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Hardwood Notes: Running Down The Terps' Board

With Aaron Wiggins (Wesleyan Christian/High Point, N.C.) starting the ball rolling in Maryland’s 2018 recruiting class, let’s take a look at how the Terps’ board looks now and where head coach Mark Turgeon and Co. stand with their top remaining targets.

With Aaron Wiggins (Wesleyan Christian/High Point, N.C.) starting the ball rolling in Maryland’s 2018 recruiting class, let’s take a look at how the Terps’ board looks now and where head coach Mark Turgeon and Co. stand with their top remaining targets.

The idea, as it stands now, is for the Terps to land another wing commit; a power forward/stretch-4; a combo or point guard; and a traditional big man.

Guards

Devon Dotson, Providence Day (Charlotte, N.C.) (WARM): Dotson is visiting College Park, Md., June 12, and it sounds like the Terps have worked into the thick of things here. Turgeon and Co. have stayed after the five-star Carolina prospect, their efforts buoyed by the presence of UMD commit Aaron Wiggins on Dotson’s AAU team (Team Charlotte). The question is, Can Maryland show Dotson and his father enough on the upcoming unofficial visit to hop his primary contenders Kansas and Florida? Now, the Jayhawks’ staff may be favoring another point guard over Dotson, so that could take KU out of the picture. But UF has left a distinct impression on the Dotsons and might be leading. Meanwhile, Miami is another player that’s attempting to rise up Dotson’s leaderboard. For now, we’re projecting Dotson to wind up at another locale, but we’ll be interested to hear if the June 12 trip moves the needle in UMD’s direction.

Noah Locke, McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) (WARM): If Devon Dotson falls off, Mark Turgeon and Bino Ranson might begin favoring the recent offeree and local guard Locke. The McDonogh product is more of a combo/wing, and his ability to handle to point is questionable, but he’s evidently shown enough for the Terps to offer. Personally, Locke has much love for the hometown school. He’s known Ranson for years and has thoroughly enjoyed his numerous stays in College Park. But he’s fairly open at this stage and is in the process of checking out his growing options. He’ll be at Michigan and UVA later in June, while he’s keeping longtime suitors Xavier, Providence and Florida firmly on the brain. Locke isn’t going to drop his other contenders just for the chance to play at the local university.

Immanuel Quickley, John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) (COOL): We downshifted Quickley from “warm” to “cool.” His pro-Maryland sentiments seem to ring a bit of lip service, despite his longstanding connection with recruiter Bino Ranson and Co. The five-star could have Kentucky, Kansas and even Miami ahead of UMD at this current juncture. The Wildcats and Jayhawks may ultimately opt to go in a different direction at point, but, if so, we’ve heard the Hurricanes would have a real shot to reel Quickley in.

Eric Ayala, Putnam Science (Conn.) (COOL): Ayala isn’t talking up Maryland nearly as much of late. Syracuse remains the primary threat, and now the four-star is listing Indiana, Oregon, LSU and Miami as programs of interest. The Terps may not be pressing as hard as some of Ayala’s other suitors. Cuse and IU could be the frontrunners.

Jaelin Llewellyn, Virginia Episcopal (Lynchburg, Va.) (COOL): Llewellyn visited College Park and couldn’t say enough about the Maryland coaches, the strength program, the school’s academics and the state of the team. But a Terps’ offer still hasn’t been presented. Thus, Llewellyn will likely focus in on the likes of UVA, Wake, Stanford, Creighton, Purdue, Georgia Tech, Georgetown and maybe even Harvard. 

Wings

Keldon Johnson, Huntington Prep (W.Va.) (HOT): Johnson has been trending in Maryland’s direction ever since Mark Turgeon and recruiter Kevin Broadus handed him an offer. Broadus’ longtime connection with the five-star Johnson, coupled with College Park’s close proximity to the recruit’s Northern Virginia home, have UMD sitting pretty. Texas, Oregon, NC State, Memphis, UNLV and UCLA are in the game, but are thought to be trailing Maryland.

Darius Bazley, Princeton (Cincinnati, Ohio) (COOL): The Terps have an offer out to the ex-Ohio State commit, but he won’t become a priority unless Keldon Johnson and maybe others fall by the wayside. Plus, Bazley seems to be favoring a few locales closer to home such as Xavier, Cincinnati and Louisville, which he visited recently. He has no plans to visit College Park as of now.

