As of May 7, here's the current '14-'15 Maryland roster. As always, it's subject to change:
Dez Wells, SR
Jonathan Graham, SR
Evan Smotrycz, SR
Charles Mitchell, JR
Jake Layman, JR
Damonte Dodd, SOPH
Melo Trimble, FR
Dion Wiley, FR
Trayvon Reed, FR
Jared Nickens, FR
Michal Cekovsky, FR
That's 11 scholarship players by my count, and I fully expect the final two slots to be filled in the next few weeks. IUPUI guard Ian Chiles will be visiting soon, and possibly also Hawaii point guard Keith Shamburger, both of whom are on the Terps' radar. Either or both would be solid additions at this point, and both would be immediately eligible.
When you look at the roster as it now stands, you notice the youth, and the extreme lack of depth in the backcourt. I'd feel a whole lot better with an experienced ball-handler like Shamburger on board, and a solid combo-guard who can score in Chiles.
Chiles looks to be deciding between Maryland, Tennessee and Auburn. It's too early to say where Shamburger, a native of Los Angeles, might be looking, but in both cases, clearly playing time is available.
Of course, in Chiles' case, Tennessee and Auburn are in the same boat. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon has to find guards who can protect the ball and take pressure off incoming point guard Romelo Trimble (Bishop O'Connell/Arlington, Va.), and not force fellow freshman Dion Wiley (Potomac/Oxon Hill, Md.) to play extreme minutes.
The recent UMD transfers have been well documented, and there's not a lot to add. We'll never know the real reasons behind some of the departures, but life goes on. If you get the guards you need for next year, there's still a decent foundation here, and enough veteran presence to stay competitive.
There's been plenty of criticism leveled at some of the kids leaving, but at this point, it's over and done with. My take on it is the same: If you don't want to be here, I wish you the best and let's get kids who do.
Clearly, chemistry was a problem last year, and you can only hope it improves next year, and the team is more unified. But it's going to be very interesting to see where Roddy Peters, Nick Faust (who now has to go through the process again with the Oregon State coaching change) and particularly Seth Allen wind up. I saw where Allen was mentioning Louisville, Syracuse and Virginia as possible landing spots. Good luck with the first two, and does Virginia really fit his style of play?
But again, that's old news and I am moving on.
So, how does all this player movement affect Maryland recruiting? I think it all depends on how Turgeon and staff spin it. So far, Turgeon has said all the right things. I'd imagine there will be some concern among recruits, but on the other hand, some will also see an opportunity. If the Terps can somehow resemble a cohesive unit next year, concerns should be alleviated.
As I look ahead to 2015 recruiting, here are some thoughts on various prospects:
Georgios Papagiannis, C, Westtown (West Chester, Pa.): After watching him May 4, you have to recruit this kid hard, and perhaps Maryland is. A few schools are being mentioned now, in what has been an extremely secretive recruitment. It appears he is considering a lot of regional schools close to his adopted home outside Philadelphia. Temple, Villanova, Maryland, Georgetown and Pittsburgh get some mention, and yet after seeing him over the weekend, I have to assume this recruitment will blow up even more when everyone gets a look at him in July. He's not a "wow" athlete, but the skills and IQ are so evident.
John Collins, PF, Cardinal Newman (West Palm Beach, Fla.): Collins is on the verge of blowing up after a scintillating performance last weekend at the Bob Gibbons Tournament in Georgia. Much like Papagiannis, I think July will see Collins getting more and more offers. He's a 6-9 power forward with skills. Right now, Miami and Maryland may be recruiting him as hard as anyone.
Esa Ahmad, PF, Shaker Heights (Ohio): Once again, Ahmad got it done in a Midwestern tournament last week. The bad news is that Ohio State has now offered. The good news is that the Terps and West Virginia still appear to be prime contenders, over a long list of suitors. The Buckeyes are loading up so far in '15, and when they really want an in-state kid, their track record is awfully good. So, yes, that's a major concern if you're Maryland.
