There's probably not much point in rehashing the Trayvon Reed incident, but despite having a long way to go in his development, taking a 7-foot-1 shotblocker off the depth chart clearly is a negative. It leaves the program with 11 scholarship players (including Robert Carter, who is sitting out), and puts enormous pressure on sophomore Damonte Dodd and freshman Michal Cekovsky.
Given their lack of experience, I'd expect Jon Graham to get more minutes that perhaps we all previously expected. Graham is not going to dominate in the paint, but he will compete as the ultimate "grinder." And this may force Evan Smotrycz to spend more time around the glass and on the boards.
I don't want to be all doom and gloom here but, when you're entering the Big Ten, and are totally unproven at the center and point guard positions, it doesn't bode well for a killer season. Dodd, Cekovsky, and of course Melo Trimble are going to have to grow up fast.
Reed's departure may also affect 2015 recruiting, as I would think Maryland will try and find another serviceable big man. Dodd, Cekovsky and Carter will be your primary insiders in '15, with Graham and Smotrycz gone via graduation. It's not a great high school class for bigs in '15, and we know of no one the Terps are currently involved with, but there will be ample scholarships to work with. So we'd expect another insider to be added at some point, even if it's a role player type, or someone who can provide spot minutes at the "5" or "4" positions. But it won't be easy to find anyone, given the timing of Reed's leaving.
As for the future of Reed, someone will pick him up along the way, and of course, we wish him the best of luck wherever that might be. Blowing a potential career at Maryland, in the manner in which it went down, however, just seems tragic. I certainly hope he learns from this situation and makes better decisions in the future.
On the recruiting front, things seem a little quiet right now, as I would think both Maryland, and its main targets are in the process of setting up official visits. While there is still a reasonably long list of possible targets, I am concentrating on a relatively short list of players.
Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio): He took a weekend trip to favored Ohio State, but did not commit. It sounds like he still wants to check out Maryland, West Virginia, Michigan State, and possibly Wisconsin. Should he follow through with visits to those schools, it's possible his long rumored August commitment could be moved back a bit into September. Terps fans are obviously hoping for Maryland, but my gut feel remains Ohio State.
Jordan Murphy (Brennan/San Antonio, Texas): Murphy played well in Las Vegas, and the Terps got more good looks at him then. Murphy hasn't strayed from his original plan: Get a workable number of schools and begin visiting them in September. Barring a sudden pop by Ahmad, we do expect Murphy to visit Maryland next month. Texas A&M, Creighton, Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Maryland seem to be the schools he is seriously looking at. I'm speculating that Ahmad and Murphy are competing for the same spot, position wise, so it will be interesting to see how this all plays out from a timing standpoint.
Dillon Brooks (Brewster Academy/Wolfeboro, N.H.): The Terps like Brooks a lot, but so do many other schools after an impressive July AAU season. Until Brooks shortens his list, however, I'm not overly optimistic about Maryland's chances here. He's a CIA Bounce (NIKE) product, and the staff doesn't really have a history of recruiting their kids.
Danjel Purifoy (Bibb. Co. School/Centreville, Ala.): It seems as though Purifoy's there for the taking, and he was tight with Trayvon Reed, so we don't know how Reed's dismissal from Maryland will affect his recruitment. His recruitment has been all over the place, however, but in the end, why do I keep saying to myself, this kid's going to Auburn? Purifoy, an Alabama native, would seem to be a kid Bruce Pearl will be all over. I'm taking a wait and see approach for now.
Markis McDuffie (St. Anthony/Jersey City, N.J.): McDuffie, a late blooming wing from St. Anthony, has a Maryland offer, and shows considerable upside. This is a player I am hoping the staff goes hard for....he's friends with current Terp Jared Nickens, he's athletic, he's an excellent defender, and he comes from a tremendous high school program. VCU has the early lead, so the key might be getting McDuffie on campus before the Rams can close the deal.
Justin Robinson (St. James, Md.): Robinson shortened his list of schools on Monday night to UNLV, Maryland, Creighton, Providence, Virginia Tech and Temple. He remains the No. 1 point guard priority for 2015. Considering the position he plays, and the lack of depth the Terps currently have there, it's safe to say Robinson is probably the most important recruit on the board right now.
Glynn Watson (St. Joseph's/Westchester, Ill.): It appears as though Watson is the other main point guard under consideration at the moment. Watson is more of an end to end, quick twitch, explosive point man than Robinson is, so while their styles are a bit different, both get the job done. I am thinking the Midwest schools are still in the driver's seat, with Nebraska, Purdue and Creighton all looking good at the moment. Illinois Wolves AAU coach Mike Mullins just told us Watson is formulating his visit list now, so details should come shortly .
Others with offers:
Noah Blackwell (Woodcreek/Roseville, Calif.): The Cali point guard has an offer, but again, so many West Coast schools are now on him. I just can't see this one working in Maryland's favor.
Malik Ellison (Life Center/Burlington, N.J.): The guy's had nothing but bad luck all spring and summer with injuries, and is now out with a broken leg. I saw Maryland fading a bit from the picture before this latest setback, so clearly he's a longshot now it would appear.
Chris Clarke (Cape Henry Collegiate/Virginia Beach, Va.): We'll have his shortened college list in the next day or two according to Cape Henry coach Mark Hall, but with UConn and Florida having offered, I'm not expecting Maryland to make the cut. I hear the Gators will definitely make the final list, and I suspect Creighton, Tennessee and UConn may well be on there too.
Kipper Nichols (St. Edward/Lakewood, Ohio): Xavier,Minnesota, Nebraska, and Maryland seem to be the frontrunners. The Terps are staying in contact for this solid wing, who's not flashy, but effective.
Jarvis Johnson (De La Salle/Minneapolis, Minn.): This free-wheeling, explosive point guard from Minnesota is almost guaranteed to stay out there for college, with Minnesota and Wisconsin the odds on favorites.
Christian James (Bellaire, Texas):The Terps did offer James recently, and the 6-4 slasher had a solid summer. But James is mainly an athletic "2" guard who does a lot of his damage close to the rim, while passing and defending quite well. Oregon is his favorite it seems. I'm not sure why you'd pursue James while seemingly backing off a guy like Clarke, who does all the same things at 6-6.
Maryland has shown some interest in Baltimore point guard John Crosby, who will prep at New Hampton (N.H.) next year. He does not have an offer just yet, but should Robinson and Watson matriculate elsewhere, it's possible he could still figure in the mix.
The same holds true for Missouri combo guard Tyrone Taylor (Hargrave/Chatham, Va.), but again, if you don't have an offer by early August, it just doesn't bode well for your chances of winding up in College Park.
With the departure of Reed, my guess is now the staff would like a 4-man class: point guard, wing, combo forward and big man. Barring attrition, that would still give you a decent number of scholarships available for 2016 (probably 3-4).
We're not expecting any poppage this month, based on the way things stand at press time, but we will be reporting on any scheduled official visits that should begin by late August or early September. I would think Mark Turgeon and Co. would want to get some kids in on football weekends.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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