Forwards

Jalen Smith, Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) (HOT): The situation has been status quo for what seems like months, and it remains the case heading into the middle of June. The Terps will be hosting Smith twice in the next couple weeks, including for a June 23 official, and it’s possible the five-star local will commit after the latter trip. Villanova may also receive an official, but UMD is viewed as the team to beat thanks to the job Mark Turgeon, Bino Ranson and the rest of the staff have done here.

Jaylen Hoard, Wesley Christian (High Point, N.C.) (COOL): The Terps would seem to have a legitimate shot to land Hoard after snagging his teammate and good friend, Aaron Wiggins. But if Jalen Smith’s UMD pledge is indeed imminent, Hoard would come off the Terps’ board. Wake, NC State and Kansas are also involved with Hoard at this time.

Jermaine Harris, Rock Creek Christian (Upper Marlboro, Md.) (COOL): Harris is in the same boat as Hoard. If Jalen Smith commits to Maryland as expected, the staff would likely back off of the local Harris. Of course, we weren’t projecting a major push from recruiter Kevin Broadus and Turgeon anyway. Harris has been linked to West Virginia, with Va Tech; Miami; Georgetown; Providence; and Xavier also kicking around.

Big Men

Moses Brown, Archbishop Molloy (Briarwood, N.Y.) (WARM): This one could get interesting if Kentucky lands another coveted big man before offering Brown. But we still believe head coach John Calipari is going to ante up for the athletic New Yorker, and, if so, Brown’s probably Lexington, Kent., bound. If not, though, then this is a situation to monitor closely. Bino Ranson and Turgeon have made deep inroads with Brown, hosting him for visits; regularly trekking through Molloy; and intently watching his AAU games. In-state St. John’s, Louisville and UCLA are three other programs Brown is taking a close look at. He’s also seeking a Duke offer, but the Blue Devils seem focused elsewhere (see: David McCormack below).

Silvio De Sousa, IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) (WARM): Much of the intel gathered in regards to the Angolan big DeSousa has come from secondary sources, which always makes us leery. We’ve heard Maryland’s positioned well with the five-star thanks to the staff’s ardent pursuit and his close relationship with UMD signee Bruno Fernando, but let’s see what DeSousa himself has to say after seeing a few campuses this offseason. Those in play for DeSousa include Louisville, Florida, Miami, Illinois, Syracuse and UMD.

Ian Steere, Wesleyan Christian (High Point, N.C.) (WARM): Steere is keeping an open mind, but we like Maryland’s chances at pulling the four-star in if Mark Turgeon and recruiter Dustin Clark press. The 6-9 big heaped praise on the Terps after the May offer, and the fact teammate Aaron Wiggins is headed to College Park only aids their chances. Steere will be taking a deliberate approach, however. He loved his recent trip to NC State, and next up he’s hitting Creighton (June 15) and Louisville (June 19), the latter of which hasn’t offered yet. Kansas and Arkansas are in mind too, although the Jayhawks are thought to have other centers prioritized.

Bryce Golden, St. James (Md.) (WARM): This recruitment could come down to how much Mark Turgeon values the burly, rugged big Golden. If the Terps push in earnest, they’d be positioned well for the local and could probably land him. But the way the board looks right now, the St. James center could be behind Moses Brown, Silvio DeSousa and Ian Steere in the pecking order. Which means the likes of Penn State, Pitt or Temple would be Golden’s likely landing spots, with the Nittany Lions holding the upper-hand after the recruit’s standout trips to State College, Pa.

David McCormack, Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) (COOL): McCormack still mentions Maryland in interviews, and recruiter Dustin Clark remains on the four-star, but the Virginia native seems to be favoring other programs. Namely, Duke, which has an offer out. Georgetown, Virginia, Kansas and Louisville are in the game for McCormack as well. If the Blue Devils fall off, in-state UVA could be set to pounce.

The Priorities (in order)

Guard: Immanuel Quickley, Devon Dotson, Noah Locke, Eric Ayala, Jaelin Llewellyn

Wing: Keldon Johnson, Darius Bazley

Forward: Jalen Smith, Jaylen Hoard, Jermaine Harris

Big Men: Moses Brown, Silvio DeSousa, Ian Steere, Bryce Golden, David McCormack

Maryland Projections

Guard: Noah Locke

Wing: Keldon Johnson

Forward: Jalen Smith

Big Men: Ian Steere, Silvio DeSousa (wildcard)


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