We're still in a bit of a holding pattern with hoops recruiting, though there were a couple of updates over the past week.
First, as expected, 6-foot-6 Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) small forward Dillon Brooks (who we are told the staff loved), popped to Oregon. We called that one, and it sounds like a Nike deal all the way. Brooks was a CIA Bounce product, a Nike sponsored AAU team, and he suddenly re-classed to 2014 and wound up at the Nike flagship school. I never put a lot of time and effort into following Brooks, because this was a longshot from day one.
Finally, Kansas transfer Andrew White decided on his new school: Nebraska. Maryland seemed like a good fit, and yet, I never got too confident with White, who's known for taking an inordinate amount of time to make decisions. He was the same way when he left the Miller School (Charlottesville, Va.) and finally chose Kansas.
His official visit to Maryland lasted five hours, which seemed strange to me at the time. I would think a couple days would be needed to get a full grasp on a school and the basketball program. In any event, it's over and we all can move on. White would've helped, but he wasn't going to turn the program around.
Coach Dan Prete at St. James School (St. James, Md),told me this week that Justin Robinson, his stellar point guard prospect, is finalizing his visit schedule and that the dates should be announced next week. We haven't changed our view on Robinson. I still think Maryland has an excellent shot, though it's by no means a slam dunk. Virginia Tech, Temple, and Creighton all seem like viable options.
There's a recurring theme about Melo Trimble's presence being a problem for Maryland. Obviously, Trimble is going to play, but he's not a pure point guard, and he certainly can slide to the wing on occasion. Maryland's pitch should be that, "we don't have a pure point guard in the program." And when you look at Virginia Tech (viewed by some as the strongest contender), they have Seth Allen on board, plus rising sophomore point Devin Wilson, who made the All-ACC Freshman Team last year.
Glynn Watson (St. Joseph's/Westchester, Ill.) still seems like the next best option, though he still has not set up an official to Maryland. I still see him at Nebraska or Creighton (obviously if he picks the Blue Jays, then they're off the board for Robinson).
With Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio), things are still a little iffy, and the earlier timeline of an August decision is out the window it seems. We've heard he will visit College Park on August 30, and that's a good thing, but the other visits are still up in the air. Michigan State, Wisconsin, and yes, Tulane (probably not a serious contender), are all still being mentioned, and of course, hometown Ohio State remains a major factor.
In a perfect world, Ahmad comes to Maryland on the 30th and pops, but we all know it's not a perfect world, so I would doubt that happens. If, in fact, Ahmad takes those other trips, we could still be sitting here a month from now waiting for a decision. That has to be nerve wracking for the staff, particularly in light of the fact that, much like Robinson, he's clearly a vital recruit, and the waiting has to be tough to deal with.
From here, it certainly appears there are a lot of eggs in the baskets of Robinson and Ahmad, and the question beckons, What if the Terps miss out on both?
Again, Watson doesn't seem to be leaning in Maryland's direction, and we certainly are not holding our breath on Noah Blackwell (Woodcreek HS/Roseville, Calif.) either. In other words, the Terps probably have to land Robinson or start looking for yet another option.
If Ahmad goes elsewhere, I would think Jordan Murphy (Brennan HS/San Antonio, Texas) is the next in line, but information on Murphy has been hard to come by, and no one seems to know what he's thinking. Murphy's been taking a calm, deliberate approach to his recruitment, so, until he actually shows up for his official, it's all guesswork in terms of where he winds up for college.
He's not as strong as Ahmad, nor does he shoot it as well, but he is pushing 6-8, handles well, defends, and possesses good athleticism. If anything, he may be a tad underrated, so the San Antonio native would be a good pickup. I still think it's an either/or situation, though, in terms of Ahmad and Murphy. I would not expect both winding up at Maryland.
So, who does that leave as realistic targets? Well, Danjel Purifoy (Hargrave Military Academy/Chatham, Va.) is still out there, but we still have more questions than answers on him.
Malik Ellison (Life Center Academy/Burlington, N.J.) told us last week he still wants to visit Maryland, but again, his injury situation obviously complicates his recruitment a good deal.
We should know by next week if Markis McDuffie (St. Anthony HS/Jersey City, N.J.) will be visiting Maryland. He's built similar to current Terp Jared Nickens, but is somewhat of a different type player in that he's defensive minded, and puts the ball on the floor very well, though not the pure shooter Nickens is. McDuffie intrigues me, and I am hoping that this still-growing (6-8) forward somehow figures in the mix.
But folks, that's a mighty short list when you look at it, so there's not a lot of margin for error with the class of 2015. We should have more visit dates next week, and perhaps then we can get a better idea of what these kids are thinking. This could turn out to be a very solid class, or one that falls apart come November.
We'll be delving into 2016 recruiting as September rolls around. The early returns would indicate that Maryland is involved with a number of very good prospects, though probably no one who would qualify as a "surefire pro, or big timer" type player. There are lots of guards on the list, and several wings who can play.
With Trayvon Reed departing, the Terps will likely need a big in that class as well, though we'll have to wait and see what develops with 6-9 Croatian Ivan Bender. I still feel reasonably good with St. John's (Washington, D.C.) product Anthony Cowan, and have gotten some positive feedback on 6-5 Georgia (Douglas County HS/Douglasville, Ga.) standout Brandon Robinson.
TTDan's Hoops Dish
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