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Hardwood Notes: Complete Recruiting Rundown

The latest in Maryland basketball recruiting.

Two In 2017?

It may not seem like it, but there’s still a ways to go in the 2017 recruiting class. Which means Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon has time to pull another rabbit out of the hat and land an impact forward in the wake of the Jaren Jackson (La Lumiere/La Porte, Ind.) loss.

But, thus far, there hasn’t been a major push to add a “4-man,” perhaps because the Terps already have Justin Jackson and Josh Tomaic on the current roster. We thought Turgeon might turn up the heat on O’Shae Brissett (Findlay Prep/Henderson, Nev.), who holds a Maryland offer and knows Justin Jackson well, but that hasn’t been the case. Nor has Turgeon made a push for rising New York forward Jordan Nwora (Vermont Academy/Saxton River, Vt.), who we broached as a possible offer candidate a couple weeks ago. Thus, Brissett is projected to wind up staying on the West Coast, while Nwora could be Georgia Tech-bound.

We’ll see if Turgeon identifies another 2017 forward during the winter, but at the moment this could be a two-man class, consisting of a guard and a center.

The guard, of course, is Mount St. Joe’s (Baltimore, Md.) four-star Darryl Morsell, who is set to officially visit College Park, Md., Oct. 1. Turgeon was in to see Morsell yet again Sept. 28 and has let it be known how much the Terps covet the local’s services.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder has embarked on two officials to Notre Dame and Villanova -- UND head coach Mike Brey and Nova headman Jay Wright have gone in-home with Morsell and made him priorities as well -- and both are threats to land Morsell. The Baltimore native spoke highly of both trips, noting the connections he has at both programs and how comfortable he felt around the players and coaches at each. But Morsell elected not to pop, leaving the door open for the Terps to close the deal.

Can Turgeon and Bino Ranson, Morsell’s recruiter, do so?

Well, Morsell does want to follow through with his Dayton official Oct. 22, but the Terps are in a solid spot. The Mount St. Joseph prospect is publicly keeping all his contenders on an even plane, refusing to hint which school leads in interviews, although we’ve been hearing Maryland has the edge. The coaches’ consistent overtures and the hometown pitch may eventually pay off come the November signing period.

If Morsell does opt for Notre Dame or Villanova, however, Maryland is in the thick of things for David Beatty (Imhotep/Philadelphia, Pa.). Turgeon went in-home with Beatty a few weeks back, and Ranson has kept up the communication lines as well, leading the Philly native to place UMD back on his radar. The rugged combo is in the process of finalizing an official visit to College Park for a second look at the Terps. (Beatty visited Maryland for the first time in the summer and said the Terps definitely had his eye given the offense and the coaching staff).

Beatty is also considering UConn, Georgetown, Indiana and La Salle, mentioning he’d like to see each before ending his recruitment. The Huskies are thought to be the frontrunners, but Beatty’s situation could change as his recruitment drags and teams begin filling their guard spots.

Morsell and Beatty are the two main priorities, although M.J. Walker’s (Jonesboro, Ga.) name is still being kicked around. But Walker is seemingly waiting to see which program’s staffs make the hardest charge before scheduling visits or naming leaders. He’s content to sit back and wait until the spring before coming to any sort of conclusions.

For the time being, it sounds like Kansas, FSU, Ohio State, Maryland, UCLA and Georgia Tech are all involved.

There’s a chance the Terps could reemerge as a frontrunner down the line, and we do believe Turgeon would make room for him even if Morsell or Beatty are already on board. But our gut is Walker’s going to wind up elsewhere, perhaps at a place like Florida State.

As for big-man recruiting, the No. 1 priority remains Ikey Obiagu (Greenforest McCalep Christian/Decatur, Ga.). Since officially visiting College Park in early September, Turgeon has stayed on the 7-footer, visiting him in-home multiple times. Turgeon’s pitch, which has centered on UMD’s big-man development and the chance for early playing time, has resonated.

