baltimoresun.com

« August 2009 | Main | October 2009 »

September 30, 2009

Lake Clifton's Josh Selby looking at six schools

The list of schools in the running for Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby is now down to six.

The five-star prospect and his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon, pared the list on Sunday night. In no particular order, Syracuse, Kansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Miami and Baylor made the cut.

Here’s what Witherspoon had to say about Selby’s six finalists:

Baylor: “We like the facilities and the coaching staff is a nice group of guys.”

Indiana: “Coach [Tom] Crean was very successful with players Josh has been compared to at Marquette. They have some great kids [in the program] and a great recruiting class coming in the 2010 class, one being Josh’s ex-teammate at DeMatha [Victor Oladipo]. We like the coaching staff as well.”

Kansas: “[We like] coach [Bill] Self at Kansas. We like the tradition, like the style of play and love the personality of the coaching staff. I love the fact that with Kansas, there’s not a lot of distractions out there. And Coach Self won a national championship, so he knows how to win.”

Kentucky: “Coach [John] Calipari is also the same thing [as Self] -- he knows how to win. He’s been very successful, especially the last two years with point guards. They’re in a great conference in the SEC.”

Miami: “They’re in another great conference and we like the coaching staff. Another plus for Miami is the year-round great weather.”

Syracuse: “It’s the same with Kansas. They won the national championship [recently]. I would say with Syracuse, Coach [Jim] Boeheim is very honest and very up-front. He’s had a lot of success with Baltimore players he has recruited. He’s been successful with guards who have styles similar to Josh.”

Witherspoon said she and Selby will try to make as many visits as possible before the start of basketball season. They may formulate their list of scheduled visits by the weekend.

“We’re definitely still thinking about a spring decision because even though we’ve cut the list, some of the schools we let go are trying to plead their case,” Witherspoon said. “This is getting to be real interesting and hard at the same time.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:01 AM | | Comments (20)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 29, 2009

Meet Alicia DeVaughn

The Maryland women's basketball program first popped up on the radar of Alicia DeVaughn when she was a high school freshman.

The Terps were fresh off a national championship, and DeVaughn couldn't have been more enamored with the program. With that in mind, DeVaughn's official visit to College Park last weekend was years in the making.

"As soon as I got up there it felt right," DeVaughn said. "And then when I met the team, they were just automatically nice."

DeVaughn committed before returning to her South Florida home, joining the program that first caught her eye almost four years ago.

"Oh, I feel good about it. I love it," DeVaughn said. "It just makes me feel like we have a great chance at winning the championship."

Here's an introduction to DeVaughn.

Name: Alicia DeVaughn
Birthdate: Sept. 18, 1991
Birthplace: Lakewood, Fla.
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Nickname: Six-Nine
Height: 6’4
Position: Forward
High School: Blanche Ely
Junior statistics: 16.6 points, 18.9 rebounds
Other schools considered: Oklahoma, Purdue, Georgia, Louisville
Favorite pro basketball player: Diana Taurasi
Favorite pro basketball team: Phoenix Mercury
Favorite all-time Terp: Marissa Coleman
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Drake
Favorite movie: The Lion King and Space Jam
Favorite TV show: House of Payne
Favorite food: Seafood
Favorite high school class: Psychology
Favorite thing about College Park: “The campus is very nice.”
Hobbies: Playing basketball, shopping, eating
Intended major: Psychology
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m goofy.”
Best basketball moment: “When I won state my sophomore year and I just got back off of two ACL surgeries.”
Why Maryland? “I’ve just liked Maryland ever since my ninth-grade year. I was really interested in them. When I went up there, it was a family-like environment. Coach [Brenda] Frese was like the mother and the team was like children.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:29 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

New UM women's recruit 'a lethal player'

Alicia DeVaughn left her South Florida home for College Park last week as an uncommitted yet highly touted prospect.

When she returned to Florida on Sunday from her official visit to Maryland, DeVaughn was committed to the Terps. The quick decision was no surprise to Blanche Ely girls basketball coach Tommie Butts.

“Yeah, I saw it coming,” Butts said of DeVaughn’s commitment. “She always liked Maryland. That’s all she talked about, was Maryland.”

DeVaughn, a 6-foot-4 post player, picked the Terps over offers from Oklahoma, Purdue, Georgia and Louisville. She averaged more than 16 points and 18 rebounds as a junior for Butts’ squad.

“She can play at any level,” Butts said. “She has those capabilities to play with anybody. She just has to continue to work hard and continue to believe in her abilities. She has great upside, she has the size, she has the knowledge of the game and she has the work ethic. Those combinations make her a lethal player.”

DeVaughn, the No. 57 player in the 2010 class according to ESPN HoopGurlz, joins a Maryland class that was already the top-ranked group in the country. DeVaughn’s role will be to man the post, but Butts says she’s more than just a back-to-the-basket player.

“Playing against her, she has always been the type of player that you have to plan for,” Butts said. “Now she’s added more to her arsenal. She has a perimeter shot, which she didn’t have before. She’s a more consistent perimeter shooter. Her back-to-the-basket game has always been good. Now she’s working more on facing the basket, working on two or three patented moves. She’s a 6-4 forward that’s athletic and can put the ball on the floor. That size is just hard to stop when she’s going to the basket.”

Butts said despite DeVaughn’s many accolades on the court, she’s incredibly humble and “you would never know she was an all-star with the way she acts off the floor.” DeVaughn is the biological daughter of WNBA standout Yolanda Griffith (who gave her up for adoption), so her long-term potential is great. The Maryland coaching staff, according to Butts, couldn’t be more excited to tap into that potential come 2010.

“They like the fact that she’s a long type of player,” Butts said. “They like her leadership ability, and the way she was just dealing with our players. They like the way she can handle the basketball for a player of her size. They like the fact that she’s a 6-4 player with a long wingspan that can shoot the basketball from the perimeter. They like her humbleness. They like the fact that she has more to offer with her size and her knowledge of the game. They know that she has the potential of being a great player at Maryland. From my understanding, Brenda Frese feels like she could be a freshman of the year.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:37 AM | | Comments (5)
        

September 28, 2009

Weekend wrap — Till makes return

It didn't take long for Titus Till to make an impact in his return to the field.

The Maryland safety commitment missed Wise’s first three games of the season with a broken scapula. But in his return to the active roster Friday, Till was instrumental in the Pumas’ win.

But as Till ran down the middle, quarterback DeAndre Smith heaved a pass that Till hauled in for a 50-yard catch that led to the game's only score, lifting visiting Wise past No. 14 Eleanor Roosevelt, 6-0, in a Prince George's 4A game on Friday in Greenbelt.

Click here for video of Till from The Washington Post.

• UM athlete commitment Matt Robinson returned a fumble for a touchdown in Atholton’s 34-30 win over Wilde Lake.

While Robinson, a 6-foot-4 wide receiver bound for Maryland, caught eight passes for 185 yards, quarterback Kalvin Seamonson had an even bigger day. The senior went 17-for-26 passing for 308 yards, threw for three touchdowns and ran for one.

• Terps quarterback recruit Tyler Smith threw five interceptions but still guided Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a 31-7 win over Pen Argyl.

Smith, a Maryland recruit, completed a very respectable 18 of 32 passes for 288 yards and two touchdowns -- a 67-yarder and a 26-yarder to senior wideout Brian Cooper. His problem was throwing too many balls into the arms of players wearing green and white.

• UM tight end pledge Nermin Delic helped Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) to an 18-10 win over Murray County.

On the previous play, [Mike] Martin also broke a 22-yard run. Chad Keeter then ran a quarterback option and, just as he reached the line of scrimmage, dumped a shovel pass to tight end Nermin Delic, who was standing wide open in the corner of the end zone for the two-point conversion to make the score 11-7.

Basketball recruiting

• The Maryland women picked up a commitment this weekend from Pompano Beach, Fla., center Alicia DeVaughn, who averaged more than 16 points and 18 rebounds per game as a junior.

DeVaughn, who is 6-foot-4, also considered offers from Oklahoma, Purdue, Georgia and Louisville.

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on DeVaughn’s commitment.

SLAM has ranked the Maryland men’s basketball team’s three-man 2010 recruiting class No. 3 in the country.

No one is talking about the Terps, a puzzling fact considering they made a big-time splash by getting Terrence Ross, Mychal Parker and Terrell Stoglin to believe that big-time basketball is on the verge of coming back in College Park. Ross might be a bit underrated now, but the 6-5 wing won’t be for long, not with coach Gary Williams calling the shots. Parker and Stoglin are capable of contributing right away.

• Maryland didn’t make the cut for Portland, Ore., forward Terrence Jones.

Also, KU coach Bill Self on Sunday had an in-home visit with Terrence Jones, a 6-8 senior from Portland’s Jefferson High. He has a list of KU, UCLA, Washington, Florida, Kentucky and Arizona. [Note -- Oklahoma is also on his list]

Check out Testudo Times for more analysis on Jones’ Terps-less list.

• Maryland forward target Tobias Harris made an official visit to Syracuse this weekend, according to Adam Zagoria.

Harris also plans to visit Louisville and Kentucky, leaving two other officials for the rest of his list.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:54 AM | | Comments (0)
        

September 26, 2009

Terps make cut for Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris narrowed his list of schools to seven Friday night, and Maryland made the cut.

The Terps are joined on the five-star prospect's list by West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Tennessee, Louisville, Kentucky and Syracuse.

Harris announced his list on his Twitter page.

It's been real hard cutting this list down, I just want to thank all the schools that have been recruiting me, it has been a great blessing.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:34 AM | | Comments (5)
        

September 25, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Any day now, five-star prospect Tobias Harris is expected to narrow his 11-team list to five.

Maryland remains one of the 11 in contention for the Dix Hills, N.Y., power forward’s services. Adam Zagoria this week gave his take on Harris’ recruitment.

In the coming days, Tobias will cut his list down and then take his official visits. Look for UConn, Kentucky and Syracuse to be three of the schools in the mix down the stretch.

The Terps are also waiting to see where they stand with Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie, another five-star prospect. Rivals.com’s Jerry Meyer thinks Kentucky -- which picked up a commitment from four-star forward Stacey Poole this week -- and North Carolina are Leslie’s favorites.

