Maryland's basketball program has taken its share of criticism recently, starting with a postseason whiff in March; continuing with the transfers of Nick Faust, Shaq Cleare and Roddy Peters; and now with the departure of Seth Allen and possibly Charles Mitchell.
But for one important local recruit, who UMD just offered, the Terps are just in a rut they're bound to climb out of – and soon.
"I was just up at Maryland [May 2] for a visit, and it was great," Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) class of 2016 point guard Curtis Jones said. "Coach Turgeon sat me down and we talked about everything that's going on in the program right now with Seth and the other guys leaving. But Coach Turgeon said no matter what happened, they're ready to move forward and he believes he can win with the guys he has and that are coming in."
Jones admitted he was a bit skeptical coming into the trip, but was appeased following his conversation with Turgeon.
"At first I really wasn't too sure about Maryland, but now I'm really liking them again after Coach Turgeon talked to me," Jones said. "I really understood where he was coming from and respected him for it. Even though they're losing some players, they still have Dez Wells and a great class coming in led by Melo [Romelo Trimble].
"I feel like they're on track and they're going to have a great year next year with the 2014 class on campus. Then with another great class on 2015 they're going to be straight."
The state of the program didn't encompass the entire visit, however. Jones said he, Turgeon and assistant Dustin Clark spent time just chatting about basketball, while the Paul VI guard toured the campus as well.
"It was a great time in general," Jones said. "Coach Turgeon and Coach Clark were talking basketball, about me working hard and how my skills could really help them. They said they would love for me to come there, and I was really excited when they offered me. It's one of my top choices right now."
Jones detailed exactly why Turgeon extended the offer. He had already secured verbals from NC State, ODU, Richmond, Tulane, VCU, West Virginia and Virginia Tech.
"He likes my overall game, how I can score the basketball, how I can pass, and how I can play the ‘1' and the ‘2,' " Jones said. "[Turgeon] was saying how he'd like to have two or three point guards on the court at once, and just have a lot of guys who can distribute and feed everyone the ball."
This most recent College Park visit was Jones' fourth in the last few months. He attended three Terps games during the winter and was already familiar with the Comcast Center and the UMD basketball brand. He had yet to tour the campus, however, so the May 1 trip was an opportunity to do so.
"It was a good experience. The people out there were great, and a lot of them knew who I was which was pretty cool," Jones said. "They had a concert out there and there were a lot of people around, so I got to meet a lot of different people. It was a great vibe."
Besides Maryland, Jones has seen Georgetown, NC State, WVU, UVA, Va Tech, Wake Forest and ECU. He has no other planned trips at this time, nor does he want to name any early standouts.
"It's still too soon for that," Jones said. "No leaders right now."
One factor Jones isn't really concerned about is what type of offense a team runs. He believes his game translates to any type of system.
"I feel like I can play in many different offenses with my style," Jones said. "The half-court, up and down, transition, get in the open court and make things happen – I'm comfortable in any set."
This offseason Jones is playing with his Team Loaded AAU squad. They have already participated in two tournaments and will be heading to Indianapolis, Orlando, Wisconsin and Las Vegas in the summer.
"It should be a great summer, and I'll get a lot of exposure," Jones said. "There's a lot of things I'll be working on. People say I'm a great shooter and scorer, but I want to be a great point guard, defender and ball-handler too. I want to be a complete player and really get my teammates involved."
Jones Excited About Terps Offer, Program
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