BEL AIR, Md. -- For his first year competing in AAU basketball, Michael Tertsea is doing quite well for himself.
Fresh off of leading Baltimore Elite 16's to a national AAU title in Kentucky, Tertsea, the 6-foot-10 John Carroll High School rising junior forward/center, has seen his recruiting profile elevate of late after a strong showing with Coach Bub Carrington's squad.
"Oh Big Mike...he was blocking everything, dunking everything, scoring with both a right and left handed jump-hook. Stepping out to mid-range and knocking down shots. He did it all for us out there," Carrington said after Baltimore knocked off All-Ohio Red in the title game.
In the crowd that day was Terps assistant Dustin Clark, as well as the staffs of Georgetown, FSU, Ohio State, Dayton, Syracuse and many others checking out the big-man import, among others like Elite guards Khalil Richards and DeQuan Bracey.
"It all just came more natural to me," Tertsea said. "You talk about having the will to do something that you know you can do better, and the confidence you get from doing it makes you do it more. So that's what kept me going through the games, my teammates believing in me and I showed it back when I did something. Why not show them what I have and help my team to win."
Elite peeled off seven straight wins en route to the title, Tertsea putting up games like a 12-point, 10-rebound, four-block performance in the playoff opener. He was catching and finishing both off the break and post feeds with more authority and purpose in putting up a few double-doubles.
This was Tertsea's first year ever in AAU ball, playing with both the Elite 17's and 16's this spring and summer.
He said all aspects of his game have improved this summer on the circuit, especially his shooting range to 15 feet, not to mention his overall confidence and knowledge of the game.
"My shooting the basketball has improved, and trying to play better defense in terms of [anticipating] the block more," Tertsea said. "And making all the post moves that I am going to make. I feel like I am gaining confidence and leadership qualities to be able to tell my teammates, show my teammates, 'OK, these are thing that will help us win the game.' And positively convey that message."
Carrington said he has received calls from several Big Ten schools already this week, as well as Dayton about his budding big.
"Also schools like Kansas State, Dayton....they have called," Tertsea said. "West Virginia, Xavier.....and Maryland, given that I play here in the state of Maryland, it is an honor they know about me and are in touch with my coaches about me and are watching me."
Tertsea is long and athletic with a 7-plus foot wingspan. He runs the floor very well and has a soft shooting touch. He is working to get stronger on the blocks to take the bump and finish, while his facing game is more advanced right now. He is playing more like he belongs on the blocks, with his enhanced jump hook and ability to finish with both hands, while's he's to 225 pounds, which will help his post-up game after arriving from Africa as a skinny kid two years ago.
"At that game I saw Maryland, Georgetown, UMBC, Wichita State....a lot of schools were there," Tertsea said. "Maryland, I am not far from home and I appreciate their interest in me as the state school. It's an honor."
It was the first title Tertsea has ever won as a basketball player.
"It's a very nice medal, which is really cool," Tertsea said. "And it's the first."
Tertsea Making Strides
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