Jordan Murphy, SF, Brennan (San Antonio, Texas): Murphy remains a very important target for Maryland. He's in that 6-6, 6-7 range, and has multiple combo-forward skills. It appears that Maryland is still very much alive, along with Creighton, Texas A&M, SMU, Vanderbilt and a number of other schools. Murphy remains a viable Terp option, especially if Ahmad winds up elsewhere.
Marcus Sheffield, SF, Chattahoochee HS (Alpharetta, Ga.): Not feeling Maryland here at all at the moment.
Chris Clarke, Cape Henry Collegiate (Virginia Beach, Va.): Lots of offers for Clarke, and more interest with Syracuse and UNC snooping around. Creighton, Iowa State and Virginia Tech could be pushing the hardest, with West Virginia coming on as well. The Terps can remain strongly in the mix with a sustained effort though. Clarke's motor and athleticism shown during the EYBL, and he is only going to see his college interest increase.
Josh Reaves, SG, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.):Reaves looked very good over the weekend for a loaded Team Takeover program. If I had to guess, I'd see Penn State, Temple, Georgetown and Maryland as his final four choices.
Malik Ellison, SG, Life Center Academy (Burlington, N.J.): Lots of new interest, but no new offers, according to Ellison last week. The Terps are in there solidly, just not sure at the moment where he stands in the pecking order.
Allonzo Trier, SG, Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.): OK, we're talking about an absolute blow up with Trier, and now Louisville, Kansas and UConn have all extended offers, making a long list even longer. I do expect Maryland to stay in this race, because the kid is that good, but the stakes have just gotten higher. Georgetown, I hear, is going all out. I couldn't even begin to venture a guess as to how this turns out.
Danjel Purifoy, SF, Bibb Co School (Centreville, Ala.): This Alabama wing is approaching five-star status, and the Terps have been involved. But I am leery since he lists different schools with different reporters, and there is some question about his academic status. So, if you're asking me do I expect Purifoy to wind up in College Park, the answer is no.
Justin Robinson, PG, St. James (Md.): Robinson, despite being injured, continues to get offers, with Illinois and St. Joe's being the latest. He should be almost 100 percent for this weekend's EYBL session in Dallas. It seems almost certain that Maryland will take a point guard in 2015, and Robinson could very well be their top target.
Kevin Dorsey, PG, Paul VI: No evidence yet of a Terp offer, though this 5-11 energetic dynamo continues to play well for TTO. Right now, though, I don't anticipate much of a push for the Paul VI floor leader.
Given all the recent turmoil in the program, it's probably premature to delve too far into 2016 recruiting, but we will continue to monitor that class. Right now, I'd see roster priorities as the following:
Add two guards who are immediately eligible in '14-15 -- and one has to be a true point guard who can protect the basketball and find open shooters.
Find out soon what Charles Mitchell's situation is. Is he staying? Is he fully committed to the program? Is he willing to get in great shape and really work on his game? Unless you get three positive responses, then it's time for him to move on as well.
Get full NCAA clearance on Mikal Cekovsky, guaranteeing he is eligible and ready to go in October. At this point, and especially if Mitchell decides to bolt, the 7-0 Slovakian certainly projects as someone who will get ample floor time as a freshman.
Hire an assistant coach. Nothing much percolating on that front as best we can tell, and with Cliff Warren on board (an absolute steal as a DBO), perhaps it's not that pressing, but July will be here soon, and you want, and need, a complete staff on the road during the summer live period.
Identify your 2015 recruiting priorities by position and hit the road. As we speak, it would appear point guard, 2G/SF, a combo forward, and possibly a big (if the right guy is available), would be the needs. I do expect two more players to be added in the next month, but they'll likely be seniors, so their presence wouldn't affect the '15 scholarship numbers. With that in mind, the Terps could have as many as five scholarships to work with.
We had a feeling this would be a busy and interesting spring in College Park -- and so it is.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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