Hardwood Notes: Movement In 2018

The latest in the Maryland staff's recruiting efforts in the 2018 class...

The latest in the Maryland staff's recruiting efforts in the 2018 class...

The Four Main Targets

There hasn’t been a ton of movement with the Maryland staff’s foremost 2018 targets of late, although there are some “interesting” developments with combo guard Prentiss Hubb (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.), wing-guard Brandon Slater (Paul VI/Fairfax, Va.), power forward Jalen Smith (Mount St. Joe/Baltimore, Md.) and center Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy/Briarwood, N.Y.).

The five-star Prentiss Hubb continues to trend in Maryland’s direction, although Villanova is making this a tight battle. Hubb does have a bond with the Nova staff, has visited a couple times, and intends to return at some point.

Also, Hubb is closely monitoring the depth charts at both schools, and with both Anthony Cowan and Darryl Morsell around for the foreseeable future in College Park, Md., well, that could have an effect of Hubb. But that’s not a given, and Hubb seems to have enough Terps’ affinity where Cowan and Morsell's presence wouldn’t necessarily be a deal breaker.

Hubb was back at Maryland yet again recently, and has about as close of a relationship with the staff as one can have. The 6-foot-2, 160-pounder is well aware he’s head coach Mark Turgeon’s No. 1 priority, while Hubb has known recruiter Dustin Clark for more than two years now. The chance to shine for his hometown school and lace up alongside his DMV friends readily appeals as well.

Look for Hubb to end his recruitment sometime during the spring. We’ll continue projecting him to Maryland until we hear otherwise.

Four-star wing-guard Brandon Slater, meanwhile, has been shifted from “warm” to “hot” on the hot board. While Slater lists an array of suitors he's considering, it’s clear the Terps are resonating. He appreciates Turgeon and Clark’s persistent pursuit, and, like Hubb, is keen on the idea of showing out for the hometown school. Slater, who has visited College Park multiple times, has taken in one Maryland game this winter and could be back again before the offseason.

Slater, though, does intend to entertain some of his other options with spring and summer visits. He saw Miami for the first time earlier in January, and wants to return to Villanova and UVA at some point. Syracuse is also on Slater’s radar, although it’s questionable how serious both parties are.

The main competition for Maryland once again looks to be Villanova. Situations can change the longer a recruitment drags, but for now it sounds as if there’s mutual interest between Slater and the Terps’ and Wildcats’ staffs. But we like Maryland’s spot with the 6-6, 180-pounder and have the Terps trending.

With Jalen Smith, we’re leaving the five-star “hot” on the hot board, but he’s not a slam-dunk lock to UMD. Smith does want to explore his options, and, just like with Hubb and Slater, Villanova is firmly on his radar. The Baltimore native has been consistently hearing from the Wildcats’ coaches and likes what he’s seen out of the program.

Florida, UVA, Syracuse and Providence are on Smith too and could be schools the forward takes a closer look at. The bluebloods, however, haven’t been pressing -- and they may not when it’s all said and done. If the latter remains true, it would obviously aid the Terps’ coaches in convincing Smith to stay home.

Smith has already attended two Maryland games this year and seems to enjoy himself each time he’s in College Park. He loves interacting with Turgeon, recruiter Bino Ranson and Clark, while he has a bond with the current Terps too. Plus, Smith’s teammate, UMD signee Darryl Morsell, is constantly in the 6-8, 200-pounder’s ear.

Smith may have some ideas of taking his talents outside the DMV, but unless a program like Kansas, Duke or Kentucky comes calling, we’re encouraged by Maryland’s position. The five-star has said time and again he wants to go to a program where he’s wanted and needed, and Turgeon and Co. -- who have watched Smith in action every chance they’ve had this winter -- have done all they can to show Smith he’s their No. 1 power forward target.

Last but not least, the only non-local on the list: center Moses Brown. The Terps’ coaches, with Turgeon and Ranson running point, are going all out for the 7-foot five-star. The Maryland staff has trekked up to Molloy for Browns’ games, recently hosted him in College Park and are in daily communication with the recruit.

