baltimoresun.com

« July 2009 | Main | September 2009 »

August 31, 2009

Weekend wrap — Big game for Burns

The first game of Devin Burns' senior season couldn’t have gone much better.

The Maryland quarterback commitment was “nearly flawless” in Carver (Ga.) High’s 34-6 win over Spencer on Friday.

Burns completed eight of his 10 passes for 91 yards and a touchdown in the first half, earning the Wallace Davis Hustle Award, which is given to Carver’s MVP each year.

• Maryland tight end recruit Nermin Delic made a key play on defense in Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) High’s 32-20 win over Southeast.

Darnell’s first touchdown came on a redeeming drive for the offense after the Bruins turned the ball over on downs at the Southeast 26 on the game’s opening possession. McCutchen fumbled after a short run on the first play when the Raiders took over and Bruins defensive end Nermin Delic was there to hand the ball back to his teammates.

“I actually got double-teamed and I was kicked out, spinning my way out of it,” Delic said. “I saw the ball and I was going to pick it up and run with it, but I did the safe thing and just jumped on it.”

Basketball recruiting

• Dix Hills, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris took a trip to College Park this weekend.

“I went unofficially,” he wrote in a text. “My older brother lives in Virginia so I was down with him. It went good.”

Harris participated in a few pickup games on the trip, according to GothamHoops.com. (Credit Testudo Times)

The two brothers joined recent Maryland commit Terrence Ross and played in pick-up games with the rest of the Terrapins squad.

Although Tobias and Terrence didn’t play together during the day, the rising senior does like the future Terrapin’s style of play.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:57 AM | | Comments (1)
        

August 28, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's 2010 recruiting class of Mychal Parker, Terrence Ross and Terrell Stoglin has caught the attention of national talent evaluators.

According to Rivals.com, the Terps currently have the No. 7 class in the country.

Maryland is experiencing a recruiting resurgence with its 2010 class. Gary Williams locked up a couple of regional four-star prospects in Ross and Parker. Ross is an athletic wing who can shoot with range. Parker is a skilled and versatile combo forward. Williams looked west to land Stoglin, a Rivals150 scoring guard out of Arizona.

In his weekly mailbag, Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer discusses what Maryland needs to do to remain in the top 10.

Maryland will likely need to land a quality big man to hold onto a top-10 national ranking. If Maryland were to land four-star Damontre Harris, who will officially visit next month, they will hold their ground in the top 10. Land a ringer like elite power forward Tobias Harris, and the Terps would rise as high as No. 2 nationally and No. 1 in the ACC.

• Los Alamos, N.M., center and Maryland target Alex Kirk made an unofficial visit to Arizona last weekend.

"He enjoyed the visit," said Alan Kirk, Alex's father and the coach at Los Alamos. "It was a chance to meet the coaches and see what their plan is. (Arizona coach Sean Miller) has a track record of running a good program and it's important to see how Alex would fit into that. He talked about his vision of what he expected to recruit."

• DeMatha shooting guard Jerian Grant, who picked up a late offer from Maryland, has narrowed his list of schools to four.

“They are Notre Dame, Virginia, DePaul and Providence,” said Grant, the son of former NBA veteran Harvey Grant.

• Adam Zagoria conducted a video interview with Dix Hills, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris, who will host Maryland for an in-home visit Sept. 16. Click here to see the interview.

Football recruiting

• Maryland picked up its first offensive line commitment for the 2010 class when Abington Heights (Pa.) guard Sal Conaboy pledged to UM on Wednesday night. Conaboy told InsideMDSports.com that the Terps and Panthers were his finalists.

"It was pretty much down to Pitt and Maryland," he said, "and like I said, I just had a gut feeling about where I could see myself playing."

• Maryland remains in good position with Pittsburgh Penn Hills wide receiver Brandon Ifill, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Some colleges like Ifill as a receiver, some as a cornerback and some as a safety. Pitt, Maryland, Michigan, West Virginia and Rutgers are his top five choices, but Maryland is No. 1 on his list. He plans to visit Maryland and Michigan in September. Maryland is recruiting him as a receiver.

• Greensboro, N.C., linebacker Chris McCain, a four-star prospect, has the Terps on his list.

Chris McCain is a hybrid defensive end/linebacker and has offers from schools like Auburn, Cal, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Oregon.

"Chris likes Oregon, Cal and Maryland with Oregon leading right now," [Northern Guilford coach Otis Yelverton] said.

• Maryland cornerback commitment Mario Rowson found the end zone once in Lake Taylor’s 21-7 loss to Battlefield (Va.) on Thursday night.

Kevin Swofford’s 34-yard pass to Mario Rowson gave the Titans a 7-0 lead in the second quarter.

The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., profiled Terps quarterback commitment Tyler Smith (and one-time target Anthony Gonzalez) as part of its high school football preview.

Smith guided Wilson to an undefeated regular season and a Colonial League title. He threw for a single-season school record 35 touchdowns and racked up 2,952 passing yards while throwing only 11 interceptions.

"Even a collegiate recruiter will tell you, 'Wow,' " [Wilson coach Bret] Comp said. "A kid with a greater than 3-1 ratio with TDs to interceptions, that's someone you need to be recruiting. I think that's what he looks at. He looks at the team concept -- 'What can I do better to help this team?' "

The Washington Post reports that DeMatha running back Marcus Coker -- a one-time Maryland target -- has committed to Iowa.

Coker, who is 6 feet and 230 pounds, had narrowed his choices to the Hawkeyes, Minnesota and Wake Forest. He had never been to either of the Big Ten schools -- or even their respective states -- before a recent trip with his mother during which they drove 20-plus hours to visit.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:59 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

August 27, 2009

Pa. OL Conaboy commits to Maryland

Seventeen Division I schools offered Sal Conaboy a scholarship, but for the Abington Heights (Pa.) High offensive lineman, nothing was better than offer No. 1.

On Wednesday night Conaboy committed to Maryland, picking the Terps over Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Minnesota, Temple, West Virginia, Vanderbilt, New Mexico State, Illinois, Akron, Connecticut, Michigan State, Marshall, Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Oregon.

“It’s a good feeling,” Conaboy said. “They were the first ones to offer and they were always on top.”

The Terps offered Conaboy a scholarship in the spring, less than a year after the 6-foot-5, 255-pounder made the move from tight end to offensive guard. It was about one year ago when Abington Heights coach Joe Repshis came to Conaboy with the request to switch positions.

“After the day practice during a double session last year, I pulled him in between practices and told him about the position change,” Repshis said. “A lot of times you don’t know what response you’ll get from a skill position guy who’s going to be catching the ball and scoring touchdowns and asking someone to move to a position where that’s not going to happen. But he was very receptive to it. It was what the team needed, but also an opportunity for him to be recognized as far as being able to play at the next level.”

Conaboy admitted that he wasn’t thrilled about the move at first. As a sophomore on varsity, Conaboy made his mark as a blocking tight end. He was looking forward to being more involved in the offense as a junior. But he got over the initial disappointment and embraced the change.

“At the time it was kind of disappointing,” Conaboy said. “But I wanted to help my team and I knew I would be getting on the field more, so in that sense I was kind of happy about it. ... I think I owe a lot to [Repshis]. They always said they wanted me to make the move and they finally did it and it worked out great.”

From Repshis’ point of view, Conaboy’s move to the offensive line couldn’t have worked out much better. Abington Heights finished 10-2 and Conaboy was instrumental in that success. He proved a quick study in making the transition to the offensive line.

“He’s very athletic and has very good feet,” Repshis said. “He’s very fundamentally and technically sound. ... He’s very smart and he’s a student of the game and he’s very coachable. And he has that desire to really get better at the position. The fact that he was very athletic as a tight end [is a plus]. He has the size and strength to put on some more weight and muscle size. [Maryland will be able to] keep him big but still keep him athletic. That’s what schools really liked about him. The frame is there.

“... When you watch Sal on film, he’s not stopping until the whistle blows. He’s down there with the running backs making plays. To think what he could be when he puts some size on him, and his athleticism is something I think really interested a lot of the major Division I programs. He plays with great intensity on the football field. He has that attitude and that mindset that you would want to have in a lineman.”

The Maryland coaches are eyeing Conaboy for either guard or center. There’s already a strong relationship in place with Conaboy and offensive line coach Tom Brattan, as well as wide receivers coach Lee Hull, who recruited him and coached Repshis at Holy Cross. Based on multiple visits to College Park and interactions with most of the Maryland staff, Conaboy says he’s confident that the first offer really was the best one for him.

“I just like the whole atmosphere of the place,” Conaboy said. “It’s kind of like one big family, with the way that coaches treat the players and vice versa. It’s just impressive to me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:41 PM | | Comments (4)
        

Where are they now: Larry Bastfield

It was the summer of 2007, and point guard Larry Bastfield knew things would be different for Towson Catholic in his senior year.

bastfield.jpg

Power forward Donte Greene was off to Syracuse and shooting guard Malcolm Delaney headed to Virginia Tech, leaving Bastfield with the weighty task of running the show for the defending MIAA A conference champions without those departed stars.

Bastfield responded by averaging 17 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals per game, leading the Owls to their second straight conference title.

Now a sophomore point guard for the University of Toledo, Bastfield will once again be counted on to guide a group of young teammates to a successful season.

“We have no seniors this year, two juniors, two sophomores and eight freshmen,” said the 5-foot-11, 190-pound Bastfield.

Granted, the Towson Catholic and Toledo situations aren’t exactly the same. The Owls were trying to defend a conference championship, while the Rockets are coming off a 7-25 year in Gene Cross’ first season as head coach. But Bastfield, who started 15 of Toledo’s last 16 games as a freshman, will be without UT’s top two leading scorers as he tries to pilot a freshman-laden squad through the Mid-American Conference.

“It was a typical freshman year,” Bastfield said. “You first come in and there’s a lot of learning. You’ve got to learn to play at a faster pace, so it was a learning experience. You just work and keep practicing. I knew I could play, but if I didn’t show it in practice, you weren’t getting time.

“... So it’s going to be different this year. We’re bringing in eight new freshmen and we’ve got to get the freshmen on the same page. But it should be a better team unit this year and we should have better chemistry.”

Bastfield spent the beginning of his summer vacation in Toledo, taking classes, lifting weights and participating in open gyms with his teammates. After six weeks, Bastfield returned to Baltimore and spent nearly every second of his free time doing something related to basketball. He worked out with a personal trainer and play pickup ball with several notable Baltimore standouts.

“It was great to come home, see my friends, work out and play in open gyms with guys,” Bastfield said. “We played against Malcolm Delaney, Jamar Briscoe (Charlotte), Kimmie English (Missouri), Allen Chaney (Virginia Tech), Brandon Greene (Cecil College), Aric Brooks, who just transferred to Morgan State.”

The Towson Catholic gym used to be a popular spot for those offseason pickup games. But the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced the school’s closing in July, leaving Bastfield and his former teammates without a high school home.

