Hardwood Notes: Updates On '17, '18 Targets

High school hoops seasons are winding down, unsigned 2017 recruits are beginning to take official visits and the underclassmen will be venturing out for extended unofficials. Let’s take a look at where the Terps stand in the 2017 and 2018 recruit classes before the Big Ten conference tournament begins:

High school hoops seasons are winding down, unsigned 2017 recruits are beginning to take official visits and the underclassmen will be venturing out for extended unofficials.

Let’s take a look at where the Terps stand in the 2017 and 2018 recruit classes before the Big Ten conference tournament begins:

Class of 2017

It’s becoming quite obvious that head coach Mark Turgeon will attempt to sign at least one, and maybe two, more seniors during the spring period. Adding another big seems to be a priority, and it’s possible the Terps will add a guard too with roster attrition a possibility.

Montverde Academy (Fla.) stretch-4 Sandro Mamukelashvili is the known target, and it’s possible a couple more forwards are being bandied about as well. The 6-foot-11 jack of all trades from the country of Georgia just took his first official visit to USC March 4, and March 10 he’s heading to Vanderbilt. Mamukelashvili is undecided on where he’s heading after that, but Maryland; Seton Hall; BC and SMU are all in play. Mamukelashvili wants to take all five of his allotted officials before selecting a school, so there’s a good chance he gives College Park, Md., an extended look. He’s been in close contact with UMD assistant Cliff Warren and has met Turgeon as well.

As for the guard spot, Eric Ayala (Putnam Science/Putnam, Conn.) remains the name to watch. The 6-5 four-star is still in the 2018 class and continues to waver on whether he’ll reclass to 2017 or give himself another year on the trail. Ayala has said both Maryland and Syracuse would take him this cycle or next, so now we wait for the combo guard’s decision.

If Ayala opts to sign in the spring, the Terps and Orange would seemingly have the upper-hand. He’s visited College Park, Md., a couple times this offseason, and was in to see Cuse recently too. The Orange staff has prioritized Ayala for 2017 after missing on a couple coveted targets, and may have a slight edge. But the Delaware native has also taken to recruiter Bino Ranson and the Terps’ staff.

Note: It’s possible – maybe even a likelihood – that Maryland adds a fifth-year guard transfer if the Terps don’t identify a suitable high school prospect.

Class of 2018 Point Guards

The Terps have given themselves options at point guard, but the two local targets are the mainstays. Mark Turgeon and Co. are pressing for both Prentiss Hubb (Gonzaga/Washington, D.C.) and Immanuel Quickley (John Carroll/Bel Air, Md.) and seemingly have both five-stars’ ears.

Hubb has trekked through Villanova for a couple games this winter, but that’s not a slight on Maryland. The D.C. guard has been in College Park so much he knows the program inside-out. Thus, he took the opportunity to check out his other top contender. Hubb has also taken a hard look at Virginia, while Xavier; Miami; and Notre Dame are in the game too.

But UMD assistant Dustin Clark and Turgeon have formed a strong bond with Hubb the last couple years and have watched the DMV guard whenever time has allowed. That relationship should pay dividends when Hubb nears his decision, which could come as soon as this spring.

With Quickley, he’s seen the Terps twice this winter and is keeping the hometown school under principle consideration. He has a tight bond with the Maryland coaches and Bino Ranson, believes he could step in and contribute immediately, and likes the freedom Turgeon gives his guards.

Quickley also has the bluebloods in mind, though, and unless the Dukes; Kansases; and Kentuckys back off, the John Carroll guard could be hard-pressed to turn them down. Quickley has visited all three of those programs and obviously loved what each had to offer. Of course, Lorenzo Romar and Washington are in the thick of things too, and Quickley liked what he saw out of UVA and Miami as well.

Basically, there’s a ways to go here before Quickley makes any kind of definitive decisions.

The other top point guard on the board is Providence Day’s (Charlotte, N.C.) Devon Dotson, a four-star who may be a stretch for Maryland purposes. Dotson is favoring Kansas after seeing the Jayhawks, and North Carolina; NC State; and Florida are also right there for him.

A fourth lead guard to watch, the 6-2 Jalen Lecque (Monsignor Scanlon/Bronx, N.Y.), hasn’t blown up on the trail yet but could with a potent AAU campaign (NY Rens). Lecque has terrific upside and should have a number of high-major offers in time. The Terps and Bino Ranson are monitoring him closely.