Brown appreciates the coaches’ efforts and has spoken glowingly about the Maryland program, from the big-man development; to strength coach Kyle Tarp; to the atmosphere on campus and in Xfinity Center. Moreover, UMD’s need for bigs and the prospects of early playing time have Brown’s attention too.

But Brown does have a few more schools pressing for him, headlined by Florida; Arizona; and Louisville. Meanwhile, Duke’s staff is intrigued and could offer Brown if he keeps developing.

There’s bound to be some twists and turns here, but the Terps’ coaches are doing well here. It only helps their chances at landing the five-star that Brown’s associated with an Under Armour-based AAU program (New Heights).

The Secondary Priorities

The Terps’ staff can’t realistically bring in everyone they covet, so the likes of power forward Silvio De Sousa (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.) and center David McCormack (Oak Hill/Norfolk, Va.) probably aren’t coming to College Park if Turgeon can close on the four main targets. Even so, the UMD coaches will keep ardently recruiting both De Sousa and McCormack in case the others fall off.

Now, the Terps’ staff would obviously love to have the five-star Silvio De Sousa, and could conceivably find a way to take both him and Jalen Smith. But we don’t see that coming to fruition; it’s probably going to be an either-or situation when it comes down to it.

As far as his recruitment is concerned, De Sousa seems to like Louisville a good deal early, the five-star connecting with head coach Rick Pitino during a visit. Florida has offered as well, and a few bluebloods like Kentucky are keeping tabs.

De Sousa is also high on the Terps at this stage, given his tight-knit bond with UMD-bound big man and teammate/countryman Bruno Fernando. Clark and Turgeon are both heavy on De Sousa too and seem to have his ear.

But De Sousa’s recruiting is in its infancy. We’ll have to gauge his offer list later this spring/summer, and then see what programs push before forecasting him to a particular destination.

David McCormack, for his part, seems to have slid behind Moses Brown in the Maryland staff’s pecking order. But Clark and Co., who hosted McCormack earlier this year, will keep on the 6-10 big man with Brown no sure thing.

The recruit personally has given UMD its share of compliments. He’s talked up the program’s national status, the player development, the strength coach Tarp, the location near Washington, D.C., and even the academics.

But, at the moment, McCormack may be favoring another D.C. school: Georgetown. McCormack has trekked through GU and seems to like what he’s seen from both an athletic and academic standpoint.

Kansas, Auburn and Baylor are also in the game and could gain McCormack’s attention. Admittedly, we’re always leery when institutions like AU and BU become involved.

The Others In 2018

Immanuel Quickley, PG, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.): Turgeon and Ranson will keep in touch with Quickley, and he’d quickly become a priority if Prentiss Hubb opts for Villanova. But we’ve never sensed much reciprocal interest on Quickley’s part. Kentucky, Duke, Miami and Washington look to be the prime players.

Devon Dotson, PG, Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.): Cliff Warren offered this five-star, but we haven’t heard many Maryland rumblings here. UNC, Kansas and Villanova seem to be on Dotson’s mind.

Elijah Weaver, PG, Oldsmar Christian (Fla.): Warren offered Weaver in December, though it’s questionable how hard the staff will push. Louisville, UCLA and Villanova have Weaver’s attention, with the Cardinals possibly leading.

Eric Ayala, PG/SG, Putnam Science (Putnam, Conn.): Look for Ayala to reclass to 2017 and maybe pop to Syracuse. The Orange are in need of a point guard and have hinted at taking Ayala a year early.

Kiyon Boyd, SG, Woodson (Washington, D.C.): The Maryland coaches will maintain a rapport with Boyd, but there are some issues here that could prevent him from coming to College Park. For one, Darryl Morsell’s presence at UMD likely clutters the depth chart. Secondly, we’ve heard Boyd may need a prep year before enrolling at a four-year institution. Virginia Tech might be on Boyd’s mind for the time being.

