Hardwood Notes: UMD Hoops Recruiting

Since our last Hardwood Notes Maryland hoops recruiting update, some of the Terps’ foremost class of 2016 targets’ statuses have changed, while there are a few new recruits emerging in the ’17 class. Here’s a look at where UMD stands heading into the summer months.

Since our last Hardwood Notes Maryland hoops recruiting update, some of the Terps’ foremost class of 2016 targets’ statuses have changed, while there are a few new recruits emerging in the ’17 class. Here’s a look at where UMD stands heading into the summer months:

2016 Guards

Not much has changed in head coach Mark Turgeon’s search for another point guard to pair with commit Anthony Cowan (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.). Rough-and-tumble Philadelphia (Pa.) point Tony Carr (Roman Catholic) remains the No. 1 priority, and, at least publically, he’s keeping the Terps firmly in play. He recently told one of our analysts, “I think I could fit well [at Maryland]. I am used to playing with another point guard, so I think it is great to play with a guy like Anthony Cowan… Maryland might be preseason No. 1, so hearing from them is obviously great.”

There’s a solid chance Carr visits College Park, Md., this summer, and we do think the Terps have his attention. Whether Turgeon and Co. can top a few of his other prime suitors remains to be seen, however.

Indiana continues to resonate, while Iowa, Georgetown, PSU and SMU are on the radar as well. Temple, Illinois, Pittsburgh and St. John’s may be on the outside looking in, but it’s conceivable the Illini or possibly the Owls could make a run tool.

Look for Carr to take a couple summer trips, set up officials this fall and then choose his destination shortly thereafter. He has been elevated to “warm” on the hot board.

As for the combo guards, you know the four prime prospects by now: Markelle Fultz (DeMatha/Hyattsville, Md.), Curtis Jones (Huntington Prep/Huntington, W.Va.), Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa/Clifton Park, N.Y.) and Brandon Robinson (Douglas Count/Douglasville, Ga.).

It was probably overdue, but we finally downgraded Fultz from “warm” to “cool” on the hot board. The electrifying local four-star just doesn’t seem to be giving the Terps anything more than lip service -- if any service at all -- at this juncture.

It looks to be a battle between Louisville, Kentucky and Arizona for Fultz, with Maryland and others running a distant fourth. We might end up scratching Fultz from the board altogether in the not-too-distant future.

Next up is the longtime target Jones, who was just at Georgetown for another look at the Hoyas. After seemingly cooling on the D.C.-area program, Jones apparently has the Hoyas back among his top contenders. The Terps remain in the picture too, along with Indiana, Missouri, NC State and West Virginia.

Jones was hoping Louisville would become involved, but we don’t see that happening. A couple programs that could work into the mix are Florida (no offer yet), Xavier, Texas and maybe even UNC (no offer yet), Jones catching the latter’s eye after a standout EYBL session.

We still believe Jones, who should be back in College Park in the coming weeks, could be Turgeon’s to lose, but there’s a sense UMD’s headman might not be pushing all that hard. The Mountaineers and Hoyas might be making the strongest run right now, so we’ll have to see if the Terps “allow” Jones to slide to one of those suitors.

Huerter, meanwhile, might be priority No. 1 for the Terps’ staff, both recruiter Dustin Clark and Turgeon actively pursuing the 6-5 marksman. The New York product is keeping an open mind about his recruitment, but the sense is UMD, Notre Dame, Michigan and hometown Syracuse are the four standouts, with Creighton and Davidson also in play.

Huerter hasn’t scheduled any visits yet, but he said College Park could be one of his stops this summer. We expect him to take in UND, UM and the Cuse, and possibly Creighton and Davidson. He has no clear timetable for making a decision, but indicated he'd like to sign by the early period.

Last but not least, there’s the Georgian Brandon Robinson, who has been in touch with assistant Cliff Warren and Turgeon. Not much has changed since our last Robinson update as both the Terps and Seminoles look to be the current frontrunners. Robinson has had longstanding relationships with both staffs (he’s known Warren since he was six years old and an FSU assistant for just as long), and seems to have UMD and FSU neck-and-neck.

Other contenders look to be Miami, Georgia Tech, Stanford and Florida, though he Cardinal hasn't offered yet. Robinson is setting up visit dates to College Park, Tallahassee and possibly others this summer and may choose his destination by late August or early fall.

