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November 30, 2009

Weekend wrap — Moore powers Wise

Thanks in large part to Rahsaan Moore, Wise will play for the Class 4A state championship this week.

The Maryland fullback commitment rushed for 93 yards on 17 carries, setting up the Pumas' matchup against Old Mill for the title.

Moore set up the game's opening score with a 33-yard run, then scored on two short plunges as seventh-ranked Wise beat visiting Thomas Johnson, 24-8, in a Maryland 4A semifinal before 1,500 in Upper Marlboro.

Click here for highlights of Wise's win.

• UM defensive back recruit Jeremiah Wilson ran wild in Handley's playoff win Saturday.

Jeremiah Wilson ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns, and host Handley forced three Park View turnovers in a 33-7 victory in the Virginia AA Region II Divison 3 final on Saturday.

• Terps defensive end commitment Ian Evans made a big play at tight end to help Hammonton beat St. Joseph, 16-14, in the South Jersey Group III final.

Later in the second quarter, Nick Crescenzo threw a 61-yard scoring pass to Ian Evans to put Hammonton up, 13-7, before the break.

• Maryland defensive back pledge Mario Rowson made one big play in Lake Taylor's 20-19 overtime loss to Phoebus in the Virginia Eastern District final.

Lake Taylor's Mario Rowson hauls in 57-yard pass completion early which led to a rushing touchdown early in the third quarter against Phoebus on Friday.

• UM quarterback pledge Devin Burns played his final high school game Friday night, as his Carver High squad fell to Flowery Branch, 35-33, in the Georgia Class AAA quarterfinals.

Jump ahead to 2:45 on the video player for highlights of Carver's defeat.

Basketball recruiting

• St. Benedict Prep (N.J.) big man Gil Biruta has committed to Rutgers.

A versatile forward who played on Lithuania's junior national team, Biruta already has a relationship with Rutgers sophomore Gregory Echenique, who also played at St. Benedict under coach Dan Hurley. He was recruited by Maryland and some mid-majors, including Harvard.

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

November 27, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

In August, Pittsford (N.Y.) Mendon tight end Sean Fitzpatrick backed out of his Maryland commitment and chose North Carolina instead.

On Tuesday, another Terps tight end commitment had a change of heart. Nermin Delic, the Northwest Whitfield (Ga.) product who committed to Maryland in June, switched his pledge to Kentucky.

"The campus was nice. They have a solid foundation they are building on. I loved the stadium and they have a lot of fan support. I also wanted to play in the SEC. I think it's the best conference in college football. It was also closer. Distance played a huge factor."

• Maryland quarterback recruit Devin Burns will lead his Carver High team against Flowery Branch tonight in the Georgia Class 3A quarterfinals. Carver coach Dell McGee discussed Burns' play in an interview with AccessNorthGa.com.

We’re led by our quarterback, Devin Burns. He’s committed to Maryland. He’s a dual-threat quarterback. He’s been passing the ball well; he’s passed for about 1,700 yards this year, and he has about 5-600 yards rushing right now.

• Rivals.com named UM defensive back pledge Titus Till the fifth fastest safety in the country for the class of 2010.

Till, a Maryland commitment, is a very tall and rangy athlete who runs a 10.8 100 meters.

• Terps quarterback commitment Tyler Smith ended his high school career at No. 3 in the Pennsylvania high school record books for career passing yards.

Chad Henne, who ended his Wilson career as the No. 3 passer in state history, has slipped to No. 8, in part because of big seasons by a couple of Smiths.

There's Tyler Smith, the Maryland recruit who played at Wilson Area and ended his career last week with 7,998 yards.

• Old Mill linebacker Josh Furman is focused on one Big Ten school and one ACC program, according to The Detroit News.

Recently, Furman revealed that Michigan and Virginia Tech were the only remaining programs he's considering "getting it down" with. The Wolverines managed to gain an early foothold in his recruitment thanks to the efforts of U-M assistant coach Tony Dews.

• Frederick native and Hargrave (Va.) Military Academy defensive end J.R. Ferguson took a trip to Notre Dame last weekend.

