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October 30, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Kicking off a slow week in Maryland recruiting news with a few football items ...

• The recruitment of Norcross, Ga., offensive lineman Max Garcia is winding down, according to Phil Kornblut.

Offensive lineman Max Garcia of Norcross, Ga., is scheduled for his official visit to Clemson on Nov. 6. A week or two later, he plans to have a decision between the Tigers, Maryland and Vanderbilt. Maryland is his favorite going into the final visit.

• TurtleSportsReport.com’s Ross Leonhart scouted last week’s Good Counsel-St. John’s (D.C.) game, which featured Terps defensive tackle commitment Andre Monroe and several other Maryland targets.

#60 Andre Monroe: This 2010 defensive tackle is a Maryland commit. He has the capability of getting through the offensive line and causing trouble for the backfield. The offensive play call appeared to be directed away from the middle of the defense, with Monroe and McReynolds there. Monroe showed his strength in his few snaps on the offensive line.

• The Gazette took a look this week at Wise High’s team, on which Terps safety recruit Titus Till stars. The Pumas have recorded seven consecutive shutouts.

"We can say that we were the cornerstone of this program," said senior safety Titus Till. "The freshmen and sophomores want to be like us because we're accomplishing things that nobody's done here before."

• UM tight end commitment Nermin Delic has tough matchups on both sides of the ball tonight in Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) High’s game against Dalton.

Northwest two-way starter Nermin Delic will face off with two of Dalton’s best linemen. While playing tight end, the 6-foot-5-inch, 245-pound Maryland commitment will go against defensive end Jalen Fields (6-4, 240), the first Georgia commitment of the 2010 class. When Delic’s at defensive end, he’ll face Watts Dantzler, a 6-8, 300-pound junior offensive lineman currently being heavily recruited by several Southeastern Conference schools, including Georgia.

• Maryland defensive end commitment David Mackall and linebacker recruit L.A. Goree both made the trip to College Park on Monday for Fork Union Military Academy’s JV game against the Terps. Neither Mackall or Goree ended up playing in the game, according to The Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens.

I caught up with Goree after the game, and he said he plans to be in College Park on Jan. 3 to get ready for a winter session. He said he improved his SAT score enough, and didn't exactly hide his eagerness to attend a university rather than at a military academy.

Basketball recruiting

• One current Maryland target and one former Maryland target were on hand for Kentucky’s Blue-White game earlier this week.

Highly regarded prospects C.J. Leslie and Terrence Jones attended the Blue-White Game. Leslie is a forward from Raleigh, N.C. He played with UK freshman John Wall last season. Jones is a forward from Portland, Ore.

• Maryland is one of many high-major schools in the running for Juan’ya Green, a junior combo guard.

Juan’ya Green, a ghastly 6-foot-3 combo guard at Archbishop Carroll (PA) HS, is receiving plenty of Big East love. He’s sifting through letters, receiving the most interest from Villanova, Georgetown, Syracuse, Providence, Maryland, St. Joe’s and Temple.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 29, 2009

Digital Harbor's two Div. I seniors

George Jackson has left Digital Harbor and taken his game across town to Coppin State. davon-usher.jpg

But while Jackson, a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, is gone, the defending Class 1A state champion Rams won’t be devoid of talent.

Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes’ quest to repeat as state champions will depend largely upon seniors Davon Usher, 6 feet 5, and Justin Jackson, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound point guard and George Jackson’s younger brother.

Usher’s stock rose dramatically this summer, and Grimes witnessed it firsthand while serving as an assistant coach for Nike Baltimore Elite. When Will Barton and Josh Selby were at the NBA Top 100 Camp one week in June, Usher “really just blew up” at a tournament in Chantilly, Va. Thanks to his summer on the AAU circuit, Usher has heard from a host of mid- and high-major schools.

“He’s like the best-kept secret. He’s really starting to come into his own,” Grimes said. “I know in particular, George Mason [has expressed interest], Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, they are really high on Davon Usher. Oklahoma was showing interest and UMBC. Quinnipiac is another school that’s on Davon Usher real heavy. ... Virginia Tech is interested in Davon, too.”

Usher averaged around 16 points and 10 rebounds per game last season. Grimes expects those numbers to go up this year. Usher’s long-term potential is high, Grimes said.

“Davon, in college, would probably be a 2-guard,” Grimes said. “He can pass the ball and he’s 6-5. He’s very crafty with the ball. He has real good court vision and he shoots the ball very well from mid-range. He has a little work to do on his defense, but offensively, that’s his strong point.”

Jackson was slowed last season by a high ankle sprain, but still managed to average “around 13 or 14” points per game, according to Grimes. With his older brother at Coppin, Jackson will now be counted on to run the point for Digital Harbor. The brothers Jackson are talented but different, according to Grimes.

“With George, he’s a tremendously hard worker,” Grimes said. “Justin really has the natural ability. He’s very skillful -- it’s easy for him to score in a variety of ways. Justin’s going from being a 2-guard and now making the transition to being the point guard. Now you really get to see exactly how he’ll be able to lead the team. He’s very crafty as well and smart. He’s definitely going to show all his talent.”

On the recruiting front, Jackson has received interest from a couple different schools in the Baltimore-Washington area.

“As far as Justin, it’s been pretty much George Mason and UMBC,” Grimes said.

Grimes is confident that both seniors will sign with Div. I schools, if not next month, then definitely during the spring signing period.

Baltimore Sun photo of Davon Usher by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 13, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:20 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 28, 2009

Meet Terrence Ross

For a consensus top 50 prospect, Terrence Ross took the road less traveled this summer.

Instead of joining other top-ranked players on the AAU circuit, the Maryland shooting guard commitment stayed at Montrose Christian this summer to take classes and work on his game.

Staying out of the spotlight did have its consequences. Some scouting services dropped Ross in their rankings, drawing the ire of many Maryland fans. But for the future Terp, a lower rating couldn’t be less important.

“Probably my freshman to sophomore year [I paid attention to recruiting rankings],” Ross said. “But after my junior year, it didn’t matter to me. I was getting recruited, so it really didn’t matter who was [ranked] better than me. It really didn’t matter.”

Ross did admit to missing the competition aspect of AAU. He played his fair share of pickup ball in College Park with some of his future teammates, which whetted his appetite a bit. Now he’s just counting down the days until his senior season starts.

“It was just pretty quiet,” Ross said of his summer. “[So] I’m really excited [for the high school season] because it’s just like all that hard work I put in, [now] I get to show it off.”

Ross has stayed in close contact with Maryland’s other 2010 commitments, Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin. There’s already a strong bond between the Maryland recruits, Ross said.

“Me and Mike are close and me and Terrell are close,” Ross said. “Before we get [to Maryland], we already got a friendship. We’re all pretty close and text each other. … Right now I’m just focused on high school, but in the meantime, I can’t wait to get to Maryland.”

Here’s an introduction to Ross.