2016 Small Forwards

Turgeon and Co. have monitored and offered several “3s” and wings, but the two they have the best shot at landing are Wenyen Gabriel (Wilbraham and Monson/Wilbraham, Mass.) and Lamar Stevens (Roman Catholic).

Stevens, the teammate of point guard target Tony Carr, recently hinted the proposed “package deal” between the two may not come to fruition. Which isn’t a surprise since those rarely work out, especially in basketball recruiting where spots are extremely limited.

Stevens does seem to have genuine interest in Maryland (he’s visited College Park before, likes the program in general and believes he’d fit well into Turgeon’s offense), but we’re not ready to forecast him to College Park. The Philly wing is also looking hard at Indiana, Iowa, PSU, Xavier, Villanova and FSU, with the Hoosiers and hometown Wildcats standing out.

Stevens is unsure if he’ll be returning to UMD this summer, but he’ll surely hit Bloomington, Ind., and revisit Nova as well. We’re inclined to list him as “cool” on the hot board.

The 6-7 combo forward Gabriel has a better chance of winding up in College Park. The Massachusetts product, who has both Turgeon and assistant Bino Ranson in his ear, has the Terps, Boston College, Uconn, Providence and now UVA after him. Gabriel will be checking out College Park, Charlottesville, Va., and Storrs, Conn., this summer/fall, in addition to others that may crop up. He doesn’t like using words such as “favorites” or “leaders,” but it’s clear UMD has his ear thanks to Ranson’s overtures.

The sense is the Terps are in good spot here, but Gabriel’s recruitment could very well ebb and flow following these upcoming trips and the July live period. If he continues to develop and impress Turgeon this July, we could see Maryland pushing for his commitment -- and perhaps securing his services. But if the still-rather-raw Gabriel regresses, UMD’s head coach might turn his attention to other options. (The same obviously goes for the Huskies, Cavaliers, etc.).

The third name to know could eventually vault to the top of Turgeon’s wish list should Stevens and Gabriel fall through. Friends’ Central (Wynnewood, Pa.) wing DeAndre Hunter opened some eyes on the EYBL circuit and remains in close contact with UMD recruiter Cliff Warren. Hunter doesn’t hold a Terps’ offer yet, but it’s conceivable he could receive one following the July live period.

If so, expect Hunter to place Maryland at or near the top of his leaderboard. He’s visited College Park before (he loved the atmosphere and campus), has high interest in the program and said UMD’s preseason No. 1 ranking has his attention.

Currently, Hunter isn’t claiming favorites, though in-state St. Joe’s and Temple may have his attention for now since both have anted up. That’s subject to change, however, as his offer-list grows.

Hunter doesn’t have any visits scheduled, but he’ll probably see UMD, Temple, Miami, St. Joe’s, NC State and any new suitors that emerge this summer. Look for him to make an early-fall or late-August college decision.

We’re also keeping Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.) wing Mario Kegler on the hot board, though he’s probably not going to end up in College Park. The four-star recruit seems to be favoring Uconn and Mississippi State, with little mention of Maryland.

A fifth target, IMG Academy’s (Bradenton, Fla.) Jonathan Isaac, has been removed from the hot board. Isaac recently announced his top-12 list and did not include the Terps.

Finally, keep your eye on developing small forward Kostas Antetokounmpo, who attends the same high school as Diamond Stone. The Dominican (Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) product holds one offer from Iowa State, but has flashed enough potential to draw attention from several other high-majors. Turgeon and Co. will surely be scouting him this July.

Power Forwards/Centers

Not much has changed in the way of big-man recruiting since the last Hardwood Notes edition. The priorities remain power forward Dewan Huell (Miami Norland/Miami, Fla.) and center Udoka Azubuike (Potter’s House Christian/Jacksonville, Fla.), though both are considered longshots for Maryland purposes. Huell may be focused on Florida, FSU, Miami, UNC and Louisville, while Azubuike has Kentucky, Kansas, UF, FSU, Georgetown and Texas after him.

Granted, neither recruit has publically declared leaders, nor have they ruled out any suitors, but the aforementioned frontrunners are who we’ve heard are firmly in play from our sources. We’ll see if another big-man target emerges during the upcoming live period, although it’s not a definite Turgeon will sign a power forward/center in the 2016 class.

Class of 2017 Notes

We added a couple names and changed a few hot-board statuses for Maryland’s class of 2017 targets.