“I was shocked. I really couldn’t believe it,” Bastfield said. “But something was going to happen sooner or later. I know something had to be done because enrollment was going down.”

While TC’s closing was an unexpected bump in an otherwise productive summer, Bastfield remains focused on the task at hand -- returning Toledo to the top of the MAC standings and, once again, showing his young teammates how to win.

“I’ve just got to be ready,” Bastfield said. “I’ve got to be mature. My teammates are looking at me and looking at what I do as an example.”

Baltimore Sun photos of Larry Bastfield by Lloyd Fox and Barbara Haddock Taylor.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:05 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Where are they now?
        

August 26, 2009

Ex-Towson Catholic forward picks Quinnipiac

The plan was simple for Raheem May-Thompson.

The 6-foot-7 power forward would spend the summer in his hometown of London and return to Towson Catholic this fall as a senior, with hopes of helping the Owls to Baltimore Catholic League and MIAA A conference titles.

But when Towson Catholic closed in July, May-Thompson changed his plan. Now instead of being a high school senior, the former Owl will be a freshman on the Quinnipiac men’s basketball team.

“[Quinnipiac assistant] Sean Doherty called me, he checked him out and said ‘I hear that he’s actually eligible to come in,’” said Josh Pratt, the former Towson Catholic and now St. Vincent Pallotti girls head coach. “[And I said], ‘well, yeah, he is.’ And we got to talking, he did a visit and the whole nine. He signed last Wednesday.”

May-Thompson received a qualifying SAT score, and based on his transcripts from England, he had already accumulated enough credits to graduate high school.

As a junior at Towson Catholic, May-Thompson averaged around eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks per game. Pratt said he thinks May-Thompson “could’ve easily been a first-team all-league player this year.” But instead he will venture north to Hamden, Conn., and suit up for the Bobcats.

“For him it’s a perfect fit,” Pratt said. “They’ve got a couple senior forwards, so he doesn’t have to come in and play a lot. He’ll be a role player his first year and then the next three years he’ll basically be asked to step in.”

Levi Noel, a 6-foot-5 small forward, planned to return for his senior season with the Owls as well. But the London native and Montrose Christian transfer met his academic requirements and passed through the NCAA clearinghouse. He is deciding between Western Kentucky, Tulsa, Texas Christian and St. Mary’s (Calif.), according to Pratt.

“Levi’s in the same boat as Raheem,” Pratt said. “He’s 18 and played on the 18-and-under England national team. He averaged about 19 points per game over the summer, and had a good AAU season from what I understand. So he did well there and some people kind of noticed him.”

Meanwhile, several former Owls players have found homes for their senior year. Point guard Keron Deshields will join Pratt at Pallotti, shooting guard Julian Harrell is headed to Good Counsel, and wing Walter Noel will attend St. Paul’s.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:26 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 25, 2009

Q&A with UMES coach Frankie Allen

Things are looking up for the UMES men's basketball program in Frankie Allen's second year as coach.

The Hawks return their leading scorer and rebounder, welcome two highly touted transfers, and add five recruits to their roster.

The five new additions to the UMES squad are: Sean Berry, a 6-foot-7, 240-pound center from NIA Prep in New Jersey, Kevin White, a 6-foot, 165-pound point guard from Technical Career Institutes (a junior college in New York City), James Cotton, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward from Pocomoke City (via Rise Academy), Jamal Edwards, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound shooting guard from Lamar (Texas) Community College and Freddy Obame Obame, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound center from Monroe (N.Y.) Community College (via Gabon).

Allen spoke with Recruiting Report recently about UMES’ 2009 recruiting class.

Give us a brief overview of your class.

Well we feel like we helped ourselves in certain areas. We signed a junior college point guard in Kevin White, who I feel will make us significantly better at the point guard position. And we also signed a 5-man, Sean Berry, who at 6-7 is a little bit undersized, but very efficient at that spot. Those two players alone, at point guard and the 5-man, are [arguably] the two most crucial positions. Those two guys right off the bat can give us a big improvement.

You have two prep school and three junior college players coming in. Were you specifically looking for guys with a little more experience under their belts?

The junior college point guard, Kevin White, we just felt like we needed experience there. He’s a heady, talented point guard and that’s where I think you’ll find the success of any team. We went the junior college route with that, and his junior college teams were champions up in their league. He played on winning teams and he brings that attitude of winning to a program that has been down for many, many years. So we did need to go with experience. Sean Berry’s a year older than the average freshman. We felt like we needed somebody else who had experience past the high school level.

We brought in another inside player, Freddy Obame, from junior college. He was 6-7 but he’s strong at 245 pounds. Hillary Haley, who’s from Prince George’s County and is a small forward, is [another] very talented player with experience. He started out at St. Bonaventure and started several games there in his freshman year before he transferred here. Tim Burns, who’s a combo guard and a really outstanding shooter, transferred here from High Point. He wanted to get a little bit closer back to home. He’s from a part of New Jersey where he’s only two hours from our campus to his home. And then also with our returners, like Neal Pitt, who was our leading scorer and rebounder, [we have a solid nucleus]. When you add better players around him, it gives him the opportunity to be more effective.

How did you find White and what kind of role do you anticipate him having?

I expect him to step in [at the point]. When you recruit junior college players, most of the time they’re filling specific needs in our program and [bringing] immediate help. We expect him to step right in. We knew about him from some of our contacts in New York. My assistant coach, Jamal Brown, really took the lead on recruiting him. We saw him play very early, in November, in a tournament. We recruited him for a year, building the relationships throughout the recruiting process. Some other schools [tried to get involved], but the fact that he realized he could come here and take a program that’s been down and help move it forward [appealed to him]. We felt that he was a real good signing for us.

Talk about Berry’s background and what you expect from him.

Sean was at NIA Prep, and he’s a great athlete. In fact, a lot of people will tell you he’s a better football player. He’s got that kind of body. But Sean has worked extremely hard to get to the right path, and we really feel that his power [will benefit us]. He’s an amazingly tough big guy. He can step out and shoot the 15-footer, he can play facing the basket and he’s just a real great athlete with great hands. That’s what I like about him. He makes the difficult catches. With the post feeds, you can throw a pass behind him and he has the ability to make the super catch. Maybe it comes from his football experience. I know he’s going to give us added strength.

He’s really good around the basket offensively. He’ll be a strong rebounder, especially on the offensive glass. I think from the beginning, those two guys -- Kevin White and Sean Berry -- make us significantly better. Neal Pitt and Hillary Haley, Tim Burns and a couple other kids we’ve got returning [will make us better]. I really feel like we’re on our way. I tell people, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ [UMES has had] two winning seasons in the last 35 years, so just getting better talent, from my experience as a coach, gives you a little more enthusiasm to let you feel like you’re able to win a few more games, just because you’ve improved the talent level.

While Berry is more of a true power player, is Cotton somewhat of a compliment in styles?

He’s a raw talent basically. He’s one of those kids that as a coach, you look at his physicality and athleticism. He’s a lean guy, but very athletic. He’s kind of one of those guys. He could probably play the 3 or the 4 or the 5. He’s very athletic but very raw. But again, the potential is there as the year goes on to develop his skills and really be a promising player. To be really successful, you have to have some depth. A kid like James Cotton is very skilled in some areas, but he’s more of an athlete right now. And I think he’ll continue to develop his skills for us. But definitely from the start, he can block shots and run the floor, and he can play a variety of positions. We think he’s somebody that can really be a good player for us in time with hard work and development. He’s a very interesting player right now. He’s very raw, but very talented.

Edwards is a guy who produced for one of the top JUCO teams in the country. What do you expect of him and how did you get involved with him?

Jamal is somebody we recruited later. We recruited Kevin pretty early -- we saw him back in mid-November. But Jamal was somebody we received a call on. A friend to us said, ‘look at this guy.’ What I like about Jamal is he’s winner. His junior college team was ranked No. 5 in the nation [at one point]. He can play the point, the 2 and some at the 3. He’s a very solid, steady player. He’s not flashy. He’s just one of those guys that gets the job done. He kind of came to us later, but like I said, we’re very pleased with him. He’s an outstanding player for us and he brings a winning talent.

What’s the story on Obame and what type of player is he?

He’s somebody we saw late. We really liked the fact that he could give us toughness and a physical [presence] inside. He’s a really solid player and great kid. His junior college team was one of the top junior college teams in the country. They finished No. 8 in the country. If you ask about philosophy, we need to get the program an infusion of new blood. [We try to recruit kids that are] coming from programs that are successful and used to winning. We want kids that are so used to winning that it becomes automatic. So Obame gives us that. He’s another strong, aggressive rebounder.

Which of these recruits do you expect to be in the rotation immediately?

Well I think it’s pretty wide open. I could see Tim Burns and Jamal Edwards possibly vying for a starting position. But all the positions are pretty much open. We have a couple kids who played some last year for us -- Tyler Hines and Josh Bright -- that played significant minutes. We’ve got some positions that are open. For the new kids coming in, we [expect] Berry and White to make contributions from the beginning and that’s why we feel good about having them in our program.

Overall, are you satisfied with how your second recruiting class turned out?

I’m very pleased with our recruiting class. I think we addressed our needs, added some quality players from winning programs and also I think we have a little bit more depth. We've got guys who can play multiple positions and I’m very pleased with the second recruiting class. I think to build this program, we’ve got to have solid recruiting year in and year out.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:51 AM | | Comments (0)
        

August 24, 2009

Terps women have No. 1 class

The Maryland women's basketball program's three-member 2010 recruiting class is tops in the nation, according to one scouting service.

AllStarGirlsReport.net ranks the Terps' class -- which is composed of Alyssa Thomas (7), Laurin Mincy (9) and Natasha Cloud (31) -- No. 1 in the country.

To view the complete rankings, click here.

ESPN HoopGurlz also updated its rankings recently, with Thomas (7), Mincy (23) and Cloud (96) all cracking the top 100. Thomas was previously rated the No. 42 player by HoopGurlz.

The Maryland commit made a case on multiple occasions to be considered one of the most versatile and complete players in the class. She does a little bit of everything and all of it pretty well. She has the size, strength and athleticism to play as many as four positions on the floor and should be a legitimate threat in the ACC to play at least two of them. She has long been considered a top prospect with a ton of upside, but what lifted her into the top 10 was her ability to take games over and carry a team.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:56 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Weekend wrap — New Terps target

Maryland's search for a power forward in its 2010 recruiting class has led to Jersey City.

According to Adam Zagoria, Maryland has begun pursuing St. Anthony forward Devon Collier, a 6-foot-7, 205-pounder.

Collier’s adviser, Adam Berkowitz, told Zagoria that Providence, St. John’s, Seton Hall, Maryland, Oregon State and Arizona compose the three-star prospect’s list.

“He would be great in the ACC, it’s a little more up and down and open. They [Maryland] have a good class coming in as it is. Mychal Parker just committed. They’re still looking for another forward.”

• Several Maryland targets participated in the Boost Mobile Elite 24 game in the Bronx this weekend, including Oak Hill (Va.) forward Roscoe Smith (22 points), Holly Springs (N.C.) power forward C.J. Leslie (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Dix Hills (N.Y.) power forward Tobias Harris.