Name: Terrence Ross
Birthdate: Feb. 5, 1991
Birthplace: Long Beach, Calif.
Hometown: Portland, Ore.
Nickname: T-Ross
Height: 6’6
Position: Shooting guard/small forward
High School: Montrose Christian
Junior statistics: 15 points per game
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Four stars, No. 43 overall, No. 10 shooting guard. Scout.com -- Four stars, No. 93 overall, No. 21 shooting guard. ESPN.com -- 95 rating, No. 39 overall, No. 8 small forward.
Other schools considered: Louisville, UCLA, Memphis, Oklahoma
Favorite pro basketball player: Joe Johnson
Favorite pro basketball team: None
Favorite all-time Terp: Steve Francis
Favorite music: Drake, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, Jay-Z
Favorite book: Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
Favorite movie: Paranormal Activity
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Pizza
Favorite high school class: Statistics
Favorite thing about College Park: “The campus [and] the dorms.”
Hobbies: “Relaxing, hanging out with my friends and working out.”
Intended major: Criminology
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m shy.”
Best basketball moment: “Winning [the] state championship in Portland my sophomore year.”
Role model: “Michael Jordan because he has accomplished a lot of things that I would like to accomplish.”
Why Maryland? “I like the atmosphere and they recruited me the hardest.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:42 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

October 27, 2009

Meet Laurin Mincy

Laurin Mincy couldn't wait to put her mid-summer injury setback behind her.

The Maryland shooting guard commitment had torn the meniscus in her left knee while playing in an AAU tournament in July. After eight weeks of rehab, she was ready to make her return to the court at a tournament in New York last month.

“Three minutes into the game, [the knee] gave out on me,” Mincy said. “[It was the] same move [as I made in July]. It was a crossover and it just gave out. That time, I definitely knew that there was something wrong.”

Mincy tore her ACL and her meniscus this time. She underwent surgery three weeks ago and had her stitches removed last week.

Mincy will sit out her senior year, but still take on an active role for University High’s team. She plans on serving as a student assistant. The opportunity to contribute to her team as a coach helped ease the disappointment of being unable to play this season.

“At first I took it real hard,” Mincy said. “I was devastated, being that it was my senior year and knowing that I couldn’t be on the court helping my teammates. But then I started talking to my family and it’s only going to make me a stronger person and a stronger player.”

Mincy said she plans on returning to the court in May and reporting to College Park in July. Terps coach Brenda Frese has been extremely supportive throughout her injury ordeal, according to Mincy.

“She just told me she was sad to hear that,” Mincy said, “but she told me that she just wanted me to get taken care of as soon as I could and just rest up. I should be good to go when it’s time to play for Maryland.”

Here’s an introduction to Mincy.

Name: Laurin Mincy
Birthdate: Feb. 3, 1992
Birthplace: Newark, N.J.
Hometown: Newark, N.J.
Nickname: LB
Height: 5-11
Position: Guard
High School: University High
Junior statistics: 21 points, six rebounds, three assists, two and a half blocks per game
Rankings: AllStarGirlsReport.net -- No. 9 player in the country. ESPN Hoop Gurlz -- No. 23 player in the country.
Other schools considered: Rutgers, Georgia
Favorite pro basketball player: Dwyane Wade
Favorite pro basketball team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Favorite all-time Terp: Marissa Coleman
Favorite music: Trey Songsz, Keyshia Cole
Favorite book: The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Favorite movie: Love and Basketball
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Shrimp
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “The atmosphere.”
Hobbies: Dancing, shopping, singing
Intended major: Marketing
Something that not many people know about you: “That I write poems. I’ve been doing that since about eighth grade.”
Best basketball moment: “I think it was my freshman year, when my team won the Tournament of Champions in New Jersey.”
Role model: “I would have to say my role model is my mom because she sets a great example for me and is really independent. I would love to be a type of woman she is today.”
Why Maryland? “I thought Maryland was the best choice because their style of play fits my style of player, the staff was very family-oriented and it was not that far from home. Even though I didn’t want to stay close to home, it wasn’t that far. Everything was just perfect.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:53 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

October 26, 2009

Weekend wrap — Big day for Robinson

Atholton's improbable undefeated season continued this weekend thanks in large part to Maryland athlete recruit Matt Robinson.

In the Raiders’ 49-13 win over Marriotts Ridge, Robinson contributed six tackles on defense and, once again, made a big impact on offense.

Kalvin Seamonson completed all five of his pass attempts for 105 yards and three touchdowns, including scoring passes of 31 and 27 yards to Matt Robinson, in the homecoming win.

• Terps quarterback recruit Tyler Smith guided Wilson Area (Pa.) High to its seventh win of the season.

Tyler Smith passed for 251 yards and two touchdowns and Ray Mosby rushed for 122 yards and scored four touchdowns to lead the unbeaten Warriors to a convincing 45-21 victory over Southern Lehigh at Smith Field.

• UM quarterback commitment Devin Burns played just one half in Carver (Ga.) High’s 47-8 win over Kendrick.

Burns was 7-for-12 passing with an interception and threw for 119 yards.

• Maryland safety pledge Titus Till helped Wise to its state-record seventh straight shutout, a 44-0 win over Oxon Hill.

"We were just going out and playing our game," said Wise senior safety Titus Till. "We are just doing what we do and haven't really been preoccupied with what it meant."

• Terps defensive back recruit Jeremiah Johnson found the end zone once in Suitland’s 34-0 win over Laurel.

The Rams blocked a Laurel punt, and [Suitland quarterback Devonte] Lindsey followed with a 20-yard score to Jeremiah Johnson with 1:50 remaining in the third.

• UM tight end commitment Nermin Delic helped Northwest Whitfield to a 14-3 win over Sequoyah, which gave the Bruins sole possession of first place in the Georgia sub-region 7A-4A.

“It was all execution,” said Delic, who made a critical sack for a 9-yard loss late in the fourth quarter. “Everyone was doing their job and staying motivated. It’s all about doing your job every play without being selfish.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:55 AM | | Comments (6)
        

October 23, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Tobias Harris has already visited Syracuse, Tennessee and Kentucky this fall.

Now the five-star forward from New York has scheduled trips to his four other finalists -- West Virginia, Georgia Tech, Louisville and Maryland.

Then the weekend of November 7 they will travel to West Virginia. The following weekend they will visit Maryland with a final visit to Georgia Tech scheduled for November 16 and 17 following the Maryland visit.

• MemphisRoar.com caught up with Albany (N.Y.) City Rocks coach Jim Hart this week for an update on Hippolyte Tsafack, a Cameroon native and Miller School (Va.) big man.

“He loves Maryland,” replied Hart. ”He’s pretty high on Maryland. I think he still has his scheduled visit (next weekend) to Maryland. Maryland has recruited him longer than anybody, probably. Nothing else is scheduled right now, but Auburn, Alabama, Miami, and UCLA are all showing interest. ”

• St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Ashton Pankey, who still plans on making an official visit to College Park before the fall signing period ends, is also considering Rice, Houston, Hofstra and Drexel, according to Adam Zagoria.

“If you want to play at the highest level, Maryland would probably be the leader right now,” [New Heights AAU coach Kimani] Young says.

• South Kent (Conn.) School junior point guard Danny Lawhorn says he’s hearing from the Terps.

“Washington, North Dakota St, Baylor, Mississippi St, Texas A&M, Auburn, Arkansas, Rutgers, South Florida, UAB, St. Bonaventure, Maryland, Fresno St, St. John’s, St Peters, Fairfield, Louisville [and] Texas,” were the schools Lawhorn mentioned as those recruiting him, in addition to Providence.

• Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran junior guard Achraf Yacoubou has committed to Villanova.

Even though Yacoubou hasn’t even begun his junior season at Lutheran, [Yacoubou’s guardian Randy] Harper said there were more than 20 scholarship offers, from schools such as Memphis, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Wake Forest, Xavier, Maryland and Oklahoma State.

Football recruiting

• Phil Kornblut reports that Norcross, Ga., offensive lineman Max Garcia has the Terps at the top of his list.

