Hardwood Notes: 1st Live Eval Period

Following the April 10-12 live evaluation period, in which Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren were out in full force, here’s what we’ve been able to glean in regards to Terps hoops recruiting:

Following the April 10-12 live evaluation period, in which Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren were out in full force, here’s what we’ve been able to glean in regards to Terps hoops recruiting:

Jones, Fultz and The Two-Guards

Turgeon was able to track both of his most coveted class of 2016 combo guards last weekend, watching Curtis Jones (Huntington Prep/Huntington, W.Va.) at the Nike EYBL tournament in Hampton, Va., and Markelle Fultz (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.) at the Under Armour Association event in New Orleans.

Jones (6-3, 170), who has been effusive in his Terps praise and probably has UMD as his leader, had an up-and-down weekend and was not overly impressive. With the Terps’ coaches in the stands, he ended up scoring 10 points on 4-of-15 shooting, including just 1-of-10 from 3-point range.

Although Jones has a Maryland offer and has maintained contact with Clark and Turgeon for more than a year now, we’re not positive the staff would accept a commitment at this juncture. Jones has some areas to shore up (adding strength, ball-handling, more consistent jump shot), and Turgeon might be more inclined to make a run at the high-flying Fultz instead.

The former Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.) star might still wind up in College Park, Md., before it’s all said and done, but there’s no reason for the Terps to push for a pop right now.

Other potential suitors include Ohio State, NC State, Cincinnati, Indiana and West Virginia. Jones covets a Louisville offer, but we’re not so sure the Cardinals will ante up.

As for Fultz (6-4, 170), he continues to show improvement, rising up the national charts. An intense, above-the-rim slasher, Jones’ ball-handling, court vision and defense have reportedly ratcheted up a few notches. Turgeon and Co. have seen Fultz play multiple times, and we think he is their clear No. 1 2016 guard target.

Fultz isn’t publically claiming any leaders, but the main programs in play likely include Maryland, Arizona, Washington, Virginia, Georgetown and Kansas, all of which have offered.

Kentucky, meanwhile, is Fultz’ dream school, although the Wildcats haven’t offered yet. If so, though, it could be “sayonara” to Mr. Fultz.

The DeMatha star is not going to be an easy pull, but Turgeon has done well here. Fultz has visited College Park numerous times, is encouraged by the program’s direction, and is intrigued by the recent DMV movement that’s taken hold in the area.

A third combo guard to keep an eye on is Douglas County’s (Douglasville, Ga.) Brandon Robinson (6-5, 170), who the Terps have had an offer out to for quite some time. Turgeon watched Robinson perform at the EYBL last weekend, and evidently the wiry recruit performed relatively well.

That said, Robinson is probably third in the pecking order, behind Jones and Fultz, on UMD’s wish list. Others involved with him include Florida State, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Memphis, Tennessee and Alabama.

One other combo guard who may have caught Maryland’s eye is Montverde Academy’s (Fla.) Howard Washington, who is originally from Buffalo. The 6-3, 160-pounder dropped 21 points at the EYBL with UMD in attendance, so he could now be on the Terps’ radar.

Washington reportedly has offers from Syracuse, the current favorite, along with Notre Dame, Nova, Memphis, BC, UVA and Va Tech.

Carr Still In Play

Even though class of 2016 point guard Anthony Cowan (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) is committed to Maryland, Turgeon is still making a run at Roman Catholic (Philadelphia, Pa.) lead guard Tony Carr. This 6-3, 170-pounder can operate at the two as well, but it’s believed he wants to play point in college. If so, Carr will probably focus his attention on programs that don’t already have a true “one” committed.

We’re going to leave Carr on the hot board, however, because the Terps have been making a relatively potent push. They’ve had an offer out to him since last year, have watched several of his games, and have had him down to campus for a visit.

Both Turgeon and Warren paid close attention to Carr during the EYBL tournament, with the Philly native putting on a show. Carr ended up scoring 17 points while dropping six dimes, at times dominating the competition.

Indiana, Temple and Xavier are also in play for Carr, while others, namely Syracuse, could become involved following the evaluation period. The Orange would be considered an immediate favorite for Carr should they ante up.

Carr is a strong, physical guard, who has opened eyes with his lockdown defense and toughness attacking the rim, so expect his profile to expand in the months ahead.

Gabriel Closing On Offer?

Maryland assistant Bino Ranson has been keeping tabs on class of 2016 Wilbraham & Monson Academy (Wilbraham, Mass.) power forward Wenyen Gabriel, and the emerging 6-9, 200-pounder certainly gave the Terps reason to pay closer attention last weekend. At a tournament in Dallas with his Mass Rivals AAU squad, Gabriel averaged almost 14 points and six rebounds in three games.

Gabriel currently holds firm offers from Boston College and Providence, but look for the Terps, UConn, Stanford, Syracuse and others to start delving deeper. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise us if Turgeon extended a scholarship at some point in the near future.

If so, Maryland would seemingly be in a good spot to reel Gabriel in. The New Hampshire native has expressed plenty of interest in the school and wants to visit College Park at some point this offseason.

Class of 2017 Notes

With the 2015 crop about to sign, we’re almost ready to release the initial class of 2017 hot board. Of course, we’ve mentioned many of these sophomore recruits already, so the names should be relatively familiar.

Small Forwards

First and foremost, there’s 6-7 combo forward Myles Douglas (Friends School/Baltimore, Md.), who has a committable UMD offer. Both Turgeon and area recruiter Bino Ranson have identified Douglas as their most coveted 2017 Baltimore-area recruit, and the Friends School product has reciprocated the interest.

