Yankuba Sima isn’t the only Elev8 Academy (Delray Beach, Fla.) senior recruit the Maryland staff has its eye on heading into the April signing period. The big man’s teammate, wing Jamall Gregory, has been in contact with Terps assistant Dustin Clark since before basketball season began, and could be closing in on a coveted UMD offer.
Gregory, a Washington, D.C. native who played four years of high school ball at Coolidge (D.C.) and then Bishop O’Connell (Arlington, Va.) before opting for a prep year at Elev8, has made no bones about his desire to return home for college.
“Maryland is the hometown school and it’s only 15 minutes away from where I live. I’d love to have the opportunity to go there,” said the 6-foot-4, 175-pound Gregory, who mentioned that he and Sima have not discussed attending the same school. “My mom lives in D.C., and she’d love for me to stay close by, and the rest of my family is up there too.
“But, like, a couple years ago I really started liking Maryland, just the way they play and how Coach [Mark] Turgeon does things. It’s a school I’ve been to for games and know a lot about, and it’s a school I grew up with.”
Gregory is in the process of scheduling an official visit to College Park, Md., and said he’ll do so by mid-March, which is when Elev8’s season ends. The dynamic wing is fairly confident an offer will materialize on said official.
“Coach Clark and Coach Turgeon said I’m something they won’t have when Dez Wells is gone -- someone who can make things happen on the offensive and defensive end, and just be a high-energy presence,” Gregory said. “And, like, Coach Clark, he texts me after every practice and every game just to see how I’m doing. He was just down here at our tournament at IMG [Academy] to see me play; he’s a real good guy and he likes what I bring to the table.
“Coach Turgeon, he saw me play when [Elev8] played in Baltimore, and I like him too. I think he’s going to offer once I go up there again -- I hope he does.”
The D.C. native was last in College Park Nov. 20 when Elev8 trekked north for a tournament. But Gregory, of course, was already familiar with the campus, school and team.
“The campus at Maryland is pretty nice, and the atmosphere inside [Xfinity Center] is great. It’s a great student-section at Maryland,” Gregory said. “And I know Melo [Trimble] from when we played together [at O’Connell]. Melo is my man, just a real good guy. I talk to him a lot, at least a couple times a week, and he’s been telling me about the program and what he likes. It would be great to play with him again.
“Melo’s having a real good year too, just like the rest of the team. I like the way they play, and I think I can help [the Terps] next year if I were to go there. I can definitely go in there and get defensive stops for them.”
Besides Maryland, Gregory is looking to officially visit South Carolina and Minnesota as well. Neither the Gamecocks nor the Gophers have offered, though the Elev8 prospect believes he’ll add scholarships from both while on campus.
“Basically the coaches from South Carolina, Minnesota and Maryland are saying they’re going to offer, but they’re telling me to wait until things die down after the conference tournaments,” Gregory said. “They said once those are over, they’ll be able to sit down and discuss things with me.”
Of the three, Gregory said the Gamecocks and Terps have been making the most potent pushes. But, for now, Gregory is keeping UMD, USC and Minnesota on a fairly even plain until he completes his trips.
Of the latter two, Gregory said:
“Minnesota, I talk to their coaches almost every day and they want to get me on campus. And South Carolina, they say they need a scoring wing and a defensive stopper, someone who can put the ball in the basket and bring energy to the team.
“I like the way South Carolina plays and gets up and down the floor. The head coach there, he’s been trying to come down to see me, and he wants me up there on campus too.”
Gregory currently holds one firm offer from DePaul, but he hasn’t spoken to the staff much recently.
He said he’s focused on UMD, Minnesota and USC, and will commit shortly after visiting all three.
“But once I know I’m at the right place, I could just commit,” Gregory said. “Whatever place I’m most comfortable at and fit the best at, I’ll commit to them.”
Gregory, who said he doesn’t pay attention to his scoring numbers, is coming off a season where he averaged close to 10 rebounds and had a two-to-one assist-to-turnover ratio. He helped lead Elev8 to a 24-3 record heading into the final tournament March 10-11 in Connecticut.
“I think I came a long way this year,” Gregory said. “I worked hard, and I made some real progress with my passing, ball-handling and my jump shot. And now I’ve got a couple nice schools looking at me, so things are working out.”
Gregory Closing In On UMD Offer, Setting OVs
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