Garcia says right now Maryland is his favorite with Vanderbilt second and Clemson third. He visited Vandy last weekend.

• Maryland remains in good shape with Christchurch, Va., tight end Josh Lovell, according to Rivals.com.

“Maryland is still at the top,” he said. “They are close and the coaches are great. I just feel comfortable there.

• Terps defensive end commitment Ian Evans is involved in one of the three key matchups to watch in Hammonton (N.J.) High’s game against Vineland tonight.

Hammonton DE Ian Evans (6-3, 235) vs. Vineland OT Jeffrey Bryson (6-3, 235). Evans, who has verbally committed to Maryland, could be one of the best pass rushers Vineland will have to contend with all season. Bryson is nursing a sore ankle. If he can't go, look for sophomore Kevin Santiago (6-3, 315) to get the call.

• Rutgers remains the leader for Bishop McNamara wide receiver and Maryland target Brandon Coleman, according to Scout.com.

“I like the coaches at Rutgers a lot,” Brandon Coleman said. “We’re pretty close and they run a great program. Coach Greg Schiano has great principles and reminds me of my high school coach. I could see myself there."

• Linganore offensive tackle Robby Havenstein committed to Wisconsin this week, picking the Badgers over offers from Maryland, Penn State, Wake Forest and Virginia.

"I wanted to play in the Big 10. It's my kind of football," he said. "I have family up in Michigan and they are all big Michigan and Michigan State fans."

Khamrone Kolb, an offensive lineman from Virginia, pledged to Penn State earlier this week.

Kolb, from Lake Braddock High in Burke, Va., also claimed scholarship offers from North Carolina, North Carolina State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Maryland.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:38 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 22, 2009

Selby enjoys Kansas visit

Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby got a sneak preview last weekend of what it would be like to play for Kansas.

The five-star prospect, who is also considering Baylor, Indiana, Kentucky, Miami and Syracuse, took an unofficial visit to Lawrence for Midnight Madness and was impressed with what he saw, according to his mother, Maeshon Witherspoon.

“Kansas was a very good trip,” Witherspoon said. “The fans were crazy and supportive. I wasn’t expecting the fans to support the kids the way they did. Josh was in awe of how the fan support was.”

Witherspoon said she and Selby arrived in Lawrence a day before Midnight Madness to spend some time with Kansas coach Bill Self. Selby also got a chance to play pickup with current players, and reportedly fit in well on the court.

“He hit it off with the majority of the team,” Witherspoon said. “His host was [senior point guard] Sherron Collins. Him and Sherron hit it off. Him and [freshman shooting guard] Xavier [Henry] knew each other. [Selby knew Washington native and freshman forward] Thomas Robinson from him being from close to Baltimore. So basically Josh got along with the majority of players on the team. He didn’t come home and say, ‘I don’t like this one kid.’ He got along with everybody. The entire staff was very cool and made us feel very comfortable. They made us feel like they really want us there.”

Witherspoon is now in the process of scheduling Selby’s upcoming trips. They still plan on seeing all six schools, but “the next visit we’re trying to get taken care of is Kentucky,” Witherspoon said.

“[We’re still planning on a] spring decision,” she said. “After all the visits, it’s possible that he could commit early, but he’s still going to sign late.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:35 AM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 21, 2009

Dunbar's Edwards visits future home

When Dunbar shooting guard Derrell Edwards committed to Texas A&M-Corpus Christi last month, he did so without ever having visited the Southland Conference school.

Last weekend, Edwards made the nearly 1,670-mile trip from Baltimore to Corpus-Christi for Island Invasion -- Texas A&M-Corpus Christi’s version of Midnight Madness.

“It turned out really nice and I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun down there,” Edwards said. “They had a dunk contest, a 3-point shootout and a scrimmage. So it was nice down there. It was real hot. I think it was about 80. There’s no winter down there.”

Edwards watched the team practice, took a tour of the campus and saw Corpus-Christi’s downtown, which he likened to “a smaller version of Miami.”

Edwards, 6-2, 195 pounds, also spent plenty of time off the court with senior small forward Kevin Palmer (Parkville) and sophomore guard Terence Jones (Lake Clifton). Edwards stayed with his fellow Baltimore natives on the trip, making Corpus Christi feel more like home.

“I was different, but it wasn’t really weird,” Edwards said. “I felt comfortable [there] more than any other place I took unofficial visits to. Every other place I went, the players never showed me as much love as they did. I just related to them. It was like I was already down there playing. They even gave me a nickname -- Rello.”

Edwards plans to sign his letter of intent next month. For now, he’s focusing on his football season, as the No. 13 Poets are 6-1. But after his weekend in Texas, Edwards is convinced more than ever that he made the right decision.

“I know I can play there and really be an impact player in the Southland Conference,” Edwards said. “I think I can come in as a freshman and do my thing.”

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

October 20, 2009

Panthers guard Holmes taking his time

The fall signing period is just a few weeks away, but St. Frances combo guard Dante' Holmes is in no hurry to make his college choice.

The 6-foot-3 senior, who averaged 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals per game for the Panthers last season, continues to field interest from a variety of schools. But Holmes will likely wait until the spring to sign with a program.

“Temple is still recruiting him, [along with] Providence, South Florida, Rhode Island, Baylor, Fordham, Duquesne, St. Joseph’s, Morgan and Loyola,” said Carlos Green, a St. Frances assistant and Holmes’ uncle.

Holmes spent most of his summer focusing on academics, participating in just a few AAU events. St. Frances, meanwhile, will play its typically challenging MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic League schedule in addition to participating in several national tournaments. The Panthers could play up to 40 games this season, giving Holmes a better chance to be seen.

“With him going to summer school, he didn’t really get to play on the circuit this summer,” Green said. “We did the Super 64 in Las Vegas where a couple of new schools jumped in, like Baylor and Rhode Island. But I think with the national schedule we have this year … this will put him in a situation where a lot of coaches that haven’t seen him will see him. A lot of coaches have heard his name, but haven’t seen him play too many times.”

Green said Holmes could soon take unofficial visits to schools within driving distance like Temple, Duquesne, Morgan and Loyola. Official visits will likely be scheduled during the high school season, although Holmes and Green could visit South Florida soon. Eric Skeeters, a former St. Frances coach and alumnus of Coppin State and Woodlawn, is a Bulls assistant.

Providence sent an assistant coach to see Holmes earlier this month, while Loyola and Morgan -- particularly Bears assistant Keith Goodie, according to Green -- are frequent visitors to St. Frances open gyms. The reviews of Holmes’ game have been positive.

“He’s gotten a lot bigger,” Green said. “He’s up to 190-195 now, so he’s been lifting weights and working on his jump shot. [The kids] have been working on their goals and we’ve got a tough road ahead, but I think it will be an interesting year.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:57 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 19, 2009

Cecil Kirk forward commits to Miami

Raphael Akpejiori has committed to Miami.

Akpejiori, who’s from Nigeria but has spent the past two summers with the Cecil Kirk AAU program, picked the Hurricanes over South Florida, Missouri, Colorado and New Orleans.

“He’s 6-9, 240, athletic and a really solid back-to-the-basket kid,” said Anthony Lewis, the longtime Cecil Kirk coach. “He’s strong around the paint, he rebounds, blocks shots and he’s tough to defend. He’s no-nonsense when he comes to the rack.”

Akpejiori lived in the Washington area and attended high school at Mount Zion Academy in North Carolina. He suffered an ankle injury and didn’t play for the school. He moved on to Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kan., where he rehabbed his injury last season. This year will be his first season playing high school basketball in the U.S.

