Hazen 'Excited' About Terps Offer

Class of 2016 wing Brachen Hazen (Columbia City, Ind.) was a relative unknown heading into the July evaluation period, holding mid-major offers from the likes of UCF, Ball State, Valparaiso, Bradley, Utah State and Illinois State. But after showing out with his SpieceINDHeat AAU squad on the EYBL circuit, he started to garner a few high-major looks.

Class of 2016 wing Brachen Hazen (Columbia City, Ind.) was a relative unknown heading into the July evaluation period, holding mid-major offers from the likes of UCF, Ball State, Valparaiso, Bradley, Utah State and Illinois State. But after showing out with his SpieceINDHeat AAU squad on the EYBL circuit, he started to garner a few high-major looks.

No significant verbals materialized, however, until the final live period, when the 6-foot-8, 180-pounder put in a yeomen’s effort in the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Spiece Nationals. He averaged 11 points and 6.8 rebounds, while shooting 44 percent from the floor and 37 percent from 3-point range, all while Maryland assistant Dustin Clark and later head coach Mark Turgeon looked on.

Three days after the event, Hazen held a Terps offer, his most significant to date.

“It was a really exciting offer, a really big one for me,” said Hazen, who noted that Clark saw him twice and Turgeon once. “Coach Clark, I talked to him first on the phone, and he was just calling to check in to see how I was doing. We’re in the process of getting to know each other and building a relationship. He’s a really good guy and really easy to talk to.

“Then Coach Turgeon, I talked to him right after Coach Clark, and we chatted for like 10, 15 minutes. He told he liked my game and wanted to offer me a scholarship. I told him I was honored and really excited to have an offer from a great program like Maryland.”

Hazen said Turgeon explained exactly why he extended the offer. The Indiana forward said Maryland is in need of a versatile wing who can step out and knock down 3s, while also converting in the paint.

Apparently, Hazen fit the bill.

“Coach Turgeon sees me as a stretch-four, someone who can step out and also someone who can drive and post up a little bit,” Hazen said. “He said he liked my athleticism and how I can make shots from all areas on the floor. He thinks I have the ability to drive a little bit and get to the basket, but he really likes how I can step out and hit 3s.

“But [Turgeon] also said I have to get in the weight room and put on about 10 to 15 pounds. He wants me to work on my ball-handling and rebounding too. But he said once I hit the weight room and get in the program, he thinks I can be a real contributor in the Big Ten. He sees me as someone that can be in the rotation right away at Maryland.

“So that’s something that sounds really intriguing to me. I totally agreed with what he was saying about me too. I’m all about getting better and working each and every day to become an elite player, and I do feel if I keep improving I can compete in [the Big Ten].”

Hazen is in the process of learning about the Maryland program and scheduling a visit. He said he did watch the Terps on TV several times last year, giving him a glimpse of the Terps.

“I honestly really enjoyed watching them play. I saw them on TV in the [NCAA] tournament and they were impressive,” Hazen said. “Guys like Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Dez Wells, they really got after it and were fun to watch. I love how Maryland plays, how they get up and down, how they have good chemistry, and just how they get after it defensively.

“And, actually, I went to an Iowa game last year when they happened to be playing Maryland. So I got to see [the Terps] live too. Like I said, I really liked their style and how they could fill it up and just really get up and down. It’s my kind of style. I think I could fit in well there, playing a role like Jake Layman.”

Hazen is also aware of Maryland’s current and previous recruiting classes. He said with the addition of Diamond Stone, transfer Rasheed Sulaimon and the returners, the Terps “should be really good.”

“You can tell Maryland is going to be great next year, back to where they used to be,” Hazen said. “It’s a big-time program that can compete for national championships. They have a ton of great guys coming in. It’s a really good option for me.”

While Hazen is highly intrigued by the UMD offer, it’s not to the point where he’s overwhelmingly smitten. He said every school that’s in touch with him is “even” and he’ll be giving each an equal shot at winning him over.

“Right now I’m just enjoying the process. I have a good idea what schools I’m going to be looking at, but none are above the rest right now,” Hazen said. “I have to take some visits and go from there.”

Hazen’s first trip will be to Ball State August 1, but beyond that he has nothing else set in stone. He plans to check out Maryland, Valpo, UCF and possibly Clemson (interest, no offer yet) sometime in August, however, all for unofficial visits.

The Columbia City product does have an official set up to UCF Sept. 3-5, and will likely take two or three more before choosing his ultimate destination.

“I’m getting out to Maryland, obviously, hopefully for an unofficial first to see if I like the school and it fits,” Hazen said. “Then if I do like it there, I’ll definitely return for an official. I haven’t discussed any dates yet, though, but I’ll be calling Coach Clark soon to set something up.”

Hazen said he’s hoping to have his college decision made by October or early November. Ideally, he’d like to concentrate on his senior season without having the weight of recruiting hanging over him.

“That’s the plan right now, to take some visits and then a couple officials, and then I’ll decide [on a school] right before my season,” Hazen said. “At this point I’m happy with all the offers I have; each school is unique in its own way. So I’ll probably pick between the schools that have been in touch with me and want me in their program. UCF, they definitely want me, Ball State, Valpo and now Maryland. So we’ll see how it goes after I take these trips.”

TerrapinTimes Top Stories