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May 30, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

Another week and another quarterback prospect emerges for Maryland.

Late last week, the Terps offered a scholarship to Kernersville, N.C., quarterback Danny O’Brien, who promptly named UM as one of his leaders.

“Maryland told me they would offer me (Friday),” O’Brien said. “After they saw me play I called Coach Franklin and he said he felt good about offering. He talked to Coach Friedgen and they called my coach this morning. They said the offer would be in the mail.

“I’m pumped, they’re definitely one of my top schools. They and Duke are the two in the clear lead right now. Now that they’ve offered it’s really solidified them at the top. Coach Franklin runs a pro-style offense and that appeals to me a lot. He’s had a lot of success wherever he’s been, and Coach Friedgen is a great guy.”

• Penn State picked up commitments from two Maryland prospects this week, both of whom had offers from the Terps. Gaithersburg defensive end Sean Stanley and Oxon Hill wide receiver Brandon Felder both pledged to the Nittany Lions on Tuesday.

“I just wanted to be part of the Penn State tradition,” Felder said Tuesday. “I was impressed with the staff, and it’s a great school academically.”

• DeMatha offensive tackle Pete DeSouza, who sports a Terps offer, had good things to say about Maryland’s staff in this Yahoo Sports article.

“I’ve been impressed with Maryland because I’ve been there,” he said. “I enjoy being around them, the coaches and staff. I haven’t been to other campuses.

“I like Coach Friedgen and Coach Bratten. I think they are real. They are honest about what they think and their opinions.”

• Eleanor Roosevelt linebacker/defensive end Isaiah Ross has two teammates headed to Penn State, but the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder currently has Maryland as one of his leaders.

“I’ve got offers from Maryland and Buffalo,” he said. “I like both of those schools. Maryland is close to home and two of my former teammates are heading to Buffalo. I like both schools.”

• Philadelphia running back Rob Hollomon told Yahoo Sports that he’ll probably visit College Park for camp this summer.

“I’d say my favorites are UConn, North Carolina State, Rutgers, Pitt, and I’ll probably go with Maryland,” he said.

“I’ve been hearing from some Division I and Division I-AA programs like Akron, Villanova, Temple, UConn, Pitt, Rutgers and Buffalo. I believe I’m going to the Maryland camp, Villanova, FDU, Pitt, Connecticut, and I think I might go to Temple. I may go to a few more down south like North Carolina State and Clemson.”

The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier has updates on Matthews, N.C., linebacker Hawatha Bell, Gastonia, N.C., wide receiver Jheranie Boyd and Fort Walton Beach, Fla., linebacker Matt Coffee, all of whom claim Maryland offers, according to The Post and Courier.

Basketball links

• Plainfield, N.J., coach Pete Vasil told ZagsBlog this week that 2010 point guard Isaiah Epps will take an unofficial visit to Maryland June 24-25.

"There's a camp going on," Vasil said.

Maryland recently offered the 6-foot-2 Epps and told Vasil they're targeting him to be their lead guard in the Class of 2010.

The Sun’s Rick Maese has an interesting column in today’s paper on a new service that performs extensive background checks on recruits for interested colleges.

The colleges ensure each academically qualifies, but most don't do thorough background checks on every recruit. That's part of the reason Maryland offered a basketball scholarship to Tyree Evans last month without knowing the extent of his criminal history.

• Maryland is one of many DI schools watching Spotsylvania, Va., power forward Josh Hairston, but according Fredericksburg.com, a visit to College Park hasn’t been scheduled for next month.

Hairston has received scholarship offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Georgetown and Ohio State. He has unofficial visits set up next month at all of those schools except Maryland, but he also has another unofficial visit scheduled for Duke.

• Walbrook small forward Roscoe Smith sat out the spring AAU season to concentrate on academics, but that didn’t matter to Scout.com, which recently ranked him the No. 15 player in the 2010 class.

Our last guy in is Roscoe Smith. Absent from the AAU circuit this spring, his resume was bolstered this winter at Walbrook High School.

According to The Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal, Kansas has joined Smith’s list of suitors.

It seems Bill Self and Co. were busy over the holiday weekend. According to Rivals.com, KU has offered Roscoe Smith, a 6-foot-7 small forward from Baltimore in the class of 2010 …

For those that missed it ...

This is an update I added to Wednesday’s blog entry about Latay Darden.

I received a report Wednesday that Darden had not been cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse. I spoke with Branch about this, and he claimed there was a mix-up with Darden's social security number and birth date on one of the forms. So, Darden hasn't been cleared just yet. Either way, Maryland hasn't offered, and probably wouldn't unless everything was settled with the clearinghouse. It's wait-and-see at this point.

My apologies to the readers for the confusion. Believe me, I’m just as confused about the original quotes from Branch as you probably are.

Programming note

I’ll be out of town until Tuesday, so unless something crazy happens, I probably won’t have another blog entry until Wednesday.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:16 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 29, 2008

Kennedy talks Towson's 2008 class

The Towson men’s basketball team will take on a new look next season with the addition of six players to its roster.

The Tigers signed two recruits last fall -- Mount Carmel point guard Troy Franklin and Allegany College of Maryland forward Calvin Lee.

Towson also adds four players that redshirted last season -- sophomore combo guard Brian Morris, a transfer from Richmond, freshman forward Ricardo Brown, and twin brothers Jarrel Smith and Jimmy Smith, both of whom transferred from Colorado State.

Towson coach Pat Kennedy spoke with Recruiting Report recently about the Tigers’ new additions.
patkennedy.jpg
Talk about the two new guys you’re bringing in, and the four redshirted players that will be eligible this year.

I’d term this the most important recruiting class since I’ve been here, obviously because it is year four and we need to turn a corner, but most importantly because of the quality of guys. We’ve upgraded the quality of our team.

We’re going to have two freshmen, one of which is Troy Franklin, the 5’11 point guard out of Mount Carmel, the hometown product who had a terrific senior year. He was one of those kids that we think is going to have a terrific four-year career. He visited St. Bonaventure, Central Florida and ourselves, so the significance of that is competing against the Atlantic 10 and Conference USA. So he was probably one of our best and highest ranked recruits.

The other player for the freshman class will be Ricardo Brown, who’s really a recruit from a year ago, but he sat out to bolster his academics. Ricardo is 6’5, a powerful, powerful guy. Those two guys will be our freshman class.

We’ll have three sophomore transfers who we think will have ... a very strong impact right away. These are guys we recruited, but really weren’t able to get when we first recruited them. We got them on the second go around.

Brian Morris is a 6’6 point guard out of the University of Richmond. He played the most minutes [on the team] his freshman year at Richmond, and we see him as a very important recruit. He can play any position. He’s got 3 years to play. When you have a freshman and sophomore backcourt like Troy Franklin and Brian Morris, it’s pretty neat.

The next two youngest [newcomers] are Jarrel Smith, a 6’7 youngster from Los Angeles that transferred from Colorado State. He’s going to be a major impact player in our conference, maybe like a Junior Hairston-type impact. His twin brother, Jimmy Smith, is 6’5 and he can play the 1, 2 or 3. Both will be sophomores.

And then we recruited Calvin Lee, a 6’8 youngster from the famed Allegany Community College. They didn’t have a great year, but they’ve got great tradition going back to Stevie Francis. But we’re really excited about Calvin. He’s a prototypical forward, can play inside and out. He’s really still developing, but he posted really good numbers -- 18 points and eight or nine rebounds.

So those are the six new players for us. So it’s undoubtedly our largest recruiting class. Quite frankly, there was so little to sell at Towson [when I first started here]. We had no one coming to the games, no radio, no television. We were really short on things to sell, but we were really fortunate to get Gary Neal and Dennard Abraham, then Josh Thornton, Junior Hairston. But we think these new six guys collectively will start taking us to the level where we need to be. I’m very excited about it and they’re a great bunch of kids.

What do you expect from Franklin in his freshman year?

I really am excited about Troy. I’ve had a lot of outstanding four-year guards that have had a lot of wins. Troy’s as quick as any player I’ve ever coached -- I put him in the same category as Charlie Ward at Florida State and Rashon Burno at DePaul. He’s quick as a cat. He’s a game-changer, a jet with the ball in his hands. He makes good decisions, so we expect a major impact from him right away. He’ll be in the rotation, there’s no doubt about that.

How important is it to land a Baltimore product like Franklin?

There’s no question [it’s important]. We’ve gotten some really good Baltimore, local players that we’re really excited about. People say we’ve got a few here and a few there. Now we’re seeing it consistently. Troy will be a Towson graduate in four years, and then he can tell another [Baltimore] point guard four years from now, ‘I picked Towson, stayed home and had a great career.’

What does Lee bring to the table? What do you expect from him?

