Hardwood Notes: Terps After Two July Sessions

After two July evaluation periods, here is where the Maryland staff stands heading into one final summer live session:

After two July evaluation periods, here is where the Maryland staff stands heading into one final summer live session:

Under Armour Association

-- Every Maryland coach attended the UA Finals in Cartersville, Ga., July 13-16, and Mark Turgeon and Co. watched the nation’s No. 1 2017 point guard put on a show. Five-star Trevon Duval (Advanced Prep/Dallas, Texas) shined on both ends -- scoring, distributing, grabbing steals and nailing free throws -- to lead We R 1 to the 17U title.

The 6-foot-3 Duval says he’s fairly open in his recruitment, but the feeling is Villanova and Maryland could be vying for his services, followed by Indiana; UCLA; Arizona; Syracuse; USC and more. But that’s a highly tentative “could.”

Sure, Terps’ assistant Bino Ranson has a strong rapport with the Delaware native and his family, and, sure, we've heard Duval would like to play closer to home for college. But we’ll have to see how this recruitment develops down the line before forecasting the five-star to College Park, Md. There remains some skepticism over Duval’s high school situation and whether or not Turgeon will push in earnest (this has nothing to do with Duval’s game).

Expect the five-star to embark on all five official visits before concluding his recruitment sometime next spring. We have Duval listed “warm” on the hot board, though his temperature could easily drop if what we’ve been hearing recently remains true.

Duval’s backcourt mate with We R 1, combo guard Eric Ayala (Putnam Science/Putnam, Conn.), is a 2018 recruit who saw his stock rise considerably at the UA Finals. He dropped 30 points in one game, averaged 20.8 for the tournament and nailed a Finals best 10 triples.

The 6-2, 180-pounder hasn’t secured a Maryland offer yet, but we could easily see one materializing in short order -- even though the Terps already have several verbals out to 2018 guards. Turgeon and Ranson have been in contact with Ayala, so there is legitimate interest here.

Right now, Ayala claims verbals from Miami, USC, Cincinnati, St. John’s, St. Joe’s, Penn State and various others.

Yet another We R 1 product, 2017 power forward Bourama Sidibe (St. Benedict’s Prep/Newark, N.J.), showed out for the second session in a row. In Georgia, the 6-9 220-pounder led the way in rebounds and blocks, once again proving himself on the defensive end.

Sidibe rarely says much in-depth about recruiting, but he has visited Maryland before and expressed interest in the program. He could very well return to College Park for an official, provided the UMD coaches prioritize him (remember, Nate Watson and Ikey Obiagu are still on the board).

Others in play for Sidibe include WVU, UConn, Arizona State, Cincinnati, Memphis, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, Syracuse, Temple and Texas.

Sidibe’s high school teammate, 2017 guard David Beatty (St. Benedict’s Prep), leveled off a bit during the second July session, but the Philly Pride product is being closely monitored. The Terps’ Bino Ranson saw Beatty play last week and continues to have regular communication with the 6-5 combo guard. If Beatty decides he wants to attend Maryland, we have a hard time believing Turgeon would turn him down.

Beatty, who visited Maryland in May and secured the UMD offer while on campus, does have the program near the forefront of his mind. But the Philadelphia native is looking at several more schools too, including UConn; UVA; Georgetown; UCLA; Indiana; Texas; Mizzou and possibly more.

Beatty said he could make a decision “at any time,” but the sense is he’ll take a few officials before choosing his college destination. 

-- Now, let’s move on to DC Premier, which featured UMD offeree 2017 forward Nate Watson (O’Connell/Arlington, Va.), potential 2017 wing offeree Naji Marshall (Hargrave Military/Chatham, Va.) and 2018 point guard offeree Prentiss Hubb.

During two games in Georgia, Marshall ended up averaging 23 points per. He also played well during the first July session, and, as a result, the 6-5, three-star has picked up numerous offers this month. But the Terps are in a holding pattern with the DMV recruit -- at least for the time being. Turgeon and assistant Dustin Clark have stayed in touch with the former Roosevelt (Greenbelt, Md.) prospect, but it’s unclear if they’re going to push for another wing type in the 2017 class.

