Maryland’s first major recruiting weekend in early September didn’t produce the results head coach Mark Turgeon and the Terps hoped for: A pair of commitments from power forward Jaren Jackson (La Lumiere/La Porte, Ind.) and center Ikey Obiagu (Greenforest McCalep/Decatur, Ga.). Jackson ended up committing to Michigan State over UMD and Purdue Sept. 15, while Obiagu has elected to hold off on a college decision and take two or three more official visits.
So, where does Maryland go from here?
At the power forward or “4” spot, O’Shae Brissett (Findlay Prep/Henderson, Nev.), a 6-foot-6, 190-pound three star, remains on the board with a UMD offer. The Terps’ Bino Ranson offered Brissett back in July, although it was clear at the time he was the backup option to Jackson. Even so, Ranson maintained contact with Brissett just in case UMD needed to make a move.
And now they do.
It’s conceivable Turgeon flies West in the near future for an in-home with Brissett. It’s worth noting that Brissett is good friends with Maryland freshman Justin Jackson. Both are from Canada and played their AAU ball together with Canada Elite a couple years back.
Given that connection, perhaps its possible Turgeon and Co. can coax an official visit out of the forward. For now, though, Brissett seems focused on West Coast suitors like USC and Oregon, with the Ducks perhaps holding the edge.
The other name on Maryland’s board is another West Coast recruit, Ira Lee (Prolific Prep/San Pedro, Calif.), although he’s more of a paint presence than a versatile forward. Either way, Lee (6-8, 210) is a four-star with an advanced repertoire, but he is a heavy Arizona lean. He’ll be officially visiting the Wildcats Oct. 14, and it’s possible he pops while on campus.
If not, though, Lee is set for an official to Maryland Oct. 21. The Terps have been involved with Lee since the summer, and there appears to be some mutual interest.
The others involved are Cal and Oregon, the latter of which Lee is taking an official to Oct. 7.
Expect more names to surface in the near future besides Lee and Brissett, however. The good news for Turgeon and the Terps is that Jackson opted to end his recruitment now as opposed to in the spring, giving them plenty of time to identify other targets. It wouldn’t be a surprise if another offer or two went out in the near future.
Of course, it’s also possible Turgeon elects to save the scholarship and not take a “4” this year. Maryland has a number of versatile forwards on the current roster, including Justin Jackson, so it’s not necessarily a position of need.
As for the “5” spot, the Terps are still heavily involved with Obiagu. The five-star Nigerian native loved his official visit to College Park, talking up Turgeon’s big-man development; the environment on campus; and the players. He readily bonded with the team and said he felt at home at UMD.
But Terps’ Nation let out a collective groan when Obiagu said he intended to officially visit the likes of Baylor (coming up Sept. 24), FSU and Long Beach State. The Seminoles and Bruins could pose a problem for UMD as Obiagu seemed especially eager to check both programs out. In fact, he unofficially visited FSU Sept. 10 and word is he likes what he sees in Tallahassee, Fla.
Obiagu plans to drag his recruitment out to the spring, so there figures to be some moving and shaking going forward. The Terps will remain involved throughout, and they could very well land him, but we’re a bit less optimistic than a couple weeks back.
If Obiagu falls off, it’s possible UMD could make a charge for five-star 7-footer Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic/San Diego, Calif.), whose name has been on and off our radars. Ranson and Co. have been on McCoy for months now and have done well enough to warrant mention in interviews. McCoy hasn’t said much recently, but it wouldn’t shock if Turgeon began upping the pursuit.
At this stage, McCoy is fairly open in his recruitment. He hasn’t taken any official visits and seems content to wait until later in the fall or the winter to begin venturing out.
The West Coast schools like Cal, Oregon and USC are on him, but none of that trio is a surefire landing spot. Thus, the door is open for the Terps to gain some inroads and possibly secure an official down the road.
The third big man we’re continuing to monitor is St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.) 6-9, 220-pounder Bourama Sidibe. But there’s been very little Maryland buzz surrounding Sidibe of late, which is rather curious considering he’s a true rim protector and shot blocker who drew rave reviews in the summer.
