TTDan's Hoops Dish

Dan Painter offers up thoughts on Terry Henderson, Bryant Crawford, Josh Reaves, Kevin Dorsey, Noah Blackwell, John Collins, Esa Ahmad and more.

There's not a whole lot to report this week, but obviously, landing Robert Carter Jr. last week was huge. Familiarity with the staff from his initial recruitment probably worked in Maryland's favor, and it seems like the big Georgian clicked well with the current team. Carter's a versatile power forward, who can post or face up, and we'd be shocked if he's not starting from Day One in 2015-16.

Terry Henderson's status is still in limbo. By all accounts (although his camp is laying low these days), the 6-4 sharpshooter had a strong visit last weekend. UCLA is out, and while some other various teams may be still under consideration (Wake, Cincinnati, etc.), it looks like NC State (June 20 visit); Richmond (probable visit this week); and the Terps are the strongest contenders.

I'd prefer Henderson to any of the other wings on the 2015 list simply because, like Carter, the Raleigh native has already proven he can be successful at the high-major level. I'm not quite sure how to handicap how this will shake out. Richmond was heavily in the mix the first time around, and NC State is home, though he has lots of family members in Maryland. The Pack have the final visit, and that could put them in the driver's seat.

I do recall, from Henderson's initial recruitment, that Maryland could well have been his destination had the Terps pushed , rather than concentrating on Christian Sanders, who eventually chose Stanford. In any event, we should know something in the next two weeks.

I haven't seen or heard anything to indicate that Maryland will go hard for Kansas transfer Andrew White, but we'll keep an eye on that should Henderson matriculate elsewhere.

So, if the Terps land Henderson, how does that affect the 2015 Hot Board? I'd have to think Josh Reaves (Oak Hill/Mouth of Wilson, Va.), Malik Ellison (Life Center/Burlington, NJ) and Allonzo Trier (Findlay Prep/Henderson, Nev.) come off the board. With Trier, it probably doesn't matter. Now that he's off to Findlay Prep, I think he's a "scratch" anyway.

If the Terps miss on Henderson, my guess is that Reaves (who visited Maryland on Sunday) is still in play. Penn State, Maryland, GW and Georgetown appear to be those schools being given strongest consideration.

His transfer to Oak Hill Academy is a bit of a head scratcher, but Reaves (if he puts on some weight) can be an immediate help as a defender/role player. I don't see him coming into a major college program and being an instant offense kind of guy.

Thoughts on some other '15s:

There seems to be some buzz now about Danjel Purifoy (Bibb County/Centreville, Ala.) and Auburn. Shocker. Bruce Pearl is a piece of work, but the guy is signing up transfers all over the place, and he'll eventually get the Tigers back to respectability. Despite Purifoy's mentioning Maryland a good bit recently, I've been leery of the young man, who still has not (to the best of my knowledge) picked a school for his senior year. Add that to his ever-changing list of schools and favorites, and I'm not seeing this talented 6-7 forward suiting up in College Park anytime soon.

I was a bit surprised to see the transfer of Marquez Letcher-Ellis from Genesis Academy (Lynchburg, Va.) to powerhouse Montverde Academy (Montverde, Fla.). Letcher-Ellis doesn't have a Terp offer, and I am not at all sure he'll get one, but he's had a good spring -- and him going to Montverde tells you the kid's pretty talented. Which point guard would I prefer in 2015? At this writing, three we know have offers: Justin Robinson (St. James, Md.), Bryant Crawford (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) and Noah Blackwell (Woodcreek/Roseville, Md.). Kevin Dorsey (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.) may have one by the time this Dish is on the board. They all bring different things to the table, so it depends on what the staff is looking for.

Robinson: He's more of a "systemic" pure point guard, and to me, that might be just what the program needs.

Crawford: Crawford is a dynamic athlete, who's an effective scorer, if not shooter, and a more than willing defender.

Blackwell: He's apparently an excellent handler and passer (though we have not seen him live), who can play over the rim.

Dorsey: Dorsey is a full-energy, high-tempo penetrator, and in- your-face defender.

Push comes to shove, I'd probably take Robinson, simply based on what he does well, and the structure in full- and half-court sets he would provide. But again, his list of schools is lengthy, and he's playing his recruitment very close to the vest. But the Terps need to find one, either from among this list of four, or anyone else who might burst on the scene in July.

I checked in yesterday with a strong scout source in Ohio. His feelings on Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) have not changed: "Esa's going to make them (Ohio State) work, but I simply cannot see him going anywhere else but there in the end. But don't look for Maryland to give up. They've invested way too much time and energy into him. If by some chance something goes awry with OSU, they're right there."

I still cannot convince myself the Terps will take a big man in 2015. On paper, you'll have Damonte Dodd, Trayvon Reed, Mikal Cekovsky and Robert Carter to man the 4-5 positions next year. I'm down to two on my list of '15 bigs right now: Georgios Papagiannis (Westtown, Pa.) and John Collins (Cardinal Newman/West Palm Beach, Fla.). Collins is more of a power forward type, and sources down South tell me he is quite talented, but would need a year or two to really make an impact. I see Miami as a strong contender there.

With big George, it's basically been lots of speculation on him and little fact. He has indicated an interest in visiting Maryland, but again, I think the July live period could drastically alter the schools involved in his recruitment. Schools near Westtown School most often get mentioned in his recruitment, but an impressive Peach Jam in July could trigger a whole new list of contenders.

Obviously, if he wants to be a Terp, you take him and don't look back, but it's a bit too early for me to list him as a "must have" type recruit. I want to see an official list of schools, or visits, before I get all wrapped up in his recruitment.

I do think Jordan Murphy's (Brennan/San Antonio, Texas) one player we all need to keep in mind though. He says very little publicly, but he (and his high school coach) have both targeted Maryland as one of his favorites, and a school almost certainly to get a visit. Murphy won't take any visits until the fall, and again, he might be the dark-horse recruit no one is really talking about. You don't hear much about him nationally, and yet he's done well in every spring event to date.

As we've often said, 2016 recruiting will come more into focus after the next few months, when the 2015 class is wrapped up. It's shaping up as a dynamite class nationally, but truth be told, you do not see Maryland's name listed with any of the truly elite prospects. There are some good local DMV players that are being recruited, but none that are considered big-time national recruits -- at least not yet.

What we have to keep in mind, though, is that it's still early, and perhaps a few of these kids really develop over the next six months or so and elevate themselves on the "lists" that everyone likes to monitor.

But for now, the task at hand is to try and land Terry Henderson and a competent point guard. At that point, the roster has enough talent to make some noise nationally. As we've said time and time again, winning cures all ills, and makes recruiting a much easier task.

Finally, not good news on Trayvon Reed and his ankle fracture, but again, he'll have ample time to heal before the season starts. It will obviously hinder any lower body strength workouts that he desperately needs, however.

Cekovsky is due to arrive in College Park by the end of the week. How ready he is to provide some offense down low (and on the perimeter) is critical. What scares me about the team at the moment is the youth down low, and in the backcourt. Cekovsky and Melo Trimble will have a lot of pressure on them to be effective from day one.

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