Akpejiori follows two former Cecil Kirk standouts to Coral Gables. Former Lake Clifton combo guard Antoine Allen is a freshman at Miami, while Calvert Hall alumnus Jack McClinton finished his Hurricanes career last spring.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:33 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekend wrap — Burns leads rout

Maryland quarterback commitment Devin Burns guided Carver (Ga.) High to a 41-0 win over Shaw.

Check out highlights of Burns from Friday night, courtesy of WRBL in Columbus, Ga.


• Terps quarterback recruit Tyler Smith broke a school record on Saturday.

With quarterback Tyler Smith also throwing for 254 yards and two scores to become Wilson's career leader in touchdown passes, the Warriors rolled to a 45-21 win over Southern Lehigh at Smith Field.

• Maryland tight end commitment Nermin Delic helped Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) to a 17-13 win over Rome.

On defense, Nermin Delic had one sack and teamed up with Tevon Tucker for another.

• Terps defensive end pledge Ian Evans caught one pass for six yards in Hammonton (N.J.) High’s 27-3 win over Mainland Regional.

Basketball recruiting

• Terps forward target Tobias Harris visited Kentucky on Friday for Big Blue Madness.

Harris, meantime, has the is8 playoffs next weekend in Queens and will also visit Louisville, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Maryland. The semis and finals of is8 are Oct. 31-Nov. 1, so if the Unique All-Stars advance that far, Harris would visit Louisville Nov. 1 right after the is8 game. If he loses beforehand, he would go earlier.

• Another Maryland target that was scheduled to visit Kentucky didn’t make it to Lexington.

Raleigh (N.C.) Word of God senior forward C.J. Leslie was scheduled to be at UK's Big Blue Madness but didn't attend.

• Wilmington, Del., shooting guard Trevor Cooney visited Syracuse for Midnight Madness.

Trevor Cooney, a junior guard from Delaware, made an unofficial visit to Syracuse along with his father and brother. Cooney is also considering Villanova and Maryland among others.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:16 AM | | Comments (5)
        

October 16, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Two of Maryland's top remaining targets for the class of 2010 will be in Lexington, Ky., tonight.

Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie and Dix Hills, N.Y., forward Tobias Harris are two of many highly touted prospects scheduled to attend Kentucky’s version of Midnight Madness.

“I’m excited, it should be good,” said Dix Hills (N.Y.) Half Hollow Hills West forward Tobias Harris, who leaves Friday for Kentucky’s “Big Blue Madness.”

“I heard it’s a really great atmosphere at the Midnight Madness so it should be fun.”

Harris, who still plans on visiting Maryland this fall, has been spending a decent amount of time with several Syracuse commitments, according to The Daily Orange.

The sales pitches are getting easier by the game. Waiters, Harris and fellow Orange commit C.J. Fair are all part of the Unique All-Stars, a top-flight team in the elite Nike iS8 fall classic. The team is attempting to recruit another SU commit, center Fab Melo, for the playoffs, which begin Oct. 23 in New York.

The Unique All-Stars allow the current Orange commits to play with Harris, a coveted recruit who has narrowed his college selection to seven schools - including Syracuse. Coached by Harris' father, the team gives Harris a unique preview into a future with the Orange, something that he won't get with any of the other six Division I programs knocking at his door.

Leslie, meanwhile, still has a lengthy list of schools he’s considering. One notable contender, however, has dropped out of the race for his services.

This fall, Leslie had in-home visits with the coaches from Kentucky, Florida, Maryland, Oregon, Georgia Tech, Georgetown, N.C. State and Florida International, which is now coached by Isiah Thomas, one of Leslie's favorites when he was growing up.

But, he said, the University of North Carolina is no longer recruiting him.

• Miller School (Va.) center Hippolyte Tsafack -- a teammate of Terps commitment Mychal Parker who has received interest from Maryland -- is scheduled to attend Memphis Madness.

In essence, the success of tonight's event will boil down to one thing -- whether it will impact the Tigers' recruiting in any tangible way. All four 2010 players who have verbally committed to Memphis -- White Station guard Joe Jackson, Sheffield guard Chris Crawford and Baltimore brothers Antonio and Will Barton -- will be in attendance tonight. So will 6-8 Cameroon native Hippolyte Tsafack, a 2010 prospect who plays at a prep school in Virginia and has an offer from the Tigers.

• Baltimore native and former Maryland target Roscoe Smith -- who has narrowed his list of schools to UConn, Duke and Georgetown -- is expected to visit Hartford this weekend.

• Smith and another ex-Terps target had big games in Oak Hill’s 114-92 win over Bluefield (Va.) College.

Roscoe Smith added 24 points for Oak Hill, while Pe’Shon Howard tossed in 23, including a team-leading 14 in the opening half for the Warriors.

Football recruiting

• Maryland commitments Matt Robinson (Atholton) and Andre Monroe (St. John’s D.C.) are on The Washington Post’s in-season All-Met watch list.

DL Andre Monroe St. John’s Sr. Six tackles (four for loss) in 35-31 loss to McNamara.

• Phil Kornblut reports that Maryland remains in good shape with Norcross (Ga.) offensive lineman Max Garcia.

"If I had to choose a school right now, it would be Maryland just because I've been there," Garcia said.

He will visit Vanderbilt this weekend, and he plans to take a visit to Clemson and possibly one other.

• ESPN.com’s J.C. Shurburtt this week reported on a possible top four for Maryland target and Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy defensive end J.R. Ferguson.

Our good friends at EyeontheTigers.com (LSU) say that LSU has been informed that the Tigers are in the top three for ESPNU150 defensive lineman J.R. Ferguson (Frederick Md./Hargrave Military). The Tigers, Notre Dame and Oklahoma are the teams to beat. We've been hearing Miami is in the mix as well, so those four teams are the safe bets at this point.

• TurtleSportsReport.com’s Matt Birchenough caught up with Maryland cornerback commitment Jeremiah Johnson this week. The Suitland senior provided an update on the Rams’ season.

“It's going well,” Johnson said about his season. “I don't have any interceptions yet. But we haven't played any passing teams yet. Most of them have liked to run it up the middle. In the first game, I did have about 15 tackles, so that was a great game for me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:31 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 15, 2009

Many options for Lake Clifton's Durand Johnson

Durand Johnson's summer on the AAU circuit couldn’t have gone much better.

durand-johnson.jpg

The 6-foot-7 shooting guard, who has transferred to Lake Clifton after spending the past two years at Parkville, suited up for Cecil Kirk and promptly earned offers from a host of high- and mid-major schools.

Delaware was the first school to offer Johnson, while Drexel and Xavier followed suit soon after. As the summer went on, offers came from Pittsburgh, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Marquette, UNLV, UMass and Seton Hall, according to Johnson.

“I was looking forward to getting all that,” said Johnson, who spent his freshman year at St. Frances. “I was expecting that because I put in the hard work.”

Johnson, a 2011 prospect who will do a post-graduate year “most likely at Notre Dame Prep,” is still considering all schools that express interest. But he already has an early top four.

“Pitt, UConn, Florida State and Virginia Tech. That’s it right there,” Johnson said. “I really like those four the most right now. I really can see myself being a big-time player at any of those programs.”

Johnson, who wants to make his decision in the spring, plans on taking an unofficial visit to Pittsburgh on Oct. 23.

