Terrapin Times first reported the possibility of Cliff Warren joining the Terps staff well over a week ago. Warren will fill the Director of Basketball Operations job, which is what he was initially being considered for while Maryland made an all out run at Indiana assistant Kenny Johnson, who is now off to Louisville.
With Johnson off the board, Warren, the former head coach at Jacksonville University, was thought to be in position for a bench job, but he will indeed be the DBO while UMD continues to look for another assistant to replace Scott Spinelli.
Once Warren's name surfaced, we talked to numerous people in the business. And Warren, a native of Silver Spring, Md., has gotten rave reviews. He's very highly regarded both professionally and personally. More than one source has called Warren a "great guy and excellent coach."
He certainly has the background and qualifications, having been an assistant at his alma mater, Mount St. Mary's, an assistant at Siena, as well as Georgia Tech (where the Jackets made the NCAA championship game), and then being the head coach at Jacksonville for nine years.
We'll see when an announcement is made, but there's not a big rush. Yes, there is an open recruiting weekend starting April 25, but we can assume Maryland coaches Mark Turgeon, Dustin Clark and Bino Ranson will have that covered.
Warren, as you might expect, has strong local ties to the DMV, and prior to his dismissal at JU, had secured commitments from two excellent prospects from Baltimore: Tim Bond, a 6-foot-4 wing from City HS, and Jaylen Adams, a 6-0 guard from perennial power Mount St. Joe's. So, from this standpoint, we're expecting Cliff Warren to be on the staff in the not too distant future, and that's a positive development.
We learned April 22 of Maryland's offer to 6-4 swingman Josh Reaves from Paul VI HS in Fairfax, Va. Clearly the Terps are enamored with Reaves, a fast-rising prospect in 2015, who was a key component in the Panthers' run to the WCAC championship, as well as the VISAA and Alhambra tournament championships that followed. Reaves' list of offers now includes Maryland, Georgetown, Villanova, Wake Forest, Boston College, Temple, Penn State and VCU.
Reaves will need to get a good bit stronger, but his shooting has improved, he's a first rate defender, sees the floor well, and most importantly, his motor never stops. I'm looking for a late summer, early fall decision by Reaves, and this one could come down to the Hoyas or Terps in the end. His Paul VI teammate, Marcus Derrickson, has already committed to Georgetown.
April 22 was a busy day, as assistant Bino Ranson was in Virginia Beach, making a school visit at Cape Henry Collegiate to check out 6-5 all-purpose athlete Chris Clarke. Clarke received his Maryland offer about six weeks ago, and is coming off a scintillating performance at last week's Hoop Group Southern Jam in Hampton, Va., where he led the Boo Williams team to the 17U championship.
I don't need to go into Clarke's attributes as they've been listed here often. Clarke, like Reaves, will be on display this weekend in Sacramento at the first Nike EYBL stop. To me, Reaves and Clarke are sort of joined at the hip, in that both are very athletic and play with high intensity. Clearly, you can only add one of the two, so to me, how they perform this weekend in front of Maryland coaches, could tip the scales in one direction or another.
At this point, Reaves appears to be the stronger possibility, unless Maryland makes a major push for Clarke. My personal preference is Clarke, by a slight margin, but the program desperately needs a wing who can stop people; who possesses intangibles; and who plays hard all the time. With that in mind, I'd be happy with either of these two joining the fold.
We also heard that Maryland was in again April 22 to see Justin Robinson -- the St. James School point guard -- who's becoming a pretty important target, especially now with the Roddy Peters transfer. Robinson is coming off an ankle injury, and should know shortly whether or not he can play in the Sacramento event.
Much like Reaves and Clarke, Robinson's stock is going way up, especially in a somewhat down year for 2015 floor leaders.
We've also heard rumblings that Turgeon and Clark may be going in for a visit April 23 with Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio). Ahmad will also be in Sacramento, and nothing has changed in terms of the Maryland pursuit of this 6-7 multi-purpose forward. I'm trying to remain optimistic on Ahmad, but with each additional offer he receives, it certainly doesn't make the recruitment any easier.
In another major development, it appears local AAU powerhouse Team Takeover has secured the services of 7-0 Georgios Papagiannis for the Nike EYBL sessions. TTO is loaded in the backcourt, but the addition of Papagiannis is huge -- in more ways than one.
I listed the known 2015 offers/recruits about six weeks ago, but I think it's time to make a few cuts on that list:
Diamond Stone, 6-10 (Dominican/Milwaukee, Wis.): Marquette is trying to hold on, but Carolina, Arizona, UCLA, and Wisconsin are pushing. Stone will not be a Terp.
Carlton Bragg, 6-9 (Villa Angela-St. Joseph/Cleveland, Ohio): Kentucky, Ohio State are the favorites, along with Illinois and Louisville. Bragg was a pipe dream from the start.
Horace Spencer, 6-8 (Findlay Prep/ Henderson, Nev.): Spencer's recruitment appears open, but there's no evidence of a Maryland push at this point.
Jaylen Brown, 6-6 (Wheeler/Marietta, Ga.): Florida, Oklahoma State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville and others are in there. The Terps are not.
Terance Mann, 6-5 (Tilton School/Tilton, NH): The Terps offered, but with Scott Spinelli gone, I still see this as not happening. Georgetown is the strong favorite.
Donovan Mitchell, 6-2 (Brewster Academy/Wolfeboro, NH): Another Spinelli recruit, but this was fading prior to his departure.
Jaylen Adams, 6-2 (Cushing Academy/Ashburnham, Mass.): I still have Kansas, Providence and UConn as the leaders. I would be surprised if Terps got serious consideration.
Those still in the mix:
Georgios Papagiannis, 7-0 (Westtown, Pa.); John Collins, 6-9 (Cardinal Newman/West Palm Beach, Fla.); Esa Ahmad; Marcus Sheffield, 6-5 (Chattahoochee/Alpharetta, GA.) but fading perhaps; Jordan Murphy, 6-7 (Brennan/San Antonio, Texas); Allonzo Trier, 6-4 (Montrose Christian/Rockville, Md.), semi longshot; Chris Clarke, 6-5; Malik Ellison, 6-5 (Life Center Academy/Burlington, N.J.); Josh Reaves, 6-4; Justin Robinson, 6-1.
Now, it's possible a few players could surface this summer during the evaluation period, but these 10 prospects, at the moment at least, appear to the main '15s under consideration.
What concerns me is that after Ahmad, and perhaps Murphy, where's the versatile forward the program needs? I feel fairly confident Maryland will land a wing from among the group listed. At the moment, Robinson appears to be the main point guard target, and again, you'll need another ball-handler in the program with Peters gone. It's too early to know where Robinson might be leaning, if anywhere, so I'd expect another point guard target or two to be under consideration.
I've been working on a fairly comprehensive early list of 2016 prospects, and we'll delve in to that in the next Dish. At this point, I don't have any "one and dones" on that list, but there are some nice prospects that Maryland seems to be targeting. But again, must of that class could be determined by who the Terps land in 2015, and as we always remind you, performance on the court often dictates the recruiting results off it.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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