There were questions about whether North Carolina has officially offered him, and those questions haven't necessarily been answered. Leslie and UNC coach Roy Williams, however, have been communicating. Leslie claims that Williams gave him the "we would love to have him when you are ready to commit" line. And North Carolina canceled an in-home visit with five-star power forward Terrence Jones, producing speculation that the Tar Heels are focusing on Leslie.

Check out Testudo Times for further discussion of Maryland’s pursuit of Harris, Leslie and Terrence Jones.

• New Mexico fans are hoping Los Alamos center Alex Kirk will stay in-state for college, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Kirk, meanwhile, faces a different kind of decision with Arizona. With finalists that include Oregon State, Maryland, Arkansas, SMU and New Mexico, Kirk has to deal with home-state fans who want him to stay and play for the Lobos.

"There's not a lot of D-I prospects out of New Mexico," said Alan Kirk, Alex's father and coach at Los Alamos High School.

• Maryland won’t receive an official visit from Fayetteville, N.C., power forward Damontre Harris after all. The four-star prospect committed to South Carolina earlier this week.

[South Carolina coach Darrin] Horn pegged Harris as a high-priority recruit from the beginning, and their early relationship helped him beat out names such as Florida's Billy Donovan and Maryland's Gary Williams. All of those coaches, along with Wake Forest's Dino Gaudio and Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart, made in-home visits this past week.

• Former Maryland combo guard target Josh Gasser committed to Wisconsin this week, picking the Badgers over Northwestern and Northern Iowa.

UW's offer was for Gasser to join the program as a walk-on in 2010 and then be on scholarship for four years. When freshman guard Diamond Taylor was arrested and charged with burglary and left school, UW was able to offer Gasser a full ride.

"I get along with the coaches and the players, and I think I fit the system, too." Gasser said. "I'm in a good situation, and I'm very excited about it."

• The Maryland women’s basketball team has one of the top five recruiting classes in the country for 2010, according to ESPN HoopGurlz.

Coach Brenda Freese [sic] will add significantly to a roster already brimming with good young talent. Her 2010 class includes No. 7 Alyssa Thomas, who has earned positive comparisons to former Terp star Marissa Coleman; No. 23 Laurin Mincy, an explosive scorer from the backcourt or wing, and No. 96 Natasha Cloud, who has a strong combination of size at 6-0 and speed for at the guard or wing positions.

Football recruiting

• Maryland quarterback commitment Devin Burns threw for three touchdowns in the first half of Carver (Ga.) High’s 47-13 win over Columbus on Thursday night.

Burns retired after the first quarter with his three scoring passes, 122 total yards in the air and another 8 yards running the ball.

• Terps athlete recruit Matt Robinson has been an integral part of Atholton’s 3-0 start.

“Everybody’s real excited,” said Raiders’ senior Matt Robinson. “This is the first time Atholton’s gone 3-0 in at least 10 years. It’s a really big deal. We’re not looking to stop. We’re just looking to keep moving forward and getting better. I don’t think we’ve reached our potential at all.”

ESPN.com profiled UM tight end recruit Nermin Delic this week, taking a look at his journey from a boy in Bosnia to a Division I recruit.

No recruiting story can hold a candle to the ones about Dad dodging bullets, shrapnel and politics in Bosnia, or a family odyssey that has included communism, genocide, a green beret, a victorious but ruined nation, and a failed first attempt to relocate in America.

Delic's trip to College Park, Md., next fall will be like a trip to the grocery compared to the journey Edin and Hana Delic led their family on beginning Dec. 9, 1997.

• With Maryland set to face Rutgers on Saturday, The Washington Post assessed the recruiting rivalry between the two programs. Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman is just the latest player being courted by the Terps and Scarlet Knights.

Maryland offered Coleman a scholarship on Aug. 29, 2008; Rutgers offered on Jan. 26, 2009. Coleman's top three choices are Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Maryland. He said he feels the same level of comfort with Rutgers as he does with Maryland, and he is hoping to go to the game Saturday.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:17 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 24, 2009

Meet Natasha Cloud

A summer spent on the AAU circuit might have been just what Natasha Cloud needed.

As a junior at Cardinal O’Hara in Springfield, Pa., Cloud was the team’s designated defensive stopper. The Maryland combo guard commitment filled up the stat sheet, but wasn’t counted on to be the primary scorer with four Division I-bound seniors on the roster.

This summer with the Mid-Atlantic Comets, however, Cloud emerged as a go-to player on a young team -- something she’ll need to do this winter at Cardinal O’Hara.

“We came in fourth in the country at nationals,” Cloud said of her AAU team. “We could’ve done better ... because we had a lot of younger players. We had a lot of sophomores and juniors on the team ... but we did pretty good.”

Cloud will still play to her strengths -- playing tough defense, setting up her teammates and rebounding -- during her senior season. But developing into more of a scoring threat this summer will be an added benefit for her team this year.

“I’m still going to do all the things I’ve been doing in the past,” Cloud said. “But I’m obviously going to have to take on a scoring role. My coach always tells me that. One of my assistant coaches [in high school] was a coach on the Comets. He said I progressed so much this summer with my shot. I’m going to do everything I need to carry it over for O’Hara.”

Cloud is the youngest of five siblings and the first in her immediate family to attend college. Her brother and one sister live at home with her parents, while two other sisters live in nearby Prospect Park. Family gatherings without the youngest Cloud next year will certainly be different.

“My mom always says it’ll be quiet around the house because I’m kind of loud,” Cloud said. “But I think they’ll get through it. It’s going to be hard [to be away from home] and it will be a change. But I know they’ll come and see me and when I get home I’ll see them. I know they’ll be calling me.”

Here’s an introduction to Cloud.

Name: Natasha Emily Cloud
Birthdate: Feb. 22, 1992
Birthplace: Broomall, Pa.
Hometown: Broomall, Pa.
Nickname: Tash or Tasha
Height: 6’0
Position: Shooting guard
High School: Cardinal O’Hara
Junior statistics: 7.8 points, 7.2 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 2.5 steals
Other schools considered: Villanova, St. Joseph's, Virginia
Rankings: ESPN Hoopgurlz -- No. 96. AllStarGirlsReport.net -- No. 31.
Favorite pro basketball player: Kristi Toliver
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Sparks
Favorite all-time Terp: Kristi Toliver
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Rascal Flatts, Mayday Parade
Favorite book: Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Favorite movie: The Notebook
Favorite TV show: One Tree Hill
Favorite food: Pasta
Favorite high school class: History
Favorite thing about College Park: “Just the atmosphere. It just has the complete and total family atmosphere. I fell in love with it.”
Hobbies: “Besides basketball, I just like hanging out with friends, going to high school football games. I’m really big on the spirit of my schools, so I usually attend a lot of events with my stomach painted. And I like shopping and dancing. I’ll just break it down in the hallway and start dancing.”
Intended major: Business
Something that not many people know about you: “[People at] Maryland would probably think I’m really shy at first, but I’m actually a complete and total goofball. And I sing really loud. Sometimes I just break out. In open gyms, I’ll just start singing.”
Best basketball moment: “I have two actually. They both are pretty high up there. Two years ago we won the [Philadelphia] Catholic League championship, which was the last one ever because the Catholic League has now switched over to the [Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association]. So that was a good moment there. Then last year, when we won the Arizona Tournament of Champions and became the No. 1 team in the country.”
Role model: “Gina Carano. She’s in the UFC -- a women’s MMA fighter. Just because even though she might lose, she still keeps her head up high and she does so much for the sport and is such a good role model. She takes everything with a smile and changed everything for women’s MMA. She just sends a good message to all women that you can do anything.”
Why Maryland? “I’m very close with my family and that was one of the reasons I chose Maryland. When I went on campus and they started touring me around, they all gave me hugs and stuff. [And I thought], ‘this is where I want to be.’ I’m a very family-oriented person and that’s what Brenda [Frese] has the team feeling like -- like it’s a family.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:57 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

September 23, 2009

Ex-Randallstown point guard to DePaul

Former Randallstown point guard Brandon Young is headed from one big city to another.

The Baltimore County native -- who’s now a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington -- committed to DePaul last weekend after taking an official visit to the Chicago school.

“It was just beautiful,” Young said. “It’s a nice city and I’m just around good people. [The coaches] want me to get better. I feel like that was the perfect fit for me.”

Young, 6 feet 2, 175 pounds, selected the Blue Demons over offers from Miami, Marquette, UMass, South Florida and Central Florida.

Young was somewhat of an unknown commodity heading into the summer. He had a strong junior season at Friendship Collegiate, averaging 12 points and six assists per game. But it wasn’t until Young suited up for the D.C.-based Team Takeover this summer that his stock soared.

Rivals.com ranked Young the No. 147 overall player in the 2010 class and the No. 33 point guard.

“I never thought I was going to be ranked, because I was an underrated player,” Young said. “Nobody really knew about me. I never knew I was going to be ranked and have so many offers, so it’s new to me. I didn’t expect this.”

Team Takeover coach Keith Stevens said it’s no surprise Young had so many options. Young is a true point guard that can score, and the DePaul coaching staff recognized that talent.

“[The DePaul coaches like] the fact that he’s an excellent ball-handler,” Stevens said. “He’s a very good decision-maker in transition. He’s a kid that can come in, with the proper strength, and play from day one.”

The Blue Demons will lose point guard Will Walker to graduation after this season, which potentially opens the door for Young to play major minutes as a freshman. Young said he’s looking forward to that opportunity and learning from veteran coach Jerry Wainwright

“Oh, he’s a good man,” Young said. “He’s taught me a lot and he hasn’t even been my coach yet. He’s taught me some life lessons already.”

With Young’s pledge to DePaul, nine Baltimore seniors have now made commitments to Div. I basketball programs. Young said he’s excited about potentially facing friends in college that he grew up playing against.

“It means a lot to me because once we get to the college level, we can meet back up and play against each other,” Young said. “It’s just good to know that people are going to college from where you’re from.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:36 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 22, 2009

Dunbar shooting guard makes decision

Whenever Cyrus Jones gets a free moment, the Dunbar boys basketball coach looks back fondly on his days as a prep standout for the Poets in the early 1990s.

dunbar_hoops.jpg

One of his chief rivals during those days was Lake Clifton guard Kevin Norris. The two battled during the high school season, but joined forces on the Cecil-Kirk AAU squad during the summers.