But we’re growing a bit leery about Maryland’s chances at landing the four-star center. Obiagu took a random unofficial visit to Auburn Sept. 24, which raised some eyebrows, and now he’s set to officially visit Baylor Oct. 14. After that, he wants to return to Florida State, which he saw unofficially, for an OV. When those programs are involved in a recruitment, we naturally become skeptical.

If that weren’t enough, Obiagu is intent on dragging his recruitment out until the spring. And the longer he lingers, the more likely he is to be snapped up by a southern suitor.

If Obiagu falls by the wayside, the next big in line is five-star Brandon McCoy (Cathedral Catholic/San Diego, Calif.), who Turgeon will be seeing shortly. Both Turgeon and Ranson have been after the 6-10, 235-pounder for some time, and the recruit does have some interest in visiting College Park.

At the same time, McCoy’s main focus seems to be on schools out West like Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA and San Diego State. Midwest mainstay Michigan State is also heavily involved.

That said, McCoy’s not hurrying to choose a college, so perhaps Turgeon can gain some inroads here.

The third center of note surfaced Sept. 28 when reports came in that Turgeon was at IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) to see 6-10 center Bruno Fernando, along with prime UMD point guard target Trevon Duval. The four-star Fernando, who was originally a 2016 recruit and committed to SMU, obviously plays at an Under Armour high school, which could work in UMD’s favor. But he doesn’t hold a Maryland offer yet, and isn’t someone we envision winding up in College Park at first blush.

Fernando’s main contenders thus far are programs such as Auburn, LSU, Bama, FSU, UCF and others of that ilk. Unless Turgeon makes a move in short order, Fernando’s probably going to stick in the South.

As for Fernando’s teammate, not much has chanced in Trevon Duval’s recruitment from our last update. Basically, the Terps are back in the game after the five-star transferred to IMG Academy. Duval, though, is keeping a relatively open mind and has a number of suitors like Cal, Seton Hall, Oregon, Arizona, Kansas, Baylor and perhaps more on his mind. He’s in no rush to schedule official visits until it becomes clear which programs covet him the most.

Maryland may be in an encouraging position given Duval’s relationship with Turgeon and Ranson, coupled with his desire to play near his Delaware home. But it’s too soon to make a call on the five-star.

Note: New York wing Jordan Tucker (Wheeler/Marietta, Ga.) was removed from the hot board. He never made it to Maryland for an official, and Turgeon chose not to visit him in-home. The four-star forward could be bound for Louisville, UConn or Indiana.

2018 Recruiting Notes

The open recruiting period has set it, and Mark Turgeon, Bino Ranson, Dustin Clark and Cliff Warren have been spotted at gyms in New York; New Jersey; the Carolinas; Virginia; Florida and of course the DMV. Naturally, a couple new offers have been extended, while some 2019 and 2020 recruits have begun entering onto the radar as well.

Point Guards

At the point guard spot, the names to know continue to be the two locals: Prentiss Hubb (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) and Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll/Bel Air, Md.). It’s debatable which of the two has the better all-around  game, although many believe the John Carroll product may have the higher upside given his athleticism and explosiveness. Either way, Turgeon has made both a priority, watching and hosting each on numerous occasions.

The 6-3, 165-pound Quickley, who is in regular communication with Ranson, has been in College Park a couple times the last month. The Baltimore Elite product always gives the hometown school its due and seems to be more apt to staying home compared to last year.

But, at the same time, he’s feeling the pull from the bluebloods like Kansas, Duke and Kentucky, not to mention UVA; Louisville, Miami and others. Quickley will be taking in the Jayhawks, who have offered, Oct. 1, followed by trips to see the Hurricanes Oct. 8 (offer); Wildcats Oct. 14 (no offer); Cardinals Oct. 15 (offer); Wahoos Oct. 22 (offer); and Blue Devils Oct. 28 (no offer). If Quickley finishes that long tour with coveted scholarships from Duke and Kentucky, well, he’s going to be tough for Turgeon and Co. to pry away. 

Hubb, for his part, seems like the more realistic possibility for UMD. The 6-2, 160-pound five-star has consistently listed Maryland as one of his top two or three suitors since last October. He’s a regular presence at UMD, while Turgeon and Clark have been in to watch him on countless occasions.

