Class of 2017 combo guard Luis Hurtado (Sagemont School/Weston, Fla.) is used to life on the road.
Back home in Venezuela, where he spent the first 13 years of his life before moving to the United States three years ago, he suited up for the country’s national team, which competed in basketball tournaments all over North and South America. Then, when Hurtado migrated to Georgia, he spent most of his time playing AAU ball or competing in various events all around the country. And for the past two-plus years he’s been in Florida, competing at a school that has a national schedule as well.
“Honestly, I haven’t seen my family since I’ve been in the United States. I live with a host family now in Florida,” said Hurtado, who added a Maryland offer Oct. 8 and now holds verbals from Florida State, UAB, USF, USC, Georgia and Georgia Southern, in addition to UMD. “By now I’m used to it, though, because even when I was living in Venezuela I was always traveling and practicing with the national team. But I make sure to call them every day; they’re always supporting me and encouraging me. Hopefully one day they can come over [to the U.S.) and see me play.”
Hurtado’s story should ring a bell for Maryland fans. In fact, it practically mirrors that of former Terps’ great Greivis Vasquez, who is currently with the Milwaukee Bucks.
“When Maryland offered me, that was the first thing I thought of – Greivis Vasquez, I call him my brother,” Hurtado said. “He’s from Venezuela too, and when he was at Maryland everyone there watched him play. I saw like all his games when I was there. So when Maryland offered, I was really, really excited. I watched them all the time, and I saw how Greivis took them to the NCAA tournament. That’s a school I already knew a lot about form watching him, so I’m excited about them.”
The 6-foot-5, 170-pounder hasn’t stopped watching the Terps since Vasquez left, either. He said he saw several Maryland games on TV last year and knew all about their run to the Dance. He’s also aware UMD sits atop the preseason national polls heading into this season.
“Maryland is a really good program, a really good school,” Hurtado said. “I don’t know when I’ll be able to get up there, but I definitely want to visit. Of all the offers I have right now, they kind of stand out. I’m very interested.”
The Maryland coaches first took note of Hurtado last year when Terps’ assistant Cliff Warren trekked down to Sagemont for a game. Then Warren tracked the emerging combo guard during summer AAU sessions, Hurtado suiting up for Nike-based Each 1 Teach 1.
“Coach Warren has been in touch with me since last year; he’s come to my high school and AAU games,” Hurtado said. “He’s a pretty cool coach, a good man. He’s a guy that makes sure he stays in touch with you and always asks how you’re doing. He messages me on Twitter all the time; he’s real cool.”
Almost as cool as UMD head coach Mark Turgeon, who offered Hurtado in person earlier in October.
“Coach Turgeon came down to personally offer me and talk to me, and that meant a lot,” Hurtado said. “He was very excited to come down and offer me, and I was excited to meet him. He told me about the school, his team, the season coming up, and what it’s like to play for him. It was a great conversation. He was saying how Maryland won a national championship [in 2002], but was struggling for a little bit before they got back to the tournament last year. He said the program is really building up now and they should be really good this year. I’m looking forward to watching them play.”
During the summer, Hurtado, who mainly played point guard, averaged 10 points and seven assists on the EYBL circuit. He said he loves getting his teammates involved and making them better.
“I consider myself a very good passer. A lot of guys love to score, and I can do that, but I’m not selfish,” Hurtado said. “I hustle, I play hard, and I love to pass the ball. But I’m working on my shot and my 3-point shot. I have to get more consistent with it to be a more complete player [in college].”