“I really don’t know a lot about them,” Johnson said. “I’ve seen them play a couple of times. I know Jermaine Dixon, he’s from Baltimore and he plays at Pitt. They’ve turned him into a pretty good player. And [former Pittsburgh standout] Sam Young played for Cecil for about two or three years.”

Johnson, who averaged around 19 points per game last season for Parkville, transferred to Lake Clifton after moving in with his father, who lives about 10 minutes away from the school’s campus. Johnson joins the defending Class 3A state champion Lakers, who lost Will and Antonio Barton, Cleveland Melvin and Jason Sharp off its roster.

Johnson and point guard Josh Selby, a DeMatha transfer and five-star recruit, will be counted on to keep the Lakers on top of the Baltimore city standings.

“Oh, I’m really excited,” Johnson said. “I can’t wait till the jump ball goes up.”

Photo courtesy of the Johnson family.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:20 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 14, 2009

Baltimore natives at Notre Dame Prep

The Notre Dame Prep boys basketball program will have a decidedly Baltimore flavor this season.

cleveland-melvin.jpg

Four players with ties to the area have enrolled at the Fitchburg, Mass., school for a post-graduate year.

Former Lake Clifton standout Cleveland Melvin, a 6-foot-8 power forward, is probably the most heavily recruited Charm City native on the Crusaders’ roster.

“South Florida has offered,” said Notre Dame Prep head coach Ryan Hurd. “TCU has offered. Memphis and Baylor and UConn, I think they will [offer]. I think they want to make sure he takes care of everything he needs to take care of first.”

Melvin is scheduled to take the SAT on Saturday. After that, he’ll be able to take official visits. Melvin hasn’t decided if he’ll sign next month or wait until April.

“He’s only going to get stronger and better working on his game up here,” Hurd said. “To me, he could be a kid that if he waited until the spring [to sign], the sky’s the limit to his options.”

Point guard Antonio Barton, a teammate of Melvin’s on Lake Clifton’s undefeated Class 3A state title team, has also joined the Notre Dame Prep squad.

“He’s been great since he got here,” Hurd said. “He’s working on some things with his body and getting ready for where he’s headed. He’s already committed [to Memphis], so his ability speaks for itself. Now it’s another year to get him bigger and stronger and ready to play at Memphis. ... We anticipate him being a leader on this team. When you come to this level having already committed, it buys you some scrutiny you might not normally want. But he’s doing a great job taking that on his shoulders and proving he belongs at that level.”

Antoine Myers, a 6-foot-2 point guard who graduated from Forest Park last spring, already “has a host of offers on the table,” according to Hurd. Myers will likely wait until the spring to sign because “he wants to see how much better he can get” this season at Notre Dame Prep, and then see which suitors he has.

“His recruitment is all over the board, probably more so than any kid we have here,” Hurd said. “Sometimes you hear people talk about a kid having an extra gear. He’s got one of those gears and when he puts it on, he just flies by people. We have to work on getting everything together all the time, but when that stuff clicks, he can go anywhere from the Big East to the America East. He’s going to have a ton of options. It’s going to be really neat to see where he ends up.”

Former Towson Catholic small forward Levi Noel is the final NDP player with Baltimore ties on this season’s roster. The 6-foot-5 London native was a late addition to the Crusaders. Noel quickly impressed Hurd and the rest of NDP’s coaching staff.

“I have no problem seeing him in the Atlantic 10. I have no problem seeing him at a higher level,” Hurd said. “But you have to appreciate his game. He’s got something to prove and he could end up being the biggest surprise up here. He’s a kid I didn’t really know a lot about and he’s kind of taken the team on his shoulders in terms of leadership, knocking down shots, competing and kind of setting the bar [for the rest of the team].”

Melvin, Barton, Myers and Noel are just the latest Baltimore players to suit up for Notre Dame Prep. Kimmie English (Missouri), Chester Frazier (Illinois), Antoine Allen (Miami), Devin Brown (Holy Cross), Paris Carter (New Mexico State) and Terence Jones (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) all spent time with the Crusaders before heading to college. For Hurd, continuing to build his roster with players from the area is a no-brainer.

“My relationship with [Cecil Kirk coach] Anthony Lewis [is what keeps me coming back to Baltimore],” Hurd said. “I know he’s doing things for the right reasons and doing things the right way. When you have someone like that that you trust, [who coaches] talented players that are going to be completely focused, why wouldn’t you keep going back to that well?”

Baltimore Sun photo of Cleveland Melvin by Kenneth K. Lam / Feb. 23, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:05 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 13, 2009

Meet Alyssa Thomas

Alyssa Thomas may be a consensus top 10 player and a member of Maryland's top-ranked 2010 recruiting class, but life in the spotlight remains a surprisingly new phenomenon to her.

“Just the other day, I was at basketball tryouts,” Thomas said, “and this lady came up to me and was talking about how she loves Maryland, how it was a good choice and how she can’t wait to see me play. ... It’s surprising that a lot of people know who I am.”

Thomas says she’s incredibly appreciative of any attention she receives from Maryland fans, and since her commitment almost one year ago, encounters with Terps fans in the Harrisburg, Pa., area have become increasingly common. But despite the extra attention and a litany of press clippings, Thomas remains humble.

“I don’t really pay attention to [the accolades],” Thomas said. “It’s nice and all, but I still have a lot of work to do.”

Work has already started for Thomas, whose senior season for the Central Dauphin Rams is right around the corner. Getting back on the court -- whether it be for her high school squad or for the Terps next year -- is something Thomas looks forward to.

“I’m definitely [focused on high school],” Thomas said. “I’ve got to finish my senior season and try to go out with another state title. But then after that, I can’t wait for Maryland.”

Here’s an introduction to Thomas.

Name: Alyssa Thomas
Birthdate: April 12, 1992
Birthplace: Harrisburg, Pa.
Hometown: Harrisburg, Pa.
Nicknames: Magic, A-Thom
Height: 6’1
Position: Small forward
Rankings: ESPN HoopGurlz -- No. 7 player in the country. AllStarGirlsReport.net -- No. 7 player in the country.
High School: Central Dauphin
Junior statistics: 20 points, 13 rebounds
Other schools considered: “I really didn’t look at many schools because I just knew right off the bat what I was looking for.”
Favorite pro basketball player: Candace Parker
Favorite pro basketball team: None
Favorite all-time Terp: Marissa Coleman
Favorite music: Beyonce, Jay-Z
Favorite movie: White Chicks
Favorite TV show: America’s Next Top Model
Favorite book: Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper
Favorite food: Wings
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: “The atmosphere.”
Hobbies: “I like to fish.”
Intended major: Business
Something that not many people know about you: “I like to play practical jokes. I put a fart machine under my coach’s chair. … He was very embarrassed.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably winning the state championship my sophomore year.”
Why Maryland? “I mean I just liked the team. I felt like it was my type of team. I just wanted to be a part of it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:07 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

October 12, 2009

Stoglin: 'I'm still committed to Maryland'

Just got off the phone with Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin, who wanted to respond to an Arizona Republic report that said he might wait until the spring to sign with Maryland.

“I just want to let everyone know that I’m still committed to Maryland,” Stoglin said. “I want to clear the air on that because apparently something came out in Phoenix that said I was thinking about [the University of Arizona]. But I’m firm with my commitment and I’m a Terrapin.”

Stoglin said he plans on signing with Maryland in November.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:51 PM | | Comments (9)
        

Weekend wrap — Cheeseboro's big day

Maryland wide receiver recruit Tyrek Cheeseboro made big plays for Milford Mill on both sides of the ball in the Millers' 21-0 win over Parkville.