Villanova, whose staff recently offered, could pose a threat, but we still view Hubb as the Terps’ to lose.

The third name to know is four-star Jersey product Jahvon Quinerly (Hudson Catholic/Jersey City, N.J.), a 6-1, 165-pounder who pulled a Maryland offer earlier in September after the staff saw him in action. Quinerly doesn’t project to College Park right now, but Turgeon did trek up to the Garden State to watch him, thus keeping the Terps in the game for the rising star.

Currently, Quinerly is maintaining an open mind, but it sounds like UConn and Nova have his ear, with Ohio State; Louisville; and UVA also making a push. Meanwhile, Kansas has also offered and Kentucky has shown interest.

Note: The Terps’ staff, with Ranson running point, has an early bead on 2019 lead guard Bryce Wills (Iona Prep/New Rochelle, N.Y.). Ranson and Turgeon both watched the 6-5, 170-pound Wills in mid/late September and seem to have left an impression. UConn, St. John’s, Providence, Nova and other Northeast programs are also after Wills, but his profile figures to expand after this upcoming season.

Wing Guards

Based on the offers they have out, it looks like Turgeon will attempt to add two guard-types in the 2018 class. The targets we’ve written about previously are the two touted four-star locals, Brandon Slater (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.) and Kiyon Boyd (Woodson/Washington, D.C.). But the staff also extended an August offer to three-star Eric Ayala (Putnam Science/Putnam, Conn.), a combo who has steadily raised his stock, and a  September verbal to DMV product Chimezie Offurum (Georgetown Prep/North Bethesda, Md.), who has just begun to generate steam on the trail.

It’s not entirely clear who the main priority is in that group, and we’re inclined to believe Turgeon and Co. will have to evaluate each further before deciding who to push for.

The 6-6, 180-pound Slater has expressed plenty of interest in Maryland and playing near his Fairfax home. He also loves the Xfinity Center and being in College Park. Plus, Slater has taken a liking to Clark, who recently watched him in action.

But the long, athletic Slater has been hearing from a number of programs since the open period set in, including Kentucky, which he visited earlier in September. Louisville, West Virginia, UVA and more are coming after Slater as well, with the recruit reciprocating the attention by trekking through their campuses.

With Kiyon Boyd, there’s been a bit less national buzz surrounding him, but the Terps have continued to maintain consistent communication. Clark went through Woodson this month and has established a strong rapport with the 6-5, 175-pounder.

Boyd, for his part, is particularly high on Maryland after a couple College Park visits. He’s said repeatedly he could see himself staying home for college and showing out for the local program.

Other nearby schools like Georgetown and Xavier are making a charge too -- Boyd has seen both -- but Boyd could be the Terps’ to lose provided Turgeon elects to push hard.

Eric Ayala, for his part, couldn’t say enough about the Terps after taking in the program in early September. He immediately took to the coaches and recruiter Bino Ranson. The 6-4, 175-pounder, who suits up for Under Armour-based We R 1, also believes he’d fit well into Maryland’s free-flowing offense. But Ayala might only become a priority for UMD if Slater or Boyd fall off some.

Also involved are UConn, Cincinnati, Xavier and Nova (no offer yet). But many staffs are waiting to see how Ayala develops before going hard after him.

The newest name on the radar is the 6-6 Offurum, who is beginning to open eyes. Offurum had been in touch with Ranson and landed his Terps’ offer during a campus visit Sept. 24. The Georgetown Prep prospect was obviously flattered by the look, while he thoroughly enjoyed his initial stay in College Park.

But Offurum is claiming no frontrunners at this stage. He has slowly but steadily been adding offers from the likes of St. Joe’s, Rutgers and Indiana, with more soon to come in during the winter. The Prep product wants to see some of his suitors firsthand and then gauge which staffs prioritize him before forming a leaderboard.

The Terps and Ranson will undoubtedly maintain contact with Offurum, but how ardently they pursue will depend on the recruit’s progress over the next year.