The nice thing here is the fact that he went to a junior college in Maryland -- a great community college program with great tradition. And he’s a local youngster out of the state of Virginia. ... [But Calvin] is 6'8 and still developing. We’ve got to put some beef on him, but he’s tremendously athletic, can rebound, block shots and he’s also a very good mid-range scorer and shooter. We expect him to be a key contributor his first year.

Who was your main competition for Lee?

For him there was a lot [of competition] because a lot of the time with those kids, they’re signing late. We convinced him to sign early. But he had Duquesne, Wichita State, South Carolina [recruiting him]. Those three and LaSalle -- those are the ones that stand out, but there were a lot of schools sniffing around. He had a good, solid core early on and we just recruited the heck out of him to sign early and [have him] concentrate on his academics [in junior college], which he did.

How did you convince the Smith twins to leave the West Coast for Towson?

They were not necessarily recruited like Brian and Ricardo. These two guys came by way of my own background. Jimmy and Jarrel’s father, Jimmy Smith Sr., who’s a great guy -- he writes a lot of commercials, he’s a writer -- he’s a very close friend of George McCloud. [McCloud] played for me at Florida State and played in the NBA. He, of course, was not involved in the recruiting process, but he turned me on to the fact that the two kids were leaving Colorado State. The longer you do this, the longer you get those kinds of referrals. And of course you do your homework and call and check on these kids, which we did.

They went around and visited a bunch of places [after leaving Colorado State]. Oregon, Oregon State, Southern Cal. My point with Jimmy and Jarrel is that they visited a lot of different schools on their own dime. But I think the big key on them was their father wanted them to be very comfortable because they had such a bad experience at Colorado State, and I think knowing the mutual friendship was a more personal thing.

Who did you beat out for Brown and how has he progressed during his first year at Towson?

Ricardo really would have to be ranked as one of our top recruits since we’ve been here. He worked on his academics and did really solid work. Coming out of high school, he was a top five player, I thought, in the state of Pennsylvania. He’s strong as an ox and can play inside-out for us. The schools hot on him were LaSalle, Drexel and I want to say VCU. He was actually eligible by NCAA standards, but we sat him out for a year to get much stronger academically. [We’ll sit a kid out a year] if it makes more sense to concentrate on academics, as long as other people in the family support it, and in our case it worked out very well. The great thing about Ricardo is that he’s a year older and a year stronger. He’s a big-time athlete. You’ll see him. He’s still very raw -- he almost looks like a middle linebacker. He’s a high-level Division I athlete.

How did you land Morris the second time around?

Well Brian was my top recruit when he was coming out of high school. I loved Brian Morris. He visited West Virginia, LaSalle, Towson and Richmond. Those were his four visits. That unto itself tells you the level of player he is. ... If you do a good job of recruiting a youngster and they feel they were treated properly, if all of a sudden it doesn’t work out at the other school -- I always believe not to burn bridges. So it just didn’t work out at Richmond, and he played the most minutes on the team as a freshman, and I think he might’ve led the team in 3-pointers. But they ran that Princeton offensive system, and he’s really a 6'6 lead guard and more of an up-tempo style suits him well.

Has your progress on the court made recruiting easier? Have you seen a big difference on the recruiting trail in your four years?

I think it’s a collective progress. When I got here the youngsters knew my background. They were a little curious on why Coach Kennedy comes to Towson. Then they see our program, then all of sudden we’re on WBAL and now we’re building a new arena. Gary Neal is over in Europe doing really great, and so is Dennard Abraham. We didn’t have a bunch of knock-your-socks off results, but kids could see legitimate improvements and positives in our program. And we recruited hard. Troy Franklin, every time he played, we were there. Central Florida wanted him bad as their lead guard. So I think it’s a collective progress. Just the whole thing at Towson has been so exciting. But know we’ve got to make some major steps. And I think these guys will make a difference.

Sun photo of Pat Kennedy by Glenn Fawcett

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:09 AM | | Comments (5)
        

May 28, 2008

Terps basketball recruiting notes

Progressive Christian Academy forward Latay Darden got some good news late last week on the academic front, according to his coach.

Now the 2008 prospect is hoping for some good news regarding where he’ll play college basketball.

“He has an unofficial visit to Maryland [Wednesday] morning. They really want him,” said Progressive Christian head coach Russell Branch. “He just went through [the NCAA] clearinghouse and was cleared. Now Indiana wants him. Marquette is also talking really good right now. They’re talking about the kid coming in and playing right away.”

Branch said Darden, a 6-foot-8 forward, averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocks and four steals per game this season for PCA, which played a schedule composed of some of the top prep school basketball teams in the country.

According to Branch, the clearinghouse issue, which involved a few classes Darden took at a school in Houston, slowed the PCA standout’s recruitment. But Branch was always confident the issue would be resolved.

“It was nothing because [Darden] knew it was going to clear regardless,” Branch said. “I’ve known the kid since he was 13 and I told him it was etched in stone [that he would get through the clearinghouse]. Sometimes it just takes awhile to clear certain kids.”

Maryland hasn’t presented Darden with an official offer just yet, but if the UM staff does tender a scholarship and Darden accepts, Branch predicts big things for the Terps.

“If they get Latay Darden, they should contend for a national championship,” Branch said. “That’s how good the kid is, and I’m not talking about offensive-wise, I’m talking about defensively. He’s 6-8 and very athletic. With Gus Gilchrist on offense and Latay Darden on defense, they should make it to the Final Four.”

After Wednesday’s meeting with the Maryland staff, Darden and Branch will discuss Darden’s options and come to a decision soon after.

“No more than three weeks,” Branch said. “Hopefully it’s Maryland.”

• It’s looking more likely that Terps commitment Jin Soo Kim will reclassify and join Maryland’s 2008 recruiting class.

According to Owen Finberg, Kim’s coach at South Kent (Conn.) School, the 6-foot-8 small forward has completed the necessary coursework to graduate from high school and be eligible to enroll as a college freshman for the 2008-09 academic year.

“[Kim’s] been handling his own situation,” Finberg said. “Once he decided what he wanted to do, I was there to support him, but I haven’t had any direct contact [with the Maryland staff recently]. He just needs to get [his SAT results back] and then he’s going to be all set.”

So how likely is it that Kim joins Maryland for its upcoming season?

“I would say it’s a very strong probability,” Finberg said.

Update: I received a report Wednesday that Darden had not been cleared by the NCAA clearinghouse. I spoke with Branch about this, and he claimed there was a mix-up with Darden's social security number and birth date on one of the forms. So, Darden hasn't been cleared just yet. Either way, Maryland hasn't offered, and probably wouldn't unless everything was settled with the clearinghouse. It's wait-and-see at this point.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:01 AM | | Comments (14)
        

May 27, 2008

Checking in with Jonathan Perry

If there were any doubts about Jonathan Perry’s ability to play quarterback at the next level, the Dunbar standout erased those thoughts two months ago in Akron, Ohio.

At Scout.com’s 7-on-7 passing tournament in March, Perry quarterbacked the Maryland team to the championship, throwing eight touchdowns in six games.

“That was fun because we played against the top juniors across the nation,” Perry said. “Logan Heastie, the wide receiver that committed to West Virginia and [W.Va. quarterback commitment] Tahj Boyd, we shut them down. People down there underestimated us because we were a lot smaller, but no team was athletic enough for us.”
perry.jpg
Since the 7-on-7 tournament, Perry and his Dunbar teammates have played host to a number of college coaches. Perry, 6 feet 3, 193 pounds, spoke with Recruiting Report recently about his recruitment.

What’s the latest on your recruiting?

UConn came down [to Dunbar] and it seems like they’re interested. Illinois has been down. I’ve just got to get bigger, improve on my grades and go to a couple college camps. And Maryland said they liked me a lot, too.

Do you think any schools might be close to offering?

I think the closest one is Connecticut. [UConn offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Rob Ambrose] came in, sized me up and said that I could play quarterback. ... But I guess I’ve got to keep my grades up. If I keep my grades up, he can keep recruiting me. He’s one of the realest coaches I’ve met. Rob Ambrose, he came in and was straightforward.

What are you doing to make sure you’re fully qualified?

I’ve been taking SAT classes. ... Hopefully I’ll just keep taking it and get a higher score. I have SAT prep every Tuesday and Thursday, so I’m just keeping my head in the books. I have a tutor. I was taking some classes at Dunbar -- we had some students from Johns Hopkins helping us out, but now I’ve got a one-on-one tutor.

Has it been fun going through the recruiting process with your teammates?