The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Ferguson has already taken an official visit to LSU, and has a visit setup for California the weekend of Dec. 11. He added that Oklahoma will also get an official visit, and he's still considering South Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, Miami, Florida State and UCLA for his fifth and final trip. A college decision likely won't come until national signing day.

• DeMatha junior cornerback Michael Williams -- the younger brother of former Terps defensive back Madieu Williams -- has already been offered by Maryland.

“Maryland is a good school, they are very close to home and I just like the campus and coaches,” he said. “I like their defense. I really like Maryland overall.”

Basketball recruiting

• Maryland point guard signee Terrell Stoglin matched up against Kansas-bound shooting guard Royce Woolridge on Wednesday in the Arrowhead Desert Basketball Classic. Stoglin came out on top, leading Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to a 75-71 win over Phoenix Sunnyslope.

Stoglin had eight of his 29 points and had two steals and an assist during the 14-0 run that gave Santa Rita (3-0) a 36-27 halftime advantage.

• The Terps’ 2010 recruiting class was ranked sixth in the ACC by Rivals.com.

Maryland's class is led by a couple of four-star prospects in Terrence Ross and Mychal Parker.

• The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer’s Dan Wiederer is also impressed with Ross and Parker.

Parker, at 6-foot-5, can play both wing positions and is an accomplished scorer and rebounder with sound defensive skills. Ross is an elite athlete who can really shoot it from deep.

• Adam Zagoria reports that St. Benedict’s Prep (N.J.) big man Gilvydas Biruta has Rutgers as his leader with Maryland in the mix.

Biruta may still visit Maryland Dec. 4-5 and the Terps staff is interested. Arturas Karnisovas, a former Seton Hall standout also from Lithuania and now an international scout for the Houston Rockets, is mentoring Biruta.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:00 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 25, 2009

Season recap: Jeremiah Johnson

Last winter, Suitland coach Nick Lynch was killed in a car accident, leaving the Rams searching for leadership as they dealt with tragedy.

Jeremiah Johnson, a Maryland cornerback commitment, was up to the challenge.

“We lost our head coach last year,” said Ed Shields, who was elevated from defensive backs coach to head coach after Lynch’s passing, “and Jeremiah really took over team leadership. We didn’t go as far as we would have liked to go during the season, but to come back from that type of stuff [was impressive]. ... It was a time where you needed people to stand up and he was one of the people who stood up. Every time you go out on the field, at least in the beginning, you started to think about our coach. He was a big presence and he had a big affect on their lives. So anybody that helps you get through that transition period ... is a big deal. He really helped pull everyone together and helped keep the kids focused.”

Johnson was elected team captain and helped Suitland to a 9-2 season. The Rams fell in the Class 4A South semifinals to C.H. Flowers. Johnson caught 11 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns, and recorded 99 tackles and four interceptions at the free safety spot. Shields said Johnson’s move from cornerback to safety ensured that he would be more involved in the team’s defense. The opposition could avoid Johnson at corner, but not at safety.

“In the second half of our first Flowers game, he was playing pretty possessed,” Shields said. “He plays like that anyway, but Flowers is a good team and he was playing sideline to sideline, putting hits on people that with his frame you don’t necessarily expect. We were down 14 points and we ended up coming back, and a lot of it had to do with him just playing possessed.”

Maryland was the first school to offer Johnson over the summer, and it took the 5-foot-11, 160-pounder just five minutes to think it over and commit. Despite coming into the season with his future all planned out, Johnson never took anything for granted.

“Some kids, when they get offered by Maryland earlier in the summer, they might think, ‘I don’t have to work as hard,’” Shields said. “But it didn’t change his work ethic. Matter of fact, it just made him work harder. So it never changed him or phased him one bit. He just kept working. He’s a great cover guy who we used at safety because he also runs the field and is a tackler. He is a little small in size for a place like Maryland, but it doesn’t stop him from being physical. He will come at you with everything he’s got. He’s a cover corner who can hit. Anytime someone breaks loose, we never had to worry because he’s going to run them down and bring them down.”