Douglas has an obvious affinity for the hometown school, and as long as he continues to develop (he played well on both ends of the floor at the EYBL), we could definitely see him winding up in College Park -- perhaps sooner rather than later. He also holds offers from Miami, Richmond and Hofstra, with plenty of others bound to become involved.

Another local small forward on the radar is Clinton Christian’s (Clinton, Md.) Melo Eggleston, who had a relatively quiet weekend with D.C. Premier at the New Orleans UA event. The 6-9, 180-pound Eggleston, like Douglas, is high on the hometown school, but he lacks an offer to this point.

The jury is still out on Eggleston’s game; he flashes potential but tends to disappear at times. Maryland recruiter Bino Ranson will undoubtedly maintain a relationship with him, but we’ll have to see how Eggleston develops before we can call him a Terps target.

Besides those two nearby prospects, it’s worth keeping an eye on White Plains HS (White Plains, N.Y.) four-star Jordan Tucker. This 6-7, 200-pounder is a surefire top 100 recruit, with Syracuse, UConn, UMD, Arizona, Villanova, Xavier, Oklahoma and others already on him.

The Terps would probably take Tucker in a heartbeat if he wanted in, but the consensus is hometown Cuse is going to be tough to beat.

Note: Touted St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) combo forward Andre Rafus has been connected to Maryland, but the lengthy 6-8 prospect has been rather inconsistent whenever we’ve watched him play. We do not believe the Terps will go after Rafus unless other options fall by the wayside.

Power Forwards/Centers

Maryland has had an offer out to five-star power forward Mohammed Bamba (Westtown, Pa.) since last year, and we saw why last weekend when the 6-9, 185-pounder dominated at the EYBL.

It’s still very early in the recruiting process for Bamba, but UMD did well to jump on him early. We’ll see what kind of traction they can gain in the months ahead, although it helps Maryland’s chances that he attends Jared Nickens’ alma mater, Westtown, where the Terps’ staff is held in high regard.

Another nationally-rated forward/center UMD is pursuing is Daniel Mading (The Rock School/Gainesville, Fla.). It’s unclear if the Terps have actually offered Mading (6-9, 175) yet, but Turgeon has seen him play and the staff has had contact.

Schools such as USC, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Boise State, South Carolina, Kansas State, Nebraska and others are on Mading as well. We’ll learn more about his status as the offseason moves along.

Closer to home, watch out for St. Andrew’s (Middletown, Del.) center Zach Kent, who is nearing 7-feet. Kent, who plays for AAU squad WE R 1, had eight points and six rebounds with UMD looking on at the EYBL.

He doesn’t have any high-major offers yet, but Kent has intriguing size and athleticism. If this face-up big develops his skills further and becomes a more potent force inside, look for Maryland to make a run.

Kent has attended games in College Park and likes what he’s seen, so there could be mutual interest down the road.

Guards

Tony Carr isn’t the only Philadelphia guard the Terps are pursuing. Sophomore Quade Green (Neumann Goretti/Philadelphia, Pa.) already has a Maryland offer, the 5-11, 160-pounder impressing with his handles, court vision, basketball IQ and toughness. There are more than a couple sophomore DMV point guards out there, but Green could be Turgeon’s preference for the moment.

Green also has Penn State, Temple and Providence involved, with more set to enter the mix.

Some of those local guards making noise on the AAU circuit are Aaron Thompson (Paul VI), Elijah Clarance (Goretti/Hagerstown, Md.), Eddie Scott (Gonzaga, Washington, D.C.), Jamir Moultrie (McNamara/Forestville, Md.) and Chris Lykes (Gonzaga). Of those, we believe the Terps have the point guard Thompson, the two-guard Clarance and the two-guard Scott on their board, with lead guards Moultrie and Lykes less likely to receive serious looks.

Thompson, who grew up in Maryland’s backyard and is a noted UMD fan, has been in touch with Dustin Clark, though the Paul VI recruit admitted he has to continue improving to draw significant interest. The same goes for Scott, who has flashed potential but may not be a true high-major recruit.

Clarance, meanwhile, is an interesting 6-4 guard who just arrived at Goretti from Sweden. Clarance showed out in Hampton last weekend and is someone we’ll be watching closely in the summer months.

Moultrie and Lykes both played well at the EYBL, but there are questions surrounding each. The McNamara point has had communication with the Maryland staff, but may not have the skills/talent level the Terps covet. Lykes, meanwhile, has a nice game and plays with heart, but fact is he’s only 5-7, which may preclude UMD from pursuing.

Outside the DMV, two more shooting guards who could come into play are Eric Ayala (Sanford School/Hockessin, Del.) and J.J. Smith (E.E. Smith/Fayetteville, N.C.).

Of the pair, Ayala acquitted himself well in New Orleans last weekend, scoring 17 points to go along with five assists for WE R 1. The Terps already knew about the 6-3 prospect prior to April 10-12, and his performance in front of Turgeon undoubtedly resonated with UMD’s headman. Ayala lacks an offer to this point, but we could see one coming to fruition down the road.

Smith, meanwhile, should enter the national consciousness in short order. A 6-4, 190-pounder with standout all-around skills, he should eventually draw looks from the country’s bluebloods. Not much is known about Smith’s recruitment at this stage, but the Terps definitely know all about him.

Note: Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) shooting guard Tyler Foster, who we’ve written about several times, is another local sophomore to watch. But for a variety of reasons we don’t see Maryland becoming too involved with him.

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