Hardwood Notes: NBA Camp Wrap-up,More Updates

An update on Maryland hoops recruiting

After speaking to our Scout colleagues who attended the NBA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., here’s what we were able to glean in regards to Maryland’s foremost targets:

-- St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) shooting guard David Beatty has visited UConn, UCLA and Maryland recently, and it sounds like the Huskies may be trending. The 6-foot-4 defensive-minded two-guard readily connected with headman Kevin Ollie and loved the program he’s building in Storrs, Conn. The Los Angeles, Calif., trip also hit home, though we’re not sure Beatty’s going to travel cross-country to play his college ball.

Beatty talked up his mid-May Terps’ trip as well, pointing to head coach Mark Turgeon’s potent pitch, his relationship with area recruiter Bino Ranson, Maryland’s player development and the environment in College Park, Md.

The sense is Beatty, who may be Turgeon’s second priority behind five-star shooting guard M.J. Walker (Jonesboro, Ga.), may have UConn and Maryland out front, followed by UCLA. Others in play include Xavier, Indiana, Seton Hall, TAMU and Georgetown.

It’s conceivable Beatty, who may take a second trip to College Park this summer (a positive sign), could make his college decision sooner rather than later. He’s seen enough programs to form an opinion and hinted he may have his destination selected before his senior season begins late fall.

-- The Maryland staff’s No. 1 big-man target, O’Connell’s (Arlington, Va.) Nate Watson, is intent on seeing numerous locales before ending his recruitment. He’s set to see North Carolina, whose staff is showing interest, in short order, in addition to Miami and possibly Xavier; NC State; Wake Forest; Providence; and Kansas.

The 6-9 power forward’s leaderboard consists of each of the aforementioned programs, although the Terps are probably at the forefront of his mind (the KU offer likely isn’t committable at this juncture). Watson has visited College Park three times in the last couple months and has plenty of interest in playing for the hometown school. Mark Turgeon, area recruiter Bino Ranson and the rest of the staff have left a distinct impression on Watson. A UNC offer could potentially throw a kink into the Terps’ plans, but for now we like Maryland’s position.

Look for Watson to take a few official visits before ending his recruitment during the fall or winter.

-- Bourama Sidibe, the teammate of David Beatty, has Maryland interest after receiving an offer. The three-star power forward has checked out UMD before and has a solid rapport with Bino Ranson and Co. Sidibe may be the fallback option to Nate Watson, but the 6-10, 255-pounder, who is a tough defender and glass cleaner, is a solid three-star recruit.

Sidibe also is taking a hard look at UConn, along with Beatty. WVU, Memphis, Seton Hall and a couple others are in play too.

But Sidibe is fairly open right now until he begins venturing out to more schools.

-- We’re not counting on it, but five-star center Ikey Obiagu (Greenforest McCallep Christian/Decatur, Ga.) has Maryland in mind. Recall, he visited College Park in May and left talking up Xfinity Center, the coaches and the environment. Obiagu also commented on Mark Turgeon’s big-man development, noting how UMD could help ready him for pro ball.

But the sense is Maryland may sit behind a few other programs in the pecking order. Baylor left an impression following a trek through the Lone Star State, while Arizona, Cal, Texas, Louisville, Georgetown and others are involved too.

Zona (visiting this summer) and Baylor could the leaders at this juncture, though the Terps are making some noise here. We’re inclined to keep Obiagu on the hot board and see what transpires down the line.

-- Another big-man target, Malik Williams (Nelson/Fort Wayne, Ind.), came off the hot board following NBA Camp. The Midwest four-star listed Michigan State, Indiana, Louisville, Purdue, Xavier, UCLA and a couple others as schools that had his eye.

Williams did not mention Maryland, which offered a few months back, as a program he wanted to check out.  UMD-area recruiter Cliff Warren and Mark Turgeon made a pitch, but Williams was a longshot from the jump.

-- Our colleagues did not touch base with wing Nicolas Claxton (Legacy Charter/Greenville, S.C.), who was scheduled to be in Charlottesville but may not have showed based on the lack of reports. Even so, we don’t believe much has changed since the last time we updated the 6-9 combo forward.

Claxton has maintained contact with UMD recruiter Dustin Clark and has interest in Maryland following a visit to College Park. But he may be focused elsewhere since the Terps likely do not have him prioritized. Georgia, Claxton’s father’s alma mater, NC State, South Carolina and Florida State are some of the programs firmly involved for the Legacy Charter product.

-- Technically, Maryland is still in the game for four-star guard Brandon Randolph (Westtown, Pa.), but it’s unlikely the New York native winds up in College Park. Randolph seems focused on Villanova, Indiana, UNC and Louisville first and foremost. Each of those  schools’ coaches are in hot pursuit, Randolph talking up each and seeking to see all four locales (he already has taken in Nova).

We’re about to remove Randolph from the hot board.