A Maryland assistant once commented to Shields that Johnson is “always in the film” -- either glued to his man or coming in to make a play. In a playoff game during Johnson’s sophomore year, Shields recalls the young cornerback’s instincts on display. The opposing quarterback pumped-faked, but Johnson didn’t bite. He stayed with his man step-for-step and broke up the pass.

“You saw it back then and thought, ‘Wow, this is a 10th grader,’” Shields said. “You just don’t always expect that from a 10th-grader in a big playoff game. So that kind of gave us a hint that we were going to see good things in the future from him.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:06 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Season recaps
        

November 24, 2009

Maryland in the running for Attaochu

A familiar face could join Maryland offensive-defensive line commitment Nate Clarke in College Park next year.

Senior linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, a teammate of Clarke’s at Archbishop Carroll in Washington, has Maryland in his top five, according to Lions coach Rick Houchens.

“I think his top five, in no set order, are Illinois, Syracuse, Kansas State, Maryland is in the mix and I would also say Duke,” Houchens said. “He’s a distinguished honor type of student. He’s a high 3.0 student. So he’s very interested in looking at the opportunity at Duke because of the combination of football and the academics there. He’s trying to weigh out the whole big package. But the main determining factor could be where he has the best opportunity to get out and play.”

Attaochu, the No. 4-ranked player in D.C., will visit Syracuse on Dec. 5, according to Houchens. The rest of his trips have not yet been determined.

Click here for highlights of Attaochu.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:01 PM | | Comments (0)
        

November 23, 2009

Weekend wrap — Burns still standing

Carver High advanced to the third round of the Georgia Class AAA playoffs Friday, thanks in large part to Devin Burns.

The Maryland quarterback commitment rushed for two touchdowns and threw for a 2-point conversion in the Tigers' 33-7 win over Woodward Academy.

After forcing yet another Woodward punt, Carver needed only five plays before Burns scrambled up the middle and down the left sideline for a 28-yard touchdown.

Titus Till intercepted two passes and Rahsaan Moore rushed for 85 yards on 13 carries, leading Wise to a 26-0 win over C.H. Flowers in the Class 4A South region final.

Following another Flowers' punt, Wise reached the Jaguars' goal line after a 39-yard run by Rahsaan Moore. But the Jaguars' defense stiffened and the Pumas were denied another score when Smith was tackled for a 2-yard loss on fourth and goal.

Click here to check out video of Wise's win.

• UM defensive back recruit Jeremiah Wilson powered Handley to a 30-20 win over Goochland (Va.).

Wilson put the Judges up for good in the fourth quarter on a three-yard run. Handley led 23-20 early in the fourth quarter. He added to that lead with a second fourth quarter TD and the Judges led 30-20 with six minutes remaining.

• Terps defensive back pledge Mario Rowson found the end zone once in Lake Taylor's 10-7 win over Hampton in the Virginia Eastern Region Division 5 semifinals.

In regulation, Lake Taylor scored on its second possession to open a 7-0 lead when Stanley Walls found Mario Rowson in the back right corner of the end zone on a fade route.

Tyler Smith threw for two touchdowns and two interceptions in Wilson's 49-21 loss to Allentown Central Catholic in the Pennsylvania District 11 Class 3A final.

The game turned for good in the second quarter. Wilson had moved within 14-7 on Smith's TD pass to Kowan Scott (four catches, 50 yards) with 5:15 left in the half. Smith wound up with 277 passing yards, leaving him with unofficial Wilson record for single-season passing yards (3,128, passing Lenehan's 3,057 in 2006) and career passing yards (8,033, passing Lenehan's 7,765 from 2003 to 2006).

Matt Robinson's Atholton squad dropped a 30-3 game to River Hill in the Class 3A East region final.

Ian Evans' Hammonton team advanced to the South Jersey Group III final with a 3-0 win over Seneca.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:06 AM | | Comments (0)
        

November 20, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

The fall signing period ended this week with a couple of notable Maryland-related developments.

On Monday, St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey committed to the Terps, giving Maryland a four-man class which also includes Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin, Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross and Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker.

Then on Thursday night, Maryland target Tobias Harris committed to Tennessee.

So how does Maryland's 2010 recruiting class stack up nationally?