However, if Maryland’s staff does pursue, they’d figure to have Marshall’s ear. The local has been on campus on several occasions and likes the idea of playing for his hometown school.

Xavier and Pitt could have the inside edge for Marshall right now, but he’s in no hurry to commit.

The power forward Watson, meanwhile, is still the Terps’ No. 1 big-man priority. The local product hasn’t put up huge numbers on the offensive end of late, but he continues to assert himself defensively. Ranson, Turgeon and Co. have all seen Watson play multiple times, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t accept his pledge.

Watson could take a look at FSU, Xavier, Va Tech, Providence and Miami, but the vibe is the Terps are the clear frontrunners. We could see Watson popping to UMD in the next couple months, if not sooner.

As for the 2018 guard Hubb, he averaged two steals per game last weekend, but didn’t do a whole lot offensively. Even so, he remains the top guard target for Turgeon; we’re continuing to forecast him to Maryland until we hear otherwise.

-- The Florida Vipers were bounced after one game at the UA Finals, but 2017 combo forward Raiquan Gray (Dillard/Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) shined with a double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds). The 6-8, 240-pound three-star earned offers from Maryland and NC State thanks to his effort, the Terps’ verbal coming courtesy of Cliff Warren.

Afterwards, Gray lauded UMD, calling Warren a “cool dude” and giving plenty of props to Turgeon and the program he’s built in College Park. Gray said he’d consider officially visiting Maryland depending on how his recruitment develops.

Of course, the Terps do have several other forwards on their board, with the priorities being Jaren Jackson (La Lumiere/La Porte, Ind.) -- he just transferred to La Lumiere from Park Tudor -- and possibly Kris Wilkes (North Central/Indianapolis, Ind.). So, the 6-8 Gray may only be a “take” for Turgeon and Co. if Jackson falls off some.

Gray, for his part, is also considering Baylor (he officially visited BU a couple months ago), Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Florida, Illinois, FSU, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Memphis and a host of others. Schools such as UConn, Texas, SMU and Northwestern are showing interest, with the Huskies potentially rising up the leaderboard should the staff ante up.

With the aforementioned Kris Wilkes, he did not play especially well for the Indy Hoosiers at the UA Finals. Wilkes shot 23 percent from the field and didn’t show out defensively with several Maryland coaches looking on.

That’s probably not going to keep the Terps’ staff from going after the 6-7 wing/forward, however. Wilkes has had regular communication with Cliff Warren and we expect that to continue in the months ahead. It’s entirely possible Wilkes, who has broached UMD more in interviews of late, will check out College Park during the fall.

Wilkes, though, is quite mercurial and changes his list of contenders often. Indiana, Michigan, UConn, Xavier, Arizona, Butler, TCU, Oregon and others have all been mentioned in conjunction with Wilkes.

Note: Maryland guard offeree M.J. Walker (Jonesboro, Ga.) did not participate in the UA Finals with AtlantaXpress. But the 6-4, 220-pound five-star remains a primary target for Turgeon and Cliff Warren. Walker displayed his skills during the first July session and looked every bit the part of a five-star recruit.

UMD, Tennessee, Florida State and Ohio State are thought to be Walker’s top-four suitors, but his recruitment could ebb and flow moving forward. Either way, look for him to eventually schedule officials to at least two of the four above locales.

Notes Part II: Unaffiliated big man Ejike Obinna (Virginia Academy/Ashburn, Va.), who plays for Uncommon Bulls, impressed during the first and second Under Armour July sessions (Under Armour invited his team to participate), and both Mark Turgeon and Bino Ranson watched him closely. The 6-10, 230-pounder averaged 13.5 points and 1.5 blocks per game, prompting Turgeon to ante up from Chile July 18. 

We're told Ranson has been after Obinna for some time, and there is mutual interest between the Terps and the budding big man. But Obinna's recruitment is still in its infant stages as he collects more offers and evaluates his options.

