Here are some notes and thoughts as Maryland draws closer to the start of practice:
As we reported earlier this week, Justin Robinson (St. James School/St. James, Md.) will announce his college choice on October 12, following a visit to UNLV this coming weekend. The general buzz is that Virginia Tech leads, with Providence making a strong bid as well. The Terps appeared to be in a strong position not too long ago, but may have faded a bit. It's good to know a decision is finally coming, but much like top target Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio), we're not seeing this one ending on a happy note.
Maurice O'Field, 6-5, SF, Midland CC (Midland, Texas): Turgeon was in Sept. 29 to see this explosive JUCO wing.
Jaylen Brantley, 5-10, PG, Odessa College (Odessa, Texas): The head man also made time to check out Brantley. Brantley is a pure point, so you might assume by making this visit, Turgeon either doesn't feel too good about his chances with Robinson, or else he is just being thorough and adding another option to the list.
Tank Efianayi, 6-5, SF, Daytona State CC (Daytona, Fla.): Efianayi, another athletic wing, has now visited both Arizona State and St. John's, and they are the presumed leaders, although Efianayi is talking now like he may wait until Spring to make a final decision. Maryland has been to Daytona to watch Efianayi, originally from Connecticut, in action.
Yankuba Sima, 6-11, PF, Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.): Turgeon, a true traveling man, has also seen Sima, an under the radar big man in the class of 2015, who transferred to ACD from the Canarius Basketball Academy (Spain). Sima has Maryland, Louisville and Baylor on his early list. He's described as an athletic speciman, and predictably, a bit more advanced on the defensive end of the court.
Luis Montero, 6-7, PF, Westchester CC (Westchester, N.Y.): The Terps reportedly checked out Montero as well earlier this month. Montero spent a year at Wilbraham and Monson Academy (Mass.) before transferring to Westchester. Montero has had to overcome some language barrier issues after coming here from the Dominican Republic. There's no question about Montero's talent. He's a wonderful athlete with mad skills, though sometimes out of control. I'm not sure I see this recruitment going too far, but we will monitor.
Diamond Stone, 6-10, C, Dominican HS (Milwaukee, Wisc.): I'm still waiting for confirmation of an October 17 visit to Maryland, but again, I am not holding my breath on this one regardless.
We still feel like Ivan Bender (Croatia) to Maryland has a reasonable chance of happening, but at this point, it appears as though we may have to wait until spring to find out how this class of 2015 plays out, barring a surprise choice of Maryland by Robinson.
With the JUCO prospects, it's the usual wait and see deal in terms of their academics, and how they also perform on the court during the season. What's becoming obvious now is that the Maryland staff truly didn't seriously target many high school kids. Sure, they have recruited Stone all along, as well as Ahmad and Robinson, but looking back, we don't see many prep stars that were really prioritized. Many were evaluated, and some were offered (Kipper Nichols, Jordan Murphy, Noah Blackwell, Christian James, Malik Ellison, etc.), but it's clear now that the coaches are valuing each and every scholarship, and won't be just giving them away.
That said, with only seven scholarship players returning next year (at this point anyway), you still need to add three players, in our opinion, to fill out the roster. If the Terps don't find a JUCO or prep point guard in the spring, I would think they'll be, once again, looking for a fifth year guard to back up Melo Trimble, and create a bridge to the class of 2016, where Maryland is involved with a number of talented floor leaders.
Going the JUCO route to fill some needs is probably not what the staff would have preferred, but it's where we are as October arrives with practice is right around the corner. I think the Terps will find a point guard, simply because they have to. Finding that versatile combo forward (like Ahmad) may be a bit more problematic.
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