O'Field In Close Contact With UMD

Midland (Texas) junior college shooting guard/small forward Maurice O’Field has been on head coach Mark Turgeon’s radar for the last several months.

Elev8 Academy’s (Delray Beach, Fla.) Kobie Eubanks and Jamall Gregory are the new wings in play for Maryland as the Terps fill out their 2015 recruiting class, but Midland (Texas) junior college shooting guard/small forward Maurice O'Field has been on head coach Mark Turgeon’s radar for the last several months. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Cleveland, Ohio, native has held a UMD offer since early November and has the Terps under significant consideration.

“I know Maryland has a lot of history there and it would be a nice place to play at,” said O’Field, who will officially visit College Park, Md., in March. “I really liked what I’m hearing about them, and I think I can fit in well there, if that’s where I choose to go.

“I talked to Coach Turgeon when he offered the scholarship but mostly I’m in contact with Coach [Dustin] Clark. He’s jus a cool guy and we’re developing a relationship. Most of the time we talk about how my games went and what I could have done better. Other times we talk about the NBA and stuff like that, like who’s winning and things. It’s always good to talk to him (laughs).”

Clark initially identified O’Field as a possible offer candidate earlier this fall, and a few weeks later Turgeon trekked to Midland for a practice. O’Field said the Terps’ headman let the Cleveland wing know he liked his attitude and how hard he went in practice. Soon thereafter, Turgeon watched O’Field perform in a preseason scrimmage, prompting him to ante up with a scholarship.

“Coach Turgeon called me like a week or two after he watched me and said he wanted to offer me,” O’Field said. “He just said that as far as their team goes, they have a lot of guys that are very skilled and really good players that can shoot. He said what he liked about me was that I’m a tough guy and I do a lot of what he likes on the court -- like how I can scrap for rebounds and do more than just stay on the perimeter; drive to the hole; and make free throws.

“He’s just like, ‘You’re a tough player we’re not going to have once Dez Wells graduates.’ So that sounded pretty good to me, and I’ll definitely be looking at [Maryland].”

As far as other suitors are concerned, O’Field said Arizona State, Gonzaga, Louisiana Tech and Marquette are the main players, though he’s had the most contact with ASU and Zaga, in addition to UMD.

“I talk to all those guys [ASU, Gonzaga, LA Tech, Marquette, Maryland] once or twice a week, but I would say Gonzaga, Maryland and Arizona State are pushing the hardest,” O’Field said. “They keep me in-tune to how things are going there, if they win or lose games, things like that. They tell me to keep working, keep pushing.

“And I’ve looked into them all. I actually didn’t really know too much about any of the programs, but I’ve learned some about each of them. Like with Maryland, I know about their tradition and how they won a championship. And with Gonzaga, I know their coach [Mark Few] has been there for like 16 years and has been to the postseason in 15 of those years, so that’s a positive. I don’t know too much else about [Gonzaga], but I’m learning. And Arizona State, I have a good relationship with Coach [Josh] Barrett because he was with Indian Hills (Centerville, Iowa) junior college, and I talked to him when I was thinking about going there. But I don’t know too much about [Arizona State] yet beyond that.”

Of those three, O’Field said he doesn’t favor one over the others at this time. He said he has a solid relationship with assistants from Maryland, Zaga and Arizona State and is looking forward to continuing that communication moving forward.

And there’s also a chance other programs could become involved, namely Marquette and LA Tech.

“I really like both of those programs too. I just started talking to Marquette maybe a month ago, so I haven’t built that relationship yet, but it’s getting there. They’re pushing for me now,” O’Field said. “I’m looking at [Marquette] and LA Tech.”

O’Field has not taken any visits yet, but plans to see four or five schools in March. In fact, he’s already scheduled three officials to Maryland, Gonzaga and Arizona State.

“What I’ll do is I’ll see those three and maybe one or two more, and then I’ll talk to my coach and mom and go from there,” O’Field said. “I’m looking to sign in April.”

In the meantime, though, O’Field is concentrating on finishing his junior college career strong. He’s currently back in Cleveland with his family for winter break, but has to leave Christmas Day for Arizona, where Midland plays three games in three days.

So far the Texas program is 9-3, and O’Field said he’s averaging 18 points, five rebounds and four assists per game.

“We dropped a couple games we shouldn’t have, I think because of our level of focus. We were doing really good, but we got too comfortable, but 9-3 isn’t too bad,” he said. “Right now I think I’m doing well, but I think I need to rebound more, and offensively my shooting percentage from three is 40 percent. I’d like to be at least 50 on [shooting threes] -- just taking good shots. But I just keep attacking, and I’m shooting six to eight free throws every game, so that’s a positive.”

O’Field’s road from Cleveland to Midland has been a rather long and winding one. He started at Notre Dame Cathedral (Chardon, Ohio) as a high school freshman, but transferred after a year to Cleveland Heights (Ohio). A year later, he attended his third different high school, this time shifting over to John Jay High in Cleveland. O’Field spent two years at John Jay, graduated and signed with East Tennessee State University.

But he failed to qualify academically and had to do what’s called a “Prop 48.” So O’Field enrolled at ETSU and paid his own tuition, accumulating 24 credit hours in the process. After that, he was eligible to sign his scholarship, but instead of doing so O’Field elected to transfer to the junior college Midland, because “I felt I could play [basketball] at a higher level” than East Tennessee. He’s since taken classes all summer and fall, and needs 15 more credits this winter before graduating Midland.

“Then I’ll be able to go to a university with three years of eligibility remaining,” O’Field said.

As far as where he fits in at said university, O’Field said he’d probably initially be cast as a small forward/wing type, with the ability to morph into a shooting guard.

“I think I’ll start at the three. I think I have a pretty good skill-set, but to play the two, you really need a good set of skills,” O’Field said. “And I think once I work on that over the summer and throughout the season, and get used to playing against other shooting guards, I can develop into [two-guard]. But starting off I think it’ll be the three.”

TerrapinTimes Top Stories