Their paths crossed again in college, with Jones assuming at a starring role at West Virginia and Norris doing the same at Miami. The two remained close after their playing careers ended and their coaching careers began.

Now, almost 16 years after they battled on the Baltimore city courts, one of Jones’ top players will suit up for Norris in college.

Dunbar senior Derrell Edwards committed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi -- where Norris serves as an assistant coach -- last week during an in-home visit. Edwards, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound shooting guard joins Kevin Palmer (Parkville) and Terence Jones (Lake Clifton) as Baltimore natives on the Islanders roster.

Norris, who was largely responsible for cultivating the Baltimore-to-Corpus Christi pipeline, was understandably ecstatic about Edwards’ commitment.

“He was shocked,” Edwards said. “The first thing he said was, ‘man, Derrell, I’ve been waiting to hear that. Now you’re part of the family. You’re part of the Islander family.’ And I liked that because I’ve been part of a family -- the Dunbar family. We’re a family-based program, and so [is Texas A&M-Corpus Christi].”

Edwards, who averaged nearly 19 points and five rebounds per game for the Poets as a junior, spent much of his summer focusing on academics. When he did suit up for Nike Baltimore Elite or Crusader Nation on the AAU circuit, Norris would inevitably be in attendance.

“Basically, he’s been the one that was recruiting me all summer,” Edwards said. “He said I’ve been an underrated player throughout my whole high school career, which I agree with. ... I just felt good [committing]. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi just opened up doors for me. It makes me want to work hard and make sure I get to my goals. That’s been my goal all my life -- playing DI basketball.”

The Islanders were the only Div. I program to offer Edwards a scholarship, but Jones believes they would have had company sooner rather than later.

“He’s definitely a competitor,” Jones said. “He’s basically a scorer. He can score from anywhere on the court. He can drive to the basket and he can shoot the ball. That’s one of his best talents. He needs to work on his ball-handling as an off-guard. Eventually he may play some point as well.

“But I definitely do think it’s a steal. They were able to get an advantage over other coaches from being able to see him, which is good. By Coach Norris having that presence and being from Baltimore, he had an advantage [in landing Derrell] as well as taking other talent from this area.”

Last season the Islanders (led by former Miami and Tulane coach Perry Clark) finished 18-15, falling to Stephen F. Austin by three points in the semifinals of the Southland Conference tournament. Palmer was the team’s leading scorer at 18.2 points per game. Palmer’s success gives Edwards high hopes for his future.

“I just look at it as if a guy from Baltimore, such as Kevin Palmer can do it, then I can do it, too,” Edwards said. “It makes me want to work hard. I know Kevin Palmer’s a great player. I played right in the same backyard as him. ... I might have a chance to put up more numbers or the same amount of numbers as him by the time I’m a junior or senior. Coach Perry Clark was telling me he wasn’t going to put too much on my back as a freshman or sophomore. By junior year, he said he’ll look at me at the end of the game and say, ‘Derrell, I need you to win this game or I need you to score this bucket.’”

Palmer will have graduated by the time Edwards arrives on campus next fall. But with Norris on staff and Terence Jones in the backcourt, Edwards will feel right at home.

“[Norris] was just my guy through the whole summer,” Edwards said. “We’re talking here and there, like twice a week, and he’s letting me know how [excited he is] that I’m committed. It’s not like I was the fourth guy they were recruiting. I was the top guy they were recruiting. I’ll be in the backcourt with Terence Jones, [and hopefully we’ll be] starting at the 1 and 2. So I’m looking forward to it.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Derrell Edwards (left) and Cyrus Jones by Kenneth K. Lam / Nov. 25, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:24 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 21, 2009

Weekend wrap — Smith leads rout

Wilson (Pa.) Area High moved to 3-0 this weekend, thanks in large part to Maryland quarterback commitment Tyler Smith.

The 6-foot-5, 198-pounder guided the Warriors to a 51-17 win over Northwestern on Friday.

A.J. Parker, a junior running back, enjoyed a career game with 188 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown. Quarterback Tyler Smith, though his receivers left some completions and yards slip through their fingers, finished with 249 yards and two touchdown passes.

• UM quarterback recruit Devin Burns threw a 6-yard touchdown pass in Carver (Ga.) High’s 28-19 win over Baldwin County.

Carver’s Burns completed 14 of 19 pass attempts for 82 yards.

• Terps wide receiver commitment Matt Robinson caught a 28-yard touchdown pass in Atholton’s 35-14 win over Centennial.

[Atholton quarterback Kalvin] Seamonson had nine completions for 130 yards, with Matt Robinson accounting for 59 yards on four receptions. Four other Raiders also caught passes.

• Maryland tight end pledge Nermin Delic helped Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) to a 21-7 win over Woodland.

Senior end Nermin Delic does a lot of little things that don’t necessarily show up in the stats for the Bruins and he was part of the crew that cleared room for Lance Andrews, Jordan Darnell and Chad Keeter when Northwest loaded up its line to one side. On defense, he also gave the Wildcats’ quarterbacks trouble by stretching his 6-foot-4 frame in their path several times …

Basketball recruiting

Tobias Harris spoke with Box of M.E.S.S. about each of his in-home visits, including his interaction with Maryland’s Gary Williams. (Credit to Testudo Times for the link.)

“Coach Williams’ main focus was to show me how I would fit into his system. With the recruits that have already committed along with the other guys on the team, he really explained the roll for me as a freshman. I would be a scorer and he would let me play my game right away. He also showed me the academics and talked about the professional players he has made during his time at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:13 AM | | Comments (1)
        

September 18, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

The grand finale of in-home visits for Tobias Harris took place Thursday, with Maryland coach Gary Williams as the guest of honor.

The Terps are joined on Harris’ 11-team list by Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, St. John’s, Syracuse, Tennessee, UConn and West Virginia.

With the in-home visits complete, scheduling five official trips is next on the agenda for the five-star power forward.

Prior to his visit with Maryland, Harris told Rivals.com that all of his visits have been productive and that he will spend a couple of days thinking it over and then cut his list to five schools.

• Maryland is one of six schools on St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Devon Collier’s list.

“The schools recruiting him right now are Seton Hall, St. John’s, Rutgers, Providence, Oregon State and Maryland,” said Adam Berkowitz of New Heights.

• Before Damontre Harris makes an official visit to Maryland on Sept. 26, the Fayetteville, N.C., power forward will take trip to South Carolina this weekend.

According to his coach, USC remains out front because they’ve been with Harris from the start. “They made him an early offer and they’ve done a great job of winning over the parents,” said Heath Vandevender.

• Port Washington, Wis., combo guard Josh Gasser -- a former Maryland target -- is focused on four schools, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The 6-foot-4-inch, 195-pound senior guard from Wisconsin took his official visit to the Evanston campus last weekend, and he said he plans to choose among Northwestern, Wisconsin, Northern Iowa and Creighton.

• Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs, a junior, made an unofficial visit to College Park last weekend, according to Adam Zagoria.

“The visit went real well,” Gibbs said by text. “I was able to sit down with Coach Williams and all of the assistant coaches and talk about my future if I were to come to Maryland and then we took a tour around the campus and met with the academic director and later on in the night we went to the football game with the players.”

Football recruiting

• Safety Aaron Morris from Glenville High in Cleveland has Maryland as his leader.

"The top three I'm looking at are Maryland, Illinois and Ball State," Morris said. "Maryland is my favorite. Their coaching staff is real nice. I have a lot of family down there. They say a lot of good things about the school."

• Forestville wide receiver and Maryland target Antonio Belt will be out for at least one week after catching a touchdown pass against Potomac and subsequently spraining his knee.

But as the standout wide receiver hobbled into the end zone after the catch, it was clear something was wrong. Belt collapsed in the end zone with an injured left knee. He had to be helped off the field and spent the rest of the game on the sideline.

• Linganore’s Zach Zwinak -- the top rated fullback in the country according to Rivals.com -- committed to Penn State last week.

So, on Friday, hours before he would rush for 204 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 10 carries, Zwinak chose Penn State over his second choice, Virginia Tech.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:13 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 17, 2009

AAU recap: Cecil Kirk

The Cecil Kirk AAU basketball program has sent more than 100 players to the college ranks in its two-decade-plus history.

antonio-barton.jpg

At least five players from the 2009 team will join that club shortly, according to Anthony Lewis, the longtime director of the Cecil Kirk recreation center in East Baltimore.

Former Lake Clifton point guard Antonio Barton ran the show for Cecil Kirk throughout the summer. Barton will spend a post-grad year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., before joining his older brother, Will Barton, at Memphis.

“Basically the thing with Antonio, he was a lead guard,” Lewis said. “He got an opportunity to come into his own and show that he’s a high-level player in his own right. I think he definitely accomplished that.”

Cleveland Melvin, a 6-foot-8 forward from Lake Clifton, picked up right where he left off with the Lakers. A Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, Melvin averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game as a senior. He’ll do a post-grad year with Barton at Notre Dame Prep.

According to Lewis, “UConn, South Florida, Seton Hall, Missouri and some other schools” are recruiting Melvin.

cleveland_melvin.jpg

“He did a fantastic job, as pointed out in his offers,” Lewis said. “He has the Big East and ACC schools. He [will probably sign] in November, and he starts his visits soon. He’s scheduled to visit [the schools on his list], so it depends. Sometimes they get through all of [the visits], and sometimes they only get to one or two of them.”

Former Parkville forward Durand Johnson, who has transferred to Lake Clifton for his junior season, is being courted by the same schools as Melvin, plus Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech.

“He’s a 6-7 swingman,” Lewis said. “He’s athletic and can shoot the ball. He’s got good range on his jump shot. He’s a quality kid.”

Two more Cecil Kirk players will be DI-bound eventually. Antoine Myers, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Forest Park, is hearing from South Florida, plus several Atlantic-10 and Colonial Athletic Association schools. Raphael Akpejiori, a native of Senegal who plays at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas, is hearing from “South Florida, Missouri and a host of A-10 and Colonial schools, [plus] LaSalle, St. Bonaventure, Texas A&M Corpus-Christi,” Lewis said.

Lewis has coached some of the top AAU teams in Baltimore during his 20-plus years on the job. This summer’s Cecil Kirk squad ranks favorably with the best of them.