Tobias Harris, a 6-8 forward from Dix Hills (N.Y.) Half Hollow Hills West, was co-MVP with Lamb after scoring 20 points.

A star on the summer AAU circuit and the No. 5 player in the Rivals150, Harris has narrowed his list to Kentucky, Syracuse, St. John's, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Maryland, Louisville, Georgia Tech and UConn.

Newsday checked in with Harris after his co-MVP performance.

"I've expanded my game," Harris said in the steamy upstairs locker room of the ancient gym that is home to one of the city's top amateur programs. "I definitely feel stronger. I can take contact and finish."

• San Diego forward and UM target James Johnson is beginning to formulate his list of official visits, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Johnson, a 6-foot-9-inch, 220-pound forward who is rated No. 21 by Scout.com and No. 99 by Rivals, is also planning to visit Cal, Virginia and probably [Arizona] on official visits beginning next month.

• Grand Prairie, Texas forward Tony Mitchell -- who picked up a Maryland offer after withdrawing his commitment to Kansas State -- updated his recruitment for the Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury.

Since then, Mitchell's recruitment has skyrocketed. He has received offers from Georgetown, Texas, Maryland and several others. Rivals.com now ranks the senior-to-be as a fivestar recruit and the No. 15 player in the nation for the class of 2010. Mitchell said his top four schools include Georgetown, K-State, Missouri and Arizona State. When asked if K-State still had a fighting chance, Mitchell replied "most definitely, they're in my top two, probably with Georgetown."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:44 AM | | Comments (11)
        

August 22, 2009

A few notes on Parker, Tsafack

I caught up with Miller School assistant coach Tommy Landseadel on Thursday to get his take on Mychal Parker’s commitment to Maryland. Here are a few notes from our conversation that didn’t make the story that appeared in Friday’s edition of The Baltimore Sun.

Landseadel first saw Parker during the summer before his junior year at the Five-Star Basketball camp at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia.

“He was there at camp and there were a couple other big-time players, including [Kentucky point guard recruit] John Wall,” Landseadel said. “And Mychal had a terrific week. He displayed his athleticism and his ability to score from the outside. He actually, in my opinion, outplayed John Wall that week and ended up taking away co-MVP of the camp -- they split the award between Mychal and John Wall. Obviously, when you’ve got a kid who’s No. 1 in the class ahead of him and he’s able to split the award, that’s doing something.”

At the time, Parker was looking to transfer from Terra Ceia Christian -- a private school near his hometown of Washington, N.C. -- to a more high-profile institution where he could hone his basketball skills. That’s where the Miller School came into play.

Landseadel had this to say when asked who Parker most resembled.

“If I had to look at the NBA level, I would say I see a little bit of Tracy McGrady in him, just in terms of his athletic ability,” Landseadel said. “He’s obviously a couple inches shorter than McGrady, but it almost looks effortless when he’s on the floor because he’s so smooth. He can do everything.”

One of Parker’s most notable teammates at the Miller School is Hippolyte Tsafack, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound power forward from Cameroon.

“His recruitment is kind of all over the map,” Landseadel said. “He’s got a couple high-major schools that have offered, including Auburn. He’s still kind of trying to feel things out. We’ll get him to take a couple visits this fall and try to figure out what he wants to do.”

Maryland has been one of the high-major schools that have monitored Tsafack’s progress for quite some time, although it’s unclear how heavily the Terps are pursuing him.

“I know Maryland’s near the top of his list,” Landseadel said. “I haven’t had a chance to speak with anybody from the Maryland staff this summer, so I don’t know how heavily they’re invested in him at this point. I know that would be something that Hipp would really like -- to be a Terrapin.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:45 AM | | Comments (4)
        

August 21, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

The biggest news of the week in Maryland recruiting came late Wednesday when Mychal Parker, a four-star small forward, committed to the Terps.

InsideMDSports.com caught up with Parker to discuss his decision. The 6-foot-6, 185-pounder said Terrence Ross was a major influence on his choice.

Earlier this year, Mychal Parker became friends with eventual Maryland commitment Terrence Ross of Montrose Christian (Md.), another top-50 prospect and like Parker, an extremely athletic wing player. Parker considers himself a shooting guard but said he's unsure -- and unconcerned -- about who will be considered the shooting guard and who will be the small forward.

"I don't know, I just know that me and T-Ross are going to be tearing it up," he said, in a rare moment of bravado from a normally understated, quiet high school senior. "Him committing to Maryland really put an edge on me committing."

Parker told his hometown newspaper, the Washington (N.C.) Daily News, that Maryland’s coaching staff played an important role in the decision.

“It feels great to sign with them; it’s a blessing,” Parker said. “They have such a great tradition, and Gary Williams is just a great coach. He lets you play your game and relax, but he also takes no stuff from you either.”

Tommy Landseadel, an assistant coach with the Miller School in Charlottesville, Va., credited Terps assistant Chuck Driesell for his dogged pursuit of Parker.

"Maryland has always been in [Parker's] top three, but they had never really gotten up to the top until the beginning of this summer," Landseadel said. "I really think Maryland winning the battle can be attributed to Coach Driesell staying on him. He showed Mychal a lot of love from the start. He was at more of our events last year than anybody else. I know they followed him on the AAU circuit as well. I think Coach Driesell showing his face and making his contacts really made a big difference."

Tony Squire, Parker’s former AAU coach in Richmond, Va., thinks the commitment will work out well for both parties.

“You never have to worry about the kid talking back or having any disciplinary problems. He listens and he wants to learn and get better. Having a coach like Gary Williams, who won’t spoil you, who won’t kiss your tail, [will be great for Parker]. I think Gary Williams is going to bring out the best in Mychal Parker. By the time Mike’s a sophomore, get ready to see a major type of guy.”

Meanwhile, Testudo Times has already reassessed Maryland’s recruiting agenda in the wake of Parker’s pledge.

• Port Washington, Wis., combo guard and Terps target Josh Gasser picked up a conditional offer this week from the hometown Badgers.

Gasser and his parents, Pat and Joan, met with Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan late last week. A scholarship offer was extended, though at this point it is a four-for-five deal, meaning Gasser would walkon as a freshman and then be on scholarship the next four years.

• Fayetteville, N.C., power forward Damontre Harris has scheduled an official visit to College Park.

Harris will visit Wake Forest September 6th, USC September 18th, Maryland September 25th and Florida October 16th. He will also visit Virginia Commonwealth in October.

• Maryland is continuing its pursuit of Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie, according to Adam Zagoria.

Leslie, a 6-foot-8 small forward out of Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God Academy, listed North Carolina, Kentucky, Florida and Maryland as the schools recruiting him the hardest.

• There was no mention of the Terps in Zagoria’s update on Portland, Ore., forward Terrence Jones.

He rattled off a long list of schools led by Kentucky, Oklahoma, Kansas, UCLA, Washington, Florida and UConn.

Terrence Ross will participate in the Elite 24 slam dunk contest tonight at Rucker Park in New York. An all-star game will follow at 7 p.m.

The participants for this year’s slam dunk contest were announced earlier today and they go as follows: 6-8 power forward DaJuan Coleman of Jamesville-DeWitt (DeWitt, N.Y.), 5-11 point guard Joe Jackson of White Station (Memphis, Tenn.), 6-3 point guard Josh Selby of Lake Clifton (Baltimore, Md.), 6-2 point guard Myck Kabongo of St. Benedict’s (Newark, N.J.), 6-7 small forward Roscoe Smith of Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), 6-6 small forward Terrence Ross of Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), 6-6 shooting guard Will Barton of Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.).

Football recruiting

• Terps safety recruit Titus Till was selected to MDVarsity’s Dream Team defense.

Till recorded 65 tackles last season while helping the Pumas to their first-ever playoff berth and an appearance in the Class 4A state semifinals. Till was such an impressive athlete that Army made him an offer during his sophomore season, thinking he was a junior.

• Two future Terps will face the Maryland JV team this fall, the Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens reports.

Another sliver of value comes from the fact Lorne Goree and David Mackall -- a pair of guys who signed with Maryland last February -- will attend Fork Union this fall.

• DeMatha offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio recently trimmed his list to eight schools.

“In no order, I’m down to Alabama, Cal, Miami, Maryland, New Mexico, Notre Dame, Tennessee and Wake Forest,” said the 6-foot-6, 314-pounder. “I contacted the coaches today and let everyone know. I haven’t decided on any official visits or anything like that, I just wanted to get things down to a number I can work with.”

• Greensboro, N.C., defensive end Gabe King was named the No. 2 prospect in North Carolina by The Fayetteville Observer.

King’s the prototype rush end who’s capable of dominating the line of scrimmage. That’s why more than 30 major schools offered scholarships. But King has been declared ineligible to play in N.C. public schools for 2009. Where he’ll land was still uncertain at press time. College list: Favor California, Maryland, Miami, Oregon, Tennessee.

• Maryland is still in the mix for Penn Hills cornerback Cullen Christian, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Christian has numerous scholarship offers and has narrowed his list to Michigan, Pitt, West Virginia, Maryland and UCLA. He will make official visits to UCLA, West Virginia and Maryland in September. Michigan has been No. 1 on his list for a while.

The Washington Post’s Josh Barr introduced Terps fans this week to Oxon Hill sophomore running back Ken Darby.

Darby, who is 5 feet 10 and 175 pounds, was timed in 4.34 seconds in the 40-yard dash in the Prince George's coaches combine and followed that up with a 4.36 at Maryland's one-day camp this summer, leading to his first scholarship offer.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:07 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

August 20, 2009

River Hill's Kevin Johnson talks Wake pledge

As Kevin Johnson sat in the stands of BB&T Field last spring for Wake Forest's spring football game, he couldn't help but think to himself, "I could see myself playing here."

Earlier this week, Johnson acted on those thoughts and committed to the Demon Deacons. The River Hill cornerback picked Wake Forest over offers from Wisconsin, West Virginia, Syracuse, Minnesota, UConn, Akron, Kent State and Richmond.

“It feels real good to get the whole process over with,” Johnson said. “Now I can focus on trying to win a state championship.”

Johnson was an integral part of the Hawks’ second consecutive Class 2A state title. The 6-foot-1, 156-pounder recorded 50 tackles and intercepted three passes as a junior. He also scored six touchdowns.

kevin_johnson.jpg

Wake Forest’s coaching staff discovered Johnson while recruiting River Hill running back Michael Campanaro, who’s now a freshman at Wake. Johnson said Campanaro made it clear he wanted him as a teammate, but also encouraged him to make the best decision for himself.

“He wanted me to come real bad, but he wasn’t going to peer pressure me at all,” Johnson said. “[When I committed], I actually told him earlier than everybody else. He was real happy, saying it was a good decision. We’re real good friends and we’re just going to have a real good time at Wake Forest.”