Note: Two 2019 shooting guards of note are five-star Scottie Lewis (Ranney/Eatontown, N.J.) and his teammate, combo Bryan Antoine (Ranney). Both have the nation’s elites after them and won’t be easy pulls out of New York.

But Turgeon is ensuring the Terps remain in mind for both. Not only did he hand Lewis and Antoine early offers, but he made sure he was in the gym when the open period began earlier this month.

Wings

The list of 2018 wings on Maryland’s radar continues to grow as the staff treks through high school gyms. The latest offer went out to North Carolina forward Aaron Wiggins (Wesleyan Christian/High Point, N.C.), who the staff watched at an open gym in late September. The 6-6, 180-pound Wiggins joins the likes of Louis King ((Roselle Catholic/Roselle, N.J.), Hameir Wright (Albany Academy/Albany, N.Y.), Cameron Reddish (Westtown, Pa.), Jairus Hamilton (Cannon School/Concord, N.C.), Zion Williamson (Spartanburg, S.C.), Khavon Moore (Westside/Macon, Ga.) and Isaiah Mucius (St. James, Md.) on the Terps’ board. All of the above claim UMD offers save Mucius, a New York native who has been in contact with the staff and has significant interest in the program.

If we had to surmise at this juncture, it looks like the five-star Louis King is the main target here. King has been in College Park, while both Turgeon and Ranson were up to see the New Jersey prospect in mid/late September.

It’s safe to say the Terps are in the game for King (he plays for UA-based Sport U for what it’s worth), but the 6-8, 195-pound five-star is about as wide open in his recruitment as can be. Thus far, he holds offers from Kansas, Louisville, Syracuse, St. John’s, UConn, Seton Hall and more, but is content to see what other major programs elect to enter the race. Kentucky has shown interest and could be a realistic option should King keep showing out on the trail.  

Another Northeast prospect to keep in mind is the New Yorker Hameir Wright, who UMD offered in the 2017 class and continues to recruit in 2018. Wright, like King, has been through Maryland before and has expressed interest in the program. He’s the former AAU teammate (Albany City Rocks) of current Terps guard Kevin Huerter, who initially turned Wright onto Maryland. Now, Wright’s in communication with Cliff Warren and Clark, who has watched the 6-7, 180-pounder on several occasions.

But Wright also has Syracuse and Villanova hot on his trail, and has been projected to one of those two schools. The nearby Orange may have the inside track at this stage.

Moving down the coast, the Pennsylvania five-star Reddish is someone the Maryland staff identified months ago. But there has been very little Terps’ buzz in the No. 1 small forward’s circle. The bluebloods are all over the 6-8, 195-pounder, and it sounds like Kentucky; Duke; or Kansas are all realistic landing spots.

Entering the south, let’s start with five-star Khavon Moore (Macon, Ga.). The 6-8, 190-pound quick-riser received some Maryland interest back when area recruiter Cliff Warren checked him out this summer. But Moore, who is from New York and plays for UA-affiliated AtlantaXpress, hasn’t said much about UMD since then. Nor are we even sure an actual offer was extended, despite reports to the contrary.

The Terps would probably be all over Moore if the five-star wanted to check out College Park, but the sense is he’s starry eyed. Moore is pining for Kentucky and other blueblood looks, while programs such as Auburn; Oklahoma; FSU; and Auburn have already made significant inroads. (Again, those southern schools always give us pause).

With the four-star Jairus Hamilton, he picked up a Maryland scholarship back in June after Warren saw him in action. At the time, Hamilton said he had solid interest in UMD since he lived in the DMV for several years. He also noted how he had watched the Terps on TV and liked their style.

But Hamilton is embedded in the Carolina culture and actually holds an offer from UNC. If the Heels' staff pushes for a pop, that’s where Hamilton’s going. If not, perhaps other suitors like Arizona, UMD, Miami, Tennessee, NC State, South Carolina and WVU can become involved.

For now, though, he’s not projected to College Park.