When most coaches come in, I’m in there with all those guys -- Tevin [Brown], Sean [Farr], Tavon [Austin] and Gary [Onuekwusi] -- we’ve got the big five. One of our defensive lineman is starting to hear from schools like Tennessee, James Madison. I’ve been talking to James Madison, too. But the process is just fun. It’s just like a dream, [the possibility of] just playing college football.

Has there been any talk from coaches about trying you at a position other than quarterback?

[West Virginia defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel] asked me what I would want to play in college and I told him quarterback because I’ve been playing quarterback all my life. He didn’t say any particular position, he just asked. ... I know I’ve got the ability [to play quarterback]. But as long as I’m getting on the field, I’ll go to receiver or the secondary -- as long as I’m getting a free education.

Credit: Sun photo by Kim Hairston

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Checking in with ...
        

May 23, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

The April commitment from C.J. Brown hasn’t stopped Maryland from pursuing additional 2009 quarterbacks.

According to The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier, the Terps recently offered Morgan Newton, a quarterback from the Indianapolis area.

Maryland and Florida are recent offers for QB Morgan Newton (6-5, 215) of Carmel, Ind., giving him a total of 16, including USC and Clemson. Newton said last week the Gamecocks and Tigers "probably" will make it when he cuts down his list. USC's Reaves watched Newton practice last Monday. "Hopefully, he got to see what he wanted to see," Newton said. Clemson quarterbacks coach Rob Spence visited the school earlier in the spring. Coaches from Maryland, Nebraska and Penn State came through late last week, and he has talked with Florida head coach Urban Meyer. Newton said he does not have favorites and is not planning to attend any camps this summer.

The above-linked article also contains notes on two other reported UM targets -- Gastonia, N.C., wide receiver Jheranie Boyd and Tucker, Ga., defensive lineman Deion Roberson.

• Windsor, N.C., offensive tackle Travis Bond picked up two new offers recently, one of which was from Maryland.

“Michigan and Maryland offered me, but that’s about it for right now,” he said. “I don’t have any favorites right now. This summer I’m probably going to go to five or ten one-day camps but I’m not sure where yet.”

He said he gets along with coaches from all of the schools that have recruited him so far. Michigan and Maryland join schools like North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and East Carolina to have offered Bond.

• Maryland and West Virginia are the two schools to offer Jefferson Hills, Pa., offensive tackle Pat Eger, which puts the Terps and Mountaineers in the driver’s seat.

“I got an offer from Maryland the other week,” he said. “I mean, West Virginia and Maryland are my offers right now so I’d say they’re my favorites.

• The recruitment of Edmondson athlete Carroll Washington is starting to take shape. Washington, who plays quarterback for the Red Storm, is waiting on his first offer, but has Maryland and West Virginia as his early leaders.

“Maryland is because they are recruiting me as a defensive back and I have a high chance of playing as a freshman there. West Virginia it is because of their facilities and the offense. I think I’d fit great in that offense.”

• DeMatha linebacker Raheem Caldwell told Yahoo! Sports this week that he expects his recruitment to pick up steam soon.

“I actually just got my highlight film out and should start hearing back,” he stated. “I really like Maryland, Hawaii, Virginia, Illinois and Virginia Tech. I would say Oregon and Missouri are up there.

• The latest Recruiting Spotlight video from washingtonpost.com looks at Whitman quarterback/wide receiver/defensive back Anthony Young-Wiseman, who will camp at Maryland this summer. Click here to watch the video.

Basketball links

Tyree Evans’ JUCO coach could be leaving Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College for the Mid-American Conference.

The third member of Kent State's staff has not yet been hired, but Motlow State Community College head coach Bobby Steinburg appears to be the leading candidate.

• Former Terps target Greg Echenique will get an early start on his college career at Rutgers. The St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) center recently reclassified his eligibility status from 2009 to 2008.

"Gregory had a choice of returning for a fifth year of high school or going to college and moving on to his college life and he felt like it was in his best interest to begin college and he felt like he was physically and mentally and emotionally prepared," St. Benedict's coach Dan Hurley said Tuesday by phone.

• Virginia power forward Deshawn Painter reportedly claimed a Maryland offer, but last weekend he committed to Florida.

"That relieves a lot of pressure, and now he can concentrate on improving his game," [AAU coach Boo] Williams said. "It's a good fit and a win-win for both Florida and DeShawn."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:39 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 22, 2008

Taylor will take his time with recruiting

The powers that be behind the 2009 basketball recruiting rankings have been paying attention to the improvements in Dante Taylor’s game.

After averaging 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks per game during his junior season at National Christian Academy in Fort Washington, and playing to high acclaim this spring on the AAU circuit, Taylor was recently awarded with a pair of lofty rankings courtesy of two recruiting sites.

Scout.com now has Taylor as its No. 19 player in the country, while Rivals.com ranks the 6-foot-9, 225-pounder the No. 26 player for 2009.

NCA head coach Trevor Brown said it’s tough not to notice rankings that high.

“I mean, we kind of keep up with it because he’s kind of in that McDonald’s [All-American] range,” Brown said. “To him, it’s not that big of a deal, but when you get up in that range, it kind of becomes a big deal. ... When you start getting up in the [No.] 25 range, then you start talking about things [happening] for you.”

The interest in Taylor goes beyond the recruiting services. According to Brown, so many schools have shown interest and offered scholarships that it’s been difficult to keep track.

“He has a lot of offers,” Brown said. “Maryland, Kansas, Pittsburgh, Miami, Kentucky. He’s got a lot of them -- too many to name. Pretty much most of the Big East and ACC.”

Brown said Taylor has stayed humble throughout the recruiting process, focusing more on improving his ball-handling and mid-range game than which new school has come through with an offer.

“I mean he handles [recruiting] well,” Brown said. “Most of it goes through me anyway -- I’ve been in this business for a while now. I just don’t let everybody talk to the kids and call the kids and all that. That gets kind of crazy. So if five schools call today and say they’re interested in Dante Taylor, I’ll let him know which schools they are and he’ll say ‘yes [I’m interested]’ or ‘no [I’m not].'”

While Brown handles the phone calls, Taylor will work on putting together a list of schools he’d like to visit. The visits, according to Brown, will have to be taken before Taylor arrives at a decision and makes a commitment.

“It won’t be before the end of the summer,” Brown said. “He’s going to take visits and all that. I think it’s important for kids to take visits. You just never know. You might think you like a school and that coach might sound really good on the phone. Then you go visit the school and it’s not what you thought it was. So I encourage all of them to take their visits, and it’s going to be the same for him.”

This weekend, Taylor and his NCA teammates will travel to North Carolina for the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions. NCA assistant Bob Brooks said the tournament will be another opportunity for Taylor to show scouts that their high rankings were correct.

“He’s made a big jump already,” Brooks said, “but I think he’ll keep striving to be the No. 1 guy. He just wants to keep getting better. That’s Dante.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:41 AM | | Comments (7)
        

May 21, 2008

Meet Lynetta Kizer

Lynetta Kizer doesn’t expect anything to be handed to her.

After competing for a spot on the USA Basketball Under-18 National Team next month in Colorado Springs, Colo., Kizer will join a Maryland women’s team attempting to replace the contributions of Crystal Langhorne and Laura Harper.

With those departures from the Terps’ frontcourt, playing time appears readily available. But according to Kizer, nothing is a given.

“They didn’t tell me anything as far as starting or anything,” Kizer said. “All the conversations I’ve had with the coaching staff [are about] how hard I work is going to determine the playing time. But they definitely said I was going to get minutes off the bat. But I’m just going to have to work hard to get the starting role with Drey Mingo already there and Demauria Liles coming in, so I’m just going to work hard.”

Since the winter, Kizer has done just that. She said she’s lost 27 pounds, and is getting more excited by the day to suit up for the Terps.

“Sometimes I’m kind of like, ‘I’m ready to go,’ and sometimes it’s like right around the corner, and I have to fill some big shoes,” Kizer said. “But the hard work needs to be put in now, and you can’t stop it from coming. ... I can’t wait.”

Here’s an introduction to Kizer.

Name: Lynetta Kizer
Birthdate: 4/4/90
Birthplace: Fort Belvoir, Va.
Hometown: Woodbridge, Va.
Nickname: Yah-Yah
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 232
Position: Power forward, center
High School: Potomac (Va.) High School
Senior statistics: 20.6 points, 12.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 2.5 assists and 2 steals per game
Runner-up: Duke or Rutgers
Other schools considered: North Carolina, Virginia
Favorite pro basketball player: Kevin Durant
Favorite pro basketball team: Denver Nuggets
Favorite music: Lupe Fiasco, Jay-Z, Kanye West
Favorite book: Harry Potter
Favorite movie: Four Brothers
Favorite TV show: Law and Order
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite high school class: Math -- Algebra 2
Favorite thing about College Park: “The atmosphere, the coaches and the people.”
Hobbies: “Shopping, hanging out with my friends, listening to music.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “I like to write poetry a little bit.”
Best basketball moment: “Beating Stonewall this year. I hit a game-winner to go to regionals.”
Role model: “My mom, pretty much because she works really hard.”
Why Maryland? “I want to say because they’ve kind of been there the whole time with me. They’ve been recruiting me since they showed interest in me in my eighth-grade year. They didn’t just start showing interest when everyone else started recruiting me. And the players have always kept in contact with me and they didn’t hassle me like some of the other colleges did. They kind of gave me my space throughout the whole recruiting process.”