Wisconsin proved to be Wake’s biggest obstacle in reuniting Johnson with Campanaro. The Badgers had plenty to offer, but Johnson said he felt more comfortable in Winston-Salem than Madison.

“They were actually polar opposite schools,” Johnson said. “Wake Forest is a smaller school and Wisconsin is a real big school that has about 42,000 students. It’s warm in North Carolina, it’s cold in Wisconsin. With Wisconsin, I had a real good relationship with the cornerbacks coach there, but when I visited, it just felt like Wake Forest was where I wanted to be.”

The Wake Forest staff has told Johnson that he will redshirt as a freshman, mostly to gain strength. The coaches said he shouldn’t have a problem adding muscle to his 156-pound frame.

“They have a cornerback named Michael Williams who came in at 149 pounds his freshman year,” Johnson said. “Now he’s a redshirt sophomore playing at 178 pounds, and he’s starting right now. Of course they want me to gain weight, but they definitely think I can.”

With a weight training regimen to follow and preparation for River Hill’s attempt at a third straight state title, Johnson has plenty on his plate before beginning his college career.

“I’m definitely going to be trying to get bigger, stronger and faster,” Johnson said. “Gaining weight is probably my No. 1 priority, and keeping my athleticism. So that’s definitely what I’m trying to do. ... But [committing to Wake] is definitely a weight off my shoulders. It just took a lot of thought, but I’m glad I made the right decision.”

Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron / Dec. 6, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Coach: Terps got a 'steal' in Parker

Tony Squire has coached his fair share of talented players in the past.

Kevin Garnett, Amare Stoudemire and Ray Allen all suited up for the Squires Boys Basketball Foundation -- an AAU program based in Richmond, Va. -- at one time or another, not to mention countless other former and current Division I players who donned the uniform.

The next great Squires alumnus could be Mychal Parker, a 6-foot-6 small forward from the Miller School in Charlottesville, Va., who committed to Maryland late Wednesday night.

“I think it’s a great catch for Maryland,” Squire said. “I don’t think Mike has reached that plateau like so many guys do at that age. He still has a ways to go and it’s nothing but upside in his game. I think he should come in and be able to help Maryland right away as a true freshman.”

Parker, the No. 53 player in the 2010 class according to Rivals.com, picked the Terps over offers from Virginia, Clemson, Miami and several others. The four-star prospect finished his AAU campaign this summer with the Ohio Basketball Club, where he has family in the area. But Parker spent most of his past four summers with the Squires.

In Squire’s opinion, Parker most resembles one of those aforementioned NBA standouts.

“I’ll say this lightly, because I don’t get caught up in prose when kids are in high school because I believe you have to crawl before you walk and take the necessary steps,” Squire said. “But he reminds me of a similar version of Ray Allen at this stage in the game. Ray just had that demeanor back in high school. Certain games Ray would take over, and in other games he would just be a good player, and I think that’s the thing with Mike right now. ... [I’ve seen him] take over games on several occasions, and that’s the part of Mike’s game that’s going to come with maturity, being more consistent. He can be the type of kid to take over the game.”

Parker comes from rural Washington, N.C., population 10,000. He spent his freshman year at Southside High, a public school, and his sophomore season at Terra Ceia Christian School. Parker’s father, Omar, was looking for a school that would give his son greater exposure for basketball. Squire pointed the Parkers in the Miller School’s direction. According to Squire, Parker has benefited from his father’s basketball awareness and knowledge.

“He comes from an old-school parent,” Squire said. “Mike’s dad would get up early in the morning and work him out. Then they’d take a break, rest, eat lunch and do all that other stuff. And then in the evening Mike’s dad would work him out again and do the same thing all over again. ... He never missed a workout, so the sky’s going to be the limit for him. Maryland just got a steal.”

One of Squire’s greatest success stories from his time as an AAU coach was Bambale Osby, the former Maryland center. Osby grew up in a rough part of Richmond, Va., but played AAU ball with the Squires and eventually earned a scholarship to New Mexico. He spent freshman year in Albuquerque and his sophomore season at Paris (Texas) Junior College before transferring to UM, where he averaged 11.5 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.1 blocks as a senior. The 6-foot-8, 250-pounder recently signed a contract to play in Germany’s top pro league.

While the games of Osby and Parker couldn’t be more different, their attitudes are close to identical. Squire expects Parker to have similar success at UM -- thanks in large part to the man in charge in College Park.

“It’s a different breed of kid now because so many kids have the choice of going the wrong way,” Squire said. “Bambale Osby was a prime example. He didn’t come from a lot, so he had to work. We had to get him working ... doing things the old-school way. ... And that’s why Bambale Osby plays the way he plays. He took [ownership of his life] and he appreciated the type of [opportunity he got at Maryland]. For a guy like me, looking at coaches, there are certain guys you just come to admire after being in the game for a long time, and Gary Williams has always been one of those guys.

“You never have to worry about the kid talking back or having any disciplinary problems. He listens and he wants to learn and get better. Having a coach like Gary Williams, who won’t spoil you, who won’t kiss your tail, [will be great for Parker]. I think Gary Williams is going to bring out the best in Mychal Parker. By the time Mike’s a sophomore, get ready to see a major type of guy.”

According to Squire, Virginia was Parker’s leader for most his junior season -- until coach Dave Leitao left Charlottesville. Leitao’s replacement, former Washington State coach Tony Bennett kept the Cavaliers in contention, but the Terps began to emerge as a favorite soon after.

“He’s been saying Maryland was in the lead [for awhile] because ever since he went up there to their elite camp, he liked the campus [and was comfortable],” Squire said. “He made visits to a few places. He went to Virginia’s elite camp and he went to Maryland and he really loves it up there. And I think Mike sees that he can come in and be an integral part of Maryland early.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:39 PM | | Comments (9)
        

Terps land Mychal Parker

The Maryland men's basketball program has received a commitment from Mychal Parker.

Parker, a four-star small forward from the Miller School in Charlottesville, Va., is the No. 53 player in the country, according to Rivals.com.

“Having known [Terps assistant] Chuck Driesell for over six years now, I’m confident in their coaching staff and think it’s a great decision for Mychal, the Miller School and the University of Maryland,” said Scott Willard, the first-year head basketball coach and athletic director at the Miller School.

Parker chose the Terps over offers from Virginia, Miami, Clemson, and several others, according to Rivals. The 6-foot-6 senior led Miller to the Virginia Independant Schools Division 2 championship last season.

Parker joins Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin and Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross as part of Maryland’s 2010 recruiting class. All three players are ranked in the Rivals150.

Click on the YouTube player for highlights of Parker at the I-95 Elite Challenge.


Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:29 AM | | Comments (16)
        

August 19, 2009

Updated 2010 football recruiting rankings

With college and high school football training camp in full swing, recruiting has taken a backseat for the time being.

The three major recruiting services -- Rivals.com, Scout.com and ESPN.com -- have all updated their rankings semi-recently.

Here's a quick look at where each member of Maryland's 2010 recruiting class ranks.

Devin Burns, Carver (Ga.) quarterback

Rivals: Three stars, 5.6 rating, No. 78 player in Georgia
Scout: Three stars, No. 50 quarterback
ESPN: Three stars, 77 grade, No. 60 athlete

Tyrek Cheeseboro, Milford Mill wide receiver

Rivals: Three stars, 5.5 rating, No. 18 player in Maryland
Scout: Three stars, No. 124 wide receiver
ESPN: Three stars, 75 grade, No. 115 wide receiver

Nate Clarke, Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) lineman

Rivals: Four stars, 5.8 rating, No. 11 offensive guard, No. 2 player in D.C.
Scout: Hasn't been evaluated
ESPN: Hasn't been evaluated

Nermin Delic, Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) tight end

Rivals: Three stars, 5.5 rating, No. 97 player in Georgia
Scout: Two stars, No. 44 tight end
ESPN: Three stars, 77 grade, No. 24 tight end

Ian Evans, Hammonton (N.J.) defensive end

Rivals: Three stars, 5.5 rating, No. 20 player in New Jersey
Scout: Hasn't been evaluated
ESPN: Three stars, 78 grade, No. 34 outside linebacker

Jeremiah Johnson, Suitland cornerback

Rivals: Two stars, 5.4 rating
Scout: Two stars
ESPN: Two stars, 74 grade, No. 53 cornerback

Brice Laughlin, Summerville (S.C.) defensive tackle

Rivals: Three stars, 5.6 rating, No. 55 defensive tackle
Scout: Three stars, No. 82 defensive tackle
ESPN: Three stars, 78 grade, No. 38 defensive tackle

Andre Monroe, St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle

Rivals: Two stars, 5.4 rating
Scout: Three stars, No. 34 defensive tackle
ESPN: Three stars, 77 grade, No. 52 defensive tackle

Matt Robinson, Atholton H-back

Rivals: Two stars, 5.3 rating
Scout: Two stars, No. 50 tight end
ESPN: Three stars, 75 grade, No. 115 athlete

Mario Rowson, Lake Taylor (Va.) cornerback

Rivals: Three stars, 5.5 rating
Scout: Hasn't been evaluated
ESPN: Two stars, 73 grade, No. 119 safety

Tyler Smith, Wilson (Pa.) quarterback

Rivals: Three stars, 5.7 rating, No. 15 dual-threat quarterback, No. 15 player in Pennsylvania
Scout: Three stars, No. 27 quarterback
ESPN: Four stars, 80 grade, No. 9 quarterback

Titus Till, Wise safety

Rivals: Four stars, 5.8 rating, No. 9 safety, No. 2 player in Maryland, No. 129 player in the country
Scout: Three stars, No. 76 safety
ESPN: Three stars, 78 grade, No. 33 safety

Jeremiah Wilson, Handley (Va.) cornerback

Rivals: Three stars, 5.5 rating, No. 26 player in Virginia
Scout: Two stars
ESPN: Hasn't been evaluated

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:14 AM | | Comments (6)
        

August 18, 2009

Three Gaels seniors have Div. I futures

Question: What do Dino Gregory (Maryland), Henry Sims (Georgetown), Chase Adams (Pittsburgh), Louis Birdsong (George Mason), Brian Johnson (Delaware), Dejuan Goodwin (Marist) and Kevin Swecker (Longwood) have in common?

Answer: All seven Division I men’s college basketball players graduated from Mount St. Joseph.

One year from now, three current Gaels will likely join that illustrious Div. I club.

Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey dealt with the losses last year of five of his top eight players -- due to either injury or transfer -- as the Gaels battled to a 21-13 record. Now Clatchey’s looking forward to a drama-free 2009-10 season with his three senior leaders: point guard Eric Atkins, forward Ryley Beaumont and shooting guard Matt Miller.

“We have a pretty good nucleus coming back,” Clatchey said. “We got through last year and we’ll get some guys back this year. Hopefully it can all mesh and gel together.”

Atkins, a Notre Dame commitment and the reigning Baltimore Catholic League player of the year, is the known quantity for the Gaels. After his successful summer on the AAU circuit with D.C. Assault, and an appearance at the National Basketball Player’s Association Top 100 camp, Clatchey expects the 6-foot-2, 165-pounder to step up once again.

