Getting Richaud Pack on board May 22 was big. We'll have to wait and see just how good a player he is, and what he contributes on the court. But I haven't interviewed many more impressive young men while in this business, and it would seem that from a leadership and work ethic standpoint, Pack will deliver the goods.
He's clearly more of a two guard than a point, but if in fact he can fill in on occasion at the lead guard slot, it will be huge. In a Spring that's been filled with defections and negativity, Richaud Pack's commitment was a ray of sunlight.
On the same day of Pack's commitment, we learned that Michal Cekovsky was signed and good to go. Again, all I have to go on is hearsay and some video highlights, but with Charles Mitchell now an ex-Terp, it's obvious the young Slovakian is going to play, and play a lot. I have talked to a trusted source who saw Cekovsky live, and he was impressed. He liked the young man's skillset, his mobility, and his feel for the game, all of which are sorely needed in this program.
He did caution, however, that Michal is not real strong just yet, and the Big Ten can be a rude awakening for bigs who don't carry a lot of weight. But this scout left me with hope when he said, "when Cekovsky gets stronger and gets acclimated to the American game, he's gonna be a problem." That's encouraging.
What's next you ask? What we do know is that prime power forward transfer target Robert Carter is visiting on June 2. He's been to St. John's and he has yet to commit there, so you keep your fingers crossed and hope he makes it here as scheduled.
Reportedly Kansas and Baylor are also interested, and folks, you don't want Carter visiting either campus. In other words, get him to pop while here, or shortly after he returns to Georgia. Kansas and Baylor, shall we say, have a way of getting things done. Maryland has to roll out the red carpet and get 'er done. This is no time for the "take your time and get back to us whenever" mode of recruiting.
As this is being written, WVU transfer Terry Henderson has not yet scheduled his visit to College Park, though we could know that by week's end. Maryland made the cut, along with UCLA, NC State, and Wake Forest. An excellent Wolfpack source told me over the weekend that, "I think State's in great shape with Terry. He's really close with T.J. Warren and that should help. Plus he's a Raleigh kid. That said, his parents are from the Baltimore area, so who knows? Maryland could have a legitimate shot."
The inference was clear that this source felt it would be a two team race. Now, obviously no one would blame the kid for visiting UCLA. Wake would seem to be the longshot. If he wants to stay in-state, you 'd think NCS would have the advantage. Again, it doesn't appear as though Maryland's backing off Henderson the first time around is an issue. If it was, it's doubtful the Terps would have made the cut to begin with. Much like Carter, you have to hope for an early visit, and make it difficult for Henderson to leave without popping.
Carter and Henderson are critical recruits. It's rare (despite the ridiculously high number of transfers) that players of this caliber are available. And in both cases, Maryland was involved in their original recruitment. What these two players decide will have an enormous impact on the rest of 2015 Terp recruiting.
We'll take it a step at a time, but should Maryland land both players, it would appear a number of other high school recruits will suddenly disappear from the radar. Carter popping would have lesser effect it would seem. I still think the Terps would go after forwards Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) and Jordan Murphy (Brennan/San Antonio, Texas) regardless. If Henderson comes, a number of wings currently under consideration would no longer be priorities. You wouldn't have the need, and you wouldn't have the number of scholarships either.
At this time, I don't see Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.) being in the mix, despite an outstanding Nike EYBL season. Malik Ellison (Life Center/Burlington, N.J.) seems to be fading a bit as well, simply because he really hasn't had a stellar AAU season thus far. Team Takeover swingman Josh Reaves (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.) has been steady, though not dominating. At this time (and things change) Reaves would appear to be the strongest possibility from that group to becoming a Terp, if Henderson goes elsewhere.
Now, Allonzo Trier's (Montrose Christian/Rockville, Md.) stock is through the roof, and you'd take him regardless, but again, I just don't "feel" Trier to Maryland. I cannot give you anything factual to back that up, but I've seen hundreds of recruitments in my time, and this one just looks like one that won't end well for the Terps. Time will tell, and speaking of time, Trier is talking like he may be a Spring signing, so be patient!
I am not expecting any more point guard signings this year, so a high school floor leader in '15 is still critical. Many observers are conceding Bryant Crawford (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) to Louisville, where he visits on June 11. Could that happen? Of course, but we need to see if the Cards offer first, and if so, does Crawford pop immediately? The plan now is for the Gonzaga standout to also visit College Park in June. So, its safe to say we could have a much better feel for this recruitment in the next month. I wouldn't count out Villanova or Indiana just yet either.
Justin Robinson (St. James, Md.) and Noah Blackwell (Woodcreek/San Jose, Calif.) remain in the mix. Robinson didn't tear it up on the EYBL circuit, but he was coming off an injury. A better indicator will come in July on him. St. James sources tell me he does want to take some June visits, but none will be scheduled until final exams are completed this week at the prestigious Hagerstown school. Blackwell is playing well, and we expect more high major schools to get in the mix for him.
At the moment, he considers Maryland the best offer he has. That's a good thing, but it's still early, and he's still a long way from College Park. So, I'll wait a bit before handicapping that recruitment.
The Terps could still bring in a big man in 2015, but the list is mighty short. Maryland offered Indiana big man Caleb Swanigan, but I see that as a longshot, as all the Midwestern powers are on him. John Collins (Cardinal Newman/West Palm Beach, Fla.) remains a target, and though he may not be ready to dominate as a freshman, the Terps may not need him to be, if Trayvon Reed, Damonte Dodd and Cekovsky all develop, and especially if Carter comes.
The early buzz on Georgios Papagiannis (Westtown, Pa.) was that he was a one and done college guy and a surefire pro. I do like the big Greek, but he didn't exactly dominate on the EYBL circuit. He had several nice games, and others where he was a non-factor.
I don't consider him a "must have" type recruit, but make no mistake, he has a nice polished game. He'd function better in a slower paced system, and at the moment, I can't sit here and tell you exactly how the Terps are going to play next year, in terms of tempo.
Reed and Cekovsky can move -- so can Dodd. So my guess is the Terps will try and push the tempo and get some easy points. With Mitchell and Shaq Cleare gone, I'd expect the pace to increase.
It's been a crazy spring, no doubt about it. I mentioned a couple Dishes ago that it was time for some good news. Pack and Cekovsky joining the program certainly qualifies as good news. Landing Carter and/or Henderson would be great news. I'm definitely expecting some bumps along the road next year, but adding those two would give you some serious firepower heading into '15-'16.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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