• Click here to read a recap of Kizer's senior season.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

May 20, 2008

Checking in with Malek Redd

After rushing for 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns during his junior season, River Hill running back/slot receiver Malek Redd was optimistic that scholarship offers would begin to arrive.

That hasn’t happened yet, but the 5-foot-6, 171-pounder has taken important steps this spring to make sure the offers do eventually come through. For Redd, one of those steps took place about a week and a half ago on the campus of Rutgers.

“I just actually went to the Big Time Showcase combine up in New Jersey and I ran a 4.35, hand-timed [40],” Redd said. “I’ve been training with my coach and I’ve been running 4.3s, but I just hadn’t run it at camps. ... So I was really excited because I had the top time at the camp.”

Redd spoke with Recruiting Report recently about the importance of combine and camp experiences in his recruitment.

What’s the latest on your recruiting?

Actually, UNLV apparently is going to offer soon and I’ve been keeping in contact with West Virginia and a lot of other coaches -- Syracuse, Temple, and I actually visited Connecticut a couple weeks ago. ... I’ve also been talking to [Tony White] the linebackers coach at New Mexico.

How did New Mexico get involved in your recruitment?

Because [coach White] was at UCLA and I was at their camp last year and he was the linebackers coach. I was doing really well against the linebackers there. So he asked me for my contact info. Then he went from UCLA to New Mexico.

Do you expect to receive an offer from New Mexico?

He said that they’re kind of waiting to offer, but they’re definitely going to because they have a lot of big receivers and they need a small, speedy guy.

What have the West Virginia coaches been telling you?

I was talking to the coach at West Virginia and they just want me to come to camp. Because with guys like me, all they have to do is get the ball in my hands and I just go.

Which camps do you plan on attending this summer?

Actually, we have a whole schedule. Boston College, Syracuse, Temple, West Virginia, Virginia, Ohio State, Oregon and Akron.

Since you’re traveling to Oregon for camp, and receiving interest from New Mexico and UNLV, would you be comfortable going to a school out west?

Yeah, I’m going to go wherever it’s the best fit for me because I travel out west a lot. My stepfather’s a boxing manger and he has a lot of fighters in California.

What have coaches been saying you need to do to receive offers?

Just a lot of coaches have been talking to me and telling me they want me to come to their prospect camps. The regular camps are still teaching kids. Prospect camps are the big-time camps for top prospects that they may offer. I just want to go up against those guys.

What are the next camps on tap for you?

June 3 [I’ll be] at the Scout.com combine in Baltimore, and June 8 I’ve got the Wake Forest camp.

What are the chances that you end up at Wake Forest with River Hill teammate Michael Campanaro?

I think we’ll probably end up at separate schools. When we were freshmen and sophomores we kind of wanted to go to the same school, but now we’re just looking for the right fit for us.

Have you enjoyed the recruiting process?

I’ve enjoyed it, but I’m ready for the offers to start coming in. I’m ready to get it over with really.

Click on the YouTube player to see Redd’s junior highlights.



Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:56 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Checking in with ...
        

May 19, 2008

Towson Catholic seniors movin' on

Four seniors from Towson Catholic’s MIAA A championship basketball team will continue their playing careers next year, coach Josh Pratt said today.

Point guard Larry Bastfield signed his letter of intent with Toledo last fall, but the Rockets went through a coaching change after the season. Stan Joplin was let go, and Notre Dame assistant Gene Cross was brought in as Joplin’s replacement.

Pratt said Bastfield met with Cross, and “everything’s good” as far as the coaching change is concerned.

Pratt said he isn’t sure if 6-foot-6 forward Brandon Greene has sent in his letter of intent yet, but his plans for next year are all set.

“He’s going to Robert Morris,” Pratt said. “[RMU head coach] Mike Rice really likes him. Brandon’s really excited for school and everything else.”

Terrell Bruce, a 6-foot-4 wing, will suit up for Missouri State University-West Plains, a junior college program that went 27-5 this season and finished the season ranked as the No. 18 NJCAA team in the nation.

“They just lost a 6’4 wing guard who’s going to Minnesota, so [Terrell’s] going to step in right away and play,” Pratt said. “I think it’s a good fit for him, as well.”

Vinny Breckinridge, a 6-foot guard, will spend the next year at The Patterson School, a prep school in Lenoir, N.C.

“[Going to prep school is] what he and his family wanted to do,” Pratt said. “I think it’s a good fit for him.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:06 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 16, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

A quick scan of Penn State’s 2009 football recruiting class shows three commitments from Maryland -- Eleanor Roosevelt cornerback Derrick Thomas, and Lackey defensive backs Darrell Givens and Malcolm Willis.

The Altoona (Pa.) Mirror predicts that Willis, who was not offered by the Terps, could serve as a valuable recruiter in Maryland for the Nittany Lions.

An engaging personality, Willis might be to this year’s Nittany Lion class what Aaron Maybin was a couple of years ago -- a player who successful recruits future teammates. Even while he smiled about two of his friends joining him at Penn State, he went on to talk about how they were already trying to get others, like five-star Maryland linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

• There were two relevant Tavon Austin links this week. First, the Dunbar running back checked in with another installment of the Sun series, Recruiting Tavon Austin. In this piece, Austin recaps his time at last weekend’s Nike training camp at Penn State.

For the second link, TurtleSportsReport.com’s Jeff Ermann spoke with former UM linebacker Aaron Thompson, who is Austin’s cousin. Thompson said Austin’s not leaning anywhere right now, but the Terps are in solid shape.

“He still likes Maryland. The thing is, Maryland is home. Because Maryland is home I think that Maryland will be there to the end, because Tavon wants to be near his family and he likes coach Franklin,” said Thompson, whose Aunt is Austin’s mother.

• Fayetteville, N.C. athlete Everett Proctor has received offers from Maryland, East Carolina, N.C. State and Appalachian State, according to The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer, but only the Mountaineers have offered him as a quarterback. If Proctor decides to go the athlete route, the Terps could be in great shape.

Appalachian State is the only school to have offered a scholarship and chance to play the quarterback position, which is what Proctor would prefer to do, according to [Jack Britt head coach Richard] Bailey. But Illinois, Georgia Tech and West Virginia are also considering him as a quarterback prospect. ...

Despite all the attention from other schools, Maryland remains as Proctor’s favorite. He grew up following the Terps and his father works in Washington, D.C.

• The stock of Tuscarora cornerback Dominic Clarke continues to rise. Clarke, who has offers from Maryland, Virginia, Navy and Richmond, spoke to Yahoo! Sports about his recruitment this week.

“I think Ohio State might be offering me soon, they really like me a lot,” he said. “If they offered that would be big. They are a name that speaks for itself.

“The Stanford coaches have come by the school as well. I’m also hearing from Connecticut, Rutgers and Duke.”

Later in the week, Clarke did pick up a Buckeyes offer, in addition to one from Boston College.

The Washington Post’s latest Recruiting Spotlight video looks at Gaithersburg defensive end Sean Stanley, who sports offers from Maryland, Illinois, Michigan, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and West Virginia among others. Click here to see the video.

Basketball links

Sean Mosley’s still working hard to become academically qualified for Maryland, so The Diamondback checked in on his progress.

Mosley said he initially struggled with his test-taking skills and remembering basic algebra - which he hasn't studied in several years - more than anything. He worked with several teachers from St. Frances on developing his process-of-elimination skills.

"I just tried to find different ways to get to the answers," Mosley said.

ESPN.com had scouts on hand for last weekend’s Southern Invitational Tournament on the campus of the University of Virginia, and Terps power forward target Dante Taylor was one of the event’s standout performers.

Dante Taylor had 17 points in the quarterfinals and the semis; he showed great mobility and athleticism for a big man. Taylor has the ability to use the spin move to get to the rim on the baseline. He displayed great footwork on the drop step and up-and-under moves in the paint. Taylor is a long 6-9, and he does a fine job challenging shots and crashing the glass. He has soft touch from the midrange and has even shown the ability to hit the occasional 3.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:46 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 15, 2008

Meet Jackie Nared

Reality is setting in for Maryland women's commitment Jackie Nared.