Xavier, Clemson, St. Joe's, St. John's, Ga Tech, Miami, Temple, LSU, Seton Hall, Va Tech and more have all anted up for the Nigerian native. Of those, Obinna has seen Xavier, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Va Tech and George Mason, but apparently he hasn't taken a liking to any one school in particular.

Obinna should begin to establish a clear leaderboard and schedule official visits during the fall. Right now, it's hard to say exactly where UMD stands, or how hard Turgeon will push with the likes of Nate Watson, Ikey Obiagu, Bourama Sidibe and more on the board.

Notes Part III: Besides Prentiss Hubb and Eric Ayala, Some of the 2018 recruits the Maryland staff took note of in Georgia were five-star center offer Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy/Briarwood, N.Y.), five-star power forward offer Miles Norris (Mater Dei/Chula Vista, Calif.) and five-star wing Louis King (Hudson Catholic/Burlington, N.J.), who will inevitably pull a UMD offer shortly. Scout's Brian Snow touched base with all three from Georgia, and each of the above mentioned Maryland in interviews.

The UMD staff also intently watched 2019 guard targets Scottie Lewis (Ranney School/Eatontown, N.J.) and Bryan Antoine (Ranney), per reports from Scout’s Brian Snow. Both of the latter two prospects are already well-known high-major recruits, despite their class year.

Nike Notes

In addition to the UA Finals, the Maryland staff was at DeMatha (Hyattsville, Md.) for the Oladipo Skills Academy and a couple other Nike events as well.

-- New guard offeree Darryl Morsell (Mount St. Joseph/Baltimore, Md.), who plays for Team Melo, had an off-and-on weekend, but he did enough to continue attracting high-major looks. He now counts scholarships from UMD, NC State, Marquette, WVU, Va Tech, Notre Dame, Cincinnati, Pitt, Kansas State and more.

Of those, Morsell admitted the hometown Terps were “jumping out” at first blush. The local guard has been through College Park more times than he can remember and has known Bino Ranson for about a year. He likes the idea of staying local and playing in front of his family too.

And word is Morsell would be a “take” for Turgeon, despite the presence of M.J. Walker and David Beatty on their board. Basically, the Terps are not going to turn down an offered DMV recruit if he wants in.

But Morsell isn’t ready to pop just yet. He wants to see what offers materialize the rest of this summer before embarking on officials. He has no intentions of committing prior to his senior season.

-- Another 2017 wing-guard on the Terps’ radar is Chaundee Brown (First Academy/Orlando, Fla.), who participated in a Nike event in Suwanee, Ga., last week. That allowed Warren, who was at the UA Finals in Cartersville, Ga., anyway, to get another look at the four-star. Brown evidently played well once again, showing why he now has bluebloods after him.

Brown, though, does have a great rapport with Warren. He has already seen UMD once before and loved his stay. He is seriously thinking about heading back for an official down the line.

But Brown’s stock has skyrocketed, and he now has blueblood offers (Kansas) and interest (North Carolina). Florida, Indiana, UConn and more are also in the game and could receive looks.

It's too soon to make a call on where Brown’s heading, but word is if that KU offer is committable the Floridian could jump on it. Brown will likely officially visit Kansas and a couple others before selecting his future destination. (It's possible the Terps could make room for a combo guard like Beatty/Walker/Morsell and a wing-guard like Brown, although that's not a certainty.)

-- 2017 big man Ikey Obiagu (Greenforest McCalep Christian/Decatur, Ga.) impressed defensively at the Oladipo camp with Dustin Clark and Bino Ranson looking on. Afterwards, Obiagu, who visited Maryland in the spring, listed the Terps among his vast list of leaders, suggesting he could return for a UMD official. He’s particularly impressed with the staff’s ardent pursuit and their big-man development.

The four-star has a host of others on his mind too, though. Baylor, UConn, Arizona, Texas, Georgetown, Louisville, Kansas and Kentucky (no offer) have all been mentioned in Obiagu’s recruitment.

Simply put, Obiagu is wide open at this stage, and there’s no telling which direction this will head. We have him listed “warm” on the hot board, but our guess is he’s not going to wind up in College Park.

