The Terps are going after multiple touted 2017 recruits, and one of their foremost targets took an official visit to College Park, Md., April 29-30. Canadian native Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a wing/guard who plays his high school ball at Hamilton Heights Christian (Chattanooga, Tenn.), has been eager to see the Terps since landing an offer from area recruiter Bino Ranson and head coach Mark Turgeon Feb. 29.
“I had a great time at Maryland. It was a great visit; it surpassed my expectations,” said Alexander-Walker, who is also considering USC, Va Tech and Cincinnati. “Definitely the highlight for me was seeing the Xfinity Center and how big it was. It was an unreal facility. So that really stood out to me, and then definitely talking with the strength coach [Kyle Tarp]. He really does a great job developing you and getting you ready [for college ball].”
Alexander-Walker went on to praise the coaching staff and the current Terps. He called the various players he met “very cool,” mentioning how each made him feel at home.
“It was a very welcoming community in general. It was amazing how much the players and coaches care about each other there,” Alexander-Walker said. “And the coaches were great, they made me feel like a priority. Coach T, he came out to see me [in April], and I know he’d love to have me there. He talked about my role and my future there, and also the Terps and his plans for the program. He was saying how he’d love to be able to coach me there.
“And Coach Bino, we have a great relationship. He’s a great guy and I enjoyed getting to know him better.”
Alexander-Walker said he spent much of his stay learning about the program’s inner-workings and his potential role in Turgeon’s system. He already knew a good amount from watching UMD on TV, but April 29-30 he gained, deeper, more specific knowledge.
“I think the way Coach Turgeon coaches, and their style, it fits me perfectly. I can play the ‘1’ the ‘2’ or the ‘3,’ and fit in all over in Maryland’s offense,” Alexander-Walker said. “They play like three, sometimes four guards, so I feel like there would definitely be a role for me.”
The Toronto native spoke highly of the school’s academics, too, noting that education is of the utmost importance to him. He also mentioned that his mother, who accompanied him on the trip, was thoroughly impressed.
“My mom loved meeting the coaches and Coach Tarp too. She liked all of them,” said Alexander-Walker, who just completed a standout initial AAU session with Under Armour-based Canada Elite. “She also really liked the Maryland Day event they had and all the support there.”
Alexander-Walker previously visited Southern Cal in early March and is now scheduled to fly into Blacksburg, Va., May 2 for his third official visit to Virginia Tech. There’s a chance he might head to Cincinnati too, although that’s not set in stone. Alexander-Walker has no plans to trip to Baylor right now, the fifth school in his stated top five.
“I’m getting close to committing. I want to decide before the summer, maybe later this month,” Alexander-Walker said. “By that time I’ll have seen the schools I want to see. But as of now my head is spinning. I can’t really say exactly where everything stands until I sit down and think everything through.
“I had a great weekend at Maryland, though, and really liked it there.”
Note: Alexander-Walker also briefly commented on Maryland’s other official visitor, 2016 power forward Justin Jackson, a UNLV decommit. Jackson, a fellow Canadian, suits up for the same AAU team as Alexander Walker.
“Justin and I really didn’t talk too much or about playing together [in college],” Alexander-Walker said. “But I know he had a very good time at Maryland and enjoyed the atmosphere too. I’m not sure what he’s going to do yet.”