About two months from now, Nared will make the 2,800-mile move from Beaverton, Ore., to College Park to begin her college basketball career.

In anticipation of her transition from high school to college, Nared's been hitting the weight room with Brenda Frese's workout program as her guide.

"I’m getting a little cut," Nared said. "My arms are getting stronger and I’ve gained a couple of pounds. ... It’s hard, but I’ve got to get ready."

Here's an introduction to Nared.

Name: Jacklin Nared
Birthdate: 8/20/90
Birthplace: Baltimore
Hometown: Silver Spring and Portland, Ore.
Nickname: Jackie
Height: 6’1
Weight: 150
Position: Forward
High School: Westview
Senior statistics: 23 points, 14 rebounds and four assists
Runner-up: San Diego State
Other schools considered: Gonzaga, Cal, Pepperdine
Favorite pro basketball player: Lisa Leslie
Favorite pro basketball team: Detroit Shock
Favorite music: Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne
Favorite book: The Color Purple by Alice Walker
Favorite movie: Love and Basketball
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Burritos from Chipotle
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “I just like everything. It seems like a fun place."
Other high school sports: Volleyball (freshman and sophomore)
Hobbies: ""Basketball, shopping, hanging out with friends, going to movies, going bowling."
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “That I like to cook. Breakfast food like pancakes, eggs and bacon.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably my sophomore year when I made the winning shot in a game against Century."
Role model: “My mom, probably, just because she’s a strong person and I just respect her a lot.”
Why Maryland? “Well, my family’s in Maryland. The ACC, it’s big time. Both my parents went there. It's like it was just calling my name when I was on my visit. There’s nowhere else I could want to go."

• Click here to read a profile of Nared.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:26 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

May 14, 2008

Campanaro hits the combine circuit

Things are just a little different now for River Hill athlete Michael Campanaro.

After verbally committing to Wake Forest last month, Campanaro sent e-mails to all the other coaches recruiting him, informing them of his decision and thanking them for their time.

So now, when college coaches come to River Hill, a visit with Campanaro isn’t on the agenda.

“A lot of coaches come by the school and stuff, and I'm always with my buddies [safety Leron Eaddy and running back Malek Redd], but I'm not getting pulled out of class anymore because I'm already committed.”
campanaro.jpg
While recruiting is over for Campanaro, one part of his life that remains unchanged since he became a Demon Deacon is his participation in any nearby combine or training camp. Last weekend, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder squeezed two events into his busy schedule.

“First we went to Rutgers for the [Big Time] Showcase and it was pretty fun,” said Campanaro, who rushed for 1,884 yards and scored 30 total touchdowns as a junior. “We just ran a 40 and then got to do one-on-one stuff. It was fun to be out there with the lights on.

“Then Saturday I was at the Nike camp [at Penn State]. I felt like I performed very well -- it was one of my best camps.”

Campanaro ran a 4.41 hand-timed 40 at Rutgers, which wasn’t a personal best, but a satisfying time nonetheless.

“I've done better than that,” Campanaro said, “but I would say I was pretty happy with it because I've put on more weight. I'm up to 180, so [I’ve put on] probably about a good 10, 12 pounds.”

While many prospects turn out for combines to get noticed by coaches, that’s obviously not the intent for Campanaro. Instead, he uses the platform to measure his game against other top wideouts and go toe-to-toe with some of the country’s top defensive backs.

“I think [I attend the camps to] just try to make myself get better, and just compete against the top guys on the East Coast and across the nation,” Campanaro said. “I just want to keep competing to make myself better. Before I know it, I'll be playing Division I football and everyone’s going to be really good -- bigger, stronger, faster -- so it's good going up against some of the top guys in the nation.”

Campanaro, who chose the Demon Deacons over North Carolina and Northwestern among others, said making his commitment so early in the process wasn’t a difficult decision. A few visits to Wake was all it took to convince The Sun’s Howard County offensive player of the year that Winston Salem, N.C. was the place for him.

“I think after I sat down with my family, I knew what offers were coming in and what schools were looking at me,” Campanaro said. “And I figured if I had these offers from these schools, would Wake still be the school? And I thought if I had Wake and all the offers in the country, Wake would still be the school.”

Now Campanaro, who will primarily play slot receiver in college, is trying to convince other area prospects that Wake Forest could be the right school from them as well.

“I'm starting to recruit myself and get some guys interested in Wake and helping out a little bit,” Campanaro said. “I know a few Maryland guys that I'd like to come down, get them down to camp. ... And guys I see on Wake's [Rivals and Scout sites], I'll hit them up on Facebook or something to see what they're thinking.”

Before attending Wake's camp this summer, Campanaro has a few more combines on tap for the spring. He’ll also suit up for River Hill’s 7-on-7 team.

While he’s entirely focused on his senior season at River Hill, Campanaro said he’s excited to go from one tight-knit football family to another.

“Right when I committed [to Wake Forest], all the coaches and players, they kind of brought me in and welcomed me to the family,” Campanaro said. “They really pride themselves on being a family and I already feel like a part of it.”

Credit: Sun photo of Michael Campanaro by Doug Kapustin

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 13, 2008

Checking in with Tevin Brown

There’s an early favorite in the recruitment of Dunbar linebacker Tevin Brown.

Brown, who recorded 134 tackles, seven interceptions, five forced fumbles and six sacks during the Poets’ run to the 1A state title, is currently receiving interest from West Virginia, Akron, James Madison, Delaware State, Bowie State and Morgan State.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder is still waiting for his first offer, but in a month and a half, he’ll have an opportunity to state his case for a scholarship on the campus of the school he currently favors.

Brown spoke with Recruiting Report recently about that school and his recruitment.

tevinbrown.jpg

Brown sacks Fort Hill quarterback Rich Shook during the second quarter of the 1A state championship game / AP photo by Gail Burton

Do you plan on going to any camps this summer?

West Virginia. They want me to come down June 29, see my size, how I move on the field and see what position I'd actually play in college. Right now they’re not sure if I could play outside linebacker or strong safety. [They’ve seen me] on film -- now they just want to see me in person.

Do you have plans to visit any other schools?

I do have plans to visit [Akron]. They're just telling me they’re interested and that I could [possibly] be a part of their program. But right now my favorite school out of all these is West Virginia.

Have you visited West Virginia yet?

Me, [Dunbar running back] Tavon Austin and [Dunbar quarterback] Jonathan Perry went down there. We went -- I don't remember the exact day -- but it was for the Junior Day.

What do you like best about West Virginia?

I like their athletic program. I also like the players and the atmosphere as far as academics and athletics. The facilities were nice and the coaching staff too -- they talked to you and made me very interested in coming down there [for camp]. I also heard from the students that it's a good academic school, because I want to go to school for physical education. It's easy to adapt to.

How helpful has it been going through the recruiting process with your teammates?

It’s been helpful. ... Tavon is doing it for all of us. He opened up the door for all of us. We never would've expected some of these schools to step foot in Baltimore. He opened the door for the whole team. And not only us, but all of Baltimore. All the big Division I schools are coming through. And I'm very thankful for that.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:30 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Checking in with ...
        

May 12, 2008

Weekend wrap

It was a good weekend in Maryland for football recruiting ... if you’re a Penn State fan.

On Saturday, Lackey cornerback Darrell Givens switched his commitment from Ohio State to the Nittany Lions.

Givens, whose teammate at Lackey High School, Malcolm Willis, committed to Penn State on April 29, had chosen Ohio State, but de-committed from the Buckeyes and chose the Nittany Lions over offers from Florida, Michigan and Oregon among others.

Then last night, Eleanor Roosevelt cornerback Derrick Thomas also pledged to PSU.

The 6-foot, 175-pounder is the third DB to announce for the Lions in as many days and fourth secondary player overall to pick Penn State.

He attended the PSU Nike Camp Saturday.

• Quince Orchard defensive tackle Terrence Stephens announced his verbal commitment to Stanford on Friday. The 6-foot-2, 280-pounder, who chose the Cardinal over offers from Maryland, Nebraska, NC State, Penn State, Syracuse, UConn and West Virginia, told Scout.com that Stanford’s education was a major factor in his decision.

“My mother is a single parent, so she obviously had to face the fact that she knows I’m leaving and leaving soon now which was understandably hard for here, but she is very happy in my choice and happy that I’m going to be happy, so I really appreciated that from here,” Stephens explained. “She was thrilled with the education that I’ll be receiving at Stanford above everything else and also really liked the coaching staff. She knew the opportunity for me coming out of Stanford was top-notch and that nothing else compared to it. My mother knew I was making a good choice.”

