Elite PG Slocum Eager To Arrive At UMD

It’s not too often Idaho produces top-flight recruits in any sport, many recruiters typically avoiding the Western state altogether. But that didn’t stop Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese from pursuing, and subsequently landing, five-star class of 2016 point guard Destiny Slocum (Mountain View/Meridian, Idaho) Aug. 22.

It’s not too often Idaho produces top-flight recruits in any sport, many recruiters typically avoiding the Western state altogether. But that didn’t stop Maryland women’s basketball coach Brenda Frese from pursuing, and subsequently landing, five-star class of 2016 point guard Destiny Slocum (Mountain View/Meridian, Idaho) Aug. 22.

The 5-foot-7 Slocum, who is considered the fourth-best player in her class, had the opportunity to play at some of the country’s most renowned programs, many of whom were after her for much longer than Maryland. But Slocum, who admitted to knowing little about the Terps besides what she saw on TV, couldn’t pass up the chance to compete for a national title in College Park, Md.

“To be honest, the first time I really talked to Maryland was like a week after I decommitted from Washington in April,” Slocum said. “I knew about Coach Brenda from Maryland going to the Final Four and from seeing her on ESPN, but beyond that it was a completely new program for me. But after talking to [Frese], visiting the school and doing more research, it really was a great fit for me. I want to win a national championship and Coach [Frese] said I could definitely help them get there. She called me ‘the missing piece.’”

Slocum originally committed to Washington last September, citing the staff’s early and persistent overtures; the school’s location; and the atmosphere. But as her profile continued to grow following several prominent AAU tournaments, Slocum began to waver.

During one of those events, in Spokane, Wash., Frese and the Terps happened to be on the West Coast. In need of a point guard with Lexie Brown transferring to Duke and another starter set to graduate in a year, Frese immediately took to the dynamic floor general from Meridian, Idaho. Maryland’s head woman initiated contact shortly thereafter, around April.

“I can honestly say our relationship is quite new, but it’s been comfortably developing,” Slocum said, “The way she coaches is rare; it’s rare to have a coach that takes in players and develops them into better players and people. It’s really hard to come across. I can tell she really cares about her players on and off the court, and that really rubbed off on me.”

Slocum went on to compliment Frese’s ability to motivate and “get the most out of her teams.” She was highly impressed after watching the Terps in the NCAA tournament last year, and said she believes she’ll fit perfectly into UMD’s system.

“Seeing some of the players coming out of there, and watching them play, I love how Coach Frese lets her players just play,” Slocum said. “She doesn’t try to force a style on you; she lets you use your strengths and take advantage of them.”

The point guard visited College Park for the first time back in June. During her official, Slocum said the family atmosphere surrounding the team was clearly evident. She also thoroughly enjoyed the area and felt she could live on the East Coast for the next four years.

“It’s a really close-knit community at Maryland. I honestly loved it there,” Slocum said. “After [the visit], I just took some time to think things over, but I kept coming back to Maryland. Everything was just right there.”

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Slocum could be handed the keys to the offense as soon as she arrives on campus. The Terps are going to need a point guard with Brene Moseley set to leave in 2016.

“Of course [early playing time] helped in my decision. Who wouldn’t want to be an immediate-impact player for a school like Maryland, but I can say it wasn’t my main focus,” Slocum said. “But, yes, with my drive to want to play a lot and make an immediate impact, I do I have the capability, physically and mentally, to do so. But I also know I have plenty of learning to do at the next level.”

Maybe so, but Slocum’s pretty good already. She’s an athletic guard who can score at will, excelling in the mid-range while showing the ability hit from deep. She’s been lauded for her constant drive, physical play, and her penchant for converting at all three levels. Slocum can dish with the best guards in the country, her awareness and passing on-point.

Last year at Mountain View she averaged 25 points, almost six assists and about five rebounds en route to Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year honors. She was also selected to Team USA’s U19 squad, which won the gold medal in the 2015 FIBA World Championship.

“I’d say I’m an all-around player and have very good knowledge of the game,” Slocum said. “I can score pretty well, but I love to pass too. There’s a lot I need to work on, though, and I’m working on turning those weaknesses into strengths.”

Slocum said her goal moving forward is to continue developing as a person and player. She’s eager to help her high school team to a state championship during her senior season before heading to Maryland in 2016.

“And I would love to bring another championship to the [Terps’] program,” Slocum said. “I’m really excited about Maryland and can’t wait to get there.”

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