• Rivals.com has UM at No. 17 -- without including Pankey's pledge.

• Scout.com lists Maryland at No. 19 overall.

• ESPN.com also pegs Maryland as having the 19th-best class.

• And MaxPreps.com -- also without including Pankey's commitment -- ranks the Terps as the No. 10 class in the country.

Analysis: Ross and Stoglin should develop into a nice 1-2 punch at the guard spots for Gary Williams.

• The Washington Post's Steve Yanda spoke to Scout.com's Dave Telep about Pankey's commitment.

"He went from not being very physical inside to doing a good job on the glass and playing with some intensity," Telep said. "The thing with him is he's always been a guy who's had talent and ability; he just hadn't gone out and done it with any kind of intensity or consistency, and I felt toward the end of the summer he was starting to do that, which is a really good sign. My evaluation on him won't be complete until I see him during his senior year, but I think he's got a chance to be a guy who makes a living underneath the basket as a rebounder and an impact-type player. I haven't seen a whole lot of offense out of him outside of that, but he looks like a guy who's pretty good right around the basket."

• Ross will wait until the spring to sign his letter of intent to Maryland, according to The Washington Post.

"He's going to wait until the spring," Montrose Christian Coach Stu Vetter said, adding that Ross remains committed to Maryland and that academically he could have signed this week had he chosen.

• Former Maryland small forward target Justin Coleman transferred to Huntington (W.Va.) Prep this week.

Coleman's list of potential suitors includes Marquette, Arkansas, Xavier, Kansas, Kentucky and Providence, according to Fulford.

• The Maryland women's basketball program signed the No. 2-ranked class in the country this week. Click here for the official release.

Football recruiting

• Bishop McNamara wide receiver Brandon Coleman told Rivals.com that he has narrowed his list of schools to three.

“It’s between Rutgers, Maryland and Syracuse,” he said. “I might try to do an official to Syracuse in January. I like the same things about them as the other schools. I visited there over the summer and they were interesting.”

• Norcross, Ga., offensive lineman Max Garcia told Palmetto Sports that he will likely choose between Maryland, Clemson and Vanderbilt before the end of the year.

"They all have their pros and cons," said Garcia. "In the end, I have to go where my heart is telling me to go. I just want to go somewhere I am comfortable. Somewhere I can get along with the players and coaches and somewhere with a good journalism school."

• Phil Kornblut reports that Clemson running backs coach Andre Powell plans on checking out two Maryland commitments at Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy.

Powell also will see LB David Mackall (6-3 245), a native of Baltimore, and LB Lorne Goree (6-1 210), a native of Silver Spring, MD.

Matt Robinson's Atholton squad takes on River Hill tonight for the Class 3A regional championship. The Raiders hope to avenge a 35-14 loss to the Hawks in the regular season.

That said, Atholton scored twice on touchdowns of 90 and 80 yards from Kalvin Seamonson to Matt Robinson in that game. Something tells me that the River Hill secondary has been working especially hard this week on making sure that doesn’t happen again. Hawks coach Brian Van Deusen does expect them to try, however.

“I’m sure they’re going to come out and try that again, when you’ve got a kid like Matt Robinson you’ve got to,” he said.

• Terps commitments Titus Till and Rahsaan Moore lead Wise against C.H. Flowers on Saturday in the Class 4A South regional championship. The Pumas fell to the Jaguars 14-12 just two weeks ago.

"That was a humbling loss," Moore said. "We learned a lot from that game. They came out and made the plays. We had the lead twice and they still beat us. Their offensive line is excellent and their running backs are really good. We have to find a way to stop them. We're definitely going to be ready for them this time. We're going to walk off the field with a win this time."

• Terps quarterback commitment Tyler Smith will battle for a playoff victory and a Pennsylvania state record tonight.

Lancaster Catholic's Kyle Smith and Wilson Area's Tyler Smith are not related, but they are second and fourth, respectively, on Pennsylvania's career passing chart. Both are taking aim at Downingtown East graduate Pat Devlin's record of 8,162. Kyle Smith has 7,771 going into tonight's District 3-Class AA semifinal against Middletown. Tyler Smith has 7,721 yards - just 41 yards shy of No. 3 and former Wilson Area standout D.J. Lenehan - going into tonight's District 11-Class AA semifinal at Allentown Central Catholic.

