Breaking News: Terps Pick Up Brooklyn Big Man

A Maryland men's basketball program in serious need of some inside beef made huge strides Friday, when 6-foot-8 center James Padgett of Brooklyn, N.Y. notified the staff he'd be accepting its scholarship offer. has the breakdown of the Terps big pickup…

Padgett, a four-star prospect rated the No, 21 center in the national Class of 2009, chose Maryland over offers from Pittsburgh, West Virginia, South Carolina, St. John's, Seton Hall and a variety of others. When he took an unofficial visit to College Park recently, he was on the verge of deciding, and after mulling it over for the past week, he went ahead and pulled the trigger.

"It came down to Maryland and Pitt," he said. "I just had to make sure it was the right place for me. I had to do some research on the program and the style of play and whether [Gary Williams' develops his big men … He's done pretty good. He got Wilcox in the NBA and Joe Smith and some other guys."

During his visit, Padgett hung out with the entire team, but spent most of his time with Williams, primary recruiter Chuck Driesell and Terps forward Landon Milbourne.

Milbourne "said that if you come in and work, you'll play. He said they need a post player … [Williams] seemed really comfortable with me and confident he can develop me as a player, all I've got to do is work.

Padgett liked the fact that his home is only about three-and-a-half hours from College Park, close enough for family and friends to come see him. He's also highly interested in the business school and said his academics are in good shape; his GPA is good enough, he said, that he'll only need to score around a 750 on the SAT, which he'll now focus on with the recruiting process out of the way.

He'll also be focusing on leading his team back to the championship. Last year Padgett averaged nine points and 9.5 rebounds while teaming with all-America guard Lance Stephenson to lead Lincoln High to the state title.

Here's how recruiting director Dave Telep sums Padgett's skills:

"Hulking strong man inside. Does a great job finishing and using his body. Is a quick leaper who can outjump guys for traffic boards. Most of his offense is inside the paint which is fine. If he can step to the mid-line and hit shots he would be harder to guard. Definitely hitting his stride heading into senior year."

We also asked Padgett for a scouting report on himself. What, we asked, is his biggest strength?

"Scoring," he said. "I get it done. If it's offensive rebounds or post moves. I've got to work on my face-up jumpshot and free-throws."

Padgett was recruited primarily by Terps assistant Chuck Driesell, but has gotten to know and like Williams. He was torn between Maryland and Pitt, he said, but Pitt's addition to two power forward commitments helped seal the deal. He expects to play early and often at Maryland, and said his commitment is 100 percent solid.

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