One of the rising hoops stars in the class of 2017 just happens to reside right in Maryland’s backyard. Clinton Christian (Upper Marlboro, Md.) wing Melo Eggleston, who transferred from St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) last year, has already garnered plenty of recruiting attention, and has had contact with the hometown school as well.
“Miami, Oregon State and Xavier offered me way back in the summer when they saw me in AAU, but then Maryland, Arizona, Georgetown, Uconn, Syracuse, Virginia, Virginia Tech and UCLA are all showing interest,” said the 6-foot-8 Eggleston, who plays for D.C. Premier. “That’s all I’m aware of for right now, and I’m not even really sure who is coming in next. I’ll see how it plays out in AAU, and maybe during the live period in April I’ll get some offers. It’s going to depend on my play and if I can show these coaches that I’m healed, 100 percent and ready to be a big-time player.”
Indeed, Eggleston ended up missing more than a month of his sophomore season after breaking his foot in December. But he just returned to the hardwood in early February and has played in a handful of games.
“I’m pretty much back 100 percent now,” he said. “My second game back I had a triple-double, and then I played pretty well in my third game back too, just doing everything I could to help my team -- rebounding, defending and scoring.”
If Eggleston can keep putting up triple-doubles, he’s bound to garner even more attention on the recruiting trail. As for the Terps, he said UMD assistant Dustin Clark has been in contact with his Premier coaches, and Eggleston has a feeling an offer could materialize down the road.
“I’ve been to Maryland a couple times, and I was there for their game against Virginia back in December. I hung out with Coach Mark Turgeon and assistants like Coach Nima [Omidvar] and Coach Dustin Clark.
“It was a pretty good visit. The campus was really nice, and I liked the game, the atmosphere and the student-section at Maryland. And going on the tour, Coach Clark and Coach Nima were showing me and my dad some of the history of the school. That was really cool. I like the history of Maryland and some of the great players that went there like Len Bias.
“But just like the energy from the coaches that were taking us around, I liked that. They seemed like really nice guys, and they were explaining a lot to me and my dad.”
Eggleston also knows several current Terps players, if not directly then through watching them on TV. He said he’s a big fan of point guard Melo Trimble’s game, while the Clinton Christian product is aware both Trimble and guard Dion Wiley are from near his hometown.
“I think it’s pretty cool that those guys chose to go to Maryland and stay home for college,” Eggleston said. “Keeping the best players from the DMV local and winning with them – that means a lot.
“That’s how they did it back in the day. The guys from New York went to St. John’s. Magic Johnson was from Michigan and went to Michigan State. So I think that’s something I want to think about when I’m choosing a college. I can’t say whether it’s definitely going to happen for me, but it’s something to think about.”
Besides UMD, Eggleston has also visited Syracuse for its Midnight Madness event. This offseason, he’s looking to see nearby programs like Georgetown, Maryland and Virginia before venturing further out.
At this point, though, Eggleston has no favorite schools, nor did he grow up a fan of any particular team.
“You always have the schools you see all the time on TV, but I’ll be blessed to have offers from anyone. I’m just happy to have high-majors looking at me already as a sophomore,” Eggleston said. “I just have to keep working and the offers will come. I’m not looking to draw attention from any one program. Just anyone that wants to recruit me is a blessing.”
Eggleston was born in Baltimore and lived with his mother there until he was four years old. But he’s been in D.C. ever since and considers himself a District native. And even though he spent time with the Baltimore-based Baltimore Supreme AAU squad, he suggested a shift to Premier was imminent.
“I like Premier a lot. It’s a really good program for me, because I’m still growing and trying to become more of a guard than just a wing,” Eggleston said. “There’s really nothing better than learning from guys that know how to develop guards like them.
“But as a small forward now, I bring a lot because I’m 6-8, and most coaches see my high upside. I can dribble, pass and score pretty well, and I can be a mismatch on the wing because I’m taller than most guards and small forwards.
“But I need to keep getting stronger and adding strength to my game. And you can always get better with ball-handling, shooting, defense. You can never be satisfied with your game.”
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