Tucker talks Terps

There's been no shortage of speculation about how Maryland basketball staff will finish its recruiting class. One of the players most commonly mentioned in connection with the Terps is El Paso, Tex., swingman Cliff Tucker, who has long been a heavy Terps ‘lean.' TerpSportsReport.com caught up with Tucker today, and here's what he had to say about his recruitment and the Terps:

"Maryland's still the [favorite]," said Tucker, a 6-5 combo guard who was averaging 21 points, 10 rebounds and four assists as his Chapin High team entered the second round of the playoffs Friday night against Lubbock Estacado.

"I'm just focused on the playoffs right now, and when that's over I'll probably make a choice."

Tucker, you'll recall, received an offer from Maryland back in November on his official visit, and has maintained since last summer that Maryland was easily his favorite.

He told ScoutHoops.com analyst Dave Telep five weeks ago, "Maryland is the leader right now and that's where I'm leaning towards … I'm not sure yet (if I'll commit) but I'm sort of close."

But he also said at the time, "It's just my coaches and parents who have told me not to commit so soon. They just want me to wait a little more."

Well, with his season nearing completion, it seems likely Tucker will be finalizing his decision soon. He said he recently received standardized test results, which he believes were qualifying scores for NCAA eligibility, and forwarded them to Terps assistant coach Keith Booth; Booth has been the point man in Tucker's recruitment.

Tucker's Maryland visit was his only official, and he doesn't plan on taking officials to any of his other suitors – Clemson, USC, UTEP and Nebraska. Tucker, who lived in Forestville for a couple of years as a youth and is friendly with Terps star James Gist, has a lot of family in this area and said that is a major factor in his choice.

His top factors are "just the team and the coach and being somewhere where my family can see me," he said.

He's been watching the Terps closely all year and has been enjoying their recent surge.
"They're doing good right now," he said, adding that guards Greivis Vasquez and Eric Hayes "are really good freshmen guards … Hopefully I can come in and play with them, with Mike Jones and D.J. Strawberry leaving."

Tucker also said he has played against top Terps target Jai Lucas in summer ball, but has not spoken with him about Maryland and is not basing any of his decision on Lucas's.

As always, Terps Sports Report will keep you posted …

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