As for the five-star South Carolina product Zion Williamson, we just dropped from the hot board. Williamson had plenty of positive UMD comments when he landed a Terps’ offer back in May, but since then he’s said zilch about Maryland.

During the summer, Williamson absolutely blew up with his Game Elite AAU squad, securing verbals from Duke and UNC, with high interest from Kentucky. Now, Williamson is honing in on that trio, with the Blue Devils holding the edge.

The newest Maryland offeree, North Carolina native Aaron Wiggins, actually has a shot to make it out of Tobacco Road. Wiggins is receiving some interest from those elite Carolina programs, but the Terps and Arizona are his lone scholarships so far.

Personally, however, Wiggins hasn’t said much about his latest look. That’s mainly because he hadn’t really heard from the Maryland staff until the last few days, when the coaches watched him put on a show at Wesleyan Christian. He doesn't know a ton about the Terps yet and is currently in the research phase.

But there’s a chance for the Terps to leave an impression here, especially since Wiggins’ head coach is former UMD guard Keith Gatlin. Let’s see if area recruiter Cliff Warren gets in touch and Wiggins complies with a College Park visit.

Power Forwards

The main recruit on Maryland’s board continues to be five-star Jalen Smith of Team Takeover and Mount St. Joe’s. The 6-8, 190-pounder’s stock has skyrocketed since the summer, but all we’ve heard is the Terps are the team to beat. Smith has a tremendous relationship with Ranson, Turgeon and the rest of the staff, who have been through MSJ multiple times. Furthermore, Smith is a constant in College Park and is keen on the idea of representing his hometown school at the next level.

Of course, it will only help UMD’s chances with Smith if they can pull his teammate, Darryl Morsell, too.

Smith is also looking at UVA, Villanova, Florida and others, with the Wahoos grabbing the five-star’s attention. But until we hear otherwise, we’ll continue projecting Smith to College Park.

Two other power forwards with Terps’ offers include Naz Reid (Roselle Catholic/Roselle, N.J.) and Miles Norris (Mater Dei/Chula Vista, Calif.), a pair of five-stars. Turgeon has been in to see Reid, while Norris got a look back during the summer evaluation periods.

But neither the 6-9, 220-pound Reid nor the 6-10, 190-pound Norris project to Maryland. Reid may have his eye on St. John’s or potentially Kansas and Kentucky (no offer yet). Norris, meanwhile, is likely to remain on the West Coast, with UCLA; Cal; Arizona; and Oregon in his ear. The Wildcats, whose staff had been pushing for Norris, could be the early leaders. 

Centers

There are two true centers listed in conjunction with Maryland: Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy/Jamaica, N.Y.) and David McCormack (Norfolk Academy/Norfolk, Va.). Both have significant interest in the Terps, although Brown may be the No. 1 target.

Giving credence to the latter is the fact both Turgeon and Ranson were at Molloy earlier this month to see the 6-11, 210-pound Brown. The four-star will in turn check out College Park for the second time Oct. 1.

Brown initially visited Maryland back in the summer, talking up the staff as a whole; Turgeon’s big-man development; and the program itself. He also enjoyed being on campus and around the team.

Now, Brown isn’t going to commit anytime soon. Kansas has an offer out, and Miami; Indiana; Florida and others are on the New Yorker as well. But the Terps may be his most ardent suitor, and their consistent pursuit could pay dividends down the road.

McCormack, meanwhile, will be at Maryland coming up Oct. 15 for his second look at the Terps. The five-star saw UMD back in the winter when Dustin Clark invited him up for a game. McCormack raved about the atmosphere inside Xfinity Center and said he really liked talking to Turgeon and Clark.

That sounds promising for UMD purposes, but McCormack is claiming no leaders. Not with his recruitment about to take off.

The four-star visited North Carolina recently, and the Heels could be anteing up soon enough. If so, it could be a game-changer. Another blueblood, Kansas, has already offered and has McCormack’s attention too. Plus, there are a number of other regional and national programs attempting to enter the conversation.

Other targets will surely surface, but for now the Terps' best shot at a 2018 big appears to be Brown, followed by McCormack.


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