• The Washington Post profiled DeMatha offensive lineman Arie Kouandjio and his younger brother Cyrus this week. Both are Maryland targets.

Arie is not focusing on recruiting until next week, but it is believed that Alabama and California rank near the top of the several dozen schools to offer him a scholarship, with Maryland, Miami, Tennessee, Notre Dame and New Mexico among those still in consideration.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:01 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Calvert Hall's Lee headed to Towson

Calvert Hall small forward Damion Lee will play college basketball just a few miles down the road from his high school. damion-lee.jpg

The 6-foot-6, 195-pound small forward signed with Towson on Wednesday, picking the Tigers over Quinnipiac.

“It’s a great feeling,” Lee said. “I was thinking about waiting until the spring time, but then the opportunity arose after the visit and I just felt it was a good decision for me to make.”

Lee, a Baltimore Sun All-Baltimore County selection who averaged 11 points and seven rebounds as a junior, took an official visit to Towson last weekend. While he initially gave some thought to leaving the area for college, seeing the Tigers’ 82-71 win over Miami of Ohio helped make his decision easier.

“I liked the fan support,” Lee said. “Their student section was pretty rowdy. I just think next year, we’re definitely going to build on that and keep the energy up and just hopefully turn Towson into an NCAA tournament team.”

Lee will be the fifth Baltimore-area player on Towson’s roster next season, joining Braxton Dupree (Calvert Hall), Troy Franklin (Mount Carmel), Isaiah Philmore (John Carroll) and Danny Smith (Archbishop Spalding).

Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld thinks Lee will fit in well with the Tigers’ up-tempo style of play. Bauersfeld said Towson’s staff was impressed by his skills “and his heart.”

“I think Towson does a really nice job of letting their wings have a lot of freedom,” Bauersfeld said. “I think Damion really feeds well off that and he has very good basketball IQ. He can really score, put the ball on the floor and do a lot of different things. And he liked what he saw when he watched Towson play. ... He’s great on the offensive boards and they really like the little things that he does, and also his personality. He’s a great person and he’s very coachable. And I think that stuck out to them.”

Lee, who plans on studying either business or communications, moved with his mother to Maryland from New York before his freshman year. At the time, staying in the area for college wasn’t his highest priority. But now that living close to home for the next four years is official, Lee couldn’t be happier with how things turned out.

“The atmosphere is great,” Lee said, “and I can’t wait to play there next year.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Damion Lee by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 23, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:44 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 19, 2009

Tobias Harris picks Tennessee

Tobias Harris, the five-star forward from Dix Hills, N.Y., has made his decision.

“I’m going to be playing my college basketball at the University of Tennessee,” said Harris, who announced his decision live on ESPNU Thursday night.

Harris picked the Volunteers over Maryland, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Syracuse and West Virginia.

“I really had a great relationship with Coach [Bruce] Pearl and Coach [Tony] Jones,” Harris said. “It’s just a family atmosphere down there. I got along with the players real well and it’s just a great opportunity and fit for me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:23 PM | | Comments (15)
        

Cleveland Melvin makes decision

Former Lake Clifton standout Cleveland Melvin is headed to the Big East. clevelandmelvin.jpg

Melvin, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward, committed to UConn today, picking the Huskies over DePaul, Memphis, Seton Hall and South Florida.

“It was kind of hard to choose because a lot of colleges were recruiting me heavy,” Melvin said. “But at the end, I chose UConn because it’s ... just a great staff and has great coaches. They support me, they just love me and have so much respect for me. I think I can improve my game there next year.”

Melvin's commitment comes one day after the end of the fall signing period. Even though that means he will wait until spring to sign his letter of intent, Melvin was ready to end his recruitment early.

“He visited UConn for Midnight Madness,” said Anthony Lewis, Melvin’s AAU coach with Cecil Kirk. “Then he went back on an official visit last weekend. He had two more visits scheduled on his docket -- Seton Hall and Memphis. The question for him became whether he wanted to extend this thing to the spring or whether he was going to make the decision now. He decided he was just going to be done with it and commit.”