“I just want to see Eric really concentrate on what he’s doing and maybe take it up a notch,” Clatchey said. “He’s had a great career. Last year he had to do so much with the injury situation. He definitely delivered, being BCL Player of the Year. I think he’s just really ready to finish on a strong note to his career.”

Beaumont holds offers from Fairfield, Elon, Longwood, Bucknell, Quinnipiac and Loyola, among others. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged nearly 19 points per game last year, according to Clatchey.

“He’s just a guy that can shoot and score, and can get to the basket,” Clatchey said. “He’s very good at moving without the ball. He can score in a variety of ways. I think some guys can shoot and score, and he’s capable of doing both.”

Miller could be Mount St. Joseph’s x-factor this season. The senior missed last season with a torn ACL.

“Sophomore year he was 5-4, 115 pounds,” Clatchey said. “Junior year, he was about 5-7, 145, 150 pounds.”

Now Miller has sprouted to 6-2, 180 pounds, and emerged as a legitimate Div. I prospect with offers on the table.

“He’s big, strong and good,” Clatchey said. “He’ll make a huge difference for us. We went to a team camp two weeks ago, and he had 16 offensive rebounds and 16 or 17 threes in four games. He’s just a smart, smart player. He doesn’t make mistakes. He sees the open man and makes the open shots.”

Clatchey hopes to contend for the MIAA A conference and BCL championships this year, and then send Atkins, Beaumont and Miller off to join the ranks of ex-Gaels playing DI basketball.

“We have really good kids,” Clatchey said. “Our kids are quality players and they do the work in the classroom.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:45 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 17, 2009

Checking in with the Dunbar football team

Much has changed for the Dunbar football team since the spring.

In an April interview, Poets coach Lawrence Smith identified two rising seniors -- lineman Devin Clark and running back Nathan Ayers -- as players with Division I potential.

Since then, Dunbar has benefited from an influx of talent via transfer, and now the Poets’ 2010 senior class could rival the highly touted 2009 group.

Clark holds offers from UNLV, Towson and Morgan State, while Ayers has scholarships from the same three schools plus Toledo.

parks.jpg

Quarterback Evan Pittman, who transferred from Calvert Hall, is the heir apparent to Jonathan Perry, who’s now a freshman at UAB.

“Evan’s a big kid, 6-2, 220,” Smith said. “We can do a lot of things as far as running the ball and being more of a run-oriented team. We’re just looking forward to a good year and moving forward with him.”

Smith has high hopes for another Calvert Hall transfer, linebacker Reynard Parks.

“He could be the best linebacker out of the bunch,” Smith said. “He’s really big and has a lot of DI interest ... from the ACC and Big East and a lot of the MAC schools.”

Yet another former Cardinals player, running back P.J. Quarrie, has an offer from Morgan State and “a lot of interest from UNLV and Central Michigan,” according to Smith.

The most high-profile transfer into Dunbar is Josh Alaeze, a three-star linebacker prospect from Parkville. Alaeze has offers from Akron, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Rhode Island and Towson, according to Smith. Alaeze is arguably the biggest name on the Poets’ roster now, but Smith expects others to generate similar levels of interest in a matter of time.

“When people start seeing P.J. and Reynard Parks and [wide receiver] Darrell Edwards, you’re really going to see a lot more kids [get offered] like last year,” Smith said. “When you talked about us going into last year, it was all Tavon [Austin]. That’s what people talked about. But when people started coming around and seeing the kids, that’s when the offers started coming in. I talk to college coaches every day, and they’re waiting to see one game to be sure before they pull the trigger.”

Edwards played quarterback on Dunbar’s JV team in 2007. He sat out last season to concentrate on basketball.

“He’s a DI guy for basketball,” Smith said. “And he has the potential to be a DI guy for football.”

Click here for more on the start of high school football season.

Baltimore Sun photo of Reynard Parks by Jed Kirschbaum / November 27, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:18 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 14, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

The Maryland football team has suffered its first decommitment of the 2010 recruiting class.

Pittsford (N.Y.) Mendon tight end Sean Fitzpatrick, who committed to the Terps in February, switched his pledge to North Carolina last night.

“I committed to North Carolina tonight,” Fitzpatrick confirmed late Thursday evening in an interview with Rivals.com. “I’ve kind of had it in my mind that UNC is the right place for me for about two weeks or so. I talked with my coach and my family about it and I prayed about it a lot. It was a tough decision so I factored all that in.

• Pittsburgh wide receiver Brandon Ifill continues to list Maryland as one of his favorites.

"I'll definitely visit Maryland and Michigan," Ifill said earlier this week. "Those are still my top two. They are even."

Scout.com reports that Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman will announce his college decision at the Maryland Crab Bowl in December.

Furman has already said that he will definitely take official visits to Michigan, Maryland and Virginia Tech this fall and has also been talking to Pittsburgh and UCLA a lot as of late.

• Forestville wide receiver Antonio Belt still has the Terps high on his list, according to Rivals.com.

“I just came from a visit to Maryland on Saturday and I think I may be going back there tomorrow for practice. I kind of like Maryland. They gave me a lot of love and I talked to Coach Friedgen and Franklin. I want to see what they are all about.”

Basketball recruiting

NBE Basketball Report caught up with Miller School assistant coach Tommy Landseadel, who said Maryland is still the leader for Mychal Parker.

“Parker’s top five at the moment includes Maryland, Wake Forest, Miami, Auburn and Arkansas,” Landseadel told NBE in an e-mail. “Parker appears to be leaning towards Maryland at the moment, and is planning on making his visits in the fall to help finalize his choice.”

Testudo Times broke the news this week that Long Island, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris will receive a visit from Gary Williams next month.

In what's probably the first time we've ever broken any news ever in the history of ever (get the point?), it looks like Gary will be making an in-home visit with the Harrises at Long Island in the middle part of next month. The source requested anonymity, but rest assured that it's solid.

InsideMDSports.com caught up with incoming freshman center Jordan Williams, who was approved by the NCAA Clearinghouse this week.

"Of course, people are always going to talk, but I'd sat down with the coaching staff a while ago and they'd told me I was fine. I wasn't sweating it at all," said Williams, the 6-foot-9, 270-pound power forward-center from Torrington, Conn., who is expected to man the middle for the Terps for several years to come.

• Phil Kornblut reports that Fayetteville, N.C., power forward Damontre Harris’ list of top five schools is more like a top three.

6-9 Damontre Harris of Fayetteville, NC has a top five of USC, Wake Forest, Maryland, Florida and VCU. And from those five, he says he's looking the hardest at USC, Wake Forest and Florida.

• Baltimore native Roscoe Smith was instrumental in USA East’s championship win at the Nike Global Games in Portland, Ore.

Roscoe Smith was the Leading rebounder for the USA with nine boards, and he also scored 12 points and two blocks.

• Columbus, Ohio forward J.D. Weatherspoon decided this week to stay home and play for Ohio State.

"Two days ago, a school that was recruiting me signed a player at my position and backed out of my scholarship (offer)," Weatherspoon said. "I was just thinking to myself, 'What if Ohio State does the same thing?' I told my family I can't wait no longer."

• The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer profiled Holly Springs, N.C., power forward and Maryland target C.J. Leslie, who spent much of his summer playing outside the AAU circuit.

In the N.C. Pro-Am League at N.C. Central, his team included Jerry Stackhouse, North Carolina's Ed Davis and incoming Duke recruit Ryan Kelly.

Leslie, 6-foot-9, regularly played against North Carolina alums such as Jawad Williams and David Noel (NBA D-League) as well as assortment of area ACC players including Duke's Kyle Singler.

NBADraft.net scouted several Maryland targets at the Global Games, including Portland, Ore., power forward Terrence Jones.

Jones is a long and athletic combo forward who displayed a nice all around game over the weekend. He showed flashes of being a bit of a point forward and has some impressive passing skills. He is more of a 4 than 3 right now and with an improved jumper, can be a prototype 3 man in the league. He's undecided on his school choice but is rumored to be an Oklahoma lean.

ESPN.com’s Paul Biancardi wrapped up the summer evaluation period with scouting reports on several Terps targets, including Los Alamos, N.M., center Alex Kirk.

This isn't a great year for talent on the West Coast, but a few bigs from that region caught our eye this summer. Alex Kirk (Los Alamos, N.M.), a skilled shooter and passer, falls under that category. Kirk checks into the rankings at No. 97. At 6-9, he's more of a finesse big. Although he might not be a traditional low-post type, his skills could be utilized at the college level.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:22 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

August 13, 2009

Local hoops notebook: Baltimore native to Pitt

When the Centenary basketball program announced its plan to drop from Division I to Division III, former Mount St. Joseph point guard Chase Adams began to look for a new place to finish his college career.

Earlier this week Adams found that place. The 5-foot-10, 175-pound senior has transferred to Pittsburgh, where he’ll be eligible to play immediately.

Adams averaged 14.6 points, 4.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game last season, earning Summit League defensive player of the year honors. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review noted that Adams averaged 18 points and seven rebounds in games against Texas Tech, LSU and Mississippi State.

“He’s feisty, a great playmaker and he always got everybody involved,” said Duane Davis, Adams’ former AAU coach with the Baltimore Stars. “He made everyone around him better. I had him since he was 12 or 13, and it’s just a joy to see him grow. We thought he could play on that level when he first left Mount St. Joe. He led his team to a 38-1 record at Mount St. Joe, and we always thought he would play at the high-major level. But his heart is as big as a lion.

“Me personally, I think he’s going to go there and just have an awesome year. I think he’s going to surprise a lot of people. Those same kids he’s going to be playing against in the Big East, he already played against them on the AAU circuit when he was playing with us. Now he’s stronger, a little bit more mature, and his game is a little different. I think he’s going to shock a lot of people.”

Adams’ move to Pittsburgh reunites him with another Baltimore native. Senior Jermaine Dixon will be back as the Panthers’ returning starter at shooting guard. Davis said he’s excited about the all-Baltimore backcourt’s potential.

“I coached Jermaine ... when he was 10, 11, 12 and 13,” Davis said. “Jermaine, at one time, wasn’t one of the starters. But Jermaine just developed every year. So it’s going to be a joy to see both of them playing together on the same team. They’re like family with each other. Jermaine has developed into a great scorer, and Chase has developed into a great point guard.”

Davis expects Adams to distinguish himself immediately in Pittsburgh as a lock-down defender. Making the transition from the Summit League to the Big East shouldn’t be a problem, Davis said.

“Don’t be shocked if he leads the Big East in steals now,” Davis said. “I’m telling you, don’t be shocked if he starts having some big games. If he did it against LSU and Texas Tech, he’s going to do it in the Big East.”

Briscoe to Charlotte

Freshman year couldn’t have gone much better for Jamar Briscoe.

