The Maryland staff has identified several 2017 point guard/combo guard options, headlined by Trevon Duval (Advanced Prep/Dallas, Texas) and Hamidou Diallo (Putnam Academy/Conn.). But the Terps also have had an offer out to Sagemont (Weston, Fla.) three-star Luis Hurtado, who has remained in touch with his UMD recruiter, Cliff Warren. In fact, Hurtado said the two exchange messages a couple times each week.
“Of all the schools that have offered and are interested in me, Maryland and UAB stay in touch the most,” said the 6-foot-5, 175-pound Hurtado, who also holds verbals from Georgia, Florida State, USC, Georgia Southern and USF. “There’s other schools involved, but Maryland and UAB the most. Coach Warren, he’s been down to see me play before, and he tells me there’s a spot for me at Maryland and he likes my game. He said I could do well in the system they have there and help the program out.”
Hurtado, who landed his Maryland offer from head coach Mark Turgeon last October, called Warren “a really nice guy.” The Venezuelan native noted that Warren hasn’t been through Sagemont since the fall, but Hurtado expects the Terps’ staffer to watch him play on the Nike AAU circuit this summer for Each 1 Teach 1.
“Maryland is still very interested in me from what I can tell. I haven’t talked to Coach Turgeon in awhile, but I know he’s been very busy with his own team,” said Hurtado, who lived in Venezuela for 13 years before migrating to Georgia and spending his first two high schools seasons at Greenforest McCalep Christian Academy (Decatur, Ga.). “I’ve been watching Maryland some on TV, and I love the way they play and I like how Coach Turgeon coaches. It’s a good offensive system where the guards can create and have a lot of freedom. I believe my game would fit in well there.”
While the Terps have maintained interest in Hurtado, so has the Sagemont product in Maryland. The combo guard said his UMD affinity hasn’t waned since October, when he expressed plenty of excitement when Turgeon personally came through Sagemont and extended the offer.
“Of course there’s that Greivis Vasquez connection,” laughed Hurtado, who grew up idolizing the former Maryland star, who also hailed from Venezuela. “It’s just cool think Vasquez played there and I have an opportunity to follow in his footsteps, sort of. Maryland is just a great opportunity for me, and I know a lot about them from watching them over the years.
“I still haven’t been able to get up there, but this summer I should be able to get out. I haven’t taken my SATs or ACTs yet, so I can’t take official visits until I get that done, but even if I don’t [take the tests] I still could do an unofficial. I’m trying to make that happen, and I’m talking about it with my coaches.”
So far, Hurtado has been able to take in Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, UAB and Georgia, though none of those visits were recent. He said he wasn’t able to venture out during the course of his junior season, which just ended.
“Hopefully this summer I’ll see some more schools,” Hurtado said. “A lot of coaches came in this year and want me to visit. During our last game, UAB and Virginia Tech were there, and before that Louisville actually came down. Alabama, LSU, NC State, TCU, UVA, UCF and Richmond have either watched me or had some contact.”
At this point, though, the 2017 recruit does not have an offer he’s hoping for or even a list of favorites. He said he has to take visits and find out which staffs are truly interested before forming any sort of leaderboard.
“The main focus right now is getting better, getting ready for the summer AAU season and then showing these coaches I’m one of the best guards in the country,” Hurtado said. “I’m doing well passing the ball, creating for myself and others, seeing the floor, ball-handling and playing defense. But I still have to work on making my teammates better and just getting my 3-point shot down. I’m confident in my shot, but it’s not 100 percent yet.
“Then this last year, our team lost in the semifinals and we didn’t do as well as we could have. I did alright, but I have to be mentally tougher. So now it’s time to get to work and get better.”
During his junior campaign, Hurtado said he operated both as the primary ball-handler and an off-the-ball guard. He said most college coaches are recruiting him as a “1,” but intimated he could play the “2” or even the “3” if need be. Hurtado, for his part, said he didn’t care what his position was, so long as he was contributing.
“I just want to find the school that fits me best and will be the best opportunity for me to show what I can do,” Hurtado said. “I have some good options on the table, but you can never stop working.”