“I think they were right there with a lot of good teams we’ve had,” Lewis said. “It’s hard to rank kids and teams. Each team takes on its own individual identity. But I would say overall, this team had a very positive work ethic, and it shows in their recruitments. It shows how the kids developed as a whole.”

Sun photo credits: Antonio Barton photo by Kim Hairston / March 14, 2009. Cleveland Melvin photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Feb. 24, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:36 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 16, 2009

Winners for the Terps-Blue Raiders tickets

Today's trivia contest for Maryland-Middle Tennessee State tickets proved far more difficult than last week's UM-James Madison giveaway.

Seventy-four people answered correctly last week. This week? Just eight participants came up with the answer.

So which two current Terps underclassmen from Maryland played for the same head coach, albeit at different high schools? Sophomore running back Davin Meggett played for Tom Green at Surrattsville. Green left for Eleanor Roosevelt the following season, where he coached Isaiah Ross -- a freshman linebacker -- as a senior.

Two contestants guessed redshirt freshman defensive tackle A.J. Francis -- a Severn native who attended Gonzaga (D.C.) -- and redshirt freshman wide receiver Eric Powell, an Annapolis Area Christian School graduate. Ken Lucas coached Francis during his first three seasons at Gonzaga (D.C.), and then moved on to AACS, where Powell was a senior. But according to Powell's UMTerps.com bio, he didn't play football in high school.

Congratulations go out to Debbie B., George, Ronnie S., Ron G., and Sam T. I've sent an e-mail to each of you.

Thanks again to everyone for participating.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Maryland-Middle Tennessee St. ticket giveaway

Last week's Maryland-James Madison ticket giveaway was more of a Google-search contest than a trivia challenge.

So I'm trying to kick things up a notch this week. I'll be giving away five four-ticket packages for Saturday's Maryland-Middle Tennessee State game.

Here's your question:

Which two current Maryland football underclassmen played for the same head coach, albeit at different high schools? Both players are from the state.

Enter your guess (along with a valid e-mail address) in the comments section below. The contest will remain open until 11 p.m. Since it's late in the week, winners will have to pick up their tickets at The Baltimore Sun building. I'll e-mail the five winners later tonight. Good luck to all ...

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:25 AM | | Comments (0)
        

September 15, 2009

Lake Clifton's Josh Selby hosting coaches

The last week has been a busy one for Josh Selby and Maeshon Witherspoon.

The Lake Clifton point guard and his mother have played host and hostess, respectively, to coaches of some of the most high-profile basketball schools in the country.

UConn, Kansas, Florida State, Baylor and Oregon have already conducted in-home visits with Selby and Witherspoon. Coaches from Kentucky are scheduled to meet with Selby -- the No. 4 player in the country according to Rivals.com -- today, while Miami has scheduled a visit for Sept. 21. Witherspoon said in-home visits from Tennessee and Syracuse coaches have been discussed but not yet finalized.

Witherspoon -- who said she and Selby would consider other schools that haven’t set up an in-home visit -- has been impressed with every coach that has made the trip to Baltimore so far.

“No [in-home visit] was greater than the other,” Witherspoon said. “Most of the [interactions with] schools, honestly, have [gone] very well. I haven’t had anything bad to say for any of the visits we have encountered so far. ... I guess one coach I was surprised by would have to be [Kansas’] Bill Self. He was just real laidback and I didn’t think he was going to be that laidback. That was a real good thing.”

The first in-home visit, however, was probably the most memorable one for Witherspoon and Selby.

“UConn was very innovative and creative,” Witherspoon said. “They came at 12:01 [last Wednesday, the first day coaches were allowed to make in-home visits]. I was up for about an hour. Josh was only up for 10, 15 minutes. We did an unofficial visit up to UConn. This was just another meet and greet for him, me, Coach [Jim] Calhoun, Coach [Patrick] Sellers, and my adviser. We had about an hour conversation.”

Witherspoon said she and Selby will narrow his list after the final in-home visit has been made. From there, official visits will be scheduled and Selby will make his decision in the spring.

Most of the visits have taken place at Lake Clifton, with Lakers coach Herman Harried and Witherspoon’s adviser -- whom she declined to name -- in attendance. Still, the pressure has been on Witherspoon to handle Selby’s increasingly busy schedule and coordinate different visits. Despite the hectic nature of handling such a high-profile recruitment, Witherspoon's not complaining.

“Actually, I’m enjoying it 100 percent,” Witherspoon said. “I am so glad because I am enjoying the recruiting process. We stayed committed to Tennessee for so long, that we do have a relationship with them. ... But we didn’t have a chance to do this the first time.”

Selby, who spent his freshman year at John Carroll and his sophomore and junior seasons at DeMatha, is glad to be back in Baltimore, his mother said. Selby has joined the cross country team and is looking forward to helping the Lakers defend their Class 3A state championship.

“He’s loving Lake Clifton,” Witherspoon said. “For a kid that’s been away from home for three years, he’s excited just to be playing in the Baltimore area. He doesn’t have to catch a train or have a 40-minute car ride to school. I think he’s having fun with it. Josh is a kid that loves basketball. If he could, he would play 24/7, 52 weeks, 365 days of the year. I think he’s enjoying himself.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:58 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 14, 2009

Weekend wrap — Robinson emerges at WR

Maryland athlete recruit Matt Robinson was Atholton quarterback Kalvin Seamonson’s favorite target in the Raiders’ 15-14 win over Howard.

[Seamonson] also was 7-for-13 passing for 100 yards. Matt Robinson had all seven catches. Andrew King was the Raiders' leading rusher, with 12 carries for 135 yards.

• Terps quarterback commitment Devin Burns found the end zone once in Carver (Ga.) High’s 21-12 loss to Northside-Warner Robins.

Carver quarterback Devin Burns connected with Artimas Samuel for 20 yards to move the Tigers deeper into Northside territory. Running back Isaiah Crowell got his team close with a 15-yard scamper inside the Eagles’ 5. Burns eventually scored from the 1, but the PAT was missed.

• Maryland tight end pledge Nermin Delic blocked a punt and scored a touchdown in Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) High’s 28-7 loss to Sprayberry.

The Jackets added two more touchdowns in the quarter and another in the third, but the Bruins -- who sputtered on offense -- avoided the shutout with Nermin Delic’s 20-yard fumble return for a touchdown after Sprayberry botched a punt snap with a minute left in the Region 7-4A crossover game.

• UM quarterback recruit Tyler Smith struggled Friday night but still led Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a 35-7 win over Northern Lehigh.

Smith, a University of Maryland recruit, did not have one of his better games. He completed just 12-for-31 for 121 yards and was just 4-for-19 for 33 yards at one point late in the third quarter.

Basketball recruiting

• San Diego power forward James Johnson -- who had an offer from Maryland -- committed to Virginia on Sunday.

“It was the combination of academics and athletics -- the Virginia degree and the network of alums meant a lot,” [Johnson’s father Ted] said. “Playing in the ACC was also a big draw, though he was also starting to get really wooed by the PAC-10 and Big 12.”

• A Maryland coach will likely visit Los Alamos, N.M., center Alex Kirk soon, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Kirk's father, Alan, said Friday that Alex Kirk visited New Mexico over the weekend and was considering setting up an official visit with Arizona. He is hosting an in-home visit from Miller on Wednesday, while coaches at West Virginia, Maryland, Oregon State, SMU, Minnesota and ASU are also scheduled to visit him, Alan Kirk said.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:28 AM | | Comments (0)
        

September 12, 2009

Weekly basketball recruiting roundup

College basketball coaches ran up their frequent flier miles this week as in-home visits to prospects began Wednesday.

North Carolina big man Damontre Harris hosted Florida’s Billy Donovan, South Carolina’s Darrin Horn and Maryland’s Gary Williams this week. The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer checked in with his high school coach for an update.

Williams, Virginia Commonwealth's Shaka Smart and Wake Forest's Dino Gaudio are also in this race. And so it will be through a series of in-home visits followed by official campus visits to all five of those schools over the next few months that Harris will compile his research and weigh the biggest factors in his decision.

• Maryland looks like a long shot to land San Diego forward James Johnson, based on this list of visits.

Arizona may also get the last chance to impress him: Ted Johnson said his son, who visited Cal last week and will go to Virginia this week, will consider a visit to Oklahoma and probably won’t visit anybody else after going to UA on Oct. 3.

• Former Walbrook small forward Roscoe Smith’s list of schools no longer includes Maryland, according to Zags Blog (via The Shiver).

“They both have a list of about five to eight schools,” [Oak Hill coach Steve] Smith said. “They could decide late in the spring, or they could decide to end it early. Doron [Lamb] has about five schools he’s looking at in Kansas, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Arizona and UConn. Roscoe has a bit longer list with Kansas, Florida, Duke, Georgetown, UConn, Memphis and UCLA,” Smith added.

• DeMatha shooting guard Victor Oladipo, a former Maryland target, committed to Indiana earlier this week.

Oladipo was strongly considering Notre Dame and had set up a visit before deciding that Tom Crean's Hoosier program was the best fit for him.

• Another one-time Terps target and DeMatha standout, Jerian Grant, committed to Notre Dame on Wednesday.

Grant is the son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant and the nephew of former Chicago Bulls forward Horace Grant. He chose the Irish over DePaul and Providence.

• The Maryland women’s staff will visit Alicia DeVaughn, a 6-5 senior from Pompano Beach, Fla., next week.

It is that unique game-altering ability that has perennial Top 20 programs Maryland, Purdue, Louisville, Oklahoma, Georgia and others jockeying for DeVaughn.

DeVaughn's recruitment starts in earnest with Maryland making an in-house visit Sept. 16.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:48 AM | | Comments (23)
        

September 11, 2009

Weekly football recruiting roundup

Ian Evans committed to Maryland last spring with little fanfare.

But for the Hammonton, N.J., defensive end -- whose stock has risen since making the commitment -- picking a college was a monumental event. The Press of Atlantic City profiled Evans earlier this week.

"I never thought I'd go to college," he said.

His mother Doreen Lynch is determined not to let him squander the opportunity.

"I'm a single parent," she said. "I would never be able to do this for him. Maryland is really great school. It's a great opportunity. I feel like I hit the lottery."

Meanwhile, The Star-Ledger ranked Evans the No. 2 defensive lineman in New Jersey.