• Switching to basketball recruiting, ZagsBlog reports that Plainfield, N.J. point guard Isaiah Epps picked up an offer from Pittsburgh recently. In that update, Plainfield head coach Pete Vasil mentions Maryland’s interest in Epps.

The 6-2 Epps already holds offers from Maryland, Rutgers and Seton Hall, with Maryland head coach Gary Williams telling Vasil he's targeting Epps as his guard of the future out of the Class of 2010.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:21 AM | | Comments (0)
        

May 9, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

The story of Maryland shooting guard signee Tyree Evans went national this week.

On Monday, SI.com took a closer look at Evans’ criminal history.

The Sun followed that story up yesterday with the revelation that Evans hasn’t been admitted to the university yet.

Today, Childs Walker took a look at other athletes with troubled pasts that were given another chance in college, while Rick Maese penned a column explaining why Gary Williams’ recruitment of Evans shows that he’s playing with a new rulebook.

• Former Terps shooting guard target Chris Turner has finally found a home. The former Oregon State commitment signed with East Carolina yesterday.

"Chris is an energizing addition to Pirate Basketball," said [ECU head coach Mack] McCarthy. "He gives us a dimension that we lack--someone who creates his own scoring opportunities. An outstanding athlete, Chris will make an immediate impact on the East Carolina program. We welcome him to our basketball family."

• Walbrook sophomore Roscoe Smith has decided to focus on academics this spring, while continuing to pick up scholarship offers.

Scholarship offers keep coming to Walbrook sophomore All-Metro forward Roscoe Smith, who is not playing Amateur Athletic Union basketball right now so he can concentrate on academics and his SAT score. Smith has received scholarship offers from schools that include Maryland, Georgetown, Florida State, Texas, Kansas, North Carolina, Xavier, Connecticut and Duke.

TurtleSportsReport.com took a look this week at a DC-area prospect that could be 'the next big thing.'

Jordan Goodman is a 6-foot-8 wing player from Bowie who is currently developing his game while playing with the D.C. Assault AAU program. Goodman, who will be a freshman at Rockville High this fall, has been compared to local product and former all-American DerMarr Johnson at the same stage.

• Maryland women’s signee Lynetta Kizer was named to Virginia’s AAA all-state team this week, while UM women’s target Tierra Ruffin-Pratt was honored as the state’s Player of the Year.

Pratt was chosen in balloting by a panel of sports writers from around the state. She averaged 26 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in leading her team to a 22-1 record.

Football recruiting

• Maryland signed wide receiver Kerry Boykins from Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va., in February. Now the Terps are hoping to land his teammate, linebacker Jerod Askew, who has already visited College Park for a Junior Day.

"I liked Maryland's facilities," said Askew. "The coaches were great and the players were excellent. We talked to them about how the school is and what it was like playing there.

• South Carolina offensive lineman Brandon Thomas told The [Charleston, S.C.] Post and Courier that South Carolina, Clemson and North Carolina are his leaders, but he’ll visit College Park before making his decision.

Recruiters from USC, North Carolina and N.C. State visited Dorman last week to check on OL Brandon Thomas (6-4, 286), and he's expecting Clemson this week. Thomas nearly committed to Clemson last month. "I did feel that way because I thought I was going to have to make my decision early," Thomas said. But he now plans to take official visits to Clemson, USC, North Carolina, Maryland and Vanderbilt before deciding.

• Terps fans with the sports package on Direct TV will be able to take an early look at UM quarterback commitment C.J. Brown this fall thanks to Fox Sports Pittsburgh's high school football telecasts.

FSN's fourth season of Thursday night high school football telecasts opens with Seneca Valley and quarterback C.J. Brown, who's committed to Maryland, playing host to Erie McDowell on Sept. 4.

• North Dartmouth (Mass.) tight end and UM target Arthur Fontaine ended his recruitment this week by verbally committing to Boston College.

“It’s a great opportunity for him to play at a very good school,” said Dartmouth coach Richard White. “The family (his sister attends BC and the mother is a BC grad) has a chance to be involved in watching him play. This is a great for program, we have a group of kids who are very talented.”

• This link is a little dated, but New Jersey linebacker Ka'Lial Glaud has already visited College Park and liked what he saw.

One of the few schools that he's already visited is Maryland. "It's a great atmosphere there," he said. "They have a great family bond and the coaches are cool. We just talked about stuff and not just football.

"I also really like the facilities and campus at Maryland," he said.

• DeMatha quarterback Tom Chroniger picked up his first scholarship offer this week, according to Yahoo Sports.

“I got an offer from Eastern Michigan,” he said. “The big people I’m also talking to are Illinois, Maryland, Georgia, North Carolina, Wake Forest and Pittsburgh.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:47 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 8, 2008

Patsos talks Loyola's 2008 class

Loyola head coach Jimmy Patsos can clearly see the difference on the recruiting trail.

When the former Maryland assistant came to Baltimore four years ago to take over the moribund Greyhounds program, recruiting players to a team that had won just one game the previous season was more than a bit challenging.

But after leading Loyola to three straight winning seasons, Patsos was able to assemble the biggest -- and probably the most highly touted -- recruiting class of his Greyhounds tenure.

Patsos announced the signing of five players to Loyola’s 2008 recruiting class yesterday. After the announcement, Patsos spoke with Recruiting Report about the class.

patsos.jpg

You’re obviously replacing a senior class that did great things for Loyola. How do you think this incoming class will do in filling the void of those departing seniors?

To start with, we have a guy who redshirted last year named Jamal Barney. He went to Southwestern High School and he attended Providence for one year. He’s been enrolled for a year. So he can play next year. He will be a sophomore, but he’s our most important recruit because he’s taking Gerald Brown’s place. So you’ve got to start with him because he has three years left. ... That’s where the mid-major level has changed. I look at transfers as recruits. He’s done well academically and he’s happy to be home.

Our freshman class, we just got our last commitment and we’re super excited about it -- Anthony Winbush (a 6-foot-7 forward). He was the MVP of the state tournament in Virginia. He went to TC Williams [in Alexandria, Va.] of Remember the Titans. We had to beat out VCU, St. Louis, LaSalle, some other A10 schools. I’ve never put a lot of faith in freshmen turning around a program. But Barney we will rely on, and Winbush was the most highly touted recruit [of the class]. He’s good because he can play like three positions. He can play a little inside and a little out. And he can run.

The next player we got is Jhared Hall (a 6-foot-2 guard), and he’s from Blessed Sacrament in [New Rochelle, N.Y.] He averaged almost 30 points [per game] up there. He’s a scorer and he just played great in a postseason tournament [in New York called] the Wheelchair Classic. Hopefully he can learn from (rising senior guard and Archbishop Spalding grad) Marquis Sullivan how to be that scorer.

The next two recruits are a little bit of projects. Paolo Ivis, (a 6-foot-7 forward), he’s from Croatia. We learned about him from the same people as [former Loyola player] Josko Alujevic. [Ivis] played [at The Sagemont School in Weston, Fla.] this past year. The best thing about freshmen is they become sophomores, and Paolo will have a big learning curve. He’s only been [in the U.S.] a year. The Croatia region has always put out a ton of guys that know how to play. They’ve got a bunch of pros, so we’re really excited about Paolo.

Joe Joe Muvana, he’s from Rwanda. Very thin. He will redshirt for us. He’s 6’10, long, skinny and can run. He’s got a good upside. He comes from Worcester (Mass.) Academy -- (graduating Greyhounds senior) Hassan Fofana is from the Worcester area, and that area has always produced good players.

The last guy we got is (6-foot-9 forward/center) Josh Wiegand, who’s from John Carroll in Bel Air. He’s going to be good. He’s got good upside. He handled himself pretty well this year on a John Carroll team that was pretty good.

What can you say about Loyola’s efforts in recruiting the area, and how will the new guys mix with the veterans?

I’m excited about [Wiegand] as a local kid. Barney’s from the city of Baltimore, Winbush is from the DC area. Jhared’s from New York, where we play a lot, but we’re excited. The success of our season will depend on our senior Marquis Sullivan, (sophomore guard) Brian Rudolph and (junior guard) Brett Harvey. They’re our backcourt that’s all coming back. If they can teach these young guys, we’ll be in good shape. We’ve established ourselves as a winning program. We’re going to miss Gerald Brown -- he had a knack for winning. He had that Baltimore toughness. So we’re going to have to replicate that.

But we’re excited. We’ve never gotten this many recruits before. We were so bad for a while, so I think that our senior class that leaves -- [Omari] Isreal, [Hassan] Fofana, [Gerald] Brown and [Michael] Tuck -- those four guys showed Loyola how to win at basketball. Without those guys, you don’t get these [new recruits]. Three years ago, I’m not sure if we get them to come to Loyola.