Tyrek Cheeseboro caught a 65-yard pass for a touchdown, had 12 tackles and forced and recovered a fumble.

• Terps quarterback commitment Tyler Smith guided Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a 49-28 rout of Palisades.

Wilson quarterback Tyler Smith threw three of his four touchdown passes during that nine-minute eruption and finished the night with 402 yards on just 13 completions. Kowan Scott caught seven passes for 221 yards and three TDs for the Warriors (6-0 overall, 6-0 Colonial).

• Maryland quarterback recruit Devin Burns was 10 of 15 for 68 yards and two touchdowns in Carver (Ga.) High’s 27-5 win over Troup County.

Quarterback Devin Burns posted Carver’s only score of the first half on a 51-yard run on a play that looked like it would turn little gain. Under heavy pressure, Burns scrambled all the way to his right before getting cornered and heading back. His blockers came with him and the quarterback was able to make the turn on the opposite hash marks and carry the ball 51 yards for a touchdown.

• Terps defensive end commitment Ian Evans was the go-to receiver in Hammonton’s 41-7 win over Ocean City (N.J.).

Haammonton [sic] quarterback Nick Crescenzo (seven runs for 166 yards) ran for two touchdowns and completed 3-of-6 passes, all to tight end Ian Evans (one was a 9-yard TD).

• UM cornerback pledge Mario Rowson made a big defensive play in Lake Taylor’s 28-13 win over Churchville (Va.).

Lake Taylor defensive back Mario Rowson got things rolling when he intercepted Churchland quarterback Craig Brooks on the first play from scrimmage.

Basketball recruiting

Maryland point guard commitment Terrell Stoglin is still receiving interest from Arizona, and now the Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita senior may wait until the spring to sign his letter of intent, according to the Arizona Republic.

He said Saturday during the Phoenix Fall Showcase at Phoenix College that he still is committed to Maryland but he is leaning toward waiting until April, instead of November, to sign a letter of intent. He said he took his official visit to Maryland two weeks ago and was "excited" about it.

UPDATE: Stoglin told Recruiting Report on Monday that he's still committed to Maryland.

Tobias Harris took an official visit to Tennessee over the weekend. Adam Zagoria caught up with the five-star forward’s father, Torrel, for a recap of the trip.

“The visit to Tennessee went well,” said Torrel Harris, Tobias’ father. “We met Bernard King, who was staying at our hotel. Bernard was attending a conference and we had the opportunity to speak with him about a lot of things. It was great speaking with one of the greatest forwards who played the game.

• Roanoke (Va.) Cave Spring center Josh Henderson -- the son of a former Terp who received interest from Maryland -- committed to Vanderbilt over Davidson on Sunday.

Henderson, whose final four choices also included Virginia and Wake Forest, averaged 15.9 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game last season while shooting 56 percent from the field.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:21 AM | | Comments (4)
        

October 9, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Six ACC basketball programs have top 20 recruiting classes thus far for 2010.

So where does Maryland stack up against its in-conference rivals? According to Rivals.com’s recently updated class rankings, the Terps are 10th nationally and fifth in the ACC, behind North Carolina (4), Wake Forest (5), N.C. State (7) and Virginia (8), and ahead of Florida State (19).

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

Desmond Hubert, a junior center from Cream Ridge, N.J., picked up a Maryland offer recently, according to ESPN.com.

"It was real cool because like to me, coach Williams is up there with [North Carolina's] Roy Williams and [Duke's] Coach K in the ACC," Hubert said. "He's a really good coach, he's been there for a long time. He knows what he's doing."

• Maryland power forward target Tobias Harris will take an official visit to Tennessee this weekend, according to GoVolsXtra.com.

The 6-foot-8, 220-pound Harris will attend the Vols’ football game against Georgia at 12:20 p.m. Saturday where he’ll find himself immersed in a sea of orange.

• Los Alamos, N.M., center Alex Kirk made a commitment to New Mexico earlier this week.

“There has been a lot of support to stay locally,” Kirk’s father and head coach at Los Alamos, Allen Kirk, said. “At some point I think Alex decided he wanted to stay out west, although Maryland showed a lot of interest until the end before he settled in on Arizona and New Mexico.

• Kentucky fans are confident in the Wildcats’ chances of landing a commitment from Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie. (Credit to Testudo Times for the link.)

• If SLAM’s Nolan Shulman could build the ultimate floor general, he would use the jump shot of 2011 Terps target Trevor Cooney.

More of a combo guard than a true lead man, Cooney has a chance to have a similar impact on the college game as JJ Redick and Gerry McNamara. The country’s best shooter can knock it down off the curl, the dribble or with his feet set. Simply put, he’s a one man zone buster.

Football recruiting

• Maryland is in good position with Norcross, Ga., offensive lineman Max Garcia, a former teammate of freshman running back D.J. Adams.

OL Max Garcia (6-5 275) of Norcross, GA, who has Clemson, Maryland, and Vanderbilt as his final three, took an official visit to College Park last weekend and loved the visit. "I loved everything about it," he said. "The players, the coaches, the atmosphere, everything. If I had to choose a school right now, it would be Maryland just because I've been there."

• DeMatha offensive lineman Shane Johnson is still formulating his list of official visits.

Johnson has offers from USC, Cal, Maryland, Virginia, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Duke, New Mexico, Deleware, BC, Wake Forest, Pitt, Syracuse, and Rutgers. He has been to a couple of Maryland games this year and likes the program.

• Maryland athlete commitment Matt Robinson had a big game at wide receiver for Atholton last Saturday in the Raiders’ 32-14 win over Oakland Mills.

Matt Robinson led the Raiders with four catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.

• River Hill offensive lineman Max Coale has started to receive interest from the Terps, according to The Washington Post.

Suddenly, though, according to River Hill Coach Brian Van Deusen, interest in Coale from higher-profile programs has spiked in just the past two weeks. Maryland and Michigan State, Van Deusen said, have shown the most interest, with Terrapins recruiting coordinator Dave Sollazzo asking Van Deusen earlier this week for more highlight tape of Coale. Stanford and Duke have also called about Coale.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:06 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 8, 2009

Frese: Tchatchouang will help UM immediately

The way Brenda Frese tells the story, Diandra Tchatchouang's decision to attend Maryland was a matter of love at first sight.

It was the summer of 2006, and the Terps women’s program had just won the national championship. A two-week European tour followed, with stops in Budapest, Vienna, Prague and Paris on the itinerary.

In Paris, two games were played against the Institut National des Sports et de l'Education Physique (INSEP), the former team of junior Aurelie Noirez. Little did Frese know at the time that those games would lead to a commitment from a then-unknown Tchatchouang three years later.

“She actually discovered us when we were playing INSEP,” Frese said. “She was going to school there and saw us play. After that she just got our information and she was interested in coming overseas [for college]. She had an aunt that lived in Maryland, so it was kind of a win-win situation for both of us.”

Tchatchouang studied English at school but isn’t fluent in the language. That made the recruiting process somewhat challenging, but nothing that proved too difficult for the 6-foot-3 forward.

“There were a lot of e-mails early, because that was the best in terms of her being able to translate,” Frese said. “She did all the work. She had a good English background to her, and she could read the e-mails back and forth. So [our recruitment of her] started out mainly through e-mail. I just think once we were able to come see her in person and she was able to meet us, that was probably a big relief to her.”