The former Cardinal Gibbons point guard immediately stepped into North Carolina Central’s starting lineup, and promptly led the Eagles in scoring with 17.8 points per game. Now Briscoe, the second-leading freshman scorer in the nation, is moving on. The 5-foot-10, 155-pounder has transferred to Charlotte. He will sit out this year, per NCAA transfer rules, and have three years of eligibility starting with the 2010-11 season.

“It’s a great opportunity,” said Darrell Corbett, Briscoe’s AAU coach with Team Melo (now known as Nike Baltimore Elite). “He worked hard last year at North Carolina Central. The kid was playing 35 minutes a game. He can obviously score the basketball. He worked hard and this is a great opportunity.”

Briscoe made the Baltimore Catholic League first team and was a Sun second-team All-Metro selection as a senior at Cardinal Gibbons. Despite his high school and AAU success, Briscoe didn’t have many Div. I options to choose from. But Corbett said the relative lack of interest in Briscoe just forced him to work harder.

“I think he truly believed he would go higher, but he took advantage of the opportunity,” Corbett said. “He liked [North Carolina Central] and he thought it would be a great opportunity to come in and play. But he worked hard and got a better opportunity this year. ... I knew he could play on that level. He just needed that shot; his chance to shine. He’s just a talented basketball player.”

Robinson finds a home

Two years at Tallahassee (Fla.) Community College have paid off for Jeremy Robinson.

The former Northwestern point guard signed an athletics grant-in-aid with Radford yesterday. Robinson, 5-10, 170 pounds, will have two years of eligibility with the Highlanders.

Robinson, a two-time Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection, earned all-conference honors as a sophomore in Tallahassee. He joins a Radford team that earned an NCAA tournament berth last season after winning the Big South tournament and regular-season championships.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 12, 2009

Q&A on Terps women's basketball

Few people in the country watch more girls basketball than Kelvin Powell.

Powell runs the Roundball Journal, a national scouting service, while also serving as a national talent evaluator for ESPNHoopGurlz.com and a contributing editor for SLAM magazine.

Powell, who also sits on the McDonald’s All-American game selection committee, spoke with Recruiting Report recently about Maryland’s 2010 class, which includes Newark, N.J., shooting guard Laurin Mincy, Harrisburg, Pa., small forward Alyssa Thomas and Springfield, Pa. combo guard Natasha Cloud.

Which Maryland commitment impressed you most this summer?

Well Mincy was out with an injury, so I didn’t have a chance to see her, but obviously she’s impressive. ... She’s just a really, really big-time scorer, with great size for the position and great quickness for the position. And she’s tough.

But Alyssa Thomas, by far, I think is the prize. Mincy is also a prize, but I think the one that makes the biggest impact on the program will be Thomas.

What makes Thomas so special?

Just her versatility and size. At 6-1, she can pretty much play five positions; she can defend all five positions. She has a strong build and is just a complete basketball player. She has a great understanding of the game, and [knows] how to play every position on the floor. She has great athleticism and is a very good decision-maker. She’s a really complete basketball player who also happens to be a very good athlete as well.

Do any of the three commitments remind you of anyone in particular?

I think there’s going to be some comparisons drawn between Marissa Coleman and Thomas simply because of her size. And physically, they’re somewhat similar in build. But one’s a righty and one’s a lefty. Whereas Marissa’s probably more of a dominant scorer, Thomas is more of a complete basketball player and I think her versatility is greater than Marissa’s. But I think Marissa’s ability to score the basketball is probably greater at this point. I think that’s mainly because Marissa was a scorer, whereas Thomas is an all-around player. She’ll fill the stat sheet in every possible category: assists, points, rebounds, steals, and she’ll probably have a blocked shot or two.

As a group, how does Maryland’s class stack up nationally?

It really depends on the total numbers. If they’re set with three commitments in comparison to any other program that may commit to sign three players, I think they maybe rank in the top three-to-five in the country for what they needed to address. I think they’ve done a wonderful job in terms of that. Depending on their overall depth of the other schools that sign five or six, they may end up being in the top five or six recruiting classes. But just overall, for what they got out of the needs they had, I think it would be a top three recruiting class. Because Mincy and Thomas, at the end of the day, will both be top 20 prospects, whereas Cloud is probably a borderline top 100 player. But anytime you can land two top 20 prospects, that automatically gets you in the top five, and with what they needed to address, that puts them in the three-to-five range.

Who else is Maryland looking at for the 2010 class?

It was my understanding that they were looking at shoring up their frontline and trying to get another post player. Who that post player is, I’m not sure. I don’t know who that would be.

Is Maryland still a hot name on the recruiting trail?

Oh, no doubt about it. I think anytime you get a national championship under your belt in recent years, I think any prospect in the country is going to entertain an offer from Maryland. So they’re recruiting nationally now. I don’t think they’re confined to the metro D.C. area. They’ve stepped into the northeast. [You’ve seen them go into] Jersey and Pennsylvania, and these are national-level players that they can get that are somewhat close to home. Coach [Brenda] Frese has done a remarkable job. She’s one of the hardest working head coaches in terms of recruiting in the country. The overall [impressions] of the student-athlete on Maryland is that it’s a top five, top 10 program that plays in arguably one of the top two or three conferences in women’s basketball. Girls get to play in front of big crowds on a nightly basis, and that’s always attractive.

How do you think Maryland will fare this year, considering the losses of Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, plus the transfers of Marah Strickland and Drey Mingo?

I see them being competitive in a league where every [top] program lost a significant contributor. Duke, Florida State, North Carolina -- all of those programs have lost a significant player. I think what now will show is that next-tier recruit who will be asked to step in the shoes of a departing all-conference caliber player, whether that be Coleman or Toliver at Maryland, or [Rashanda] McCants at North Carolina, or Chante Black at Duke. What’s going to be asked now is [for some younger players] to come in and make a contribution. From there, you’ll just have to see which freshman emerges as a perennial all-league player. I think Dara Taylor ... is capable of coming in and being able to be serviceable at the point guard position right away. And [Lynetta] Kizer could have a breakout sophomore year. I think she could possibly be all-league as a sophomore. I think right now, the league is really up in the air. It’s just a matter of what those returning players are able to bring to the table right away.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:14 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Five questions
        

August 11, 2009

Arundel's Billy Cosh picks Kansas State

Winter break will be an especially happy time around the Cosh household this year.

billycosh.jpg

Arundel quarterback Billy Cosh will have just graduated early from high school and his father, Chris Cosh, will be putting the finishing touches on his first season as Kansas State’s assistant head coach and co-defensive coordinator. Soon after, father and son will reunite as coach and player. Billy Cosh committed to KSU on Sunday, picking the Wildcats over offers from Kentucky, East Carolina and Towson.

“I feel really great,” Cosh said. “Having the opportunity to play football in the Big 12 and go to Kansas State [makes me feel] very blessed. I’m really happy about this decision.”

Cosh, 6-2, 195 pounds, went to middle school in Manhattan, Kan., when his father served as linebackers coach under Bill Snyder during the 2004-05 seasons. The family moved to Odenton in 2006 when Chris Cosh was hired as Maryland’s defensive coordinator. He spent three seasons in that role before the recently rehired Snyder brought him back to KSU last winter. Billy Cosh said he always looked back on those middle-school years fondly.

“I went to games at Kansas State and it was just the best atmosphere,” Cosh said. “58,000 fans in the stands, purple all around. Everyone’s just so passionate and very loyal to the team. I always told myself I wanted to play in the Big 12 and I was excited when I first got the offer. I was really impressed by it.”

Still, it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Cosh would join his father in Manhattan. He seriously considered his other options, but an attractive quarterback depth chart, a familiarity with the school and the obvious family ties proved too great to ignore.

“It was hard because East Carolina and Kentucky were tough to turn down,” Cosh said. “It was hard to turn them down because they worked so hard [recruiting me]. It’s tough to do that to a school, but it was just a family decision. [It will be great] for my family to be able to watch me play. Playing for Coach Snyder in the Big 12 is just a blessing.”

Arundel coach Chuck Markiewicz said Kansas State was very professional in its approach to recruiting Cosh, treating him like any other prospect.

“I don’t know what kind of input [his father] had; I’m sure he had some,” Markiewicz said. “But they recruited him like anyone else. They didn’t treat him any differently.”

As a junior, Cosh threw for 3,913 yards and 56 touchdowns, rushed for 135 yards and five scores, and led Arundel to an 11-2 record and a semifinal appearance in the 4A state playoffs. That record-shattering debut as a varsity starter didn’t surprise Markiewicz, nor did the interest Cosh ultimately garnered.

“He’s a very hard worker, and this is a goal he’s had since he came to Arundel,” Markiewicz said. “He has worked very hard to get where he is. ... He’s got a really good arm and I think he’s going to be able to run the ball a little better this year, too. That’s one of things he’s been working on. ... So it’s not a fluke or anything like that. He deserves all the accolades he’s gotten.”

Now that recruiting is done, Cosh has his sights set on leading Arundel to the state championship game. Thanks to his father’s pressure-free approach to recruiting, the Cosh family has their winter reunion in Kansas to look forward to.

“He kind of stayed out of my way and said to do what’s best for me,” Cosh said. “It really helped out when he did that. He didn’t pressure me; he just wanted what was best for me. I feel like my dad doing that, it helped me and made my decision a lot easier. There was less pressure, and I thank him for that.”

Click on the YouTube player for Cosh’s junior highlights.

Baltimore Sun photo by Jed Kirschbaum / Oct. 6, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 10, 2009

Weekend wrap — Jones' stock rising

The stock of Portland power forward Terrence Jones continues to rise, and according to The Oregonian, Maryland is still in contention to land the five-star prospect.

At the Elite 24 game in New York, Jones will play alongside former Jefferson teammate Terrence Ross, who transferred to Montrose Christian a year ago and has committed to Maryland.

Maryland hopes to land the second Terrence as well. So does Florida, Georgetown, Indiana, Kansas, North Carolina and a host of others.

Rivals.com has updates on several Maryland targets, including Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie, San Diego forward James Johnson and Long Island, N.Y., forward Tobias Harris.

Tobias Harris said his visit to Kentucky went well and that the Wildcats are firmly on his list. He will officially visit Tennessee on September 12, and he also named Connecticut, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Louisville and Notre Dame as schools he is considering.

• Oak Hill (Va.) small forward Roscoe Smith played for the East team in this weekend’s Nike Global Challenge in Portland, Ore..

Logging his second consecutive start at the small forward position, Smith's numbers took a small dip in the second game. The four star forward attempted just five shots (making two) in 19 minutes of action to finish with four points, one rebounds, one block, and one steal.

• Former Kansas State small forward commitment and Maryland target Tony Mitchell gave Rivals.com an update to his recruitment.

After having a tremendous month of July, Tony Mitchell named Arizona State, Georgetown and Kansas State as the three schools recruiting him the hardest. He plans to officially visit all three. More visits might be in order as he plans to wait until the spring to sign.

Football recruiting

• Good Counsel cornerback Louis Young might not be headed to Stanford after all. The four-star prospect told the Sporting News that he has reopened his recruitment.