-- Wing-guard Naji Marshall (Roosevelt/Greenbelt, Md.) doesn’t hold a Maryland offer yet, but he said the staff is in touch more frequently. He told Scout the Terps had picked up the pace of late and there seems to be some mutual interest between the two sides.

That said, Marshall is likely behind a coterie of other offerees on Mark Turgeon’s board. Even if the local landed an offer, he might not be a take right away.

Sans hometown look, Marshall seems to be focusing on Xavier, Va Tech and Pitt.

The Roosevelt product isn’t going on the hot board unless the Terps’ offer materializes.

-- 2018 guard Kiyon Boyd (Woodson/Washington, D.C.) has blown up on the trail, but the 6-5 two-guard has loads of UMD affinity. He’s been on campus several times, loves that the staff has prioritized him, and has taken to area recruiter Dustin Clark, who reached out to Boyd during the first day of the contact period. Plus, he’s keen on the idea of sticking around town for college.

“They just want to recruit all DMV kids,” Boyd told Scout. “That sends a message to me that they want to recruit kids from home. That is better for me because if I went there I would know everybody or I would get to know them because they are where I’m from.”

Boyd also has Georgetown, Xavier, Louisville, Florida and Va Tech in mind for now, but he’ll have plenty of looks to consider moving forward. The Terps, though, are trending early.

-- 2018 wing Jairus Hamilton (Cannon School/Concord, N.C.) counts Maryland as a program that’s caught his eye initially. The 6-8 four-star said area recruiter Cliff Warren was one of the first coaches to contact him June 15, Hamilton noting it’s obvious UMD covets his services.

Hamilton actually lived in the state of Maryland for about a year and has fond memories of the area and College Park. He called UMD a “good school with good coaches” and a program he’d definitely be checking out.

But hometown UNC has offered, and most believe he’s going to wind up a Tar Heel should the staff continue to push. Wake Forest, South Carolina, UVA, Florida, Baylor, Tennessee, Va Tech and more are also involved, while it’s possible Duke could enter the fray.

-- Spartanburg (S.C.) 2018 wing Zion Williamson had a lot of positive comments for Maryland following the staff’s May 10 offer. He talked up area recruiter Dustin Clark, the reemerging hoops program and the school’s academics. But at NBA Camp, Williamson spoke resoundingly about some of his southern suitors like Clemson (father’s alma mater), UNC, NC State and UVA. Williamson just visited North Carolina and Clemson, and he has NC State coming up. Moreover, he’s been hearing from bluebloods like Duke and Kentucky, which would become instant contenders should either program offer.

The 6-7 wing is projected to wind up in ACC or SEC country.

More Terps’ Recruiting Notes

-- Mark Turgeon added another big-man to his board in mid-June when he offered Champlin Park Senior (Champlin, Minn.) power forward Theo John. The 6-8, 215-pound defensive stalwart was honored by the look and said he might check College Park out depending on how the relationship developed. John is well aware of Maryland’s recent reemergence on the national scene, and believes he could fit well into Turgeon’s system.

“They take care of business at Maryland, I know that,” John said. “Coach Turgeon, he’s a great coach, and he was telling me he wants to build a relationship with me. I really enjoyed talking to him, and from what he was saying it sounds like Maryland could be a great fit. I like their style of play and how they’re one of the top teams in the Big Ten. They went to the Sweet 16 last year too and are on the rise.

“So I’m looking forward to getting to know Coach Turgeon more, and also Coach Ranson.”

But John has had many other programs after him for longer, and harder, than UMD. Illinois is counted as a prime contender due to the staff’s ardent pursuit, while Oklahoma and Purdue are firmly in play after official visits to each. Marquette, Minnesota and Florida are also in play and could conceivably be the recipients of officials.

-- Senior wing Jordan Tucker (White Plains, N.Y.) finally made it to College Park June 11 after numerous intended trips fell by the wayside. The four-star did not respond to media inquiries following the stay, but our colleagues have led us to believe Tucker probably isn’t UMD bound.

Syracuse has long had a bead, and our analysts who cover the Orange feel Tucker’s going to wind up staying in upstate New York. Tucker has visited SU more than any other program, and it’s clear the Orange staff has made serious inroads.

Indiana, UConn, Oklahoma and St. John’s are also firmly involved and considered primary contenders.

-- Another senior wing, Kris Wilkes (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.), recently added a Michigan offer and subsequently visited Ann Arbor, Mich. Word is the Wolverines could now be trending for the 6-7 forward. Indiana, Butler, UCLA and several other Midwest programs are firmly in play too.

The Terps, with Cliff Warren running point, are still on Wilkes’ mind, and it’s possible he does take a College Park official. But we’re not counting on it at this point.

We’ll leave Wilkes on the hot board, however, because our colleagues tell us Wilkes changes his mind by the day and his recruitment could go in a hundred different directions.