Maryland was the first high-major program to discover Tchatchouang, but the Terps had plenty of company after the 2007 U16 European championship, in which she led France to the tournament title and earned MVP honors. She followed that up with a strong showing in the 2008 U18 European Championship, culminating with her 27-point performance against the Czech Republic in the final game.

“I know UConn and Duke and all the heavy hitters started finding out about her,” Frese said. “Northwestern was in contact with her. So slowly but surely, word started getting out on her.”

But despite the courtship of the Huskies, Blue Devils, Wildcats and others, Tchatchouang’s heart was set on the Terps. With her mind made up, the next step was dealing with mounds of paperwork in order to gain NCAA clearance. The language barrier didn’t make things easy, according to Frese.

“The process is tough,” Frese said. “Obviously you’re applying to the University of Maryland and you have to be NCAA certified. You have to imagine they don’t make [the NCAA clearinghouse] process user-friendly. It’s all in English. And when you’re an international student, you take the SAT in English. You have to take the TOEFL test as well and then go through the NCAA clearinghouse. So the credit goes to Diandra. Every step of the way, she did a tremendous job of checking things off the list.”

Tchatchouang enrolled at Maryland in July for summer school and was finally approved by the NCAA clearinghouse late last month. Frese said while there are inevitable moments of homesickness, Tchatchouang’s transition to the U.S. has been smooth. Her vocabulary "continues to grow and grow everyday."

On the court, Frese has high expectations for Tchatchouang. With the graduation of Kristi Toliver and Marissa Coleman, not to mention the departures of Dee Liles, Marah Strickland and Drey Mingo, Maryland has plenty of playing time available. But regardless of those losses, Tchatchouang would have been counted on to make an impact, Frese said.

“Obviously with the losses that we’ve had due to graduation, she’s going to have an immediate impact,” Frese said. "But she would have anyways [even without the other departures]. She’s that kind of player. She’s 6-3 and very versatile. She can play inside and outside, she can shoot the three and she can take people off the dribble. She’s actually coming off surgery that she had on her ankle, and the things she’s doing right now are truly amazing. She’s only going to get better and better with time when she gets in shape. So she’s going to help us immediately.”

Notes: All eyes will be on sophomore center Lynetta Kizer this season. Frese said Maryland will count on the reigning ACC Freshman of the Year to shoulder a bigger scoring load as a sophomore. “We’re expecting her to have a big presence inside for us,” Frese said. “She knows what to expect going into her sophomore year and we’re going to count on her a lot down low.” ... Toliver’s heir apparent at point guard, freshman Dara Taylor, has lived up to the hype so far, according to Frese. “We talked about it as a staff [recently] that Dara Taylor is probably one of the fastest athletes we’ve had on any roster of any team we’ve coached,” Frese said. “We love to run, we love to be up-tempo, so I think she’s going to help us push it into another gear just because of her end-to-end quickness.” ... There will undoubtedly be challenging moments this season because of the roster turnover, but Frese said she's excited to work with such a young team. “I think with nine freshmen and sophomores on this roster, it’s going to be a youthful blend,” Frese said. “But I’m just impressed with how hard they’ve been working as a team. The majority of these players do not have a lot of basketball games under their belt, but that will be a fun part to watch this season. I’m excited to watch them grow together.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:34 AM | | Comments (4)
        

October 7, 2009

Quick St. Frances hoops update

St. Frances shooting guard Wayne Sparrow is all dante-holmes-photo.jpg set to sign with Richmond next month, while the rest of his Panthers teammates are still on the market.

It’s just a matter of time before senior shooting guard Dante Holmes joins Sparrow as a Division I recruit, according to St. Frances assistant coach Nick Myles.

“Right now Providence is coming in Saturday,” Myles said. “St. Joe’s has been in, Fordham has been in, Temple has been in and Quinnipiac has been in.”

Holmes, who is also being recruited by Loyola and St. Louis, among others, plans on taking an unofficial visit to Temple soon. He could wait until the spring signing period, but that decision is still up in the air, Myles said.

Meanwhile, junior Greg Lewis, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound center, has picked up three offers this fall.

“Greg has offers from Xavier, South Florida and Virginia Tech so far,” Myles said. “Florida State has been in [as well as] Miami and Memphis. Indiana came in [Monday]. A lot of people have come in to see him.”

Point guard R.J. Williams, a 5-foot-9, 155-pound junior, is hearing from “MEAC schools, Mount St. Mary’s ... pretty much all the locals are inquiring,” according to Myles.

Sam Cassell Jr. has stood out for the Panthers during fall workouts thus far. After starring for Towson Catholic’s junior varsity as a sophomore, the junior guard will “definitely” be a Div. I recruit once he plays for St. Frances.

“He’s blowing up,” Myles said. “To me, I didn’t think he was as good as he is. He’s going to be real, real good.”

Sophomore point guard DaQuan Cook, a transfer from City, earned an impressive evaluation from ESPN.com recently and is poised to be St. Frances’ next high-major recruit.

“DaQuan is going to play a lot,” Myles said. “I think next year will be his big year, but he’ll play a lot. I think we’re going to rotate a lot of guys. It’s not going to be like five or six guys. We’ll go eight or nine guys on a nightly basis. Guys will have to stay fresh, especially with our schedule.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Dante' Holmes by Kenneth K. Lam / Jan. 20, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:45 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

October 6, 2009

Maryland women add Bays to 2010 class

In his 18 years as the head coach of the West Virginia Thunder AAU girls basketball program, Larry Lambert has developed a knack for identifying talent at a young age.

When Whitney Bays walked into his gym as a 10-year-old girl from Huntington, W.Va., Lambert thought she had Division I potential. By the time Bays was 13, Lambert was absolutely convinced of it.

“When she first came out, she wasn’t really tall,” Lambert said. “She was the size of most other girls. But I could tell she was going to be a really good ballplayer from the beginning. By the time she was 13 years old, there were certain things that she could do that most girls can’t do. I knew right then that if she stuck with it, she was going to be a really good basketball player.”

Lambert’s predictions were proven correct, as Bays developed into the No. 24 player in the country according to one scouting service and earned scholarship offers from numerous Div. 1 programs. On Monday, Bays committed to Maryland, picking the Terps over Georgia. A 6-foot-2 forward, Bays averaged 25 points and 12 rebounds per game for Huntington High as a junior, leading the Highlanders to a runner-up finish in the West Virginia Class AAA state tournament.

According to Lambert, the Terps started recruiting Bays during her sophomore year. Bays is “real loyal,” Lambert said. Being there from the beginning paid off for the Terps in the end. UM's on-court success didn't hurt either.

“She’s interested in winning,” Lambert said. “She wanted to go to a school that has a chance to win the national championship. They had a real good recruiting class, and when she went down [to College Park] and visited, she hit it off with all the girls. She had nice things to say when she got back. The coaching was really personable and that helped sell her on the program. That’s a real hard-working staff.”

Bays’ father, Gery Strickland, was a standout at Marshall in the late 1980s. The 6-foot-6 forward undoubtedly passed on his basketball-playing genes to his daughter, Lambert said. Like her father, Bays is an excellent rebounder and versatile scorer.

“For a big girl, she can handle the ball pretty well,” Lambert said. “She can help against the pressure and she has sure hands. She’s got a fairly decent outside shot. She needs to work on her 3-point shot. Up until this year, I played her more inside. She’s got really good moves down on the blocks when she gets the ball. It’s pretty hard to stop her in the post area. But she’s a real competitor. She just hates to lose.”