The Our Lady of Good Counsel (Olney, Md.) product told Sporting News that he's not completely finished with Stanford, but he's now let Maryland, Virginia Tech, Boston College, Virginia and UConn creep into the picture.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:46 AM | | Comments (20)
        

August 7, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's search for a big man in the 2010 class has apparently led to a legacy recruit.

The Roanoke (Va.) Times reports that Cave Spring center Josh Henderson, who averaged almost 16 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior, has been offered a scholarship by the Terps.

Last week, Henderson received scholarship offers from Penn State, Vanderbilt and Cincinnati. On Monday, he got an offer from Maryland, where his father, David, played from 1976-80.

"That was exciting," said Henderson's mother, Carol, who is from College Park, Md., and went to the same church as then-Terps coach Lefty Driesell and his family.

• Maryland shooting guard commitment Terrence Ross was picked to play in the Boost Mobile 24 Event.

Of the second set of revealed players, three of them have committed to colleges, Dion Waiters to Syracuse, Terrence Ross to Maryland and Myck Kabongo to Texas; making a total eight of the Boost Mobile Elite 24 players to have committed, including - Austin Rivers to Florida, Jared Sullinger to Ohio State, Kendall Marshall to North Carolina, Tristan Thompson to Texas, and Will Barton to Memphis.

The event, previously scheduled for Saturday, August 22, has been moved to Friday, August 21 at New York City's Rucker Park, 7 p.m. E.T. and will be televised on tape delay Saturday, August 22, 7 p.m. E.T. on ESPNU.

WisHoops.net reported last week that Maryland has offered Josh Gasser, a combo guard from Port Washington, Wis..

Maryland and Arizona State extended scholarship offers to the 6-foot-4 combination guard Monday evening, and Port Washington coach John Bunyan believes an offer from Virginia and new coach Tony Bennett might be forthcoming as well.

• DeMatha shooting guard Jerian Grant impressed many college coaches at the Big Time Bump in Chantilly, Va..

Many of the coaches in attendance were fixing their gaze on Grant; DePaul, Notre Dame, Providence, Oklahoma State, Clemson, Maryland and Virginia Tech have offered Grant scholarships.

Scout.com named Portland, Ore., forward and Terps target Terrence Jones one of the top 10 stories of July.

Not many prospects had the July that Jones, a standout at Portland (Ore.) Jefferson, was able to put together. The versatile power forward took on all competition and led his team to the championship at the Center Stage event held on UNLV’s campus. At 6-foot-8, possibly 6-foot-9, Jones is intriguing and has a unique game that has caught the eye of elite high major coaches. He’s more confident in his game and he’s certainly playing like it.

• Long Island, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris met with University of Kentucky president Lee T. Todd Jr. on a visit to Lexington this week.

“No. 1, he was just talking about when you get a degree from Kentucky, the degree is gonna help you throughout life,” [Tobias’ father] Torrel said. “The network that Kentucky has can help their graduates in life. That’s one of the things he stressed. He also stressed that they’re putting in a good infrastructure. They encourage the players who go to the NBA to come back and get their degrees.

• Maryland made the top five for Fayetteville, N.C., power forward Damontre Harris, according to Scout.com.

NBE Basketball Report says the Terps are tracking St. John’s (D.C.) junior Julian Debose.

Having done work during July and earlier this summer, DeBose has been offered by Delaware while receiving recruiting interest from Xavier, Wake Forest, UVA, Richmond, VCU, Maryland, and the Big East’s West Virginia, Georgetown and Marquette.

• For a 40-minute discussion of Terps basketball recruiting and the upcoming season, check out this podcast from InsideMDSports.com.

Football recruiting

• Maryland tight end recruit Nermin Delic and his Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) squad recently completed a four-day camp at the University of West Georgia.

“I think everybody grew up,” he said. “We really matured as a team and I think that could mean the difference between five or six wins and eight or nine wins. We had to pick it up. We had to answer that wake-up call.

• Archbishop Carroll linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu -- a teammate of Terps defensive tackle commitment Nate Clarke -- holds 16 scholarship offers, according to The Washington Post’s Josh Barr.

Attaochu, 6 feet 3 and 224 pounds, "really likes Illinois, Virginia and also Maryland," [Carroll coach Rick] Houchens said. Illinois could have an advantage, however, as another former player of Houchens, Will Davis, starred at the same position at Illinois and was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. Attaochu also has had a productive offseason, gaining more than 30 pounds.

• Salisbury (Conn.) School defensive tackle Bjoern Werner, a native of Germany, reportedly has an offer from the Terps.

He already has offers from Boston College, California, Connecticut, Maryland, Missouri, Rutgers, UTEP and Tulsa, among others. He is scheduled to take an official visit to Cal for the Maryland game.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:39 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

August 6, 2009

AAU recap: Baltimore Stars

Few local AAU basketball programs had a more fluid and wide-ranging roster this summer than the Baltimore Stars.

The Stars, led by coaches Duane Davis and Tony Baylor, had a welcoming, open-door policy of sorts, which allowed highly-touted players such as C.J. Fair (Syracuse) to join the program for specific tournaments. Fair spent most of his summer with Nike Baltimore Elite, but returned to the Stars -- his longtime team -- last month for the AAU nationals in Orlando.

“I think it was a successful summer given the pressures,” said Troy Franklin, a longtime Stars official. “Carl Fair came back and played with us, and he really, really did well. You’ve got to be careful to have the right mix with the right coaching to showcase the kids, because that’s what it’s all about. With all the pressure, some kids may think the grass is greener somewhere else. But I think it was clearly indicated by a number of folks, coaches included, that the Baltimore Stars experience wins out. We always seem to field a winning program. We were really excited about this summer.”

Besides Fair, who will spend his senior year at Brewster (N.H.) Academy, several other former City standouts were members of the Stars organization at one time or another. At least four will begin their college basketball careers this fall. Small forward Adam Johnson signed with St. Francis (Pa.), but will instead attend Cecil College. Tore Turner is headed to Wesley College in Dover, Del., Malik Pack will suit up for Neumann College near Philadelphia, and Quinton Goodwin plans to play for Delaware Technical & Community College.

Fair wasn’t the only big-time Baltimore player who suited up for the Stars at least once this summer. Oak Hill (Va.) small forward Roscoe Smith made an appearance with the Stars, as did former Lake Clifton standouts and Memphis commitments Will Barton (Brewster Academy) and Antonio Barton (Notre Dame Prep).

“Antonio played with us early, and Will Barton finished up with us at the AAU nationals,” Franklin said. “And of course, he put on a show. So it’s always fun to have Will with us. Sometimes the kids make a decision to try to be everywhere, and we don’t want to do anything to limit the kids. We don’t discourage a kid and say, ‘you’re with us or you’re not with us.’ We want to make sure we get our arms around those kids, in particular to make sure they’re on the right page with the clearinghouse and NCAA readiness.”

Whenever Smith, Fair or one of the Bartons suited up for the Stars, a horde of high-major Division I coaches would be sure to follow. That led to more looks for three lesser-known Stars with Div. I futures: Digital Harbor guard Justin Jackson, Mount St. Joseph forward Ryley Beaumont and Mount St. Joseph shooting guard Matt Miller.

Jackson, who teamed with older brother George (Coppin State) to lead Digital Harbor to the 1A state championship, is hearing from Mount St. Mary’s and George Mason, according to Franklin. Miller, a lights-out shooter, joined the Stars in Orlando. Franklin said Akron, Radford, UMBC, New Hampshire, Quinnipiac, Gardner-Webb and Bucknell are just a few schools that have expressed interest. The 6-foot-6 Beaumont, meanwhile, claims offers from Fairfield, Loyola, Siena and Navy.

“Here you have a skinny kid, quiet, who goes out and plays against some of the who’s who and not only holds his own, but he serves them,” Franklin said of Beaumont’s play. “And that evolves into credibility, and now you have stature. Now you have recognition, because you did your thing on the big stage against kids that have already been established and recognized as high DI worthy.

“It does matter who you play, and the Baltimore Stars have been fortunate to be in position to play in the big games.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:14 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

August 5, 2009

Q&A with Coppin State coach Fang Mitchell

For the past four seasons, Tywain McKee dazzled local college basketball followers as the ever-reliable, always-dangerous go-to player for Coppin State.

fang-mitchell.jpg

Come fall, the Eagles’ all-time leading scorer will be playing professional basketball somewhere. Meanwhile, longtime Coppin coach Fang Mitchell will attempt to make up for the lost production of McKee, one of the greatest players in school history.

Power forward Brian Chestnut and shooting guard Chuka Iloegbu also graduated, leaving Mitchell with two more holes to fill.

To address those departures, Mitchell is bringing in five newcomers to the Eagles’ roster: Monroe (N.Y.) Community College shooting guard Kareem Brown, St. Thomas More (Conn.) power forward Branden Doughty, Digital Harbor point guard George Jackson, San Antonio (Texas) James Madison forward Jonathan Landry and San Jose (Calif.) City College shooting guard Quinston Reggins.

Brown, 6-2, averaged 15 points per game as a sophomore, leading Monroe to a 30-7 record. He played in the National Junior College Athletic Association All-Star game. Doughty, 6-8, 210 pounds, is an Upper Marlboro native who attended Riverdale Baptist before enrolling at St. Thomas More. He spent last year attending classes at Coppin, and will have four years of eligibility starting this fall. Jackson, 5-11, averaged 19.5 points, 6.5 assists and 2.5 steals as a senior, leading Digital Harbor to the 1A state championship. Landry, 6-5, 215 pounds, averaged 11.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game, helping Madison to a 34-2 record and a No. 5 national ranking. He was a San Antonio News-Express Super Team selection. Reggins, 6-1, was one of the top-ranked JUCO guards in California after a standout prep career in Houston.

Mitchell spoke with Recruiting Report recently about his incoming class.

You’re losing the leading scorer in Coppin history in Tywain McKee, not to mention Chestnut and Iloegbu. With that in mind, how did you approach this recruiting class?

Well I definitely understood losing Tywain was going to be a tremendous loss, so we really tried to focus on the guard position and bring in some people that would help us in that position. Chuka was another guard, so we lost two. Our main concentration was on guard, but we also needed a big guy to replace Brian Chestnut and what he had given us. So that was our main focus and we really didn’t have an opportunity to wait. We really needed somebody now. That’s why we went to the JUCO ranks.

How did you get Landry to commit so early in the process?

We saw him during the summer. We did feel he was a sleeper. He could do a lot of things, being 6’5 and strong. We just felt that it was a great opportunity if we could sign him. So we worked hard getting him to sign with us early.

Is it safe to say he would’ve earned more offers had he waited until spring to sign?

It would have been very, very tough to get him and I’m well aware of that. So we’re pleased with the fact that we did sign him early. And we’re just looking forward to it because he is a complete player. He can score as well as rebound.

Is he sort of an undersized power forward?

Well he can play power forward and small forward. We’re looking for him to play the small forward spot. And the way we play, with four guards, he’s ideal for us.

Did his strong senior year surprise you, or did you know what you were getting the whole time?