The end utilizes both his strong upper body and his advanced technique to shed blockers and get to the football in a hurry when it is coming his way. He is quick and aggressive to the ball when it is moving on the opposite side of the field, which is often. Evans helped Hammonton to a 9-3 record and a trip to the South Jersey, Group 3 final last year, where it fell to Shawnee of Medford. Committed to Maryland.

• Maryland quarterback recruit Devin Burns has had a strong start to his senior season, according to Carver (Ga.) coach Dell McGee in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution article.

Burns has since accepted a scholarship offer from Maryland and has played well for Carver. Through the first two games he has completed 14-of-18 passes for 232 yards.

“Devin’s been pretty consistent the first two weeks,” said McGee, who takes his flu-riddled team to Northside-Warner Robins on Friday. “He’s thrown the ball well and done of good job of running the offense and getting the ball to the right people. He’s a good player.”

• Terps commitments and Fork Union (Va.) defenders David Mackall (Edmondson) and L.A. Goree (C.H. Flowers) were ranked No. 7 and 16 respectively in Rivals.com’s prep school top 50.

Linemen David Mackall, a 6-3, 240-pound defensive end, and Tyson Chandler, a 6-6, 340-pound offensive tackle, conclude the big men in the top 10, checking in at No. 7 and No. 10, respectively. Each is attending Fork Union.

"Mackall is still learning the game, but he has tremendous upside as a pass rusher," [Mike] Farrell said of the Maryland commitment. "

The Washington Post reports that UM safety pledge Titus Till has a fractured shoulder blade.

The Maryland recruit was injured on the second day of preseason practice, Coach DaLawn Parrish said, and time is the only thing that will help the bone heal.

• City wide receiver Adrian Coxson is still committed to Penn State, but the four-star prospect will make all five official visits.

Q: Where are you thinking about going?

A: Penn State, Florida, Georgia, Maryland and Oklahoma, but that list could change.

• Linganore offensive lineman Robby Havenstein and fullback Zach Zwinak are both planning official visits to Maryland.

Havenstein, the All-Met lineman, and Zwinak, rated by some as the nation's top high school fullback, both plan official campus visits to College Park in December. Lancers Coach Rick Conner said it was his understanding Maryland coaches hope to make a big splash by bringing several top recruits to campus and get them to commit.

That said, the Terrapins certainly will face a challenge as both players plan to use their full complement of five college-paid visits.

• Greensboro, N.C., defensive end Chris McCain committed to Oregon on Thursday, picking the Ducks over Maryland and Cal.

He told ESPN affiliate Web site DuckTerritory.com before the announcement, "I'm a Duck. I'm so excited to get there and hear all them crazy fans up there. Not many people where I'm from get to say I played for Oregon. It's a privilege and I'm just so excited."

• Old Mill linebacker and Terps target Josh Furman is scheduled to be on hand for the Michigan-Notre Dame game on Saturday.

This weekend should feature Michigan’s first group of official visitors of the 2010 class. Millersville (Md.) Old Mill's Josh Furman (6-3, 195 pounds) is scheduled to make this weekend’s trip to Michigan for his official visit. Furman is a three-star player according to Rivals.com and ranked as Maryland’s ninth-best prospect for the 2010 class.

• The Terps are involved with a junior legacy recruit, according to NBE Football Report.

Recruitniks might recognize the name Wujciak as Connor’s older brother, Alex was a standout linebacker for SHP before moving onto the University of Maryland on a full scholarship. It comes as no surprise that the Terrapins are among those active early in Connor’s recruitment.

“I have no favorites although Boston College, Maryland, and Rutgers have offered me and Notre Dame, Penn State, Wisconsin and Pittsburgh have been in touch,” said Wujciak of his recruitment.

Programming note: I’ll post a weekly basketball recruiting roundup on Saturday.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 10, 2009

Ex-City guard Bogues carries on family tradition

Almost every day, Nardi Bogues makes time to chat with his uncle Muggsy.

The Dunbar legend and longtime NBA standout -- who currently works in the Charlotte Bobcats’ front office -- gives his nephew advice on improving his game, handling schoolwork, eating the right foods and taking part in the right types of workouts.

There’s even time for Nardi -- who graduated from City in the spring -- to engage in a little trash talking with his famous uncle.

“I tell him he’s too small for me now,” the 5-foot-9, 160-pound Bogues said with a laugh. “But he still has game. He’s still nice.”

The younger Bogues may have a six-inch height advantage, but he still has a ways to go to match his uncle’s basketball success. This past year, however, Bogues made major strides in his game and seems poised to carry on the family legacy.

Bogues spent his ninth-11th-grade years at Centennial High School in Ellicott City. While his numbers were solid, they went largely unnoticed by college basketball recruiters that didn’t make a habit of frequenting Howard County high school games.

“There were no scouts coming to my games, so I wasn’t in the right place,” Bogues said. “Then once I moved to the city, my name really got out there. Once the summer arrived, coaches already knew who I was.”

Coaches knew who Bogues was thanks to a standout senior season in which he averaged 12 points per game, leading City to the Class 2A state championship. Knights coach Mike Daniel called his starting point guard the "final piece" of City’s puzzle.

Bogues’ stock continued to rise this summer as he suited up for the Baltimore Stars on the AAU circuit. While most of his interest came from Division II and III schools while at City, several Div. I schools began to take note of his play.

“It was big because our coaches knew what they were doing,” Bogues said. “It’s not just a team that picks up and plays. We had good practices, they let us know about SAT prep classes and got us into a lot of tournaments.”

Most Div. I schools had filled their 2009 classes by the summer, so Bogues’ options for this year were slim. He had a number of Div. II offers to choose from, but ultimately he decided a year of prep school would best for his long-term development. Appalachian State was one Div. I school that approved of that decision.

“Appalachian State wasn’t recruiting me for the class of 2009,” Bogues said. “They were recruiting me for the class of 2010. I actually liked that because I wanted to go to prep school to get an extra year in. I wanted to get bigger, faster and stronger and be able to get a higher SAT score. So it was acceptable.”

Bogues, who remains uncommitted, will spend this year at Ernst Prep in Leslie, Mich., where he’ll face a national schedule including games against Oak Hill (Va.) Academy (featuring former Walbrook small forward Roscoe Smith) and Brewster (N.H.) Academy (the school where ex-Lake Clifton star Will Barton and former City standout C.J. Fair will play).

“It’s actually great because we’re all close friends,” Bogues said. “C.J.’s actually my best friend. But it’s going to be a close game. They think they’re going to beat us but I already know we’re going to win.”

Bogues said he’ll miss Baltimore this year but is excited to live in another state and have the opportunity to travel the country with his new team. By this time next year, he plans to be enrolled in college and readying for his first season as a Div. I basketball player. If he ever needs extra motivation to keep that dream alive, Uncle Muggsy is always just a phone call away.

“He’s been a big part of my life,” Bogues said. “Me watching him made me want to work hard. Him being 5-3 and being the shortest player made me want to work even harder, because if he can do it, I can do it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:02 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 9, 2009

Winners for the Terps-Dukes tickets

Two things jumped out at me while sifting through the 81 responses to today’s trivia question.

1.) I have at least five female readers (one of whom was a winner). Who knew?

2.) The vast majority of you are Google-savvy. I’ll definitely have to think outside-the-box on the next trivia question.

The correct answer -- as 74 of you correctly ‘guessed’ -- was redshirt freshman defensive tackle A.J. Francis, one of the most entertaining Terps I’ve ever interviewed.

The Baltimore Sun’s marketing department was able to acquire three additional four-ticket packages, meaning there are actually six winners in this contest.

So congratulations go out to Josh G., Chris D., Eric C., Matt from Ashburn, Va., Jason M., and Christina C. I’ve sent out an e-mail to each of you.

Thanks to everyone for playing. Hopefully we’ll be able to do this again sometime soon.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:26 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Dunbar hoops' three DI senior prospects

Few Baltimore seniors had a busier summer than Dunbar point guard Corey Spence.

The 5-foot-10, 165-pounder spent time on the AAU circuit with the New York Gauchos, Triple Threat D.C., and Nike Baltimore Elite’s 16-and-under team. He put an exclamation point on the summer two weekends ago at the BMoreHoops.com All-Star event at The Dome in East Baltimore, filling up the stat sheet in points and assists before the game was called due to thunder and lightning in the area after the first quarter.

Spence, who averaged 12 points, five assists and nearly three steals per game as a junior, is just 16 years old. But he held his own against older competition on the circuit this summer.

“He did alright this summer,” said Cyrus Jones, Dunbar’s head basketball coach. “He had a little trouble finding stability and finding a home. But he wound up having the opportunity to get some exposure on the circuit playing against different competition. He had a chance to get seen, which is what the summer’s all about.”

Spence is still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but plenty of schools have made contact, including Tennessee-Chattanooga, Navy, Niagara, Quinnipiac, Elon, Coastal Carolina, UNC Greensboro, Lehigh, Delaware, St. Bonaventure, Florida Atlantic and Stony Brook.

“He got into the gym and he worked hard,” Jones said. “He continued to play, nonstop. That’s very key. A lot of times kids don’t put in work in the gym to work individually on their games. Corey took the time. ... He’s quick and he definitely has good anticipation skills.”

Derrell Edwards was the usual recipient of Spence’s distribution skills. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound senior shooting guard led the Poets last season with about 18 points and five rebounds per game, according to Jones.

dunbar_hoops.jpg

Edwards spent most of the summer away from the AAU circuit, choosing instead to concentrate on his academics. After quarterbacking the Dunbar JV team as a sophomore, Edwards didn’t play football as a junior. He has since returned to the gridiron as a wide receiver. Poets football coach Lawrence Smith said last month he has the “potential” to be a Div. I football player. But Edwards is already a Div. I basketball recruit.

“I think Derrell will do well at a mid-major program, more so [because] it will give him the opportunity to play and compete and get on the floor,” Jones said. “I think that’s where he’ll be more dominant. Overall, he does have the skills to play at a high DI program. I don’t know if he’ll be ready to go in that position next year. [He will be more successful] at a mid-major.”

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has already offered Edwards a scholarship. The Islanders feature three Baltimore natives in their program -- assistant coach Kevin Norris (Lake Clifton), senior small forward Kevin Palmer (Parkville) and sophomore guard Terrence Jones (Lake Clifton). George Mason, James Madison and Towson have also inquired about Edwards, Jones said.

