St. Frances' Mosley bolsters Terps' class

Analysts say recruits for '08 a strong group

Men's College basketball

August 16, 2007|By Heather A. Dinich and Pat O'Malley | Heather A. Dinich and Pat O'Malley,Sun reporters

As Maryland's latest prized recruit was pledging his loyalty to the Terps yesterday afternoon, the message boards and recruiting Web sites were instantly a mixture of celebration and speculation about what - or who - comes next.

Maryland coach Gary Williams and his assistants have already landed two top tier players in the past two weeks - St. Frances standout Sean Mosley, who gave an oral commitment yesterday, and five-star recruit Terrence Jennings, a 6-foot-10 power forward from Sacramento, Calif. Their reputations could elevate Maryland's 2008 recruiting class to one of the program's best in recent years.

And Maryland still has one scholarship remaining.

"This is going to be one of their signature efforts since the national championship," said Dave Telep, a national recruiting analyst for scout.com.

Mosley, a 6-foot-4, 200-pound All-Metro selection, and Jennings are regarded by rivals.com and scout.com among the best in the nation for their class.

"It's a pretty good infusion of talent," Telep said. "You can expect Jennings to come in and have a pretty good impact on the program on Day One. And Mosley, you can put his 1,000 points as a Terrapin in the book now. You're talking about a very solid wing player."

The question now is what Williams and his staff do next.

There are several players high on Maryland's recruiting list who could help at guard or allow them to go with a bigger lineup.

"With Mosley coming in, there's a lot of gray area now," said Justin Young, a recruiting analyst for rivals.com who follows the Atlantic Coast Conference. "I think it gives them a little more flexibility. They've added some needs. ... They continue to recruit, but maybe focus in on a specialist like Chris Turner or another big guy."

Turner is a 6-5 shooting guard from Winchendon, Mass.

Regardless of what happens with the third scholarship, Maryland filled some needs and reasserted itself in recruiting circles. Some outside the program have said Williams didn't capitalize on the Terps' 2002 national championship, even though rivals.com had Maryland's 2003 recruiting class ranked No. 3.

The players who earned that spot included recently departed seniors Mike Jones, Ekene Ibekwe, Will Bowers and D.J. Strawberry. Since then, only the 2006 class that included sophomores Eric Hayes and Greivis Vasquez received significant attention from recruiting analysts.

"I think what they're doing is start to piggyback really good classes," Young said. "Vasquez and Hayes' class is going to pay dividends over time. I think now they're starting to get back in the swing of things, show they can recruit regionally and go out nationally."

They got Mosley, though, from next door.

Mosley gave the bulk of the recruiting credit to Williams and assistant coach Keith Booth, a former standout at Maryland and Dunbar who lives in Baltimore.

"It seemed they [Williams and Booth] just fought through the bunch and made sure that they got me," he said. "Keith Booth went to Maryland and won the [NBA] championship, and he can pretty much get a lot of guys from the Baltimore area to come to Maryland just because of what he did."

Maryland will have two freshmen big men from the area on its roster this season in Dino Gregory of Mount St. Joseph and Calvert Hall's Braxton Dupree. Both were All-Metro selections with Mosley this past season.

"People, hopefully they'll have patience with the incoming class and not judge them right away," Williams said. "Any college student takes a while to adjust. ... All of a sudden you throw in ACC basketball, and it's pretty tough on some kids. Sometimes it takes a while to get comfortable, and then when they get comfortable, they're really good."

Mosley, the only area player named All-Metro in his first three years of high school, surpassed 2,000 career points as a junior. Last season he averaged 21 points, eight rebounds, six assists.

"In the grand scheme of things, Mosley might be a better get for them," Young said. "He knows what Maryland basketball is all about, what Gary Williams is all about. I think he brings a Big East toughness that guards have to have in the ACC. I think that gives him a little bit of an edge as well."

At least on paper now, it gives Maryland one, too.

heather.dinich@baltsun.com pat.omalley@baltsun.com

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