Melvin, a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection last spring, averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks per game as a senior, helping the undefeated Lakers to the Class 3A state championship. Melvin is now doing a post-grad year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., where he has teamed up again with former Lake Clifton point guard and Cecil Kirk alumnus Antonio Barton. Melvin’s summer on the circuit ensured his status as a legitimate high-major prospect.

“His summer was huge,” Lewis said. “He had the opportunity to [showcase his game] on the major stage, a major platform. That’s not anything against Lake Clifton -- that’s all of high school. You’re limited by where you can travel because of the rules and the number of games they can play because of the rules. So just having the ability to be seen at that [AAU] level was huge.”

Melvin agreed with his coach's assessment, noting that Lewis told him after his high school season that he would earn those scholarship offers playing for Cecil Kirk.

“When I went on the circuit for the summer, we had a really good team and I think I proved [myself],” Melvin said. “It was a great summer for me because I had gotten a lot more colleges looking at me, so it was great. Coach Anthony Lewis, he’s a great coach. He helped me get through everything. He’s just a great coach.”

Lewis, who also coached former UConn standout and current Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay, thinks Melvin is the perfect fit for the Huskies’ system.

“I think his style of play [fits well at UConn],” Lewis said. “He has almost freakish athleticism. He just has really, really good athleticism. And you couple that with the ability to get to the bucket, put it on the floor and knock down the mid-range shot, and he’s just a natural fit for an up-tempo type of team. He’s also long and can guard the perimeter, so he gets out. I see him as a 3-man, maybe a 3/4 in that set. He just has that ability. He’s worked very hard to expand his game beyond the mid-range. So I see him doing very well [at UConn].”

Melvin said he's enjoying his time at Notre Dame Prep. The Crusaders are 8-1 and he's one of the leading scorers thus far. He'll finish school in the spring and move to Storrs, Conn., in the summer.

“It’s kind of weird [being away from Baltimore] but I’ve got to get used to it,” Melvin said. “When I go to school next year, it’s going to be exciting. ... Jim Calhoun is a great coach. He’s put a lot of NBA players into the league. Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, Josh Boone, all of them had great impacts on their teams. ... I’ll be coming in playing with Kemba Walker, a great point guard, and [hopefully getting] a lot of playing time.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:09 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 18, 2009

Two Poly prospects will wait to sign

Poly coach Renard Lewis isn’t afraid to admit that the Engineers' success this season will depend largely upon the effectiveness of two seniors -- forward Montray Clemons and combo guard Jeffrey Joynes.

“Definitely it’s pivotal,” Lewis said. “They are my two seniors I’m really going to be relying upon. I think they’re going to be up to the challenge. They’ve definitely been putting in a lot of work in the weight room and their games individually on their own. They’re just really focusing on winning this season and putting us in a position that we can get down to Comcast Center, which is a goal we set for ourselves. Our team is going to go as far as they take us.”

Clemons, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound small forward, is “at minimum, a mid-major Division I player” in Lewis’ opinion. Clemons played for Cecil Kirk this summer but tore a ligament in his knee in July. Although his AAU season was cut short, Lewis said many schools have expressed interest.

“He’s gotten some interest from the University of New Orleans, Quinnipiac, Mount St. Mary’s, Lehigh, UNLV, Texas A&M and Miami,” Lewis said. “I think they really want to see how he progresses because [of his injury].”

Lewis said Clemons, who averaged about 15 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior, is completely recovered from his injury and looks better than ever on the court.

“I mean he’s more than back to normal,” Lewis said. “... He’s actually on the floor and putting on a show. This is probably the best that I’ve seen him look [in awhile]. I can really see the progression in terms of strength, the things he’s able to do on the floor and him being able to finish. At 6-7, he’s dunking all over the place and I really expect him to have a monster year.”

Joynes, 6-2, 205 pounds, is a “big, strong kid” that is a little more under the radar. Lewis thinks that could change this season.

