During an elongated holiday break, the Maryland hoops staff opted to leave the DMV and scout a few out-of-state targets high on their board. Terps’ assistants were spotted in Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana, Florida and New York, among other locals. Assistant Dustin Clark, for his part, trekked up to Albany, N.Y., in order to get a look at emerging 2017 wing Hameir Wright, a 6-foot-7, 180-pounder who suits up for Albany Academy.
“Maryland didn’t offer yet, but Coach Clark was up here to watch me and he likes my game a lot. He was saying how I could be a good fit at Maryland and he wants [head coach Mark] Turgeon to come up and see me too,” said Wright, who claims early verbals from Villanova, Dayton, Syracuse, Georgetown, SMU, WVU, Cincinnati, George Washington and Seton Hall. “I have a pretty good relationship with Coach Clark. I’ve known him since the summer when he saw me with [Albany City Rocks], and he’s been saying how I could potentially make an impact at Maryland. We’ve talked in general off and on. I hope they offer; it’s a school I’m interested in.”
If the AAU squad Albany City Rocks rings a bell to Terps’ fans, it should. Maryland just signed four-star shooting guard Kevin Huerter, another New York native who laced up for the renowned Nike program.
“I know Kevin is going to Maryland, and he was telling me about them and how great of a school it is,” Wright said. “He really liked the coaches there and believes they’re going to help him develop. So that made me want to check them out and see what they’re about.”
Wright has another connection to Maryland too. Evidently his grandfather, whom Wright is very close to, lives in Oakland, Md.
“My grandfather is down in Maryland, and that’s another reason I have interest in [the Terps]. I actually think I’m going to be visiting him this winter during a break in our season, and when I do I think I’ll check out [College Park],” Wright said. “I’ve never been [to UMD] before, so I want to get down there soon.”
Although Wright’s never visited before, he’s seen plenty of the Terps on TV. He recalled watching them during their NCAA tournament run last season, while he’s taken in several games this year.
“Growing up Maryland is one of the teams I watched. They play a good style, and it’s one I could see myself fitting into,” Wright said. “And from what I could see on TV, they have great fans there, a great arena and a great atmosphere. It looks like an exciting place to play.”
Of course, Maryland is an Under Armour-affiliated school. But that doesn’t seem to bother Wright, who, like Huerter, isn’t paying much mind to the “shoe wars.”
“The brand really doesn’t make a difference to me,” Wright said. “I do wear Nike, and if I can go to a Nike school, that’s great. But if not, no big deal.”
While Wright does have Maryland on the mind, he mentioned Villanova is an early standout. The Wildcats have offered and their staff has been making a potent push.
“I can’t really make a solid favorites list yet, because this year is huge for my recruiting and things can change,” Wright said. “But Villanova has caught my eye, Maryland of course, and a few others. But it’s early yet.”
The only campus Wright has been on thus far is Syracuse, which he visited during the summer. He’ll be at Villanova Dec. 31, and is looking to take in Georgetown around the same time he sees UMD. Virginia is another program on Wright’s radar, the recruit hinting the Wahoos would be offering after he tripped to Charlottesville, Va.
“Virginia is interested and should be offering, Georgia Tech is interested, Wake Forest is interested and Maryland is interested,” Wright said. “Those are the most recent schools showing interest that haven’t offered yet.”
Regardless of which programs ante up, the New York native plans to take a deliberate approach to the recruiting process. He has no plans to sign during the early period before his senior season.
“I’m going to take my time with this one since it’s such a big decision,” Wright said. “I’d like to take all my officials, discuss everything with my family and then go from there.”
Currently, Wright is averaging a double-double for Albany Academy. He said he’s improved his shooting, rebounding and defending, but needs to work on his handles, passing and leadership skills.
“I think where my game is at right now, I’ll fit best as a wing at the next level,” Wright said. “I don’t really mind what position I play, because it comes down to matchups. I’ll probably be a wing most of the time, but I can play power forward to depending on the matchup.”