Roderick Camphor, a 6-foot-3, 175-pound senior guard, averaged around 10 points per game for the Poets last season. Camphor didn’t play AAU this summer, but UMBC “expressed some interest” after seeing him work out.

“He’s definitely a future college guy as well -- maybe low-major DI,” Jones said. “He has great versatility and skills. He can play anywhere from the 1 through 3. He’s a good shooter and a great ball-handler. He’s just got to be a more consistent player. Sometimes he’s laidback, behind the scenes and lets Spence and Derrell go to work. But we’re going to be asking a lot more of him.”

Last season the Poets went 23-4, falling to eventual state champion Digital Harbor in the regional championship game. With Spence, Edwards and Camphor leading the way, Jones expects more success for the Poets this season.

“I have high expectations for us this year due to the fact of us having a lot of returning players,” Jones said. “We’re returning 12 players from our 15. We’re going to be a small team, but we should still be able to be competitive on defense. We’ll mix things up.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Derrell Edwards (left) and Cyrus Jones by Kenneth K. Lam / Nov. 25, 2008

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

Maryland-James Madison ticket giveaway

For any Recruiting Report readers out there who want to see Maryland's home opener but don't have tickets, here's your chance.

I have three four-ticket packages for Saturday's game against James Madison, courtesy of The Baltimore Sun’s marketing department. I'm looking for three people who can answer this Terps football recruiting question: Which current Maryland football player -- who was then a high school senior -- said the following in a Recruiting Report interview?

“I have a split personality. I’m a nice guy when I’m off the field. There’s not many people that have bad things to say about me. But when I’m playing, I do some of the meanest things you’ve ever seen in your life.”

Enter your guess (along with a valid e-mail address) in the comments section below. The contest will remain open until 6 p.m. Each commenter with a correct answer will be assigned a number. I’ll use the very scientific pick-a-number-out-of-a-hat method to choose the three winners. Good luck ...

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:00 AM | | Comments (1)
        

September 8, 2009

Q&A with Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos

Each new season was better than the last for the Loyola men's basketball team during Jimmy Patsos' first four years as head coach.

jimmy_patsos.jpg

That changed last year, when the Greyhounds -- who finished 19-14 in 2007-08 -- struggled to a 12-20 season and a tie for seventh in the MAAC.

This season, Patsos is counting on three impact newcomers -- plus several notable returning veterans -- to help bring the Greyhounds back to their winning ways.

Power forward Shane Walker (6-10, 211 pounds), combo guard Robert Olson (6-4, 175) and center Julius Kavon Brooks (6-9, 215) compose Loyola's 2009 recruiting class. Walker, a Montrose Christian graduate, is eligible to compete after sitting out last season as a transfer from Maryland. He appeared in 24 games for the Terps as a freshman. Olson, who participated in the Charm City Challenge at the Towson Center last spring, led Georgetown Prep to a 17-7 record as a senior. Brooks averaged 15 points, 12 rebounds and three blocks during his senior season at Page High in Greensboro, N.C.

Sophomore small forward Erik Etherly -- an Alexandria, Va., native who played AAU basketball with Team Melo -- will sit out this season after transferring from Northeastern.

Patsos spoke with Recruiting Report recently about the Greyhounds' incoming class.

How did you approach this recruiting class knowing you were losing Marquis Sullivan, plus Dan Ficke and Brad Farrell?

Isaac Reid transferred to Gannon where he could play right away. JoJo Muvana transferred. But yeah, we recruited an inside player when we got Shane Walker. When you take a transfer [it’s tough for a program] to have that guy sit out the entire year. We did it with Gerald Brown [Providence], Omari Israel [Notre Dame], Jamal Barney [Providence]. But it’s difficult in that year. I could have brought someone in -- not someone as good as Shane Walker -- but someone who could play right away. But Shane chose us and we were very lucky to get Shane Walker. When you take a transfer, it hurts you because you’re minus-one already. But we actively went out and needed an inside player and we needed a wing. We got Bobby Olson early. He was a really good player at Georgetown Prep. So we signed him and knew we had a big guard coming in and that was good. We had Shane Walker coming in, and we wanted one more guy and waited on him to qualify. At Loyola you have to be a good academic student. We got [our guy] from Greensboro, N.C., Julius Kavon Brooks.

How did you get involved with Brooks and how will he fit in?

We’ve replaced Brad Farrell and Dan Ficke with Kavon Brooks, who I think will start at the 5. ... Tulsa offered him. UAB offered. Some ACC schools were looking at him in the spring, and he chose us. Shane Walker, I think he has a chance to be a tremendous player in this league, and Bobby Olson, who will play substantial minutes for us. And then I have another kid, J’hared Hall, who we would’ve liked to redshirt last year. But he played a little and went overseas last summer. He played on a team with Sean Mosley from Maryland that went on a foreign tour to Europe. Brett Harvey played [with Team USA] at the Maccabiah Games and won the gold medal with [Tennessee’s] Bruce Pearl as the head coach. Those two guys got better in the offseason.

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

We’ve known Georgetown Prep because we’re from down that way. His father played tennis at Maryland and John Lucas was one of his teammates. [Lucas] was as good a tennis player as he was a basketball player. [The Olson’s] knew us from the Maryland days. He’s a really good kid with really good grades who’s a really good player. When you’re a good player with good grades, you can come right now. [We said,] ‘the scholarship’s yours,’ and he took it.

What will be expected of Olson and Brooks as a freshmen?

Olson and Brooks will make freshmen mistakes, but they’re both a little bigger for their positions. Bobby’s a 6-4 guard and Kavon’s a 6-9 inside player. They’re both ready to contribute. Now, they’re freshmen. I like guys freshman to sophomore year making the big jump. Whether it’s here or Gary Williams and the Maryland family, it’s all about getting guys better. That’s why I’m excited about J’hared Hall. And [Jamal] Barney’s going to have a better year. So we’re hoping that as long as [the freshmen] can contribute, [we'll be] good.

What did you see from Shane Walker last year in practice and what will his role be this year?

I like Shane Walker a lot. I think he’s mature. He tore his ACL in February so we didn’t see him the last month of practice, but he’s all healed up. He’s a guy who’s long and athletic and smart, in my opinion. Those are the three things we look for: long, athletic and smart. He’s gifted physically and talented. He knows the game, and he grew up a lot [since leaving Maryland]. At our level, he’s going to make some mistakes. At the ACC level there’s no time to make mistakes. But we have him for three years and I suspect he’s going to be very good.

How does he stack up with some of your other transfers in the past?

I’d say if he’s getting 10 rebounds, 10 points per game, it would be a successful year. I don’t think he’s going to be an Andre Collins or a Gerald Brown. We have to be careful. Andre Collins played in a lot of big games [at Maryland]. He played against Steve Blake and Juan Dixon in practice. Gerald Brown was on the last Providence team to make the NCAA tournament. He was a player who was in the top seven or eight [in the rotation]. Gerald Brown played minutes. Jamal Barney didn’t play many minutes. For him [it was a tougher transition] than Gerald Brown. It’s not the same for Shane. He has three years. But Andre Collins was really ready to go. He was a really good player ready to go. Shane’s not there, but he’s going to help us and start and be a good player and play tons of minutes. There’s going to be some good and some bad. But we have him for three more years, which is great.

Etherly will sit out this year due to transfer rules, but talk about how you landed him the second time around after recruiting him in high school.

They don’t miss you ‘till you’re gone. The grass is always greener. Erik Etherly is extremely smart, and I’ll take guys back. I don’t hold grudges. Erik is an extremely bright kid and a great kid. He went to Boston on an Indian summer weekend when it was 80 degrees and the Boston Red Sox were in the playoffs. So how do you think his visit to Northeastern was? It was 80 degrees and you can see Fenway Park from Northeastern’s campus. I would say there was a little bit of excitement there. It’s a good place to go to school, but nobody cares about college basketball in that town. ... So he got his release and met with his parents and wanted to come. I loved him the first time around and I loved him the second time around. I’m from Boston, so I understand all the factors.

But he’s glad to be home and glad to be in a basketball area. I think that Erik found out that it’s a college hockey town that doesn’t have a lot of room for college basketball. Baltimore [is a great basketball city] and Maryland is a great college basketball state. Todd [Bozeman at Morgan State] has been successful, we won 19 games two years ago, Fang [Mitchell at Coppin State] is obviously the dean, so we’re getting more attention in the city. Erik Etherly called me and said ‘I love the place and should have come [originally]’ and that was about all that happened. So we’re very fortunate to have him back. He would’ve helped us last year, but I’m really happy to have him back.

What will your rotation look like this season?

We’ll go with a nine-man rotation. Tony Lewis is probably 10, Paolo Ivis is 11 and Garrett Kelly is 12. Josh Wiegand will redshirt. He’s got good upside. Tony Lewis, he’s going to be good. He’s going to compete for minutes. He just has to stay healthy. J’hared Hall is 9. He’s behind [Jamal] Barney. Bobby Olson is 8. He can play the 1, 2 and 3. Jawaan Wright is 7. Brian Rudolph is 6. He’s a starter that’s our 6th man. He started the last two years. We liked to pick one star to come off the bench. That leaves Kavon Brooks starting at the 5. He’s very long and athletic. He played very well in the Carolina state all-star game in July. Then we have Shane Walker at the 4, Anthony Winbush at 3, Barney at the 2 and Brett Harvey as the 1-man who can shoot it.

So I’m excited about having nine guys who can play a lot of minutes. We can press and run, we’ve got a lot of shooters, we have better size, and like I said, we’re in shape this year. We’re coming in this season with healthy players, all smart players that are all on the same page of Loyola basketball right now. Last year we weren’t all on the same page. Two years ago we won 19 games, 18 the year before and 15 the year before that. Last year I’m not sure we were on the same page and I take full responsibility. This year we’re on the same page.

Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Feb. 26, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:17 AM | | Comments (1)
        

September 7, 2009

Weekend wrap — QB Smith leads rout

The beginning of Tyler Smith's senior season couldn’t have gotten off to a much better start.

The Maryland quarterback recruit led Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a 45-8 rout of Palmerton on Saturday.

