Bladensburg's Judge Making a Name

Terp Sports Report has been first to bring you the scoop on the top young basketball prospects in the D.C. area, and that was the case again last fall when we uncovered little-known Bladensburg (Md.) sophomore Wally Judge. The 6-foot-8 rising junior has burst onto the national radar, so we caught up to chat about his progress, his newfound reputation and his early college favorites.

Judge, an agile, versatile combo forward who was unheralded a few months ago, has since exploded on the summer circuit while playing for D.C. Assault. He's an early four-star prospect and, while only the top ten rankings for 2009 have been released thus far, appears to be a very likely top-50 prospect – if not higher.

"I never would have expected this a year ago," said Judge, as humble as he is talented. "I'm glad that they thought that about me, but I always have to keep working and getting better."

Judge, who last winter averaged 12.4 points and nine rebounds per game while leading Bladensburg to its best season in decades, continued establishing himself this weekend at the Tournament of Champions in North Carolina. He played well all weekend, including a 20-point outing against Team Final (Pa.), though he wasn't pleased with the results.

"I feel I had an OK weekend, but there's always room for improvement because we didn't win," he said.

In terms of college recruiting, Judge has some early favorites though it's too early to say anything definitive. He's hearing mostly from Maryland, Georgetown, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Georgia – a list that is sure to expand during the next year.

"My top would have to be Maryland, Georgetown … I like them all, honestly," he said. "Being a local guy, I always showed favorites to the local schools, Georgetown and Maryland.

"I'm looking at it, but I'm keeping my options open as far as commitments, and just going to leave that wide open until next summer," he said.

Judge has been out to Comcast for pickup games twice this summer and said he was able to hold his own against Terps star James Gist.

"If he got me, I went right back at him," Judge said.

He has also spoken with Maryland assistant coach Chuck Driesell and has long followed the Terps.

"I like the coaching style and the flex and all of that," he said. "They're a good school. O like how all of the players are real buddy-buddy with each other."

In terms of position, well, it's difficult to define Judge's spot on the floor at this point. He has a slight build to which he'll have to add a good amount of bulk in order to play power forward in major conference college basketball. But he's very quick on his feet, very adept at timing blocked shot attempts and rebounds, and has an impressively soft touch from the perimeter.

In other words, he could play either the three or four in college. Some, he said, have compared him to Georgetown star and soon-to-be NBA Draft pick Jeff Green, who played at nearby Northwestern High School. There is some accuracy to the comparison, as Green was a raw gem at the same age. But Judge will have to become stronger and more polished in the next year to be the player Green was when he entered his senior season.

There's no question he has the work ethic.

"I'm working on being more aggressive around the basket, finishing with my left hand. I've been more guard-oriented, with taking my man off the dribble," he said. "I've always wanted to be that kind of inside-outside threat." will keep you posted on Judge as well as the rest of the emerging youngsters we first reported on last fall…

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