We knew what we were getting the whole time. We had spoken to him about things he needed to work on. But the biggest thing I always look for is someone who is used to winning, and his team won. That became a plus for us. The fact that he was on a high school team that was successful [was important], and that helps when it comes to the next level. He’s used to winning. His high school was [nationally] ranked most of the year.

Kareem was one of the top JUCO recruits in the country. How did you get involved with him?

I went to the [NJCAA] Division II championships up in Illinois. So I got an opportunity to see him play there. We recognized the fact that he’s a real good player and he could shoot the basketball. You can never have enough shooters. We looked at it as another opportunity to get a good player in here, so we were fortunate. He came down, liked me, liked the school and it became history from that point on.

Reggins was another big-time JUCO player. Where did you discover him, and how did you pull him from California?

Well my assistants had an opportunity to see him first. We recognized from the beginning that he was a real good player. It was a situation where we were recruiting him all year long. Given the opportunity, there’s not many times that people come into Coppin and not like what they see here. He came for the visit and it was just a great opportunity for him as well as for us. He liked it here and decided to come. He got along with the players and the coaching staff. It’s a great fit as far as I was concerned. But again, it’s the same concept: trying to find players who came from winning squads.

Will a combination of Brown and Reggins be expected to fill in for McKee?

Well, it’s all up in the air. It’s one of those situations where you can’t say that because we’re still bringing in a George Jackson that did so much for Digital Harbor. He’s still a freshman, but he’s a very good basketball player at point guard. I’m just looking at them fighting it out on the basketball court. You can never have enough guards has always been my philosophy.

When is the first time you remember seeing George Jackson?

Coach Larry Tucker has been on him a long time. He saw him play and recommended me to see him play also. It’s been this year as far as when I saw him play. But Tucker had watched him play last year also. It’s a situation with him where we knew he came from a great family. His father was a great player and he’s a great player. It was just a no-brainer as far as we were concerned. He definitely can help us and we recognize that.

Is he a true 1 or more of a combo guard?

He’s a true 1. He will distribute the basketball and score also. You have that combination, but he will look to get people the ball and that’s something that’s very important to me. And he’ll play defense. The type of defense that he’ll have to play here is entirely different from where he came from, and that’s not putting the high school down. It’s just another level [in college]. He’s the type of kid that will be able to do that.

You’ve always gone after Baltimore guys, but how important is it to land a guy from such a successful program like Digital Harbor?

It’s very important to just get quality players. Digital Harbor had a very successful year last year and it’s the same thing, once again, of looking for those programs that basically have those athletes that understand what winning is about. It becomes so important to them that they will accept nothing other than that. Those are the ones I always felt will work the hardest. You have to be hungry and I think it was a very important thing to get him considering the fact that in the Baltimore area, he’s well known as far as being a player. The more of them that we can get, especially the big-name players from Baltimore, the better it will be for us. I’ve always looked to try to get as many Baltimore players I can get because it’s definitely a quality area.

When did Doughty commit to Coppin?

The night before his senior year, I talked with Coach [Jere] Quinn at St. Thomas More. He told me [Doughty] was interested and we got a chance to look at him. I liked what I saw and I recruited him down to Coppin. He had to go do a year [of school] here and at the present time he’s raring to go.

What do you expect from him this year?

We’re still going to look for him to be somebody to rebound the basketball for us and maybe be able to block a few shots now and then and score. We’re looking for all three from him. We lost Brian Chestnut and we definitely need somebody who’s going to come in and give us that ingredient of rebounding and scoring.

Because he’s been out of high school a couple years, does that make him more ready to contribute right away than a typical freshman?

It will only make him a little more ready if he’s been working on it. But it’s a better situation of having somebody who’s been out of high school and had a year or two behind him before they really start their college career. They become a little more seasoned and a little more mature. Those are the things that are definitely helpful.

Which newcomers will you expect to make the greatest impact?

I never promise major minutes for anybody, so I just look at everybody being in the loop. In practice, and conditioning, how they come in is how they’re going to determine their playing time.

Did you notice any effect from making the NCAA tournament in 2008 on the recruiting trail?

The tournament did help us in being able to get some of these players. Successful players want to be in successful programs. The fact that we went to the tournament a couple of years ago makes people aware that we are capable of getting there. People want to be a part of that.

With these five newcomers plus your returners, what can fans expect from Coppin this season?

Well I think we’ll be competitive. Losing Tywain McKee is a big one, but I have to create a situation where we’re going to be competitive in the MEAC with the players that we have. I think we’re capable of competing. I’m looking forward to a challenging year ahead. When you have a situation where you lost the players that we lost the past year, it’s very challenging to piece something together that will be successful. But I’m just really looking forward to it.

Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 14, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:04 AM | | Comments (4)
        

August 4, 2009

Devin Burns discusses Maryland commitment

Devin Burns has never been one to panic, either on the football field or off.

So when the Columbus (Ga.) Carver quarterback was told his scholarship to Georgia had been rescinded on the day he intended to commit to the Bulldogs, he deftly sidestepped any added pressure over this very public breakup and quietly moved on.

Moving on meant giving Maryland -- a school that always intrigued Burns -- a closer look. Over the weekend, Burns and his family visited College Park. Before driving back to Georgia, the 6-foot-2, 175-pounder committed to the Terps.

“When they first started recruiting me, I liked them from the beginning,” Burns said. “I always had them in mind as a place I liked. ... So it feels good for me to be done with the recruiting process. Maryland was the best choice for me, and I love the school.”

Burns led Carver to an 11-3 record and the Georgia AAA semifinals as a junior. He threw for 736 yards and eight touchdowns on 55 of 85 passing, while rushing for 363 yards and two scores on 68 carries.

If there’s anything Burns has demonstrated to Carver coach Dell McGee, it’s that he has a short memory and isn’t easily flustered. That applies to Burns on the football field, but he also exhibited similar qualities with regard to the Georgia situation.

“Whenever something bad happens, he’s always that steady force on the field,” McGee said. “He doesn’t get down and doesn’t get rattled. And he keeps his composure very well. That happens often on the football field. At the quarterback position, you need a person to be like that. He exemplifies those qualities.”

As a true freshman, Burns will join classmate Tyler Smith, plus Jamarr Robinson, C.J. Brown and Danny O’Brien in the battle to replace Chris Turner at quarterback. Burns said the Terps coaches like his dual-threat ability.

“They like the fact that I can throw the ball; I’ve got a strong arm and [I’m] accurate,” Burns said. “They also like the fact that I can run just as good as I can throw the ball. If the play breaks down, I can [take off running].”

McGee starred at cornerback for Auburn before spending time with the Arizona Cardinals and Detroit Lions, in addition to stints in NFL Europe, the Arena Football League and the XFL. Having played against the best, McGee knows what it takes to succeed at the college level. McGee thinks Burns has the necessary qualities a major college quarterback needs.

“I think he’s going to definitely have a chance to play early at Maryland,” McGee said. “His learning curve, learning the offense and things of that sort are probably the biggest determining factors on how soon he plays, and of course competition. He’s going to play college football, so you’re going to have competition, especially at that level. But he reacts well to competition, so I think he’ll be a huge boost to Maryland as an athlete on and off the field.”

Burns represents Carver in a similar manner, according to McGee. Education is important to him, and his “great attitude” is constantly on display.

“He’s probably one of the best dressed kids I’ve seen,” McGee said with a laugh. “[He wears a] collared shirt everyday -- business type of attire. He’s just a classy kid. He comes from a great family background and great family stability. You can see that family’s very important to him.”

Burns’ father is a military man, so the family has lived in Georgia, Hawaii, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. The trip to Maryland impressed every family member.

“It’s a great location,” Burns said. “You’re right near Washington D.C. With all the business out there, it’s a great opportunity to get a job. It’s a great place to be successful.”

Burns, who plans to major in business marketing, has high standards for success. But they’re standards he intends to meet upon arrival in College Park.

“I’m a hard worker,” Burns said. “I’m going to try to help Maryland to an ACC championship and possibly a national championship.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:13 AM | | Comments (2)
        

August 3, 2009

Weekend wrap — Harris' timeline

The lengthy list of schools under consideration by Long Island, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris will be pared down by the end of this month.

Harris’ father, Torrel, told Adam Zagoria in a text message that his son will trim his list by the “end of August.” Maryland is one of 12 teams on Harris’ list, but several other college basketball powers are still trying to get involved with the four-star prospect.

“Memphis, Kentucky, Florida and UCLA are trying to get involved. We have not decided at this point to explore these schools,” Torrel said.

SLAM’s Aggrey Sam liked what he saw out of Harris at the AAU nationals in Orlando.

Harris, now slim and trim after working off some baby fat, looked a lot leaner, more explosive, quicker and dynamic, all of which complemented his already-versatile repertoire–he can shoot from deep, put the ball on the floor fluidly, finish at the hoop, mix it up on the boards and post up–making him perhaps one of the most complete forwards in his class offensively.

NBE Basketball Report offered a scout's take on Portland, Ore., power forward and Terps target Terrence Jones in Part II of its Vegas Week review.

Jones is more four than three and he brought the ball up the floor much of the time in his team’s run. He’ll remind Hoya fans of Greg Monroe being he’s a big lefty and versatile. Connecticut and Georgetown are in it with a long list.

• DeMatha teammates Victor Oladipo and Jerian Grant were two of Team Takeover’s standout players on the AAU circuit this summer. Oladipo was offered by UM several months ago, and now Grant reportedly has an offer from the Terps as well.

DePaul, Notre Dame and Providence have all offered Grant scholarships, with Maryland Clemson, Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State following suit. His decision will be made around the early signing date.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:06 AM | | Comments (5)
        

August 2, 2009

Report: Terps land Georgia athlete

In the case of Carver High quarterback Devin Burns, Georgia's loss was apparently Maryland's gain.

According to the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer, Burns committed to Maryland on Saturday.

Burns led Carver to the state semifinals last season, completing 55-of-85 passes for 736 yards and eight touchdowns. He also ran for 363 yards on 68 carries with two touchdowns.

Burns was offered a scholarship by Georgia in the spring, but on the day he intended to commit, the Bulldogs rescinded their offer. Carver coach Dell McGee subsequently banned Georgia coaches from recruiting at the school.

Burns, 6 feet 2, 172 pounds, is rated a three-star prospect and the No. 76 player in Georgia by Rivals.com, while Scout.com ranks him the No. 31 quarterback in the country.

Burns, who chose the Terps over offers from Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, Louisville, Southern Miss and several others, is the 14th commitment of Maryland’s 2010 recruiting class.

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on Burns’ decision.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:07 AM | | Comments (2)
        
Keep reading
Recent entries
Archives
Categories
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.

High school recruiting database
Area high school commitments -- 2009
Area high school commitments -- 2008
Maryland's 2012 football commitments
Maryland's 2011 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Sign up for FREE local sports alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for local sports text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Most Recent Comments

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Photo galleries
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com sports blogs  Subscribe to this feed
Charm City Current
Stay connected