What do you expect from Wiegand?

I like him. I just think he’s got a big upside. He played like 20 minutes a game at John Carroll. I think his better days are ahead of him. [John Carroll head coach] Tony Martin came in and took that program over that now they’re a force to be reckoned with. But I just like Josh. He’s a tough kid, got some good size, knows how to play. His family comes to all the games. I’m glad we have a local kid that fits so well at Loyola. If he didn’t play basketball, he’d probably still come to Loyola. He’s a great student. He’s got a little Bill Laimbeer in him, to be honest. He’s got some toughness. He’s got that size -- you bang into him and notice him.

Talk about how you landed Winbush.

VCU, LaSalle and St. Louis and us. Three years ago we would’ve been laughed at. We recruited him from November until April. We recruited him the whole year. [Loyola assistant] G.G. Smith did a great job. We just hung in there. The kid’s mother loved the school. He picked the school for academic reasons and basketball reasons, and I’m really happy about that. He was interested in the whole picture. He talked about our loyalty to him. And MASN’s really helped us out. He’s seen us play on TV. They’ve given us a lot of exposure.

Which of the newcomers will you expect to contribute immediately?

Barney’s the biggest and Winbush and Hall will play. And I think Josh Wiegand is going to play. I expect him to play and contribute. Joe Joe, I’ll tell you right now, we’re going to redshirt him, and Paolo is yet to be determined because he’s only been here a year. There’s a big adjustment coming from high school to college. ... But we have some good guys coming back. Jawaan Wright, he played here for two years, but we had so many inside players last year that he sat out -- he’s going to get his MBA -- but he’s back.

I’m really excited for practice because we have like 10 guys going for spots. It’s the most excited I’ll be for practice in four years. There are a lot of new guys and a lot of veteran guys competing for spots.

Sun photo of Jimmy Patsos by Kim Hairston

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:53 AM | | Comments (0)
        

May 7, 2008

Bobby Maze finds a home

Former Terps point guard commitment Bobby Maze is off the market.

The Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College standout and Suitland native committed to Tennessee today, according to GoVolsXtra.com.

"Stevie Wonder could see this is where I needed to be," said Maze, who transferred from Oklahoma to Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College last year. "They’ve called me 'The Solution' here, so you do the equation: what better place could I be?"

Maze's coach at HCC, Ryan Swanson, was an assistant under UT head coach Bruce Pearl at Wisconsin-Milwaukee for two years.

Maze picked the Volunteers over reported offers from Cincinnati, Kentucky, Southern Cal, St. John's and Wichita State.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:44 PM | | Comments (2)
        

Terps after multiple Roosevelt standouts

During his seven years as the head coach of the Surrattsville football team, Tom Green had one player sign with a Division I school -- future Maryland running back Davin Meggett.

After leading the Hornets to their best season in school history last fall, Green was hired as head coach at Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt in February. At ERHS, Green expects “between six and eight” of his rising seniors to sign DI letters of intent come Signing Day.

“A lot more coaches come to [Roosevelt] on a daily basis,” Green said. “I would still get the same coaches to come through [Surrattsville], but they’re just spending a lot more time with me visiting. But like I always tell my players, coaches don’t get kids scholarships -- kids get kids scholarships. Kids playing football well and being prepared academically, that’s what gets kids scholarships.”

Three Raiders in particular have drawn college coaches to Roosevelt this year -- cornerback Derrick Thomas, defensive end Isaiah Ross and cornerback Stephon Morris.

The most heavily recruited Raider thus far has been Thomas, who claims offers from Maryland, Illinois, Penn State and Rutgers.

“His versatility -- I think the biggest thing with him is you can use him in so many places,” Green said. “Him being 6 foot and a half, that allows him to play safety or corner. He has very good [football instincts] and speed, so you could play him at receiver or in the slot. [Schools] know if they recruit him they can use him at any one of those positions.”

Ross was offered a scholarship by Maryland last week, his first offer so far.

“With Isaiah, because he’s so explosive at the point of attack, he can play at inside ‘backer,” Green said. “And he’s strong enough that he can put his hands down and play defensive end.”

Morris sports an offer from Penn State, while Maryland and many others have shown interest.

“Morris’ thing is that he’s very quick,” Green said. “He’s only 5’8 and some change, so I think that was probably some of the hold up on a few schools that didn’t offer him early. But Penn State looked at his tape and saw that he ran so well and has great hips [to play] cornerback.”

Green said he thinks Thomas, Ross and Morris will all let their recruitments play out a bit before making their choices.

“With these guys, they’re so well schooled in the recruiting process, that a lot of these guys are going to visit the schools in the summer, go to some one-day camps, and then feel them out to see where they want to go to college.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:57 AM | | Comments (0)
        

May 6, 2008

Brown talks Mount's 2008 class

Winning the Northeast Conference championship and playing in the NCAA tournament has made things a bit easier on the recruiting trail for Mount St. Mary’s head coach Milan Brown.

Last week, Brown announced the signing of two players for Mount’s 2008 class, Philadelphia point guard Lamar Trice and Emporia, Va. forward Jacolby Wells.

Trice, a third team All-Philadelphia Public League selection, averaged eight points, eight assists and three steals per game for Ihmotep Charter, while Wells, who made Virginia’s AA All-State first team, averaged 15 points, nine rebounds and five blocks during his senior season.

Brown was kind enough to discuss Mount’s 2008 class with Recruiting Report last week.

Did you notice a difference in recruiting before your season and after? Was it easier convincing kids to come to Mount St. Mary’s after making the NCAA tournament?

We do try to hopefully get kids early and get them in the fold, but if it works out where we have to wait to the spring, we’ll wait. But we actually had that verbal commitment in the fall from Lamar Trice, the point guard from Philadelphia. So we just signed two kids late, but Jacolby Wells, actually verbally committed in the midst of us making the run. So I guess that the publicity helped in getting him. Because of where we are and the size of our school, the publicity has actually helped all of our programs ... and the entire university.

brown.jpg

Did your postseason success help convince Wells to sign on?

He actually visited us early in September and waited until the spring to sign. Obviously, us making the push late into the NCAA tournament was the deciding factor in his saying, ‘this is where I want to go to school.’ It’s always good as a coach when I can say, ‘did you see us on TV three or four times?’ And he says, ‘yeah coach, we watched you play.’ It’s always good when you don’t need cable to watch us play. [The tournament berth was] definitely something that helped us keep his mind at ease. He liked our staff, our players, our situation -- part of it was just going away from home and just people in his ear telling him to wait and that he could go someplace bigger. The [tournament] push made him realize that we can do something big at our place. You don’t need to go to prep school. Come here and do something special with us. It opened his eyes. You can be a part of something special, and play and be a huge part of it. Not just watch from the sidelines because you’re at the bigger place, just because another mid-major or high-major needed another 6’7 or 6’8 kid.

What will Wells bring to your program?

He’s going to bring some ability to block shots and give us depth to our frontcourt with another athletic body. His best basketball is definitely ahead of him. It’s just a matter of when everything is going to click because he can score with his back to the basket, but he can also face up and play. He’s got a nice jump shot. It’s just a matter of whether it will all come together in November or later in the year, or whether it will take him a year. But he gives us another athletic 6’7, 6’8 player that can get out and run, finish in transition [and play] above the rim -- something that we definitely need.

What do you expect from Trice?

He’s a true point guard and he’s very quick. He’s going to enable us to continue to play up-tempo basketball and hopefully give the opposition no breaks when Jeremy Goode goes out. [He'll be] someone on the heels of being as quick as the point guards we already have. He’s going to continue to play up-tempo basketball. And he’ll bring a good basketball IQ at the point guard position, which is very important. His ability to beat people off the dribble is definitely going to be needed, because it will come from someone besides Jeremy. Now other teams have to worry about someone else.

Are recruits recognizing the Mount St. Mary’s name more since your NCAA tournament appearance?

Recruiting’s never easy on our end. ... When we go and see players, if they look and see our shirts, they might say, ‘hey, I just saw you play,’ rather than, ‘where exactly are you?’ It’s helped out in just giving us a little more leverage in trying to do things the right way and [it shows] we also can win championships. When you’re one of the last ones standing and you can actually have proof that you cut down the nets, kids want to be a part of that. It’s definitely given us some leverage and we’re hopeful we’re going to ride the wave when we can, be successful and hopefully do it again.

Sun photo of Milan Brown by Gene Sweeney Jr.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:51 AM | | Comments (0)
        

May 5, 2008

Weekend hoops wrap

The link of the weekend comes from The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch, which profiled Terps shooting guard signee Tyree Evans.

The profile takes an in-depth look at Evans’ upbringing in Richmond, and his time at Motlow State (Tenn.) Community College. Pasting portions of the article here wouldn’t do the piece justice, so click here to read the entire story.

