This will be an abbreviated Hoops Dish, as we were hoping for some news to develop this week, but as of this writing, none has for the most part, and things have been strangely silent with Maryland basketball.
Still no word on the next assistant coach, and in fact, we've heard nothing concrete in terms of serious candidates. Now I realize the next live evaluation period is over six weeks away, but you do want prospects visiting your campus now, and it would be nice if the new guy was in place when the next recruit hits College Park. It would not upset me in the least if Cliff Warren eventually got that position, as most folks I talk to consider him a "steal" for the DBO post. There's just been little buzz on anyone who's hot for the job as of late. And so we wait.
Perhaps of more immediate importance is finding a transfer or two to help fill out the roster, and obviously backcourt help, especially at the point, is crucial. Since last week's Dish, Hawaii pg Keith Shamburger is off the board to Missouri (although we're pretty sure he was not a high priority), and just yesterday combo guard Ian Chiles popped to Tennessee.
The Terps did entertain North Carolina A&T two-guardRichaud Pack over the weekend, and a decision is expected within one week. He's been to TCU and Maryland, and may visit Texas A&M. Pack is an interesting player, in that academics will play a huge role in his selection. Should Pack pick Maryland, he won't solve the point guard dilemma, but certainly can provide some firepower, while adding a ton of chemistry to a program in need of it in large doses. This kid seems to have it all together, both on and off the court.
Now, there are currently over 500 players who have announced their intention to transfer, so there's a lot of kids to choose from. Certainly, finding someone who might have to sit out a year is still a possibility, but from here, finding immediate help at the point guard position is an absolute necessity. While Melo Trimble has made a decent transition from two guard to the point, he's still a freshman, and he's still only one player. Placing that kind of burden on an incoming freshman seems unfathomable.
As one national pundit said, "Trimble might be the most important freshman coming into college ball next year," simply based on the expectations placed on him, and the amount of minutes he will have to play. So, in other words, the Terps need an experienced ball handling guard to ease that transition. Who that person is, however, is unknown at this time. At this point, fifth year guys, JUCO guys, or even an international prospect are likely all being considered.
In other items....
Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) is expected on campus May 16 for an unofficial visit, while in route to Hampton for the EYBL session there. His list is long, but if I had to bet, Ohio State, West Virginia and Maryland look to be the main contenders -- for now at least.
Ahmad sounds like he could make an August decision, and really, the sooner the better for the Terps. You need a player like Ahmad, so if he decides College Park is not the place for him, better to find out in the summer rather than the fall. I still think UM has a solid chance, but man, Ohio State on an in-state kid is still troublesome.
I do think the Terps are still pursuing Jordan Murphy (Brennan/San Antonio, Texas) hard as well, and while he's not getting a lot of national buzz recruiting wise, he is a valued commodity. The best thing that could happen for Maryland is to get both Ahmad and Murphy on campus this summer for an official visit (late May or June would actually be preferable), and take the first one to pop. I say that because, frankly, I don't see any other combo-forward candidates on the board at the moment.
Big men you are curious about? Like the forwards, I still have two main contenders: Georgios Papagiannis and John Collins. Papagiannis has indicated that he likely will officially visit Maryland, and I would think Collins will too, unless Miami swoops in and gets an early commitment from him. Collins' stock has really risen following two spring events, and again, the sooner the better with him. More and more schools will get involved as the year rolls along, and you can say the same for big George.
Given the state of the program right now, I think Maryland has to take an aggressive attitude with any of their recruits. The old "take your visits and get back to us" approach probably wouldn't be of much benefit to the program at this point.
If you sense I am a bit confused as to the wing situation, bingo, you hit the nail on the head. I don't see Marcus Sheffield (Chattahoochee/Alpharetta, Ga.) coming, nor do I see a hard push in his direction. I'm hearing more Penn State buzz with Josh Reaves (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.) right now. Now I know the Lions aren't exactly a powerhouse at the moment, but Pat Chambers has been on Reaves for a long time, and Reaves seems like a loyal kid. Certainly, playing time will be available there.
For awhile, I was thinking Georgetown, but they are absolutely killing it right now (with top 50 recruits Jesse Govan and Noah Dickerson), and the Hoyas are going all out for Allonzo Trier and also combo guard Haanif Cheatham. Mix in 2014 recruits L.J. Peak and Isaac Copeland, and that roster is getting stacked in a hurry. Clearly, the Terps like Reaves, but is he their top wing priority? Who knows?
That leaves Malik Ellison (Life Center/Burlington, N.J.), Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.) and Allonzo Trier (Montrose Christian/Rockville, Md.). Ellison might be their best shot, and this versatile swingman has plenty of upside, although his play is still erratic at times. Clarke is not mentioning the Terps among those schools recruiting him the hardest (Creighton, Virginia Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Minnesota and others you hear about), and yet I sense Maryland could still pull it off should they push. That said, if that "push" doesn't come soon, Clarke won't happen, and that from good sources in the Tidewater area.
With Trier, well, he's the leading scorer in the Nike EYBL, and he has all the heavyweights on him now. You want Trier? Ok, beat out Louisville, UConn, Kansas, Georgetown, and on and on. I am not going to sit here and tell you I feel all that good about Maryland landing this explosive 6-3+ wing guard.
And while we're discussing point guards., even IF a 5th year guy is found for next year, Turge will still need one in the '15 class.
I am aware of two that have been offered.....Justin Robinson (MD); and the Mixtape wizard Noah Blackwell (CA). These two really couldn't be much different. Robinson is the solid, under control, heady point guard who can score, but looks to get others involved. He's more of a "systemic" point guard, and that might be exactly what this program needs.
Blackwell, wow, he's got all the moves, all the flashy passes, and can play over the rim. He is an Under Armour kid, but he's also from Cali. Do I think he's going to go 3000 miles from home to attend Maryland? I guess we'll know in the next few months. Like I said, both are very talented players, though totally different in style. But until some other names surface, that's what's on the board.
It's mid May, and Charles Mitchell is still here.....we're "assuming" he's going to stay. Then again, not a day goes by when a "name" player doesn't announce he's leaving for greener pastures. So, stay tuned just in case.
Still nothing official on Michal Cekovsky....Clearinghouse issues most likely, and they take awhile, but again, we're not anticipating anything bad on that front.
It also appears as though Trayvon Reed should be good to go academically.
Finally, I agree with everyone that it's about time for some really good news with Maryland Basketball. I remain guardedly optimistic. When we get that good news, you'll have it!
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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