-- Maryland wing target Jordan Tucker (Archbishop Stepanic/White Plains, N.Y.) played well at DeMatha with both Ranson and Clark monitoring. He visited UMD in June and said he had a standout stay. Plus, Tucker has a tight-knit relationship with Ranson, who apparently has convinced Tucker to consider a second trip to Maryland during the fall.

But Tucker’s pro-Terpswords rang a bit of lip service. We do believe he likes UMD, but maybe not as much as Syracuse, Indiana, Arizona, Nova or St. john’s. Our gut is he’s going to wind up at SU before it’s all said and done.

Also realize that Tucker may not be a real fit at Maryland right now. The Terps have several true wings in tow already, and may not push for Tucker’s commitment.

-- The Maryland coaches are still recruiting DeMatha shooting guard D.J. Harvey, watching him at the Oladipo Skills Academy July 13. But the Team Takeover five-star has been fading from UMD’s grasp for some time now. His attention is seemingly focused elsewhere.

-- A few underclassmen the Maryland coaches honed in on were 2018 forward Jalen Smith (Mount St. Joseph/Baltimore, Md.), 2018 guard Brandon Slater (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.), 2018 wing Hameir Wright (Albany, N.Y.), 2018 wing Khalid Moore (Archbishop Molloy) and 2019 point guard Anthony Harris (Paul VI).

 Smith played exceptionally well on both ends last weekend, proving he deserves his five-star status. He now holds about 15 offers, but is keeping hometown Maryland atop the totem poll. Smith is being pursued by the bluebloods, though, so we’ll have to see if that changed his thinking in time.

Even so, we have Smith “hot” on the hot board and are inclined to keep him there. He has been projected to College Park.

Slater had a so-so outing at DeMatha, although he looks the part and has played well in the past. He personally has UMD under prime consideration what with it being his local school and his solid rapport with Dustin Clark. Slater’s attended multiple Terps’ games and loves the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center too.

We’ll have to see how ardently Turgeon pushes, however, with other guard targets like Prentiss Hubb, Immanuel Quickley (DeMatha) and Kiyon Boyd (Woodson/Washington, D.C.) on the board.

The wing Hameir Wright recently reclassed to 2018, and all indications are Cliff Warren is going to keep recruiting him. Wright’s a good-looking player with his length and athleticism, and is continuing to add high-major offers.

Wright hasn’t been on campus yet, but look for the Terps to host him at some point. The Albany City Rocks recruit, who knows UMD signee Kevin Huerter well, likes the Maryland staff and the program in general.

Wright will also be looking at Nova, UConn, Syracuse (the early frontrunner?), St. John’s, and more in the next year or so.

-- Khalid Moore, meanwhile, is an emerging New York wing who should have multiple high-major looks by the time his junior season rolls around. The Terps' assistants already have a bead on him and could extend an offer once Turgeon sees him in action. 

-- The Terps coaches also watched the 2019 point guard Anthony Harris on consecutive days. We expect him to secure a UMD offer if he continues to develop during the season.

Harris is another local the Maryland staff will likely prioritize and won’t want to let slip away.

The 2017 Breakdown

The thinking here is that Maryland will sign about three 2017 recruits, with a potential for a fourth. Here is a simplified version of the recruiting board, listed in order of priority.

Guards

Trevon Duval (wildcard)

M.J. Walker

David Beatty

Darryl Morsell

Wings

Chaundee Brown

Jordan Tucker

Naji Marshall

Oshae Brissett

Power Forwards

Jaren Jackson

Kris Wilkes

Raiquan Gray

Bigs

Nate Watson

Ikey Obiagu

Bourama Sidibe

Ejike Obinna

Theo John

Brandon McCoy

Projected Class: Nate Watson, Jaren Jackson, Darryl Morsell

The 2018 Breakdown

Guards

Prentiss Hubb

Cameron Reddish

Immanuel Quickley

Brandon Slater

Kiyon Boyd

Eric Ayala

Wings

Hameir Wright

Louis King

Jairus Hamilton

Zion Williamson

Sidney Wilson

Isaiah Mucius

Khalid Moore

Forwards/Bigs

Jalen Smith

David McCormack

Moses Brown

Naz Reid


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