The DMV’s 2018 elites all descended on College Park, Md., Oct. 22 for Maryland’s initial junior day basketball event. The list included almost all of the Terps’ main targets, including wing-guard Brandon Slater (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.), a 6-foot-6, 180-pound four-star who has held a UMD offer for almost a year.
“I really liked it up there. I’d been up there before for games and to see all the facilities and all that, but I’d never seen the campus like that before,” said Slater, who holds offers from programs like Louisville, Miami, USC, UVA, Temple, WVU, Va Tech, Villanova and others. “I had no idea how big Maryland was, and I’d never seen the player dorms before. Seeing those dorms, man, they were nice. It was so nice up there.”
Of course, Slater wasn’t just concerned with aesthetics during his stay. He also had a chance to watch the team practice and speak to head coach Mark Turgeon and recruiter Dustin Clark.
“The thing about Maryland is the whole team can shoot,” Slater said. “It was like a battle to see who can knock down more 3s, which I loved watching. And they have an offense that no one else really uses, and I like that too. They get after it on defense as well, and that’s something I always pay attention to and like.
“I actually got to talk to Anthony [Cowan] a little afterwards, and we knew each other from when he was at St. John’s (Washington, D.C.). It was good to catch up with him, and he said he’s adjusting well and he loves it at Maryland.”
Slater went on to talk up his conversations with Turgeon and Clark. He said Clark has been recruiting him harder than maybe any other college assistant currently.
“They were both saying how much they liked my game and how well I could fit into the system,” Slater said. “They were talking about the ’18 class as a whole, and how if all the local guys come together like we’re supposed to, we could make Maryland special. They really want to keep guys like Me, Prentiss [Hubb], Jalen [Smith], and others home. That’s something I’m thinking about.
“I’m definitely close with the Maryland coaches and like them a lot. Coach Clark, I talk to him like every day.”
After multiple trips to College Park, Slater said he continues to have the Terps at the forefront of his mind. But he’s not ready to declare formal leaders quite yet.
“I’d say Maryland is definitely closer to the top than some schools,” said Slater, who mentioned location isn’t a huge factor for him, although he’d like for his family to easily see his games. ”But I’m just getting started with this whole process. There’s a ways to go.”
Other than UMD, Slater has been able to see South Carolina, Miami, Temple, UVA, Louisville and Villanova. He said each program caught his eye and had something to offer him.
Slater is unsure where he’s visiting next, nor does he have any programs he wants to check out in particular this winter. Moreover, Slater said he’s not hoping to procure an offer from any one program, but will entertain any staff that chooses to recruit him.
“The main thing right now is just to get better as a basketball player,” Slater said. “I’m becoming more of a pure shooter, attacking every play and becoming an energy guy. I’m still working on playing strong, finishing strong with both hands, and just being consistent.”