Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon was in Baltimore for the Tip-Off Classic at St. Frances Academy Dec. 13-14, and while his clear focus was likely on Elev8 Academy’s (Delray Beach, Fla.) primetime 2015 wing Kobie Eubanks, another senior guard/small forward may have caught his eye as well. Elev8’s Jamall Gregory isn’t nearly as heralded as the nationally-rated Eubanks, but he brings plenty of intangibles that resonate with college coaches.
Namely a junkyard-dog style of defense and plenty of grit.
“[At St. Frances] the one thing I did well was bring the intensity,” said Gregory, who played his first three years at Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) and his senior year at Coolidge (Washington, D.C.) before electing to do a prep year at Elev8. “We started off a little slow, but I brought intensity and got the team going. So I think my game is really coming along. I’m shooting the ball better since September, and I’m a lockdown defender -- all of that will help my team win.”
Gregory, a Washington, D.C. native, doesn’t currently hold any committable offers, but he said more programs are beginning to reach out to him. He said Maryland, USF, VCU, Providence and Boston College are all interested, with the Terps, Rams and Friars seeing him in action last weekend.
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound two-guard/wing was actually just in College Park, Md., Dec. 12. Before heading over to St. Frances, Elev8 head coach Chad Myers -- who knows Terps coach Mark Turgeon from having sent him power forward Damonte Dodd when he was at Massanutten (Woodstock, Va.) -- took his team to see Maryland practice.
“I’ve been up at Maryland before because I’m from the area, but it was a cool visit, just seeing the team and talking to a few guys,” Gregory said. “I’ve actually been talking to Coach [Dustin] Clark a lot, and he was telling me how much better I’ve gotten since the last time he saw me [at O’Connell]. He said [the Terps are] definitely looking at me.”
Even though Gregory was just at Maryland, he’s apparently returning Dec. 17 for yet another visit. Gregory said he didn’t have as much time as he’d like on campus, because “we had to get going for our practice and shootaround.”
“I’m on break for two weeks, so I’m right down the street [from Maryland] in D.C., so I’m going back up there,” Gregory said. “I really want to talk more to Coach [Mark] Turgeon, because I didn’t get to the last time I was there. I really want to see what he’s thinking about me, and just get a better look at the school and campus.”
Having grown up around the program, Gregory is quite familiar with the Terps. He’s seen them in action before, both at the Xfinity Center and on TV, and said he’d “love the chance” to suit up for UMD.
“I’ve seen Maryland this year a couple times, and they’ve looked good. They’re finally winning this year, and I like how everyone is playing together,” Gregory said. “I like how Coach Turgeon coaches, and I like the guys on the team. My friend, Melo Trimble, he’s the point guard there, and I was teammates with him at O’Connell. I talk to him a good bit, and he tells me he really likes it there -- the coaches and everyone.
“So, like, if [the Terps] offered, I would have a lot of interest. I like being home [in D.C.], I like the Big Ten conference and I like the program.”
Gregory admitted if a scholarship is firmly presented it wouldn’t take him long to snap it up. He stopped just short of saying he’d commit on the spot. (It remains to be seen whether the Terps would pursue in earnest with Eubanks still available. Both Gregory and Eubanks play the same position, and UMD likely wouldn’t be able to sign them both).
“I think I might take a couple days just to talk to my family about it,” Gregory said. “But I wouldn’t take long to make up my mind. I’d be highly interested in Maryland if they offered.”
With Terps senior wing Dez Wells set to graduate, Maryland would seem to be in need of another high-energy player and potential emotional leader. Gregory, for his part, said that’s his forte.
“That’s who I am; I can be that kind of player,” Gregory said. “I think I can fit right now at Maryland.”
At the moment, though, Gregory is still waiting for some coach to pursue in earnest. He said he’s open to anyone and anything, and can’t afford to be picky.
“I’m not looking at one school or anything like that,” said Gregory, who will sign in February. “Anyone who shows interest in me, I’ll have interest in them.”
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