After the Terps’ debacle in Charlotte last night, I’m sure Maryland fans are searching for answers.
According to these baltimoresun.com poll results, 43 percent of the respondents think Maryland’s woes these past four seasons are due to subpar recruiting.
The good news for UM fans is that the 2008 recruiting class looks like it could buck that disappointing trend.
2008 UM commitments
Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College suffered an earlier than expected end to its season, but point guard Bobby Maze certainly did his part.
For his efforts this season, the Terps commitment was named Most Valuable Player in the Jayhawk Conference Western Division yesterday. He also earned Region VI first-team honors. From the HCC news release:
Maze became only the third Blue Dragon point guard to have 200 assists in a season, finishing with 218. That’s second on HCC’s single-season list and ninth on the Blue Dragon career assist list. ...
Maze averaged 20.7 points per game, shooting 50.5 percent from the field overall and 72.9 percent from the free-throw line.
Maze’s teammate, power forward Ken Bowman (who could become a Terp should a scholarship open up), was named to the Jayhawk Western Division’s first team, and earned honorable mention laurels on the Region VI squad.
Bowman entered the 2007-08 season as a second-team NJCAA Preseason All-American.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore forward from Phoenix didn’t disappoint, averaging 14.8 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game. Bowman shot 53.5 percent from the field and led the team with 66 blocked shots.
• Meanwhile, Terps shooting guard commitment Sean Mosley continued his stellar play this season in St. Frances’ 95-86 overtime win over Roman Catholic in the opening round of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament. Mosley scored a game-high 35 points.
Mosley took sole possession of second place on the state's all-time scoring list and has 2,879. Rodney Monroe of St. Maria Goretti is the all-time leader with 3,047 points.
• Before yesterday’s loss, the Sun’s Terps beat writer Don Markus speculated on Maryland’s lineup combinations next year with Maze and Mosley factored in.
Williams admitted after practice Wednesday that Greivis Vasquez could be as effective at shooting guard if either Hayes, Bowie or junior college transfer Bobby Maze can be a reliable point guard next season. Bowie and Hayes have played out of position most of the time this season and while Bowie has seemingly adjusted, Hayes hasn't.
Given the lack of depth in the frontcourt next season, especially before Gus Gilchrist becomes eligible, I can also see Williams using a lot of three-guard sets with two big guards, Vasquez and freshman Sean Mosley, and either Bowie, Hayes or Maze running the point. Seems a bit crowded, especially at the point.
• TurtleSportsReport.com’s Jeff Ermann has a great article on two National Christian Academy standouts that are major UM targets – junior power forward Dante Taylor and sophomore shooting guard Will Barton.
Taylor and Barton’s coach at NCA, Trevor Brown, had high praise for Gary Williams in the article.
Williams “just gets the most out of them. It’s easy when ‘X University’ gets eight McDonald’s All-Americans and half of them become pros. They might have been pros coming out of high school. Those kids that Gary has put in the NBA, none of them were top-50 players, maybe not even top-75. [Chris] Wilcox may have been top-50, but look at Juan Dixon. And Lonnie Baxter, I don’t think he was even top-75 in his class.”
• Besides Taylor, St. Benedict (N.J.) center Greg Echenique is arguably UM’s biggest target for ’09. According to Charlotte.com, Echenique is a top priority for Duke as well.
The most important recruit in the arena was St. Benedict Prep junior Greg Echenique, who's 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds and could give Duke the body it dearly needs to bang against all the big guys who have committed to North Carolina. The Blue Devils probably will continue with their wide-open style, but still will need muscle in the future.
• The Washington Post’s Josh Barr checked in with Montrose Christian coach Stu Vetter this week for his take on the recruitments of the Montrose Three -- Isaiah Armwood, Tristan Spurlock and Terrell Vinson.
"Terrell was down at Duke this weekend," Vetter said. "Isaiah likes Villanova a lot, but he's also got several ACC schools. Tristan likes U-Va. a lot, but he's got several schools too. All of them like Maryland, but who knows what their scholarship situation is."
• The Fairfax (Va.) County Times has a nice feature on one of Maryland’s primary targets for the class of 2009, T.C. Williams guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt. According to the Times, Ruffin-Pratt had a pretty good season for the Titans.
“I just want to go all the time, and not settle for the 'now,'” said Ruffin-Pratt, who has been chosen as the 2008 Times Player of the Year. “I need to keep working because I know there's always someone out there that's better than me.”
Nearly as humble as she is talented, Ruffin-Pratt averaged an NBA-like 26 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists per game this season, leading the Titans to a 22-1 record.
Miscellaneous hoops recruiting
• Remember itinerant shooting guard prospect Chris Turner? The Terps offered him a scholarship last summer, but Mosley beat him to the punch in accepting the offer. Turner later committed to Oregon State, but according to CSTV.com’s Van Coleman, Turner’s recruitment is open once again.
Oregon State lost one of its Class of 2008, when 6-foot-5 wing guard Chris Turner from Humble Christian Life Center (Tex.) decided to re-open his recruitment. He had originally decided to play for the Pac-10 squad when Jay John was still the Beaver coach, and felt he needed to check out his options this spring.
Also from Coleman’s column -- Frank Ben-Eze, who got a look (not an offer) from Maryland, is also back on the market.
The prize big man in Harvard's fall recruiting class, 6-foot-10 Franklin Ben-Eze from Arlington Bishop O'Connell (Va.) has decided to re-open his recruitment. The gifted big man is a defensive stopper who has really come on this year on the offensive end of the court. He has decided to look at other schools this spring and should become a hot commodity nationally with the shortage of true post prospects (with grades) currently available. His loss will be a big one in the efforts of Tommy Amaker to rebuild Harvard into a contender in the Ivy League.
Programming note: I’ll post a ‘Weekly football recruiting roundup’ tomorrow.
Shameless plug alert: I shot video and wrote a feature about former Terps tight end Joey Haynos as part of the BaltimoreSun.com series, Eyeing the NFL.
Click here to read the story and see the video.