“He’s starting to get some recognition,” Lewis said. “He played with Baltimore Assault for awhile and then just started working on his game [individually]. He’s starting to get some Division II inquiries. Everything is going to be predicated on our season and how productive he is. But at 6-2, with the ability that he has, he’s definitely a Division I player. I’d say low- to mid-major Division I.”

Joynes averaged around 13 points, six rebounds and four assists per game as a junior. He played mostly at the 2-guard spot last season, so Lewis’ goal for this year is developing Joynes’ point guard skills.

“We’re working with him on his ball-handling responsibilities at point guard this year,” Lewis said. “But he’s a kid that can flat-out shoot the ball. When he puts it on the floor going to the rack, nobody’s going to stop him because he’s such a strong guard. ... Offensively, we’d like to see him improve his ball-handling skills a little more and his point guard mentality. Those are the things we’ll work on. I call him a bully guard, though. He can post you up from the guard position and he’s going to cause trouble. You really can’t deal with him because he’s too strong.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:02 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 17, 2009

Meet Ashton Pankey

By the time he was 12, Ashton Pankey had a pretty good idea that he would play college basketball.

The 6-foot seventh-grader was a good student who wasn’t enamored with the game just yet, but that changed in hurry, especially after throwing down his first dunk that year.

“From seventh to eighth grade I grew from 6 feet to 6-6,” Pankey said. “That’s when I had my previous growth spurt. ... At seventh grade, I wasn’t as serious about basketball. During high school, I became more serious.”

The Maryland-bound power forward has made that abundantly clear the past three years, first while starring for Archbishop Molloy in Queens, N.Y., and then as a junior with the legendary St. Anthony High program in Jersey City.

Pankey’s seventh-grade predictions about playing college basketball came into focus during those earlier high school years. He knew he wanted to leave the New York area, essentially eliminating St. John’s and Seton Hall from contention. When Maryland came calling this summer, Pankey found what he was looking for athletically and academically.

“I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level of basketball, and one thing I dream of is being a pro,” Pankey said. “I work my hardest and do what I need to do, and I think Maryland is going to give me the best chance [of realizing that dream]. And it’s not just basketball. Maryland’s one of the best schools in the country in terms of academics, too.”

Pankey and his mother, who he calls his “best friend,” visited College Park over Halloween weekend. It didn’t take long for Maryland to convince Pankey’s mother that it was the best place for her son.

“I mean [her approval] was very important, but at that point, I was just so stuck on Maryland that I thought even if she didn’t like it, I was going to go there anyway,” Pankey said with a laugh.

Pankey will likely be counted on to do what he does best -- rebounding and shot-blocking -- as a freshman at Maryland. Off the court, Pankey said he’s already friends with Terps freshman James Padgett from their New York playing days and he looks forward to connecting with the rest of the team -- not to mention the Maryland fan base.

“I want them to know that they can expect ... that I’m going to do my best to help the team win, play my hardest and just have a great time,” Pankey said. “I want to interact with the fans. I’m a great person and I’m not mean. You can come at me as a friend.”

Here’s an introduction to Pankey.

Name: Ashton Pankey
Birthdate: May 16, 1992
Birthplace: Bronx, N.Y.
Hometown: Bronx, N.Y.
Nickname: None
Height: 6-9
Weight: 230
Position: Power forward
High School: St. Anthony (N.J.)
Junior statistics: “About 10 points, two to three blocks per game."
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 36 power forward. ESPN.com -- 91 rating, No. 40 power forward.
Other schools considered: Drexel, Hofstra, Houston, Rice
Favorite pro basketball player: Amare Stoudemire and LeBron James
Favorite pro basketball team: Cleveland Cavaliers
Favorite all-time Terp: Steve Francis
Favorite music: Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye West, Jay-Z
Favorite book: The Miracle of St. Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski
Favorite movie: Coach Carter
Favorite TV show: SpongeBob SquarePants
Favorite food: “I like everything.”
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: “The atmosphere. It’s a friendly atmosphere around there.”
Hobbies: “Going out to the movies, chilling with friends. I don’t have a lot of down time for myself during the season. Besides basketball, I don’t really do much.”
Intended major: “Probably business.”
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m friendly. A lot of people think I’m conceited, [but I’m not]. So if you see me outside one day, come and talk to me. I won’t bite.”
Best basketball moment: “When I caught my first dunk. It was great.”
Role model: “Michael Jordan [because] he’s the best basketball player ever.”
Why Maryland? “I’ve always wanted to play at the highest level of basketball, and one thing I dream of is being a pro. I work my hardest and do what I need to do, and I think Maryland is going to give me the best chance [of realizing that dream]. And it’s not just basketball. Maryland’s one of the best schools in the country in terms of academics, too.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:43 PM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