Smith, Wilson Area High School's senior quarterback, threw for 297 yards in what amounted to a little more than a quarter as the Warriors opened their season with a 45-8 dismantling of Palmerton on Saturday before a sun-baked crowd at Smith Field.

• In Abington Heights’ 33-18 win over Hazleton Area (Pa.), Sal Conaboy helped pave the way for the Comets’ 302-yard rushing day.

“It was the offensive line,” said [running back Paul] Gallagher, who stopped to rattle off the names of center Adrian Brunori, guards Sal Conaboy and John Price, tackles Evan Craig and Kevin Kilpatrick and backup Joe Dolan. “I didn’t do much.

Tyrek Cheeseboro’s Milford Mill squad dropped a 33-12 game to Eastern Tech.

Milford controlled the game early, driving 63 yards on their opening possession,including passes of 21, 14 and 13 yards from quarterback Kyle McEachern to speedy Tyrek Cheeseboro. But the Millers failed to capitalize. After Miguel Bernard's 32-yard field goal was waived off for illegal motion, Bernard pushed his 37-yard try wide right.

• Terps tight end commitment Nermin Delic’s Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) team fell to Hiram, 19-8.

“A tough loss,” said Northwest’s Nermin Delic, a senior tight end/defensive end. “We were up at the half and played hard the whole game. The offense couldn’t convert for us when they had the chance. We fought all night and that was the best we could do.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (0)
        

September 4, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Terrence Jones will host representatives from eight college programs at his Portland, Ore., home this month.

Maryland earned one of those eight invites. The Terps’ in-home visit will take place on Sept. 23, according to Adam Zagoria.

He plans to cut his list to five and then take visits.

“It doesn’t really matter [East or West Coast],” he said. “It’s just what’s the best situation for me.”

• Maryland’s staff will also get a chance to make an in-home visit with Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie.

Leslie and his mother plan to invite Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland, Connecticut, Oregon and probably Florida in for visits.

• Oak Hill (Va.) forward Roscoe Smith will make an unofficial visit to an ACC school this weekend.

Roscoe Smith, a 6-7 small forward out of Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, will visit Duke unofficially Sept. 6, according to his father, Brian Thompson

Thompson said the following schools are recruiting his son and would have in-home visits: UConn, Duke, UCLA, Maryland, Georgetown, Florida and Kentucky.

• Maryland will receive an official visit from Damontre Harris on Sept. 25, but the Fayetteville, N.C., power forward lists South Carolina as his current leader.

The Gamecocks continue to lead for Harris. "All of them are pretty close," he said. "South Carolina is out front because they were there from the beginning."

• The hometown school is reportedly on top of Los Alamos, N.M., center Alex Kirk’s list of schools.

“[New Mexico] is definitely at the top of my list but I talked to a lot of schools.” Kirk said he also likes Arizona, Arizona State, Minnesota, Texas, Maryland and Connecticut.

• Adam Zagoria caught up with St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Devon Collier after the three-star prospect made visits to Seton Hall and St. John’s.

Going forward, Collier lists Providence, Seton Hall, St. John’s, Maryland, Arizona, Oregon State, Rutgers and Michigan State as options.

“I don’t have a favorite,” he said.

Football recruiting

• Terps quarterback recruit Devin Burns led Carver (Ga.) to a 39-13 win over Tri-Cities last night.

Burns finished 6-for-8 with 131 yards and a touchdown in the first half before Jamar Pipkins took over at quarterback.

• UM cornerback pledge Mario Rowson helped Lake Taylor (Va.) to a 45-0 win over Indian River.

The Titans got a safety when Eric Sykes sacked Indian River quarterback Corwin Cutler in the end zone. Britt then returned a fumble 65 yards for a touchdown and Mario Rowson picked off Cutler and returned it 50 yards for another score.

• Maryland commitment and Suitland safety Jeremiah Johnson was profiled by The Gazette as part of its football preview.

"This year, I knew I couldn't be anything less than a leader," Johnson said. "I want to be one of those guys to help hold this team together."

• Maryland commitments Tyrek Cheeseboro and Matt Robinson were both named offensive players to watch in The Baltimore Sun’s football preview.

Robinson (6-4, 205) looked terrific this summer at camps and seven-on-seven events. He has committed to Maryland and appears ready to better his output of 15 catches from last season.

• Old Mill linebacker and Terps target Josh Furman was one of The Sun’s defensive players to watch.

Furman is still sorting through about 15 college offers after recording 87 tackles and eight sacks last season. Furman (6-2, 195) also makes his mark on offense, having run for 800 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior.

• The Washington Post’s football preview looked at the increasing amount of attention recruiters from across the country are paying to the D.C. area, with DeMatha offensive tackle Arie Kouandjio cited as an example of a national recruit.

Kouandjio, for instance, had no hesitation about going online and making his own travel arrangements. Everything seemed perfectly normal for the 17-year-old who received his first college scholarship offer, from Maryland, shortly after last season ended.

"I was just trying to see as many places as I can," Kouandjio said, noting several other West Coast schools have since offered scholarships.

• Maryland commitments Nate Clarke (Archbishop Carroll), Andre Monroe (St. John’s D.C.) and Titus Till (Wise) were named to The Post’s preseason All-Met team.

DB Titus Till Wise 6-2, 190 Sr. Hard-hitting safety made 65 tackles last season in leading the Pumas to the Maryland 4A semifinals for the first time. Committed to Maryland.

• The Terps remain in good shape for Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman, according to The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer.

The Deacons would love to snare highly-rated 6-6 receiver Brandon Coleman of Bishop McNamara High in Forestville, Md., but it's an uphill task, as he favors Maryland. He plans to visit, though, and the little school in Winston-Salem is pretty good at selling itself in person.

• Forestville wide receiver Antonio Belt has trimmed his list of schools two, according to The Gazette.

That said, the Knights will still have their fair share of talent, led by senior standout receiver Antonio Belt, who [Forestville coach Charles] Harley said has narrowed his college choices down to the University of Maryland and Temple University.

• The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reports that Greensboro linebacker Chris McCain could make his college choice soon.

No. 18 on The Observer's list of the state's top 50 college prospects has changed schools. Chris McCain, a 6-6, 190-pound athlete who played last season at Northeast Guilford, has transferred to the Central Carolina Sports Academy in Winston-Salem. McCain is expected to announce his college choice next week with California, Maryland and Oregon topping his list.

• Pennington, N.J., safety Dontae Johnson has three schools remaining on his list, according to NBE Football Report. (Credit to Testudo Times)

“NC State, Stanford and Maryland,” Johnson stated to NBE when asked what schools he was currently considering.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:59 AM | | Comments (26)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 3, 2009

Where are they now: Kim English

Every summer Baltimore's best basketball players converge on their old stomping grounds, resurrecting old rivalries on the court and trading war stories on life as a college athlete.

kim-english.jpg

Few Charm City natives earned more bragging rights last season than Kim English, the former Randallstown star who was an integral part of Missouri’s 31-7 season.

English, a 6-foot-6, 200-pound shooting guard, had plenty to say this summer about the Tigers’ trip to the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight.

“It’s kind of like we’re all trash-talking, but it’s fun seeing where everyone went,” English said. “In Baltimore, it’s whoever wins gets the most range. So it was me and [Pittsburgh shooting guard] Jermaine Dixon. Everyone else couldn’t say too much except for that they’re going to do better than us next year. But [former Calvert Hall standout and UMass guard] Ricky Harris beat Kansas, so that was a great feat. Kevin Palmer (Parkville), from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, he scored [31] on Georgia, so we were talking about that. We were all kind of exchanging stories and just playing like it was old times.”

The old times were especially good to English. After starting his career at Towson Catholic, English moved on to Randallstown and led the Rams to the Class 2A state championship in 2007. English, a second-team All-Metro selection, scored 17 points in Randallstown’s 65-60 win over Fairmont Heights at Comcast Center.

“Winning state was great,” English said. “Three in a row for the school and one for me. But they just judge a successful season at Randallstown by who won the state. I was the only one on my Cecil Kirk [AAU] team that won state ... so I had some bragging rights in the matter. Just going to high school like a regular kid, that was fun.”

English spent the following season at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., averaging better than 17 points, six rebounds and three assists per game. He earned team MVP honors and picked up scholarship offers from Missouri, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Florida State, Miami, Seton Hall and St. Johns.

Picking the Tigers proved to be a great decision for English. He appeared in all 38 games last season, starting 13 during conference play. English averaged 6.5 points per game and connected on 41 three-pointers -- second all-time for a Missouri freshman behind Kareem Rush. The highlight of English’s improbable freshman season came in the second round of the NCAA tournament, when he scored 17 points against Marquette, including two free throws with 5.5 seconds remaining that preserved the win for Missouri.

“I expected us to win a national championship last year,” English said. “No one else did, but I always felt like that was just something that’s supposed to happen because I’ve always been on successful, winning teams. So it was kind of like blind ambition. My prep school coach, Ryan Hurd, he told me to cherish this. [He said], ‘an Elite Eight doesn’t happen every year.’ Then it kind of hit me. Thirty-one wins and a Big 12 championship doesn’t happen every year. But I kind of just work with the mindset of wanting it to happen every year. So I’m always looking for the greatest season. Always.”

English won’t be the only Baltimore native gunning for a Big 12 title this year. Former Owings Mills center Andrew Fitzgerald and ex-DeMatha shooting guard Naji Hibbert will be freshmen at Oklahoma and Texas A&M respectively. Paving the way for Baltimore’s next generation of college standouts is something English is more than happy to do.

“Whenever I see Josh Selby or Will Barton, I always stop and talk to them,” English said. “I don’t know if they’re looking up to us, but I’m pretty sure as college basketball fans [they respect us]. But we kind of look at them as our younger brothers and [follow them] from a distance. We just see that they have to carry the torch on as Baltimore guys in college the next couple years.”

English’s summer reunion came to an end about two weeks ago. Goodbyes were said as English returned to Columbia, Mo., and his basketball-playing counterparts went back to their respective schools. Battling Baltimore’s basketball royalty this summer has English primed to reclaim bragging rights once again.

“We’re back,” English said, “and ready for the ascent to the top of the mountain again.”

Photo credits: Baltimore Sun (left) and Associated Press

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:39 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Where are they now?
        

September 2, 2009

Next generation for John Carroll hoops

John Carroll basketball coach Tony Martin has sent six players to Division I programs in the past two seasons.

