Hardwood Notes: New Names To Monitor

The holidays are approaching and practices are limited with the Terps in the midst of final exams. But head coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren haven't been resting on their laurels. They've taken advantage of the reduced team time by hitting the recruiting trail. Here’s the latest with Maryland's hoops targets heading into Christmas break:

The holidays are approaching and practices are limited with the Terps in the midst of final exams. But head coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren haven't been resting on their laurels. They've taken advantage of the reduced team time by hitting the recruiting trail. Here’s the latest with Maryland's hoops targets heading into Christmas break:

Five-Stars Talk Up Terps

Following Maryland’s game against UMES Dec. 12, Turgeon, Clark and Ranson headed over to DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) for the annual National Holiday Hoops Festival. There were a number of intriguing recruits participating, but the two headliners were five-star junior point guard Trevon Duval and five-star junior power forward Billy Preston from Advanced Prep (Dallas, Texas). Both Under Armour-affiliated recruits are prime UMD targets, have been in College Park, Md., for previous visits and are tied in tight with the staff.

Following their game against Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.), which featured UMD 2017 offeree Myles Douglas, both Duval and Preston offered plenty of insight into their respective recruitments.

Typically, prospects of their caliber tend to be all over the place when discussing the programs recruiting them, but Preston and Duval delivered refreshingly consistent interviews. They made it clear exactly which schools were on their minds, and when asked which staffs had pursued each in earnest, they were on the same wavelength. Both Preston and Duval are considering attending the same university (Preston put the chances of that happening at 80 percent, Duval 65), and it was obvious they had discussed the matter, mapping out the programs that would give them that opportunity.

The two schools on both Preston’s and Duval’s early list? Maryland and Arizona. The power forward mentioned that the Terps, Wildcats and USC had been in touch the most, while the point guard pointed to the Terps, Wildcats and Villanova. They each said they spoke or exchanged messages with coaches from UMD and Zona “every day.” 

Maryland’s inclusion on the short list wasn’t entirely surprising considering College Park is one of the few campuses both have trekked through. Preston and Duval took initial trips to UMD back during the summer, and then returned again Dec. 12 while API was in town. In fact, the duo had a chance to watch half of the UMES hoops game before heading over to DeMatha.

Preston said he loved the Xfinity Center, noting how the fans were “screaming our names when we walked in.” He also enjoyed his campus tour, his sitdown with Turgeon and Co. and Maryland’s educational aspects. Preston’s even been in touch with UMD center Diamond Stone and 2016 Terps’ signee Anthony Cowan, the latter someone the five-star texts quite often after they teamed up on the Under Armour circuit.

Moreover, Preston readily took to Turgeon’s pitch, noting how the Maryland headman doesn’t “label players” and puts them in position to succeed. For what it’s worth, the Santa Ana, Calif., native believes he could fill Robert Carter’s role in College Park.

As for Duval, he too spoke highly of the Xfinity Center, the coaches and the campus. Duval had been in College Park a couple times before (he’s from Wilmington, Del.), so he was already familiar with the area, but the point guard hadn’t watched a Terps’ game live in several years. He said he liked Maryland’s up-tempo style and the freedom Turgeon gives his guards, Duval acknowledging he could easily fit into UMD’s attack.

Duval went on to describe his relationship with Ranson and Turgeon, mentioning he’s in contact “like everyday.”

Given the above, Maryland seems to be in a solid spot for both five-stars. But the key here is which AAU circuit the pair will play on come summer.

Will Preston (MWA Elite) and Duval (We R 1) stick with Under Armour as the power forward indicated? Or will they bolt for the EYBL and Nike? If it’s the latter, as some have speculated, the pair will probably head to a Nike-affiliated school (Arizona?). If it’s the former, well, the Terps certainly have a shot.

Other schools involved for Preston and Duval include Baylor, Kansas, UCLA, SMU, Syracuse and, more than likely, the bluebloods (eventually).

You can see my interview with Preston HERE.

You can see my interview with Duval HERE.