-- 2018 Terps’ power forward target Jalen Smith (Mt. St. Joe’s/Baltimore, Md.) tried out for the 17U USA Basketball team, and though he didn’t make the final roster, he performed well.  So well, in fact, the 6-9 Smith pulled offers from the likes of Stanford, Notre Dame, Arizona and UVA recently. Meanwhile, numerous bluebloods and other power programs have taken note of the fast-rising four-star.

The Team Takeover product will visit a slew of programs during the next few months, including some of his recent offerees like UND and Stanford.

But Smith has not lost interest in Maryland by any means. He’s in constant communication with Mark Turgeon and recruiter Bino Ranson, who reached out as soon as the contact period opened. Smith has been in College Park more times than he can remember and loves the vibe surrounding the Terps’ program.

We’ll see what the rest of the offseason holds, but we’re keeping Smith “hot” on the hot board.

-- Local 2018 guard Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll/Bel Air, Md.), who played with Jalen Smith at the Team USA tryouts, finally pulled his Terps’ offer earlier in June. Afterwards, the well-spoken, savvy Quickley gave the hometown school its props, saying it was an offer he was waiting for and that it “meant a lot” to him. The five-star, who has a rapport with Bino Ranson, said he’d be keeping Maryland in mind moving forward.

But we’ll see how far this goes. It’s obvious Quickley is seeking a Duke look, and if the Blue Devils ante up, that’s probably where the five-star’s heading. Miami, Villanova, and a couple others are involved too, working to gain Quickley’s attention.

Also realize that Turgeon has been after another 2018 DMV point guard, Prentiss Hubb (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), for months now. Unless feelings have changed, Turgeon has Hubb prioritized, and vice versa.

Given the above, we’re not sensing there’s a Quickley-Maryland match, although we’ll have to see what develops down the line. We do believe there is enough interest to at least list the John Carroll guard (is he DeMatha bound?) “warm” on the hot board.

The 2017 Target Run Down

Point Guard (take 0)

Trevon Duval, Advanced Prep (Dallas, Texas): off the board

Wings/Guards (take 1)

1.     M.J. Walker, Jonesboro (Ga.): WARM (Maryland, Ohio State, Florida State)

2.     David Beatty, St. Benedict’s Prep (Newark, N.J.): WARM (UConn, UCLA, UMD, Xavier, Indiana, Seton Hall)

3.     Chaundee Brown, First Academy (Orlando, Fla.): WARM (UConn, UF, UGA, Ga Tech, UMD, Wake, UCF)

4.     Elias Harden, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.): COOL (UGA, Ga Tech, Auburn, Cincinnati, Va Tech, UMD, Xavier)

5.     Brandon Randolph, Westtown (Pa.): COOL (UNC, Illinois, Louisville, Zona, Georgetown, Kansas, UMD)

6.     D.J. Harvey, DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.): COOL (UConn, Zona, Louisville, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA, Nova, Oklahoma, UMD)

7.     Nicolas Claxton, Legacy Charter (Greenville, S.C.): COOL (Georgia, FSU, Va Tech, NC State, South Carolina, UMD)

8.     Jordan Tucker, White Plains (N.Y.): COOL (Syracuse, St. John’s, Oklahoma, UConn, UMD)

9.     Kris Wilkes, North Central (Indianapolis, Ind.): COOL (Indiana, Butler, UCLA, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State)

10. Hameir Wright, Albany Academy (Albany, N.Y.): COOL (Villanova, Syracuse, Seton Hall, Maryland, Cincinnati, UConn)

Power Forwards/Centers (take 2)

1.     Jaren Jackson, Park Tudor (Indianapolis, Ind.): HOT (Maryland, Georgetown, Indiana, Michigan State, Alabama)

2.     Nate Watson, O’Connell (Arlington, Va.): HOT (Maryland, Xavier, Georgetown, Miami, FSU, Wake Forest, WVU, UNC?)

3.     Billy Preston, Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) COOL (Arizona, USC, Kansas)

4.     Theo John, Champlin Park (Champlin, Minn.): COOL (Illinois, Oklahoma, Purdue, Florida, Marquette, Maryland)

5.     Ikey Obiagu, Greenforest McCalep Christian (Decatur, Ga.): COOL (Baylor, Zona, Georgetown, Texas, Louisville, Florida, Maryland)

6.     Bourama Sidibe, St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.): COOL (UConn, Seton Hall, Syracuse, WVU, Maryland, Kansas State)

7.     Zach Kent, St. Andrew’s (Middletown, Del.): COOL (Dayton, La Salle, Providence, St. Joe’s Notre Dame, Oregon, Maryland)

Note: July is a key recruiting month what with three separate week-long live AAU sessions. Unfortunately for the Terps, Mark Turgeon will be with USA Basketball during this time, but assistants Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren should be out in full force at various events during the next month.


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