Now there’s a new generation of Patriots with Div. I futures. Three juniors and one sophomore will likely lead the way for JC this season.

Point guard Malcolm McMillan will shoulder a heavier load as a junior. The 6-foot, 185-pounder had a strong summer with the Crusader Nation AAU program. Mount St. Mary’s has offered a scholarship, while George Mason and several other Div. I programs are monitoring his progress, according to Martin.

“I’ve said he’s like a Rajon Rondo type,” Martin said. “He’s extremely athletic and is very difficult to keep out of the lane. He needs to continue to develop and work on his perimeter game. He’s a great on-the-ball defender and he’s just a terrific kid. He’s a solid student and is very well-liked in the community. He does well on the court and off the court.”

malcolmmcmillan.jpg

Junior forward Jared Jones might have the highest ceiling out of all the Patriots’ prospects. The 6-foot-6, 180-pound wing has high-major potential, but injuries have hindered his development.

“Jared has been plagued with some injuries during his time with us, but everyone knew coming out of the eighth grade that he was one of the best prospects in his class in Baltimore,” Martin said. “The injuries have slowed him, but I don’t think it has deterred the colleges. He’s receiving the same type of interest he was receiving -- a lot of inquiries from the big-time conferences.”

Jones had arthroscopic knee surgery and is currently going through rehabilitation. Martin is anticipating a mid-year return for Jones, depending on how the rehab goes.

“If Jared’s body will cooperate with him, some great things are going to happen to him,” Martin said. “He is an absolutely lock-down defender and can play any position on the floor. He’s a very active player and shot-blocker, rebounder and a very good passer for a big wing.”

A third junior Div. I prospect was added to John Carroll’s roster last month. Combo guard Ronald Scott was looking for a home when the Archdiocese of Baltimore closed Towson Catholic in July.

“His father actually called me when the news hit that TC would not be opening in the fall,” Martin said. “I did my homework by speaking with [former Owls coach] Josh Pratt and their [former athletic director], Jeff Palumbo. And they were consistent with the praise of the type of young man he was. He has high character and is certainly a kid who can play here.”

Scott, 5-11, is expected to step into the Patriots’ guard rotation immediately. “He’s a guy who can shoot it, get to the rim and finish,” Martin said. “He can play multiple positions and handle the ball for us. Hopefully he’ll help fill a need.”

Sophomore combo guard Lionel Greene will be counted on to bridge the gap between John Carroll’s talented juniors and a promising group of freshmen. Greene, who plays for Team Melo in the offseason, has already garnered a fair share of Div. I interest.

“South Florida, for example, is following him, along with a number of other schools at a variety of levels in DI,” Martin said. “He’s got Division I quickness right now. And he’s a kid that’s going to continue to grow. He’s going to have the opportunity to shine.”

While things will be much different for Martin in his fifth season as John Carroll’s coach, he’s ready to embrace the change.

“I’m actually calling it the next generation for student-athletes at John Carroll,” Martin said. “Four years are in the books, we’ve built the foundation and obviously programs have their ups and downs, but we feel we’ll always be in the hunt, even with those kinds of cycles. ... In the big picture, we feel really good about these kids and what they’ll do over the next four years.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Malcolm McMillan by Patrick Smith / Dec. 9, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:07 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 1, 2009

Q&A with Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman

There will be a mix of new and old on the roster of the defending MEAC champions this season.

Nine players return from Morgan State’s NCAA tournament team, but Bears head coach Todd Bozeman is adding five new faces to the mix.

t_bozeman.jpg

Point guard Danny Smith (5-11, 190 pounds), combo guard Joe Davis (6-0, 180), shooting guard Jarrod Denard (6-2, 185), power forward DeWayne Jackson (6-8, 210) and center Anthony Anderson (6-10, 235) will all suit up for Morgan State this season.

Smith, a Randallstown native and Woodlawn graduate, will have two years of eligibility remaining after playing at Western Nebraska Community College the past two seasons. Davis, a junior from Warrensville, Ohio, sat out last year as a transfer from Cleveland State, where he averaged 8.8 points per game in his first two seasons. Denard was a highly touted shooting guard from Philadelphia’s Freire Charter School. Jackson, a Bowie High graduate, and Anderson, a LaPlata alumnus, both enrolled at Morgan one year ago and sat out as non-qualifiers. They will each have four years of eligibility remaining.

Bozeman spoke with Recruiting Report recently about Morgan State’s incoming class.

Knowing that you were losing Itchy Bolden, Marquise Kately and Rogers Barnes, how did you approach this recruiting class?

Well we had three guys sitting out. We had Joe Davis transfer from Cleveland State, and he’s a guard and was [close to] a double-digit scorer at Cleveland State. And we had Anthony Anderson, 6-10, from LaPlata, Maryland sitting out. He was a non-qualifier and he just sat out for last year. He’ll be a rebounder. He’s just a big, physical kid, and he’ll provide us with depth on the front line.

DeWayne Jackson is a 6-8 player from Bowie High School who also sat out as a non-qualifier. So both those guys will be eligible. And [DeWayne’s] a multidimensional player. DeWayne Jackson is that guy that can play any position from 2 to 4, and he’ll definitely give us depth on both the front line and backcourt. He can shoot from outside, he can guard and he can play the 4. So he’ll be a good player. We’re excited about having him.

The other young man we actually signed was Danny Smith from Woodlawn High School. He was at Western Nebraska Community College. He had a good two-year career there, and he’ll be looked upon for leadership. He gives us a different look in terms of the other guys that we have coming in. He’s 6-2, has good size, and we’ve had Jerrell Green and Itchy Bolden, and both of those guys are smaller guards, so Danny gives us a different look. He had a good summer. Danny and DeWayne played in the Kenner League down in Georgetown. I was getting reports that they both had a good summer.

How did Joe Davis end up at Morgan?

His dad just called us and he ended up transferring. They also had some history with [Morgan State assistant coach] Kevin McClain. Kevin McClain actually recruited him to Manhattan. We thought about recruiting him here when I hired Coach McClain here. But we went the junior college route, so that’s when we took Jerrell Green. So that’s kind of where the history came from with him.

What do you expect out of him considering he’s already produced at the Division I level?

Well we’ve had that with Marquise Kately. I mean Marquise was an All-Freshman guy in the Pac-10. So that in itself was big. So we’ve had [someone who’s excelled at the DI level and then transferred here] before, but it helps now. It’s a big loss with those three, but just like I think they did a pretty good job, you’ve got to remember the year before, we had the MEAC defensive player of the year (Boubacar Coly) and the MEAC player of the year and our starting point guard (Jamar Smith). And our guys responded pretty well, so I think they will respond comparatively this time around. At least that would be my hope. But you never know. Each team is different and each team takes on a personality of its own.

When did you get involved with Danny Smith?

With Danny, we watched him all year. He’s from Woodlawn, so we already knew him. I liked him in high school but academically he wasn’t ready. So he went the junior college route. Some guys choose to come in and sit out, but some guys want to go and play for their two years, so that’s what he did. He got bigger and stronger and had a chance to really expand his game. So obviously it’s our benefit and we were fortunate to get him to come back home.

Do any of your incoming recruits remind you of anybody specifically?

Not anybody that we’ve had. They’re different. DeWayne has a multidimensional aspect to his game. Jarrod Denard, he’s a quality guard. He’s very, very good. People in Philly, they all have nothing but good things to say about him. He’s 6-1 and can play multiple positions. He’s very aggressive defensively. But he can play the 1, 2 and 3.

Which of these new guys will you expect to contribute immediately?

I’m just expecting them to come in and work hard. That’s all we ever really expect -- for our guys to really come in and work hard and be open to the fact that they’re probably going to work harder than they’ve ever worked in their life. They just have to be willing to work. From that standpoint, once we get into the season, we’ll [assign] roles and it’ll be another piece of the puzzle.

How have you been able to expand your recruiting into different areas of the country?

Well it’s always about relationships. It’s about the relationships you have with people and whether people trust you with their particular players. When you have the history and the track record, all those things play into it. Unlike when we first got here, we have something tangible to sell to kids. The fact that we’ve done it, competed in the [NCAA] tournament and won the conference regular-season title two years in a row. So there’s history. We have an attractive package in terms of a lot of guys returning. We have nine guys returning, so that’s attractive in itself. They can come in and be a part of it. You don’t have to carry the whole load like the guys we had when we first got here. There’s quite a bit of competition that goes along with that and the success we had. Going to the tournament was huge, with the amount of attention that the guys received.

What kind of effect did making the NCAA tournament have on your class?

We felt good about. I wouldn’t say it [had a huge effect on this class]. I’m not downplaying it because the tournament was of great significance for us, and hopefully it plays bigger dividends for us in the next recruiting class, but it was something we were heavily involved with at the time. It’s just a matter of signing on the dotted line, and you can’t sign until April. So young people can say they’re coming [much earlier], but you really can’t sign them until the spring. So they [were already committed before the tournament].

Was it difficult recruiting with your contract situation unsettled? (Note: Bozeman signed a five-year extension in April)

No, it didn’t really come out like that. That didn’t really play into it, because it wasn’t a matter of whether I had an opportunity to come back or not. It was just a matter of when I was going to sign a contract. We negotiated in good faith and it was just a matter of working out the details. That pretty much was it. I guess to answer your question directly, it wasn’t a factor.

How will this class fit in with your returning players and what are your expectations for this season?

I think they fit in well. Danny, in terms of depth for us at the point guard spot, Jarrod Denard, with Rogers Barnes leaving, and Joe Davis with our scoring. Those guys will learn their roles. With DeWayne, [he’ll fill in for] Marquise in terms of versatility. So those guys kind of fill the void for us in those areas. They won’t have the experience those guys had. Joe Davis is close to it because he’s already played Division I ball for two years. But all of that will be positive for us. We’ve got nine guys returning and some of those guys have won the regular season championship two years in a row. They’ve gone to the postseason two years in a row and they played in the NCAA tournament. That should play to their advantage, and give them confidence. When you go to the tournament and you’re coming back, it really adds to your confidence, because you’ve done it and you feel good about it. Guys get confidence from that. That’s what you look for when you go to the tournament and you have guys returning.

Sun photo of Todd Bozeman by Karl Merton Ferron / March 18, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:06 PM | | 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