More Notes From Local Tournaments

Besides the National Holiday Hoops Festival, there were tournaments at Bullis (Potomac, Md.), St. Frances (Baltimore, Md.) and Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) during the last week or so. The Maryland staff branched out and took in games at each locale, with Ranson hitting Baltimore, Clark trekking through D.C. and Turgeon making various stops all over the Old Line State.

Here are some brief notes on what we were able to garner:

-- Maryland 2016 signee Anthony Cowan (St. John’s/Washington, D.C.) once again saw his stock rise, putting on a scintillating performance at DeMatha (29 points against Goretti). The point guard’s court vision, ball-handling, passing prowess and scoring have all improved, and now Cowan’s considered one of the best floor generals in his class.

-- The longtime small forward target Myles Douglas did not play well at DeMatha and has seen his stock fall since the summer with Team Takeover. Technically, Douglas holds a Maryland offer, but we’re inclined to believe the Terps will not pursue in earnest. He could end up at Va Tech, Penn State, Temple or maybe Miami. Douglas has been downgraded to “cool” on the hot board.

-- Class of 2017 combo forward/stretch-4 Aamir Simms (Blue Ridge/Dyke, N.C.) has seen his stock rise, and showed out with the Terps’ staff looking on in D.C. The 6-foot-7, 215-pounder has recently added offers from Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgetown, Kansas State, Providence, UCF, PSU, Va Tech, Miami and UMD. It’s unclear exactly which schools Simms will look at, but he wants to take several visits this winter. We’ll see if he heads up to Maryland before elevating his status, so for now Simms has been placed on the hot board as “cool.”

-- Westtown (Pa.) 2017 shooting guard Brandon Randolph was injured during the summer and has just reemerged on recruiting radars. The 6-5 winger improved his stock with a standout showing last weekend, and apparently he caught Bino Ranson’s attention, in addition to several other high-majors (George Washington offered). The Terps haven’t anted up yet, but they’ll undoubtedly continue to monitor the talented sharpshooter from Jared Nickens’ alma mater. He’s listed as “cool” on the hot board for the time being.

-- Five-star power forward Mohamed Bamba’s (Westtown) name cropped back up in Maryland circles. That was a rather surprising development considering Bamba hasn’t acknowledged the Terps in quite some time, but evidently Turgeon’s making a charge. Plus UMD’s Dustin Clark watched Bamba at Bullis last week, giving him an opportunity to make some inroads. But we’re not placing Bamba above "cool" on the hot board just yet. He still projects to wind up at a Nike school or blueblood, with Duke and Villanova out in front.

-- Local 2017 shooting guard Michael Speight (Wise/Upper Marlboro, Md.) has been on and off our radar, but after a solid showing at DeMatha, we’re placing him back on the board. Speight’s a strong combo who looks the part (he’s built like Melo Trimble), and it wouldn’t surprise us if he began receiving more high-major attention following the 2016 campaign.

-- Class of 2018 point guard and Terps target Prentiss Hubb (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) held his own at the Gonzaga tournament with the UMD staff looking on. Hubb is continuing to develop and is projected as a nationally-touted high-major talent.

-- Four more class of 2018 recruits caught Maryland’s eye last weekend: 6-6 shooting guard Brandon Slater (Paul VI), 6-7 forward Isaiah Mucius (St. James, Md.), 6-9 center Mamadou Doucoure (Our Savior New American/Centereach, N.Y.) and his teammate, 6-7 small forward Boubacar Diakite. None of that quartet has any offers yet, but they’re on our list for up-and-coming sophomores.

The Updated Class of 2017 List

The hot board has been updated, with various names added, others dropped, some whose temperatures have risen and others that have fallen. Here is the list, followed by a brief explanation where Maryland stands:

Trevon Duval, PG, Advanced Prep: Warm. Maryland, Arizona, Villanova and Syracuse all involved. If Duval remains with Under Armour, Maryland has a real shot.

Quade Green, PG, Goretti (Philadelphia, Pa.): Cool. Villanova is trending, Terps aren’t in heavy pursuit.

