There are a number of intriguing wings and wing-guards on Maryland’s board for the 2017 class with head coach Mark Turgeon extending several offers after the recent live sessions. But one recruit in particular has been on the radar since last October and continues to hold the Terps in high regard.
Legacy Charter (Greenville, S.C.) wing/shooting guard Nicolas Claxton said UMD is one of the programs near the top of his unstated leaderboard.
“I’d say Maryland, Baylor, USC, FSU, Georgia, NC State and South Carolina pop into my head right now. Those coaches have just been showing me the most love, and those are my top schools right now,” said the 6-foot-9 Claxton, who claims verbals from all of the above programs, in addition to those from Clemson; Notre Dame; Temple; Arizona; Va Tech; and Wake Forest. “The coaches from those schools have really been pushing hard and just want me at their schools. So those are some of the programs I have in mind.”
Claxton actually visited College Park, Md., Dec. 27 for UMD’s game against Marshall. It was that winter break trip that solidified Maryland’s status for the South Carolina native.
“I was able to watch a game at Maryland, and it was amazing,” Claxton said. “The students were on break, but the building was still packed. That says something about the fans at Maryland. I loved the arena [Xfinity Center], I loved the atmosphere, and I loved how the team played. I like how Maryland moves the ball, is free flowing and gets guys open shots. It’s a great system, and one I could fit well into.”
Claxton went on to say he could “definitely” see himself in College Park. He noted that he liked the campus, how it’s not that far from home and the school’s academics as well.
And then there’s the coaching staff, with assistant Dustin Clark running point.
“Coach Clark has done a good job with me. He’s still in touch and he’s a good guy,” said Claxton, who noted a UMD assistant watched him on the Adidas circuit in April. “I know they’ve been trying to finish out the 2016 class, so the contact hasn’t been as high, but I know Coach Clark and Maryland definitely still want me there. I talk to Coach Turgeon too, and I know he likes my game and would love to have me.”
In addition to Maryland, Claxton said visits to Georgia and South Carolina grabbed his attention. Claxton’s father, of course, suited up for the Bulldogs.
“Georgia is towards the top for me, but there’s no pressure on me to commit there,” said Claxton, who has also taken in Clemson. “My dad just wants me to find the best fit. I do like Georgia though and I want to get back there.”
Speaking of places he’ll be trekking to this summer and fall, Claxton pointed to FSU, NC State and Baylor, in addition to returns to UGA and South Carolina. He said he “wasn’t sure” if he’d be heading back to Maryland.
It’s possible some other schools could work into the mix too as coaches pick up the communication lines in June. For example, Claxton called his recent Notre Dame offer “real big” and mentioned he’d like to see South Bend, Ind., if the staff makes a push.
“I sat down with the assistant from Notre Dame, and he told me a lot more about the school. It sounds like a great program. I already knew a good amount, but I learned even more,” Claxton said. “That was a big offer for me. I’d like to get out there if I can.”
The UND look came in following Claxton’s performance on the Adidas circuit with Team South Carolina. Claxton, whose father is an assistant with Team South Carolina, also procured offers from Iowa State and NC State during April.
“And Georgetown is pretty interested,” Claxton said. “If they offered that would be another school I’d look at.”
Claxton said he’s looking forward to the upcoming live sessions in July. He said he’s made improvements shooting, blocking shots and passing, although he wants to pick up the pace with his rebounding.
“So we’ll see what happens after the summer and AAU ball is over,” Claxton said. “But right now I’m thinking I’ll probably commit around October or November, before my senior season. But only time will tell. I’m not 100 percent sure, because you never know who’s going to come in [with offers].”