I’m sure it’s going to be a little while before Turgeon and his staff recover from this first significant recruiting defeat, but after what Turgeon did in terms of recruiting the likes of Shaquille Cleare (the former AAU teammate of the Harrisons who first wanted to come to Maryland because of Gary Williams) and Jake Layman (who made the U-19 national team that the Harrisons did not) and getting transfers such as Logan Aronhalt for this season, Dez Wells (possibly for this season depending on the outcome of an NCAA decision regarding his eligibility) and Evan Smotrycz (from Michigan) for next season, I think we are already seeing that Maryland recruiting is in a different place. Just going down to the wire with the Harrisons confirmed that.
Chemistry is a big deal for Turgeon. Just ask him about what he had to do last season trying to get other players to practice hard because Terrell Stoglin wasn’t, or have them buy into what he was saying about playing defense, again because Stoglin, the team’s star, didn’t show much interest in that part of the game. Stoglin is gone from the team not just because he allegedly flunked some drug tests, but because he flunked the chemistry course Turgeon was teaching. The arrival of the Harrisons might have made that course tougher for the teacher next season than for the students.
Where will Maryland turn next after missing out on the Harrison twins?
Matt Bracken: The good news here is that Maryland doesn't have to scramble and build new relationships. The Terps offered Suitland point guard Roddy Peters and Philadelphia point guard Rysheed Jordan months ago. And even though Maryland's pursuit of the Harrisons was a national story that college hoops observers simply couldn't ignore, Mark Turgeon would have happily accepted a commitment from Peters or Jordan while continuing to go after the twins.
Whether or not Peters and Jordan see it that way, however, is a legitimate question. Jordan, with offers from Syracuse, Temple, UCLA, St. John's and others, appears to be a bigger longshot than Peters. Jordan's AAU coach, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, said he wouldn't be surprised if Maryland landed Peters.
Peters, meanwhile, grew up rooting for Maryland in nearby Forestville. The Terps monitored him for months before pulling the trigger on an offer in July. Now Maryland is competing against Georgetown, Kansas, Rutgers, Xavier and UCLA for his services. Peters has already visited Piscataway and Cincinnati. InsideMDSports reported this morning that Peters didn't make his scheduled trip to Westwood this weekend. A trip to Lawrence for Peters still likely looms.
The competition for Peters is certainly daunting, but Maryland's got more than a few things going in its favor -- namely location, available playing time at the 1 and comfort with the coaching staff and players. Terps assistant coach Dalonte Hill was essentially hired by Turgeon to win recruiting battles over D.C. Assault players like Peters. So Maryland absolutely has reasons for optimism.
If Maryland swings and misses on Peters and Jordan, keep these two off-the-radar 2013 guard names in mind: Jevon Thomas and Daxter Miles. According to a source with Team Melo, Thomas has received some recent interest from the Terps. A former St. John's and Dayton commitment, the well-traveled Thomas is a 5-foot-11 point guard from Queens who's currently doing a post-grad year at St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Wisconsin -- the former home of one-time Terps forward commitment Martin Breunig. Miles is a Baltimore native who spent his junior season at IMG Academy in Florida, but is back for his senior year at Dunbar. The 6-foot-2 combo guard received some interest from Maryland last winter. The Nike Baltimore Elite player fared well in an exhibition game against the Harrison twins at BCCC over the summer, and he claims several mid- and high-major offers. Sources say Thomas and Miles are expected to wait until the spring to sign.
It's good to have contingency plans, and Thomas and Miles may or may not fit that bill. But the priority for Maryland remains landing Peters or Jordan this fall. I asked Turgeon in August how he was attempting to juggle one of the most high-profile recruitments in the country while still pursuing somewhat less-regarded prospects at the same positions. A day after the high-profile scenario didn't go the Terps' way, it's instructive to revisit Turgeon's comments, and keep those in mind as Maryland works to complete its 2013 class.
"We’re working to paint a picture in recruiting of how they’re going to fit in and how much work they have to do to get us there," Turgeon said. "They either buy in or they don’t. You win some and you lose some. That’s the way recruiting goes. You try not to get too high or too low. That’s the key."