Luis Hurtado, SG/PG, Sagemont (Weston, Fla.): Warm. Holds a Maryland offer and loves the school (the Greivis Vasquez connection). A backup option if Duval falls through?

Hamidou Diallo, SG, Woodstock (Conn.): Cool. Wants to check out Maryland, NC State, Kansas, Indiana and Syracuse. Kentucky and UConn heavily involved. A top-20 athlete with Under Armour affiliation.

M.J. Walker, SG, Jonesboro (Ga.): Warm. All the bluebloods are after him, but this two-sport star is intrigued by UMD and wants to visit. Under-Armour recruit. Terps have a shot.

Chaundee Brown, SG, First Academy (Orlando, Fla.): Cool. A new addition to the hot board. Terps trekked through the school but no offer yet. Seeking Kansas look.

Brandon Randolph, SG, Westtown (Pa.): Cool. Another new addition. Is coming back from injury and has some Maryland interest. No major offers yet.

Michael Speight, SG, Wise (Upper Marlboro, Md.): Cool. An emerging shooting guard with potential high-major talent. Terps intrigued, but questionable whether or not they’ll offer.

Myles Douglas, SF, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.): Cool. A Maryland offeree who has seen his stock drop. May fall off the board at this rate.

Jordan Tucker, SF, White Plains (N.Y.): Warm. Maryland, Syracuse, Nova and St. John’s all heavily involved. A Nike recruit, but one who won't be influenced by shoe deals. Maryland firmly in play, but St. John’s could lead.

Kris Wilkes, SF, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.): Cool. Midwest programs and bluebloods all over him. Expressed interest in UMD, but Kentucky could lead.

Hameir Wright, SF,  Albany Academy (N.Y.): Warm. Likes Maryland a good deal, but is interest reciprocal? Terps are continuing to monitor his game.

Tyler Polley, SF, Sagemont (Weston, Fla.): Cool. A solid prospect Maryland has monitored, but we don’t anticipate a UMD push.

Kodye Pugh, SF, Blair Academy (Blairstown, N.J.): Cool. A former local star prepping at Blair Academy. Has seen his stock rise. Questionable whether Maryland pushes, but a name worth monitoring.

Billy Preston, PF, Advanced Prep: Warm. Arizona, USC, Maryland all involved. Terps have a very good shot if he sticks on the Under Armour circuit.

Nicholas Claxton, PF, Legacy Charter (Greenville, S.C.): Warm. Intrigued when UMD offered in the summer. Terps could make a potent push. Potential to rise up the hot board. Eager to visit College Park.

Jaren Jackson, PF, Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.): Cool. Demoted to “cool” based on our intel. High compliments for UMD, but Midwest or Georgetown figure to be his destination.

Justyn Hamilton, PF, Independence (Charlotte, N.C.): Cool. Visited College Park and liked the school. Not sure interest is reciprocal. Has to show high-major skills.

Aamir Simms, PF, Blue Ridge (Dyke, N.C.): Cool. A new hot board addition. Terps liked what they saw after scouting him. Intrigued by offer, but too soon to make a call as more suitors emerge.

Mohamed Bamba, PF, Westtown (Pa.): Cool. Five-star brought Maryland up, but he’s projected to a Nike school or a blueblood. Villanova or Duke on the brain.

DeAndre Ayton, C, Hillcrest Prep (Phoenix, Ariz.): Cool. Five-star center is somewhat of a mystery. Terps have been involved, but unclear what Ayton’s thinking (or which AAU team he’ll play for).

Zach Kent, C, St. Andrew’s (Middletown, Del.): Cool. Has been mentioned in Maryland circles for more than a year, but still no push from Terps. Could be removed from the board if he doesn’t start making noise.

The ideal 2017 class (realistically speaking)? Well, Turgeon would obviously love to start with Trevon Duval and Billy Preston, complemented by one or two more pieces, likely a wing/shooting guard and maybe another big. Jordan Tucker and/or M.J. Walker certainly fit the bill at wing, while perhaps UMD's staff will be able to gain more inroads with power forward Jaren Jackson, who did express plenty of interest after visiting College Park. 