Class of 2018 Shooting Guards

The No. 1 target is by far and away DMV wing-guard Brandon Slater (Paul VI/Fairfax, VA.), a 6-6 four-star who seems to be favoring Maryland. Slater counts Dustin Clark as one of his favorite college assistants, loves the vibe in College Park and believes in representing the hometown school at the next level. Slater’s been through College Park for one game this winter and should be back again during the offseason.

Slater has also seen Nova, Miami, UVA, WVU and Louisville. The Terps are thought to have the edge, but the Cardinals or Wildcats could make the situation interesting.

The second local on Maryland’s board, Kiyon Boyd (Woodson/Washington, D.C.), may be inclined to head elsewhere. For a couple previously-detailed reasons, including Darryl Morsell’s (Mount St. Joe/Baltimore, Md.) signing with UMD in 2017, we don’t envision Boyd winding up in College Park, despite his rapport with Dustin Clark. Boyd always talks up UMD, but he may be bound for Georgetown or Va Tech, both of which the D.C. product has trekked through. Miami is also a player here.

Class of 2018 Wings

The aforementioned Brandon Slater may fill this spot if he jumps on the Maryland bandwagon, but Mark Turgeon has offers out to numerous other wing prospects. None of them are as high on the Terps as Slater is, although it’s intriguing that both Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) forwards Aaron Wiggins and Jaylen Hoard returned to College Park March 4. Neither Wiggins nor Hoard comment on recruiting much, but their head coach, UMD alum Keith Gatlin, said both have the Terps on the brain. It’s too soon to project Wiggins or Hoard (or both) to Maryland, but the vibe is Wiggins, at least, is going to keep UMD in play.

The 6-6 Wiggins has offers from Arizona, Cal, Wake, NC State, Va Tech and Maryland, although his list could expand during AAU season. He’s taken in the Terps, Hokies and Hoos and will trek to more distant locales during the offseason.

Hoard, meanwhile, is a borderline five-star with looks from Kansas (monitoring); Duke (monitoring); Providence; Washington; Arizona; Louisville; Wake; Cal; Va Tech; UVA and UMD. The 6-8 forward has been to the same programs as Wiggins and will check out more in the coming months.

A third wing to keep an eye on is Hudson Catholic (Jersey City, N.J.) five-star Louis King. Before, we had King bound for a blueblood, but we’re not sure those programs will pursue in earnest. Plus, King plays for Under Armour-based Sports U and is in close contact with Bino Ranson. The 6-8 wing, who visited Maryland once before, hasn’t been to College Park this winter, but it’s conceivable he’ll trek down during the coming months.

Besides UMD, King has UConn, Indiana, Seton Hall, Louisville, St. John’s and Syracuse on him.

The rest of the wings on the radar could be favoring other programs or lack a Maryland offer at this juncture.

Hameir Wright (Albany Academy/Albany, N.Y.) may be honing in on Syracuse, Michigan State and Nova. We haven’t heard of the Terps’ involvement here in quite some time. Wright has yet to visit College Park, reneging on several opportunities to do so.

Jairus Hamilton (Cannon School/Concord, N.C.) has been forecast to UNC and was back in to see the Heels again March 4. If North Carolina’s staff doesn’t push, Hamilton has plenty of other options. The Terps are one, but we don’t foresee the match at this time. We’ll see if he slips through the cracks a bit.

Sid Wilson (Brewster Academy/Bronx, N.Y.) still doesn’t hold a Maryland offer. He’s expressed interest in the program and is in touch with Bino Ranson, but is likely behind other wings on UMD’s board. St. John’s could be a landing spot, and SMU; Florida; UConn and Texas are in play too.

Nassir Little (Orlando Christian/Orlando, Fla.) has been in communication with UMD assistant Cliff Warren, who has been down to see the 6-6 four-star, but the recruit lacks a Terps’ offer. In the meantime, in-state UF and FSU are pressing and have Little’s ear. Louisville and some SEC programs are in the game as well.

Khalid Moore (Archbishop Molloy/Jamaica, N.Y.) keeps in contact with Bino Ranson, but he’s not priority No. 1 and doesn’t have an offer. St. John’s, Seton Hall, Cuse, Miami and Rutgers may be the main suitors.

