InsideMDSports: Making sense of Maryland's developing direction in basketball recruiting

July 18, 2014|By Jeff Ermann | Special to The Baltimore Sun

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The past month was slow for hoops recruiting, thanks to the NCAA's limitation of early "open" periods. But with coaches allowed to hit the road again beginning last week, the pace in the class of 2015 has picked up considerably.

Because of his growing interest in St. James point guard Justin Robinson, it seems Terps coach Mark Turgeon didn't press for a commitment from Kevin Dorsey.

New offers

Maryland handed out a couple of offers Tuesday to a pair of top-50 guards in Eric Davis and Prince Ali. It initially was thought that Mark Turgeon wouldn't pursue guards in 2015, but the transfers of Seth Allen and Roddy Peters, combined with transfer Terry Henderson's selection of North Carolina State, has him in the market for at least one and perhaps two in this recruiting class.

The Terps also offered Illinois point guard Glynn Watson on Monday.

The big forwards

Maryland will take a point guard and a 3/4 type in 2015. That much is certain. The top priorities at forward appear to be Esa Ahmad and Jordan Murphy. Ahmad's father said this week that he'll look to take a few officials late this summer, and Maryland is almost sure to be one. Maryland is very much in the hunt, but the wild card in his recruitment remains home-state Ohio State.

Murphy has taken his recruitment at a deliberate pace. He seems to favor Maryland, but hasn't been on campus or planned any visits yet. And that's probably OK with Turgeon, who should have an answer from Ahmad next month.

The only other potentially serious prospects here are Milwaukee blue-chipper Diamond Stone and Florida big man John Collins. Both are more traditional post players, and thus not necessarily an immediate need for Maryland with its recent influx of big men. But they're the sort of talents the staff isn't going to pass on.

Stone remains a long shot, but recently had good things to say about Maryland.

The point guards

Although Dorsey's pick of Minnesota at the time seemed like an upset, based on conversations with sources close to the Paul VI (Va.) guard, he felt it was apparent that he wasn't Maryland's top choice, and Turgeon didn't press for a commitment. In retrospect, it's clear that Maryland favors St. James' (Va.) Justin Robinson, who has high interest but isn't ready to commit yet.

The only other point guard known to have a committable offer is Watson, who could visit before long. Noah Blackwell is an intriguing prospect, too, but he'll need to perform well in front of Turgeon before he can be considered on Robinson and Watson's level. Tyrone Taylor, who's more of a combo guard, is hoping to earn an offer this month.

The wing players

Here's where it gets a bit more varied. Unless Maryland signs four players in 2015, this spot seems likely to go to the best wing type available, though the prospects here span a wide range in skill sets.

Danjel Purifoy, an impressive defender and athlete, is high on Maryland. Ali, an athletic freak with Maryland connections, is quickly rising the charts. Malik Beasley, more of a shooter, has Turgeon's full attention. Kipper Nichols, a lunch-pail guy who's friends with Ahmad, recently received an offer.

This spot seems likely to be the last filled.

The wild cards

Blackwell and Taylor will vie for offers in the weeks to come. Another wild card, guard Christian James, seems like he could get a good look. Then there's guard Malik Ellison, who has upside and high interest in Maryland but needs a few breakout performances. Guard Allonzo Trier has long been an object of Turgeon's affection, but his move to Findlay Prep (Fla.) from Montrose Christian will make him a tough get.

Mark Hall, guard Chris Clarke's coach, told IMS that Maryland has gotten back into the picture. But Clarke recently implied that the Terps had missed the boat. He's close friends with Robinson, so a package deal, while perhaps unlikely, is an angle worth investigating. We'll find out this weekend whether Maryland still stands a chance.

More new names and offers are sure to surface soon.

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