Bruce Pearl’s dismissal of point guard Ramar Smith and forward Duke Crews from Tennessee has opened a spot in the Volunteers’ backcourt for former Terps commitment Bobby Maze. According to GoVolsXtra.com, UT has made Maze a priority.

Bobby Maze, a former Oklahoma starter now at Hutchinson (Kan.) Community College, appears to be the top target.

But with Cincinnati and Kentucky also in the mix for Maze's services, there's no guarantee the Vols will start next season with two true point guards.

• Oxon Hill native Maurice Creek, a one-time Maryland target, took himself off the market this weekend. Creek, a teammate of Jin Soo Kim at South Kent (Conn.) School, verbally committed to Indiana yesterday. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard committed to Tom Crean’s Hoosiers without ever having been to the state of Indiana, according to The [Louisville, Ky.] Courier-Journal.

IU assistant coach Bennie Seltzer, who was on Crean's Marquette staff when the Golden Eagles were recruiting Creek, told the player Crean still wanted him.

"That's really all I needed to hear," Creek said. "I wanted to play for Coach Crean, and I didn't see any reason to wait any longer before I committed.

• Former St. Frances guard Naji Hibbert verbally committed to Texas A&M today, according to Scout.com. The DeMatha standout and Baltimore native picked the Aggies over reported offers from Xavier, Clemson, Marist, Marquette and Miami (Fla.), among several others.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:17 PM | | Comments (2)
        

May 3, 2008

New Terps women’s target

The Maryland women’s basketball team will welcome one Riverdale Baptist product (Dee Liles) onto its roster for the 2008-09 season.

For the following season, coach Brenda Frese hopes to add another prospect from the Upper Marlboro school.

Tianna Hawkins, a 6-foot-3 junior forward/center, picked up a Terps offer last weekend during a visit to College Park, according to Keith Lynch, an assistant with Riverdale Baptist and coach of the Fairfax (Va.) Stars AAU program.

Lynch said Hawkins also has offers from Georgetown, George Washington, Wake Forest, Delaware, Delaware State, Miami and Florida.

“Maryland is definitely a top school she’s looking at,” Lynch said. “... She really enjoyed the visit.”

Hawkins averaged 15.8 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks per game for Riverdale Baptist during her junior season. Lynch said she’s constantly improving her game.

“She has a real nice outside shot -- she can hit the 3,” Lynch said. “She’s very athletic. Her jumping ability is amazing. She can grab the rim. She’s very competitive.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:28 AM | | Comments (2)
        

May 2, 2008

Weekly recruiting roundup

I’ve stubbornly held off from writing anything about 2010 basketball recruiting for Maryland, but with AAU season in full swing and new offers going out to several prospects, it’s probably time to give in.

This week, Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog has updates on two sophomores with Terps offers. One of those prospects is Dix Hills, N.Y. swingman Tobias Harris, who has plenty of early options.

A slew of schools have already offered Harris, with Rutgers being the first. UConn, Maryland, Arizona, Virginia Tech and Indiana previously offered, according to Torrel Harris, Tobias's father and coach of his Unique All-Stars AAU club.

Zagoria also updates the recruitment of Plainfield, N.J. point guard Isaiah Epps, who was recently offered by Maryland.

"He was formally offered a schollie by Gary Williams," Plainfield coach Pete Vasil said Monday. "Both assistants are supposed to come tomorrow morning for a visit. This is the guard they've targeted in the Class of 2010. They're looking for him to play major minutes.

• The Bobby Maze watch continues, and ZagsBlog has the latest.

"Bobby is visiting Cincinnati this weekend, Kentucky the weekend after that," Hutchison (Kan.) Community College coach Ryan Swanson said by email. "No visit has been set yet for St. John's."

• Former Terps target Ater Majok ended his recruitment this week. The one-time Baylor commitment picked Connecticut over Kentucky, Kansas and a host of others.

The 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward from the Heat Basketball Academy in Virginia picked the Huskies after careful deliberation. HBA coach Jason Niblett confirmed the news with Rivals.com.

"He felt at home and he wants a chance to win a national championship," Niblett said. "I think he felt like [UConn] was the best fit for him."

Football recruiting

• In the third installment of The Sun series, Recruiting Tavon Austin, the Dunbar running back talks about picking up an offer from Georgia, and the possibility of playing in the SEC.

The SEC is known for producing some of the best NFL-ready players, and I think it's one of the strongest conferences in college football. I'm not really worrying about any of that, though. I want to choose a school based on how I feel and where I feel the most comfortable.

The Washington Post’s latest installment of Recruiting Spotlight looks at Quince Orchard defensive tackle Terrence Stephens. According to The Post, Stephens sports offers from Maryland, Nebraska, Stanford, West Virginia, Syracuse, N.C. State, Connecticut and Penn State. Click here to see the video.

The Post’s Josh Barr checked in with Roosevelt (D.C.) head coach Daryl Tilghman this week for an update on defensive end prospect Darin Drakeford. According to Tilghman, the Terps look increasingly favorable to Drakeford.

"At first, I thought he was lukewarm toward Maryland, but after they talked he kind of had a different look at Maryland and is getting a little more interested," Tilghman said of the 6-1, 210-pound Drakeford, who is projected as a rush linebacker with about 20-25 more pounds on his frame. "I know he's going to their camp this summer."

• Newark (Del.) Hodgson Vo-Tech twins Jamil Merrell, a defensive lineman, and Jamal Merrell, a wide receiver, told Yahoo! Sports that they plan on visiting College Park this summer.

“We’re going to Rutgers and Maryland. We plan on going to Florida State, Tennessee and maybe West Virginia. We’ll probably have a favorite school after visiting those over the summer.”

• Virginia Beach (Va.) Landstown running back Sterlin Phifer made a recent visit to Maryland. The Terps haven’t extended an offer, but Phifer considers UM one of the leaders in his recruitment.

“It was a good visit there too,” he said. “I’ve been there a number of times and it was nothing different. I got to talk to Coach Brattan. They want me to come to camp and then they’ll probably offer.”

Currently Maryland and West Virginia are two of four schools leading for Phifer.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:53 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 1, 2008

Checking in with Terence Garvin

Last month, Loyola safety Terence Garvin saw his Dons teammate, quarterback Leon Kinnard, end his recruiting process by offering a verbal commitment to UConn.

If Garvin has his way, he’ll join Kinnard as a committed Division I prospect sooner rather than later.

“We’re probably going to go to camps [this summer],” Garvin said. “I got invited to the combine at Penn State. [I could do camps at] Maryland and West Virginia, but that’s if I’m not committed yet. I would like to be committed before the summer, but that’s depending on where I’m going.”

Garvin, 6 feet 2, 210 pounds, sports offers from the Terps and Mountaineers. Garvin spoke with Recruiting Report recently about his recruitment.

What do you like about West Virginia?

Well the coach was telling me he runs a defense called the 3-3-5 defense, and that kind of caught my attention because he was saying three safeties play on the field at the same time. And he said he likes my size and I’d be able to blitz a lot. I know traditionally they’re pretty good. They’re bringing in a lot of [commitments so far].

What other schools have you heard from?

Syracuse is talking to me a lot and North Carolina State. Syracuse, their [running backs] coach [Randy Trivers] was at our school [Tuesday]. And he was saying I’m pretty close to getting offered by them. They like me. They like me more as an outside linebacker type, or at free safety.

What stood out about your visit to Syracuse?

I went up there a couple weeks ago. I like their history. I saw Heisman trophies for the first time up there -- it was Ernie Davis’ trophy. It was pretty nice. They've got a whole lot of history with Jim Brown and everything. And The [Carrier] Dome was kind of nice.

How was your visit to Maryland for the spring game last weekend?

It was very enjoyable. That was the first time I’ve ever seen them play at the field. It wasn’t completely packed, but you could see the atmosphere. It gets kind of loud out there if it does get packed. And the field is pretty nice, too. They’re reconstructing stuff so it’s going to get bigger, so I kind of like that.

Who is recruiting you for Maryland?

[Maryland defensive coordinator] Chris Cosh. He’s a real person -- he tells you what’s really going to happen. He kind of likes my size. I’d have a chance at being a strong safety, maybe an outside linebacker, but [I’d play] more of a safety position.

What’s next for your recruitment? Is any school standing out?

I’m just trying to see the right place where I can be. I’ve been up to Maryland a whole lot, and right now, I like it a lot up there. But I have to visit West Virginia, and I like Syracuse. North Carolina State, I’ve never been there, but I’m supposed to visit. But I like Maryland a lot right now.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:31 AM | | Comments (0)
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About Matt Bracken

Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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