Aaron Wiggins, SF, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.): This is a recruit who could rise up Maryland’s board in time. We’re led to believe the staff, which has offered the four-star, is intrigued by Wiggins’ upside and could eventually push. If so, Wiggins would seem to be receptive. He’s seen College Park once and has a solid relationship with Warren. Arizona, Cal and Va Tech are on Wiggins as well.

Jaylen Hoard, SF, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.): The teammate of Aaron Wiggins has a Maryland offer, but is probably out of the Terps’ wheelhouse. He has a growing offer list and seems to be focused on an array of programs across the country. Washington, Cal, Oklahoma State, Arizona, Providence and more are after Hoard, with the national elites sniffing around.

Hameir Wright, SF, Albany Academy (N.Y.): The consensus is Syracuse and Villanova sit atop the four-star Wright’s leaderboard. The Terps, with Warren running point, have an offer out, but we’re not sure the UMD staff pushes for Wright.

Jairus Hamilton, SF, Cannon (Concord, N.C.): Hamilton is still on the hot board because he’s been to College Park and has family ties to the D.C. area. But the Carolina native has a UNC offer and will go to Chapel Hill, N.C., if the Tar Heels take him (they probably will). Other national programs are after Hamilton as well.

Louis King, SF, Hudson Catholic (Burlington, N.J.): Ranson is in touch with King, but we’ve heard the Maryland coaches may not press in earnest for reasons that have nothing to do with talent. The vibe is Seton Hall, UConn and Xavier are best positioned for the five-star.

Zion Williamson, SF, Spartanburg Day (Spartanburg, S.C.): Williamson listed Maryland among his contenders at one point, but this one’s probably not going to happen. The five-star has offers from Duke and UNC, with Kentucky likely to come in next. He’s going to a blueblood. Williamson has been removed from the hot board.

Khavon Moore, SF, Westside (Macon, Ga.): The Terps have offered Moore, but the interest doesn’t appear to be reciprocal. Florida, FSU, LSU, Auburn and Oklahoma have Moore’s attention, and Kentucky is considering anteing up. He’s off the hot board.

Sid Wilson, SF, Brewster Academy (Bronx, N.Y.): A four-star the Maryland staff is monitoring but hasn’t offered yet. St. John’s, Texas, SMU and UConn do have verbals out and are on Wilson’s mind. The Terps’ staff probably won’t pursue unless Wilson keeps improving and some other targets fall off.

Khalid Moore, SF, Archbishop Molloy (Briarwood, N.Y.): We thought the Terps’ coaches may attempt a package deal of Moore and his teammate, primary UMD target Moses Brown. But while Ranson is in touch with the three-star Moore, we haven’t heard much movement in regards to an offer. For now, some nearby northeast programs are after Moore.

Jacob Forrester, PF, Westtown (Pa.): Forrester is blowing up on the trail and figures to secure his Maryland offer soon enough. He’s not the top option with Jalen Smith and Silvio De Sousa on the Terps’ board, but wouldn’t be a bad alternative should the situations go awry with the former two recruits. Forrester has visited College Park and spoken highly of the school, but will focus on the programs that truly covet his services. Currently, those are Providence, Indiana, Temple and Penn State.

Miles Norris, PF, Mater Dei (Chula Vista, Calif.): It’s hard enough to recruit cross-country, and when the target is a five-star with Pac-12 and SEC offers, it’s even more difficult. Norris hasn’t broached the Terps in quite some time, so we removed him from the hot board. Arizona, Cal, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Washington and more have all been mentioned in conjunction with Norris.

Simi Shittu, PF, Vermont Academy (Saxtons River, Vt.): Shittu would likely only become a factor with Maryland if Jalen Smith heads elsewhere. At the moment, the five-star has a slew of other options, with Louisville and Syracuse perhaps holding appeal. Alabama, UCLA, Texas and Memphis have also offered.


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