The Jennings aftermath
There was a collective grunt/sigh/scream from Maryland basketball fans yesterday when the news broke that Terrence Jennings had withdrawn his commitment to the Terps.
UM hoops watchers are no strangers to disappointment on the recruiting trail, but the good news is Jennings’ decision doesn’t necessarily destroy all hopes for a successful 2008 class.
First, Mount Zion (N.C.) Christian Academy head coach Tony Fozard, told Sun reporter Heather Dinich that Jennings still considers the Terps his leader. Conversely, Jennings will do something he hadn’t done before committing to Maryland in August – visit a number of other schools on his list.
So while there’s still a chance Jennings ends up at College Park, it’s by no means a certainty.
Thankfully for Terps fans, Jennings’ initial commitment didn’t stop the Maryland coaching staff from heavily pursuing two more highly regarded big men – New Jersey power forward Quintrell Thomas and Georgia center Ralph Sampson.
Thomas, on the other hand, could be making a decision shortly, and many feel Maryland is a strong contender for the Elizabeth, N.J. native. Here’s what Coleman said:
Thomas just visited Rutgers this past weekend, he’s scheduled to be in College Park next weekend and then he’ll head to Kansas the weekend of Sept. 29. If he’s not ready to decide at that point, he could make treks to Miami, Pittsburgh, Seton Hall or latecomer West Virginia. Personally, I think Maryland leads early on, but Rutgers is close to his home and Kansas is always a great visit, based on players I’ve known over the years. Quintrell is a man on the glass who would compliment Jennings inside. He is a warrior! Much could be learned after he visits UM.
According to KUSports.com, Thomas will visit College Park visit this weekend.
• Thomas to visit Maryland next: Quintrell Thomas, a 6-8 senior forward from St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J., visited Rutgers last weekend. He’ll visit Maryland this weekend, Kansas on Sept. 28-29 and UNLV for Midnight Madness on Oct. 12. He may not visit his other finalist, Houston.
“Once he is done with his visit to UNLV, Quintrell will probably return home, sit down and try to make a decision,” Thomas’ AAU coach, Derrick Bobbitt, told Rivals.com. “I can say that Kansas is very high up on Quintrell’s list.”
The Jayhawks are casting an extremely wide net for the 2008 class, thanks to the possible (likely?) NBA departures of Brandon Rush and Darrell Arthur, and the graduations of five scholarship seniors.
Thomas is very much a priority for Bill Self’s staff, but he does have a lot of company on the Kansas wish list. Rivals.com college basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer offers an excellent breakdown of KU’s targets here.
It’ll be interesting to see how this recruitment plays out, but one thing that Gary Williams and staff can certainly sell Thomas on is, ironically, the same thing they sold Jennings on: loyalty.
The Terps have been after Thomas longer than most, and they continued to recruit him hard even after Jennings committed. This isn’t a situation of Maryland trying to scramble after being left in a lurch – the staff has wanted Thomas badly, regardless of Jennings' commitment.
Now it’s just a matter of whether or not Thomas wants the Terps.