J.), Damonte Dodd, Charles Mitchell and Cekovsky give you adequate depth down low.
What about a versatile forward or wing in that class?
I'm scratching my head on that right now. Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) has been given loads of attention, but everyone and their brother is on him now. Unless he's an extremely loyal kid and deeply appreciates the early and intense interest Maryland has shown, I am not feeling too good about him landing here. Jordan Murphy (Bennan/San Antonio, Texas) is the other forward of note, but his camp has been pretty quiet lately. But how many Texas kids leave the state for the East Coast?
As for the wings, neither Marcus Sheffield (Chattahoochee/Alpharetta, Ga.) or Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.) is getting tons of attention, although Clarke's coach tells me Maryland is expected in the school next week for a visit. Things could pick up then, and after the Terps scout him in Sacramento April 25-27 in the first Nike EYBL session. Frankly, they'll have to pick up, because more and more schools are entering the picture for Clarke and forming relationships with him.
We know Josh Reaves (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.) is still a person of interest, but now Georgetown has offered, and that might tip the scales in their favor. Can the Terps wait until July to offer and still be a factor? I guess only Reaves can answer that question right now.
What about Malik Ellison (Life Center), Allonzo Trier (Montrose Christian/Rockville, Md.), Terance Mann (Tilton School/Tilton, N.H.), and Jalen Adams (Cushing Academy/Ashburnham, Mass.)?
Ellison might be the X-factor. He played great at the Hoop Group Tournament last weekend, is still growing, and has immense upside. He has a Terps offer and is interested. It's speculation, but perhaps he is the wing the Terps will go hard for.
Trier and Mann are Nike kids, and I don't see Maryland being much of a serious factor with either, although hiring a Kenny Johnson may get you in the discussion. As of now, I have Mann pegged for Georgetown and Trier heading West. I'm a huge fan of Adams, but you have to beat Kansas, UConn and others to land him, so it won't be easy.
What's the deal with Georgios Papagiannis reportedly playing this year with Team Takeover?
It's a heck of a pickup if true, and just adds more intrigue to his recruitment, which has been a closely held secret to this point. We haven't talked about big Papagiannis lately, because there's just little to go on in terms of where he lands for college, but obviously the young man is a major talent. If you're Maryland, regardless of who's on your roster, you have to be interested. The guy's a force.
What's our gut feel on the recent offer Justin Robinson?
Robinson was excited to get a Terps offer, and likes the idea of staying close to home for college. He's a point guard, not a combo, and is solid in every respect, both on and off the court. He's hurt right now, and likely will miss the one spring open period later this month, which might not be a bad thing for Maryland. His stock is rising, it's a weak year nationally for point guards, and he's one of the better ones around. Robinson gets excellent coaching at St. James School, and would be a nice get.
But, again, the competition will be fierce to land his services.
And to wrap it up, how about some good news:
Ok, Gary Harris, LaQuinton Ross, Nik Stauskas, Glenn Robinson III are all going pro, and Mitch McGary still might. Adrien Payne and Aaron Craft will be graduating, so the Terps won't have to face any of these studs in the Big Ten next year. Wisconsin looks like the clear cut favorite entering next year, though you know Ohio State will still be formidable, as will Michigan, Iowa, and Michigan State.
TTDan's Hoops Dish Special
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