Apparently UConn continues to trend, while Seton Hall, GW and Oklahoma State are making a push too. We’ll see if Turgeon and Co. hop back on the four-star later this fall.
When Chaundee Brown (First Academy/Orlando, Fla.) promptly canceled his Oct. 1 official visit to Maryland, it became clear who the Terps were prioritizing at combo guard. Local product Darryl Morsell (Mount St. Joe’s/Baltimore, Md.) has become “the guy” for Turgeon, and the 6-4, 200-pound defensive stalwart has taken a keen liking to the hometown school.
Morsell had plenty of UMD praise following two unofficial visits to College Park earlier this summer, while he appreciated Turgeon’s; Ranson’s; and Dustin Clark’s in-home pitch Sept. 9. Morsell knows the Maryland staff wants him badly and has made him the clear priority.
But before Morsell pops, he’s giving Notre Dame and Villanova a chance to win him over. The Baltimore native had in-homes with both UND headman Mike Brey and Nova coach Jay Wright and gave both heaps of praise. From the way it sounds, Morsell is just as high on the Irish and Wildcats as he is on the Terps, meaning this could be a dogfight between the three schools.
Morsell will be officially visiting Notre Dame Sept. 17, Nova Sept. 24 and Maryland Oct. 1. He’s also scheduled to be at Dayton Oct. 22, but he won’t select the Flyers unless the former three institutions back off for whatever reason. (Virginia Tech is in the game too, but Morsell has yet to set an official to Blacksburg, Va.).
Morsell said he’d like to wait until spring before ending his recruitment, but we don’t see it. More than likely he’ll be ready to pop later in October and sign in November.
If Morsell elects to head to South Bend, Ind., or Villanova, Pa., the No. 2 target for Turgeon is David Beatty (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.). The three-star Beatty has a top-five leaderboard of UConn, Maryland, Georgetown, IU and La Salle and wants to officially visit each of that quintet.
Turgeon actually checked in on Beatty recently, ensuring the Terps remain in mind. Beatty, another tough competitor like Morsell, told us this week he has high interest in Maryland given its guard play and national reputation. He loved his first stay in College Park back in the spring and is excited to officially visit the school in October.
The Huskies, however, are considered the early frontrunners, despite Beatty’s insistence to the contrary. Should the UConn staff continue to push – and indications are they will – Beatty could be Storrs, Conn., bound.
Indiana, meanwhile, has increased its pursuit of late and seems to have Beatty’s ear. The Hoosiers could make some noise here if Beatty follows through with an intended official.
As for five-star Jonesboro (Ga.) two-guard M.J. Walker, we continue to hear crickets. There just doesn’t seem to be any movement with the Georgia, leading us to believe something may be awry with his recruitment.
Last we heard, Walker was focused in on Ohio State, Florida State, Maryland and Kansas. But he’s yet to take an official or unofficial visit of any sort.
The Under Armour-based recruit could very well reemerge in Maryland circles if the Terps miss on Morsell, but right now we're getting the sense he'll wind up elsewhere.
Walker isn’t expected to sign until the spring, however, so there’s time for this situation to take some twists and turns.
Finally, at the point guard spot, there’s the five-star Trevon Duval (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.). Previously, we didn’t know what to think about Duval considering his high school situation was in limbo. But after transferring to Under Armour-based IMG, we’re led to believe the Terps could make a run here. Turgeon and Ranson have maintained contact with Duval, and it sounds like they do have the 6-3 lead guard’s attention. Duval thoroughly enjoyed his last stay in College Park, appreciates the staff’s efforts in recruiting him, and likes Turgeon’s offense. Plus, the fact UMD isn’t far from his Delaware home bodes well for Maryland.
Duval, though, will be looking at a multitude of options, including Kansas; Oregon; Arizona; USC; and Seton Hall, not to mention others that may crop up. UCLA was thought to be a prime player, but Duval cut them from his leaderboard for unspecified reasons.
Expect Duval to begin setting up official visits for October and November, with the Jayhawks and Wildcats sure to receive two of them coming up. The Terps could get one as well, although Duval might choose to take a second unofficial to College Park instead during his return home for break.
He has been shifted to “warm” on the hot board.