Some thoughts and observations after a busy weekend of "live" evaluations by college coaches:
Allonzo Trier (Montrose Christian/Rockville, Md.) is the truth. He led the Nike EYBL Sacramento session with 28.5 points per game. Some sites will list Trier as a point guard ... rubbish. He's a pure scorer, plain and simple, with a unique combination of strength and finesse, and the ability to drill jumpshots from all over the floor.
I know Georgetown is making a major push on Trier, and you can bet Louisville will try as well. Mark Turgeon was among a slew of coaches watching him in California, and they'll continue to make an effort, but I have not gotten any strong Terps feedback on Trier. His recruitment could be coast to coast, and my guess is that it could drag awhile. But this kid can really play.
I am wondering if the Terps might take a harder look at Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) point guard Kevin Dorsey. Dorsey, a 5-11 junior, was Team Takeover's best player by far this weekend, averaging 20 points, as well as 3.3 assists, and more importantly, 3.3 steals per game. Dorsey has a number of mid-major offers, but that will change given his performance in the past few days.
I do recall VCU and UMass had offered, and now that it appears landing a '15 point guard might become more of a priority for the Terps, I don't think it's out of the question that Turgeon and company consider him.
Dorsey is not a "pretty" player. He's a tough as nails, in your face, flat out competitor, whose outside shot has improved. He played very well in the Metro Challenge 60 last month.
Another point guard the Terps have offered, Justin Robinson from St. James (Md.), played very little in Sacramento for the Boo Williams team. Robinson, coming off an ankle injury, only averaged six minutes, and was not a factor. He'll more than likely gear it up for the remaining Nike sessions, and he remains a serious target it would seem. The staff will get another look at him in July.
Not sure the reason, but Georgios Papagiannis (Westtown/West Chester, Pa.) did not play this weekend for Team Takeover. TTO could have used him, as they only went 1-2 in the tournament, and had to overcome a 25 point deficit to gain their only win over the Georgia Stars.
Josh Reaves (Paul VI) played solidly for TTO, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone who has followed him this year. His numbers were 12 ppg (48 percent shooting), 3.7 rebounds per game, 1.7 assists per game and 1.3 steals per game. Reaves is one of those players who gets solid numbers pretty much every time out, and is very consistent. He can fill a role on a high major program, but won't likely develop into a "go to" type prospect.
Penn State and Temple continue to push hard, Georgetown seems to be fairly confident in their chances to land him, and the Terps are a factor as well.
There's little doubt that both Coach Turgeon and Dustin Clark likely followed every Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) game they could over the weekend. Ahmad has some trouble with turnovers (4.3/game), but put up good numbers for All Ohio Red, who went 2-1 in their play. Ahmad averaged 13.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, and shot 50 percent from the floor.
The Terps went in home with Ahmad and his tight knit family last week, and he remains a top priority. Ohio State watched Ahmad in California, and that's always a concern, but as of yet, the Buckeyes have not offered. Sources continue to say that West Virginia could be the team to beat, and you've got most of the Big Ten calling now, but I do think Maryland has done a great job with the young man, and they are still very much alive in the race.
We mentioned last week that Maryland went in-school to visit Udoka Azubuike (Potter's House Christian Academy/Jacksonville, Fla.), and the 6-11 man-child did not disappoint in his Nike EYBL sessions, averaging 12.2 points and 8.5 rebounds. Azubuike, who plays for Nike Team Florida, goes about 250 pounds now and will be a national recruit, and yes, you'll have to beat out the Florida programs to get him.
I have to assume Billy Donovan is all over this one, and Billy the Kid's a tough guy to beat on an in-state recruit.
He was getting mid major offers up to this past weekend, but Chesterfield, Va., junior shooter Kenny Williams (Lloyd C Bird/Chesterfield, Va.) really broke out for Boo Williams. Williams, 6-3, led Boo with 16.8 points per game, and shot 16-26 from beyond the arc in his four games in Sacramento. Williams is a smooth perimeter marksman, with decent athleticism, who had been offered by William & Mary. You can bet that more mid/high major offers will be coming.
It's all about timing, and when you play well in front of college coaches, the whole recruiting landscape changes. One negative though: Only four free-throw attempts in 4 games.
Of more immediate interest to Terps fans was the performance of 6-6 forward/guard Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.). Clarke did what he always seems to do...put up numbers. He averaged 11.8 points per game, (shooting 72 percent from the floor), 6.5 rebounds per game, two assists per game, while only committing six turnovers in four games.
Clarke did not attempt a trey, and that's not a surprise, as launching jumpers isn't his game. He's an end-to-end energy guy, who plays over the rim, defends with a purpose, and is an excellent rebounding guard. Minnesota is his latest offer.
We understand Malik Ellison (Life Center Academy/Burlington, N.J.) played well for WE R 1 at the Hoop Group UA Jam Fest in Pittsburgh this weekend, and he told one reporter that Maryland and VCU were coming at him the hardest. St. Joe's, Temple, Penn State, and LaSalle are his other offers, and Virginia, Miami, Villanova, Rhode Island, and Michigan are involved to some degree.
It looks like Ellison, Clarke, and Reaves are the main wings under consideration. the question is, How does the staff rank them, and do they want one or two in the 2015 class?
Turgeon also checked out DC Premier 17U in Pittsburgh, and Marquez Letcher-Ellis (Genesis Academy/Lynchburg, Va.) is still another wing who is coming on and gaining some ground on the recruiting front. He's another Houston native now prepping at Genesis, along with fellow Texans (and Terp targets) Josh Hall and Greg Williams. Letcher- Ellis is 6-6, extremely long and active, and can get to the rim with authority, although he needs to add some strength. We'll see if Maryland offers anytime soon, but we'll add him to the list for now, and see how it all plays out.
Bino Ranson was in Dallas over the weekend, checking out the Adidas Gauntlet Tournament, and Turgeon joined him for the Friday action. Anthony Cowan (St. John's/Washington, D.C.) was in that tourney, as was Marcus Sheffield (Chattahoochee HS/Alpharetta, Ga.), and we hear both played well. Former Terp recruit Jaylen Brown dominated the event , but he no longer is considering Maryland. There was also a smaller event in Big D, and it's believed that Maryland took a look at 6-9 sleeper John Collins (Cardinal Newman/West Palm Beach, Fla.) there, who we wrote about here several weeks ago.
New staff member Cliff Warren held down the post in Pittsburgh until Sunday, when he shifted to Paterson, N.J., for the Spring Fling, which featured a number of the better 16U AAU teams. We're pretty sure he checked out the younger Baltimore Elite program, which has a strong roster, featuring Kodye Pugh (Boys' Latin/Baltimore, Md.), David Erebor (Mt. Carmel/Essex, Md.), and several standouts at Gilman School.
One last note on the Dallas event: Jordan Murphy (Brennan/San Antonio Texas) played well for the D1 Ambassadors (Texas), and although his camp has grown quiet in recent weeks, it appears he still is someone Maryland is monitoring closely. Murphy and Ahmad would seem to be, for now at least, the top two candidates for that versatile forward the Terps want to land in '15.
So you have Mark Turgeon in Texas, California, and Pennsylvania on consecutive days, which points out the stupidity of the one spring live weekend rule imposed by the NCAA. Now all D1 schools have to wait until early July to evaluate these prospects any further. It really puts all staffs in a bind if a kid wants to commit here in the next few weeks, and yet the coaches aren't yet sold as to what their evaluation actually is.
Mistakes will be made, and that leads to transfers -- and so far this spring, I believe the count is already over 400.
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