At point guard, Quade Green (Neumann-Goretti/Philadelphia, Pa.) and Trevon Duval (St. Benedict’s/Newark, N.J.) hold Terps’ offers. But both will be tough pulls, especially with Cowan and possibly another guard or two on board in the 2016 class. That said, Turgeon has prioritized each of the two floor generals, while Green and Duval have expressed solid interest in his program (each wants to visit College Park this summer or during the season).

We’re listing the pair as “cool” on the hot board for now, but we’ll know more about their situations once the ’16 crop is squared away.

The third 2017 point guard on the hot board is Paul VI’s (Fairfax, Va.) Aaron Thompson, who has some high-major interest. We’ve seen Thompson in person a few times, however, and right now we don’t see Turgeon making a potent push for him (or any other local ’17 point for that matter).

Meanwhile, some combos and shooting guards of note include Eddie Scott (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), Elijah Clarance (Goretti/Hagerstown, Md.), Eric Ayala (Sanford School/Hockessin, Del.) and J.J. Smith (E.E. Smith/Fayetesville, N.C.).

Of those, Smith may have the most talent and upside potential, though no offer has been extended as of yet. In fact, we’re not sure Turgeon will seriously pursue any of the quartet, who are still developing and trying to prove they’re top-shelf talents. Smith, though, is someone the Terps and others could take a long, hard look at this summer and during the upcoming season.

While it may be slim pickings in terms of '17 combo guards, there are numerous small forward/wings to watch out for. You know the name Myles Douglas (Friends/Baltimore, Md.) by now, a 6-7, 195-pounder we’ve interviewed on multiple occasions. Douglas holds a Terps offer and has prime interest in UMD, though it’s too early to project him to College Park. Douglas hasn’t been overwhelming on the AAU circuit, so it’s conceivable Turgeon may back off if he doesn’t feel the Baltimore product is a true elite Division I talent.

White Plains (N.Y.) forward Jordan Tucker, though, is a “baller” with a slew of high-major verbals already in tow. The Terps are all over this top-40 recruit, and he does have family ties to the College Park area, but many of the blue blood programs have his ear. We’re keeping him “cool” on the hot board until we hear some definitive Maryland interest.

Same goes for DeMatha’s D.J. Harvey, who we just recently interviewed. The DMV five-star always offers up high praise for the hometown school, but when pressed he readily admits Duke, Kentucky and Arizona are on the brain. Harvey could potentially become a package deal with his teammate Fultz, as both are honing in on the same three standouts.

The two newest additions to the small forward list are Kevin Knox (Tampa Catholic/Tampa, Fla.) and Tyler Polley (Sagemont School/Weston, Fla.), both emerging top-75 type prospects.

Knox is a Cliff Warren recruit who claims early offers from FSU, Memphis, Xavier, Miami and USF, with many more sure to enter the mix. He’s evidently had contact with Warren already, so we’ll see what kind of inroads UMD can make.

Polley, a Bino Ranson target, is actually the son of former NFL linebacker Tommy Polley, the current head coach of Poly (Baltimore, Md.). Moreover, Polley’s head coach at Sagemont is a Maryland alum, giving the Terps yet another connection. He is another big-timer, though, and will be looking at many programs besides UMD over the next two years.

Both Polley’s and Knox’s recruitments are in their infant stages, so we’ll leave them as “cool” on the hot board for now. Keep them in mind for the next recruiting cycle, however.

Another small forward type, local product Melo Eggleston (Clinton Christian/Upper Marlboro, Md.), was scratched from the hot board. The Terps haven’t had much interest, nor did Eggleston show much development this summer.

One combo forward/power forward in play is and Daniel Mading (Rock School/Gainesville, Fla.), who Turgeon and Co. are after and have offered. Dustin Clark has gained some traction with Mading, but the Terps are believed to be behind several bluebloods for the time being.

As for big men, the top target appears to be Mohammed Bamba (Westtown, Pa.) The Terps obviously have a connection to Bamba since Jared Nickens attended Westtown, but the top-50 recruits is projected to wind up elsewhere. It's still very early in the process, however, so we’ll monitor Bamba's situation and see what kind of ground Maryland can make up down the road.

A final center of note is St. Andrew’s (Middletown, Del.) Zach Kent, who the Terps have scouted and had out for a visit. The 7-footer, who loves Maryland, is raw and doesn’t have any firm offers to date, however. So programs like the Terps’ are in a holding pattern as they wait to see how he develops.

TerrapinTimes Top Stories