Khavon Moore (Westside/Macon, Ga.), Naz Reid (Roselle Catholic/Roselle, N.J.) and Zion Williamson (Spartanburg Day/Spartanburg, N.C.), meanwhile, are all five-stars we removed from the hot board awhile ago. Each of the trio have legitimate blueblood looks and are projected to those schools. Moore is going to Kentucky if the Wildcats’ staff makes a run; Williamson is Duke or UNC bound; and Reid could opt for Kansas, Kentucky or maybe nearby St. John’s.

Class of 2018 Power Forwards

For the Terps, Plan A is the local Jalen Smith (Mount St. Joe/Baltimore, Md.) and Plan 1A is Silvio De Sousa (IMG Academy/Bradenton, Fla.). Not much has changed recruiting wise with either five-star, both of whom have Maryland in the thick of things.

The Baltimore native Smith has once again been a regular in College Park, attending a few games this season. He likes the idea of showing out for the hometown school and playing near his family. Moreover, Bino Ranson, Dustin Clark and Mark Turgeon are on Smith and want him in the fold.

Smith has also looked at Nova, Virginia and Syracuse, with the former two catching his eye. The Terps are probably still the team to beat, but the Hoos and Wildcats shouldn’t be ignored.

The Angolan native De Sousa has more programs in pursuit than Smith, but has the Terps in play due to his connection to countryman/teammate/2017 UMD signee Bruno Fernando. Furthermore, Dustin Clark and Mark Turgeon have both made plenty of overtures and have De Sousa’s attention. Look for De Sousa to visit College Park later during the offseason.

But De Sousa is keeping an open mind, especially with some big-time suitors showing interest. Kansas now has an offer out, Kentucky is keeping tabs, UNC could be jumping in soon, and Louisville is pressing. Don’t discount nearby Florida either.

If Smith and De Sousa fall by the wayside, the Terps are still watching Westtown’s (Pa.) Jake Forrester. The 6-8 forward doesn’t possess a UMD offer, but has seen the school and loves the program. Currently, though, Forrester has in-state programs like Penn State, Temple and Pitt on him, with Indiana; Kansas State; Seton Hall and a couple others with scholarships out.

A new name on the radar is versatile “4” Marcus Bingham, who suits up for Catholic Central in Grand Rapids, Mich. Bingham has some mid-major offers from Toledo and other nearby programs, but has started to generate high-major buzz. The Terps have sent Bino Ranson out to see the Michigan native, so we’ll see if a verbal eventually materializes.

Class of 2018 Centers

The clear priority at center, Moses Brown (Archbishop Molloy/Jamaica, N.Y.), has seen his stock skyrocket this season. As anticipated, the competition for the five-star’s services has increased dramatically the last few months. Now, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Florida, Maryland and hometown St. John’s are all in the game for the athletic 7-footer.

The Terps are in an encouraging position thanks to Bino Ranson’s and Mark Turgeon’s pitch, along with Brown’s standout College Park trip in January. The big man has noted the atmosphere at UMD, Turgeon’s post-player development, and his comfort at the school.

But Brown’s recruitment is going to drag, and we’re always leery when the bigwigs are involved. We’ll have to revisit this situation several times to gauge exactly where UMD stands.

The second center option for the Terps is Oak Hill’s (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) David McCormack. The Terps’ staff seemingly prefers Brown’s athleticism and length to the 6-9 grinder McCormack, but, either way, Dustin Clark is maintaining a relationship with the Virginia native. McCormack last visited College Park in October and could return at some point down the line. He’s spoken highly of UMD’s system, academics and player development.

McCormack, though, has Georgetown all over him and was recently in to see the Hoyas. He could be favoring GU at this juncture. Virginia Tech is another true contender, Baylor’s in mind, and coaches from Kansas and UNC are monitoring McCormack’s progress.

A third big man to watch on the AAU scene is Southmoreland’s (Alverton, Pa.) Brandon Stone, a 6-11 center just beginning to emerge. Stone actually took in the Terps March 4 and liked what he saw in Xfinity Center in terms of the crowd atmosphere and the style of play. He is building a bond with Bino Ranson, but, as of now, Stone only has mid-major looks.

 


TerrapinTimes Top Stories