Terps in Good with DeMatha Standout

There's a certain style that seems to come naturally to the best players from Baltimore – a distinct toughness and versatility allowing them to compete at a high level in every facet. They can often be tagged simply as ‘ballers.' Maryland has been recruiting one such Charm City native, Sean Mosley, for some time now, and the Terps also have offered another in DeMatha junior Naji Hibbert.

"He's a tough, hard-nosed player. He can handle, defend, shoot and rebound," DeMatha coach Mike Jones said of Hibbert, who recently transferred to Hyattsville powerhouse from Baltimore's St. Frances Academy – the same school Mosley attends.

"He'll be a very good wing in college. I think the best basketball is head of him. He has a lot of potential for growth in [his game], in strength and maybe in getting a little taller," Jones said.

Hibbert is a 6-foot-5, 185-pound do-it-all type who averaged more than 12 points and 7 rebounds as a sophomore. He doesn't have a precise position, but rather can be classified as a wing -– a shooting guard-small forward hybrid blessed with the aforementioned Baltimore toughness and versatility.

"The guys [from Baltimore] are tough and they like to compete, and he's certainly no exception," Jones said, noting he also has been consistently impressed by Hibbert's unselfishness.

"I'm a slasher," Hibbert said. "I'm a good player in transition, I can play with my back to the basket and I can play with my front to the basket."

Hibbert, who olds offers from Maryland, Miami, Clemson and Marist along with interest from Indiana, Georgetown, Texas, Syracuse and others, has been spending a good amount of time at Comcast Center, playing pickup games against current Terps like James Gist, Eric Hayes and Adrian Bowie.

"I did pretty well. I held my own," he said. "It's a lot different, because all of the players you're playing against are college players."

Hibbert has spoken with assistants Chuck Driesell and Keith Booth as well as head coach Gary Williams.

"I like Maryland a lot right now," Hibbert said. "I grew up watching Steve Francis, Juan Dixon.

"Coach Williams told me he sees me as a guard that would fit really well into his system and do real well there," he said.

Hibbert had attempted to transfer to DeMatha a year earlier, but the timing wasn't right. This year, though, the details worked out and he made the move. Maryland has not signed a DeMatha player since Travis Garrison in 2002, but was probably the runner-up for McDonald's All-American Austin Freeman last year, Jones said.

"Excellent atmosphere," he said of DeMatha, adding the reasons for his move were "the academics and the atmosphere and the national schedule."

Hibbert plays summer ball with Team Melo and will be showing his wares at the upcoming Peach Jam Tournament. He plans to make a decision next summer or early in the fall of his senior year, so it makes sense the Terps have opted to get their foot in the door by offering in the early stages.

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