Bays tore her ACL in July, forcing her to miss the majority of the AAU season. Rehab is going well, Lambert said, and it’s just a matter of time before Bays is back in action with an eye on starting her Maryland career next fall.

“She’s going to be a tremendous collegiate player,” Lambert said. “People down there will love watching her play.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:35 PM | | Comments (8)
        

October 5, 2009

Weekend wrap — Smith rebounds

Last weekend Maryland quarterback commitment Tyler Smith led Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a big win despite throwing five interceptions against two touchdowns.

On Saturday, Smith was back to his usual self, leading the undefeated Warriors to a 37-23 win over Bangor.

The University of Maryland-bound Smith, coming off a five-interception performance last weekend, completed 19 of 28 passes for 272 yards and two touchdowns. He did not throw an interception.

Scout.com’s Georgia Varsity Sports Vent reports that one Terps commitment visited another school this weekend.

Maryland commit and Northwest Whitefield [sic] TE/DE Nermin Delic took a visit to Kentucky and really liked it. Stay tuned here.

Basketball recruiting

• Maryland is no longer in the running for St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Devon Collier, according to Adam Zagoria.

Maryland will get visits from Collier’s St. Anthony teammate, Ashton Pankey, Oct. 16 and Long Island forward Tobias Harris sometime in November.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:06 AM | | Comments (4)
        

October 2, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

St. Anthony (N.J.) forwards Ashton Pankey and Devon Collier both piqued the interest of the Maryland staff this summer.

Now Collier is apparently mulling a visit to College Park while Pankey has already scheduled an official trip for Maryland Madness on Oct. 16.

[New Heights AAU coach Jeff] Rivera said Pankey’s list included Maryland, Drexel, Houston, Rice, Hofstra and Oregon State.

• Adam Zagoria reports that Dix Hills, N.Y., power forward Tobias Harris plans on visiting Maryland.

[Tobias’ father] Torrel [Harris] did not want to make the visit dates public, but after Tennessee Tobias will tentatively visit Kentucky (Oct. 16 for Big Blue Madness), Louisville, West Virginia, Georgia Tech and Maryland in that order.

• Holly Springs, N.C., power forward C.J. Leslie’s list of schools appears to be expanding.

[Word of God coach Erasto] Hatchett said the 6-foot-8, 205-pound Leslie is considering Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Seton Hall, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Oregon, Florida and Florida International.

• Former Walbrook and current Oak Hill (Va.) small forward Roscoe Smith has scheduled three official visits.

Georgetown gets Smith's first visit, which is scheduled for this weekend. Smith plans to visit Duke the weekend of Oct. 9 before heading to Connecticut the following weekend.

• Roanoke, Va., center Josh Henderson has trimmed his list to four schools.

Cave Spring's 6-foot-11 senior center Josh Henderson has trimmed his recruiting list to four schools -- Davidson, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Virginia -- Knights' basketball coach Billy Hicks said Tuesday.

Henderson has eliminated Maryland, where his father, David, played from 1976-80.

• Charlotte, N.C., small forward Akil Mitchell -- who received some interest from Maryland but no offer -- committed to Virginia this week.

Mitchell, who wound up choosing Virginia over SMU, Liberty and UNC Greensboro, among others, says the combination of athletics and academics is what made Virginia so appealing. Mitchell, a very good student, hopes to major in business.

Football

• Maryland is still in the mix for defensive end J.R. Ferguson, a former St. John’s Catholic Prep standout who now plays for Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy.

J.R. Ferguson (6'3-275), a 4-star recruit out of Frederick, Maryland, will probably line up at DE in college. He has good pass rush skills and had 14 sacks in 2008. He has paired his finalists to Miami, LSU, Notre Dame, Maryland, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Fla. St.

• Pittsburgh Penn Hills wide receiver-defensive back Brandon Ifill told Scout.com that Maryland is one of his two favorites.

“Maryland and Pittsburgh are on top right now because I feel the most comfortable there,” Brandon Ifill said.

• Two Maryland commitments are on The Washington Post’s All-Met watch list -- Atholton receiver-defensive back Matt Robinson and St. John’s (D.C.) defensive tackle Andre Monroe.

Maryland recruit had six tackles and two sacks in a 49-14 victory over Carroll.

• Archbishop Carroll (D.C.) lineman Nate Clarke, a Terps recruit, has been picked to play in the Maryland Crab Bowl.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:54 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

October 1, 2009

Meet Terrell Stoglin

Terrell Stoglin was a man of mystery to many Maryland fans when he became the Terps’ first commitment of the 2010 class last spring.

Anonymity shouldn’t be a problem anymore for the Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard. Stoglin drew praise from multiple scouts and writers throughout a successful summer spent on the AAU circuit with Pump N’ Run Elite.

“I was playing on one of the top teams in the nation,” Stoglin said. “Every tournament we played in, I was going against the top point guards in the nation. Honestly, I always felt like I’m one of the top point guards in the nation. I took [the summer as an] opportunity to prove myself against the top players in the nation.”

In between AAU tournaments this summer, Stoglin took time to make his first visit to College Park. The trip to UM also marked the first time he met Terps coach Gary Williams in person.

“He’s a good guy. I like him a lot,” Stoglin said. “I expected to like him, but I didn’t expect to like him as much as I did. ... We talked on the phone a couple times, but just meeting him in person, he was a good guy. He’s a good person and I’m happy he’s going to be my future coach.”

It’ll be a drastic change when Stoglin leaves Arizona for Maryland, but it’s a change he is ready to embrace. Making the transition easier for Stoglin is the knowledge that he’s part of a top 10 recruiting class.

“It makes me feel pretty good,” Stoglin said. “It just makes me know I have to continue to work. I just want to work hard and to be the best I can be when I’m there.”

Here’s an introduction to Stoglin.

Name: Terrell DeVon Stoglin
Birthdate: Nov. 10, 1991
Birthplace: Tucson, Ariz.
Hometown: Tucson, Ariz.
Nickname: The Prodigy
Height: 6’1
Position: 180
High School: Santa Rita High School
Junior statistics: 27 points, seven assists, two steals
Rankings: Rivals.com -- No. 122 overall, No. 28 point guard. Scout.com -- No. 33 point guard. ESPN -- No. 88 overall, No. 19 point guard.
Other schools considered: Texas A&M, San Diego, Georgia Tech, Arizona, USC
Favorite pro basketball player: Chris Paul
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Lakers
Favorite all-time Terp: Steve Francis
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, 2Pac, Jay-Z
Favorite book: Hoop Dreams by Ben Joravsky
Favorite movie: He Got Game
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “I like the Comcast Center. It’s beautiful.”
Hobbies: “I play the drums. And I like to freestyle a little bit. ... My friends [put a video on YouTube] behind my back. I was laughing about it.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a nice guy. I like to laugh a lot. I’ve got a good sense of humor. A lot of people that don’t know me personally probably don’t know that about me.”
Best basketball moment: “Playing against DeMar DeRozan my sophomore year. We played them real tough -- it was probably one of my best high school games. I had about 35 and we lost to them by two.”
Role model: “Jesus because I’m a Christian so it’s my religion. He saved a lot of people and I give all the glory to him. Everything I do, all the glory goes to Christ.”
Why Maryland? “Coaching staff. I like the coaching staff first of all. Some other coaching staffs weren’t as nice or outgoing as Maryland. I like how Maryland basketball is like a family. I spent some time with them and everything they do is like a family. I like how huge basketball is in Maryland and I just like the tradition.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:39 AM | | Comments (4)
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Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

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