The live periods are over. Evaluations are complete. I'm sure all the major college staffs are meeting this week to come to a consensus as to which players they truly want in their programs. Maryland is no different.
This is not an exact science, and there's lots of speculation involved. The next order of business for the Terps in August will be for the staff to schedule official visits for those recruits they deem priorities. Now's a good time to attempt a forecast as to how the class of 2015 will shake out for the Terps.
Justin Robinson (St. James, Md.): Robinson helped lead Boo Williams to the AAU Super Showcase title this past weekend in Louisville. He still appears to be the top point guard priority. Robinson remains deliberate in his recruiting approach, but is expected to trim his list of schools in August. Maryland, Creighton, Virginia Tech, Providence, and perhaps Temple seem to be some of the main schools under consideration .
Glynn Watson (St. Joseph's/Westchester, Ill.): The Terps have offered Watson, who played well at the Under Armour Finals earlier this month. A visit to Maryland is still possible, but Nebraska and Purdue may be the current leaders.
Noah Blackwell (Woodcreek/Roseville, Calif.): Blackwell, from all reports, had a solid showing in July, and he maintains a Terp offer. My guess is that he stays out West however, with San Diego State, Oregon State, St.Mary's and Long Beach State among the strongest possibilities.
John Crosby (New Hampton, N.H.): This Baltimore native , who will prep at New Hampton School, recently gained a good deal of Maryland interest. SMU, VCU, Rutgers, and ODU are all in the mix, and Maryland is looking, though it has not yet offered Crosby. Should they extend an offer, I could see them being factors if Robinson signs elsewhere.
Tyrone Taylor (Hargrave Military Academy/Chatham, Va.): The Terps have monitored Taylor, more of a combo guard, who will prep at Hargrave Military Academy. Unless a Terp offer comes this week (Maryland reportedly scouted him this past week), I don't see this happening.
Dillon Brooks (Brewster Academy/Wolfeboro, N.H.) We just learned Brooks will transfer from Findlay Prep to Brewster Academy. Brooks is a 6-6-plus wing with excellent ball skills despite not being a stellar athlete. He's from the powerful CIA Bounce program in Canada, and his recruitment is all over the place after having an exceptional July. Iowa State could be an early leader, along with Oregon, UNLV, Virginia Tech, Kansas State, Maryland, Michigan and Florida State. It's a hard recruitment to read for sure.
Malik Ellison (Life Center/Burlington, N.J.): Things could not have gone any worse for Ellison this spring and summer. Knee pain because of a growth spurt, hip problems, and now a possible broken leg suffered last week. Ellison is pushing 6-6 now, and as we've said all along, there's a lot of talent there, but all the physical ailments have thrown a wrench into his recruitment. Temple, Penn State, Maryland, St. Joe's and LaSalle were some of the early suitors. At this point, Ellison to Maryland seems like a longshot.
Kipper Nichols (St. Edward (Lakewood, OH.) He's a great kid, a hard worker, and has solid skills. But with this 6-6 wing from just outside Cleveland, I don't anticipate Maryland making a big push at this time. What you see is what you get from Nichols. He's a grinder, a physical talent and a solid program player. Xavier , Dayton, and Penn State look like his main options at the moment.
Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.): Clarke's had a sensational summer, and recent offers by Florida and UConn really opened things up recruiting wise. Virginia Tech, UF, UConn, Creighton, Iowa State, Minnesota, BC, Tennessee, Cincinnati, UNLV, Florida State and Maryland have all offered. At this point, there's really no telling where Clarke winds up, but it's doubtful it will be in College Park.
Prince Ali ( Sagemont/Miami, Fla.): Maryland tried to get in the mix with Ali, but it doesn't appear that pursuit will get very far. We think UCLA, Louisville, Indiana, and Michigan will slug it out for this 6-4 scoring machine in the end.
Christian James (Bellaire, Texas): James is from Houston, and has some of the same qualities Clarke has. He's very athletic, will defend, passes very well and scores close to the basket. At 6-4, he hasn't shown a lot of perimeter scoring skills, however. Oregon may be the leader, with hometown Houston making a run, along with Creighton and others. James to Maryland doesn't seem like much of a possibility at this point.
Markis McDuffie (St. Anthony's/Jersey City, N.J.): The Terps offered the 6-7 Markis McDuffie just this week. He's a late blooming wing-man from St. Anthony's , and the Sports U AAU program that gave Maryland Jared Nickens. VCU looks like the team to beat, with Maryland, Wichita State, BC, Creighton, Seton Hall, Rutgers and St. Joe's also in the mix. McDuffie has plenty of upside, and had an excellent summer AAU season. He's thin, but really coming on, and St. Anthony's kids normally have plenty of toughness.
Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio): Wherever Ahmad was this summer you can be sure someone from Maryland was there as well. Nothing has appeared to change with this recruitment. Maryland wants this kid badly. As we've been saying all along, we have to watch and see what possible number one option Ohio State does. Do they push for a verbal, or do they wait and go all in on Carlton Bragg? We should get some answers soon, as Ahmad has indicated a late August decision.
Jordan Murphy (William J. Brennan HS/San Antonio, Texas): The Terps got several looks at Murphy last week in Vegas, and he played well. Murphy seems to have a solid all-around game, though probably not the outside shooter Ahmad can be on occasion. He's a rangy athlete, who does a little bit of everything. Maryland's definitely in the mix here, with Texas A&M, Creighton, Oklahoma State and now Memphis. A Maryland visit in September seems likely, though nothing's been set up at this time.
Danjel Purifoy (Bibb Co School (Centreville, Ala.): We've gotten a lot of looks at Purifoy, and he's one of those players (like Clarke) that doesn't really have a set position. In Vegas, Purifoy handled the ball well, found open shooters, and defended, while showing outstanding athleticism. He did not, however, look for his shot from the perimeter at all, and this was also evident in Philadelphia at the Reebok Breakout Challenge. He's indicated Maryland to be his top college choice, so now we see if the Terps go all in or not. Auburn, Ole Miss, Michigan State, Georgia and Wichita State are lurking in the background.
Alex Illikainen (Brewster Academy/Wolfeboro, NH.: Illikainen reportedly got a Maryland offer recently, and this tall rangy face up power forward will prep at Brewster Academy for his senior year. All the Midwest schools are on him, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, Creighton, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, and Nebraska. Illikainen is a decent athlete, and can shoot it. Again though, Maryland seems like an extreme longshot at this point.
We'll see if any new names/offers pop up this week, but this list seems fairly comprehensive as July comes to an end. As we've stated recently, Robinson and Ahmad seem to be two "constants" in terms of priorities. We do anticipate a a third signee, most likely a wing type.
Brooks seems to be gaining some momentum nationally, but at this time, it's hard to project just which wing they want, and if that player will return the interest. The next week or two may provide some insight as to which players actually line up officials to Maryland.
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