Class of 2018 Recruits To Monitor

We’re not releasing a 2018 hot board yet, but here are the updated names to watch out for in the years ahead (the prospects with a * by their name have a UMD offer).

Immanuel Quickley, PG, 6-3, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.)

Prentiss Hubb, PG, 6-2, Gonzaga (Washington, D.C.) *

Chauncey Sterling, PG, 6-0, St. Anthony (Jersey City, N.J.)

Noah Locke, PG, 6-2, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.)

Bryce Wills, PG/SG, 6-2, Iona Prep (New Rochelle, N.Y.)

Brandon Slater, SG, 6-6, Paul VI (Fairfax, Va.)

Louis King, SF, 6-8, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)

Cameron Reddish, SF, 6-5, Westtown School (Pa.)

Isaiah Mucius, SF, 6-7, St. James School (Md.)

Kevin Easley, SF, 6-6, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.)

Boubacar Diakite, SF, 6-7, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.)

Khalid Moore, SF, 6-6, Archbishop Molloy (New York, N.Y.)

Ajiri Johnson, PF, 6-8,  Msgr. Bonner (Reading, Pa.)

Jalen Smith, PF, 6-8,  Mount St. Joe's (Baltimore, Md.) *

E.J. Montgomery, PF, 6-10, Montverde Academy (Fla.)

Kenneth Nwuba, PF, 6-10, Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.)

Nate Roberts, PF, 6-8, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.)

Jake Forrester, PF, 6-8, Kiski Prep (Saltsburg, Pa.)

Naz Reid, C, 6-10, Roselle Catholic (Roselle, N.J.)

Mamadou Doucoure, C, 6-9, Our Savior New American (Centereach, N.Y.)

Moses Brown, C, 6-11, Archbishop Molloy (New York, N.Y.)

Class of 2016 Notes

The Terps would still like to add one or two more pieces to pair with signees Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter (Shenendehowa/Clifton Park, N.Y.), but we’ve yet to uncover any definitive targets. Five-star forward Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep/Napa, Calif.) was scratched from the hot board based off his latest interview, in which he removed the Terps from contention. The nation’s No. 1 recruit seems to be focused on Kansas, Arizona, Michigan State and now UNLV, the latter hopping UMD in the pecking order.

Jackson is set to officially visit Arizona Dec. 19, followed by KU Jan. 22. An official to East Lansing, Mich., is still in the works. We’re led to believe he’ll wind up at one of those three locales.

Meanwhile, small forward Micah Thomas (Huntington Prep/Huntington, W.Va.) remains in play. He recently told Scout’s Evan Daniels that LSU, Louisville and Maryland had his attention, so we’ll see if he sets up a College Park official visit following his senior campaign. But we’re skeptical about Thomas’ academic situation and if he’ll be able to qualify without heading to prep school for a year.

Thomas, a Memphis, Tenn., native, is also slowly but surely adding high-major offers, so he’s no lock to wind up in College Park even if he’s eligible and follows through with a UMD trip. We’ll continue attempting to dig into his situation.

Other than the above names, there hasn’t been much percolating in 2016. Turgeon and Co. will continue mining the field, however, and we do expect a new target to crop up before the spring. We wouldn’t be surprised if the Terps’ headman once again looks to the fifth-year ranks, reeling in a transfer to fill a need at wing.

Removed From the Hot Board

The following 2017 recruits were cut from the hot board altogether:

Dajour Dickens, C, Miller School (Hampton, Va.): Had high Maryland interest, but admitted the Terps hadn’t been looking at him at all. Terps aiming for a more advanced recruit.

Lonnie Walker, SG, Reading (Pa.): Five-star combo is down to 10 schools and the Terps didn’t make the cut. Villanova leads.

Kasper Christiansen, SF, Elev8 (Delray Beach, Fla.): Denmark native who Terps checked out but who hasn’t readily developed. May not be a high-major recruit.

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