November 16, 2009

Ashton Pankey commits to Maryland

St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey committed to Maryland today, giving the Terps their fourth commitment of the 2010 recruiting class.

Pankey, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior, chose the Terps over offers from Houston, Rice, Drexel and Hofstra. He joins Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin, Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross and Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker in Maryland's class.

“I think it’s a win-win situation,” said Jeff Rivera, one of Pankey’s AAU coaches with the New York-based New Heights program. “I think it’s a great fit for both Ashton and the University of Maryland. Obviously, Coach [Gary] Williams has seen him and Coach [Chuck] Driesell was following him around this summer and has been to a number of his workouts at St. Anthony's. I think it’ll be good for his potential. Hopefully everything will work itself out.”

Rivera has coached New Heights for the past four years. While it’s tough for big guys to distinguish themselves in an “unorganized and mostly guard-oriented” AAU setting, Pankey has done his best to stand out on the circuit.

“In AAU basketball, there’s really not much organization -- it’s a lot of run-and-gun,” Rivera said. “But Maryland was intrigued by his athleticism. He’s a terrific athlete that can run up and down the floor and beat a lot of big men down the floor. He’s a good leaper and the kid just rebounds the basketball. A lot of times I’ll ask myself, ‘How the hell did he get that rebound?’ A lot of other big men are still on the first jump and he’s on his second.”

Kimani Young, New Heights’ athletic director and a former standout player at UTEP, cited Pankey’s athleticism, rebounding and shot-blocking prowess, and ability to step out and hit the 15-foot jumper, as strengths in his game. Maryland is the right place for Pankey to tap into that potential, Young said.

“Absolutely I think they got a steal,” Young said. “But I think in some regard, he got a steal, too. He’s going to a great program with a great coach and great tradition. ... [Maryland] saw him and identified that the potential is there. And you can do that when you have two or three big guys that are young and getting better at the same time. He’ll fit right in with that mix.”

Pankey took an official visit to College Park on Halloween and followed that up with a trip to Houston last weekend. But ever since Maryland started recruiting Pankey last summer, Rivera had a feeling that would be his destination.

“His mother didn’t want him to just go to school for basketball,” Rivera said. “She wanted him to go to a good school where he could get a good education. When Maryland was getting involved, I knew that would satisfy for him what he wanted in a school. He wants to compete at the highest level and challenge himself playing in the ACC, so I thought it was a great fit.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:28 PM | | Comments (26)
        

Weekend wrap — Moore, Till lead Wise

Two Maryland commitments were instrumental in Wise’s 6-0 win over Eleanor Roosevelt in the Class 4A South Region semifinals Saturday.

Titus Till intercepted a pass inside Wise’s 5-yard line in the second quarter and Rahsaan Moore rushed for a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter for the game’s only points.

"I was just looking for a hole on that right side," Moore told The Gazette. "I wanted to follow a block from the fullback [Quentin Gartrell] and find a hole. I found one on that side and we scored. It was a tough fight. It was frustrating in the first half because we had some good drives and we had too many penalties. Then we were on defense almost the whole third quarter. We rely on our defense a lot. They came up with a big stop in the fourth quarter."

• UM quarterback commitment Devin Burns made the play of the game for Carver in its 28-21 win over Burke County in the first round of the Georgia Class AAA playoffs.

With the score tied at 21 late in the fourth quarter, Carver coach Dell McGee decided to run a play on fourth down rather than punt from the Carver 28. There was a foot to go for the first down. Burns took the snap, stepped quickly to his right and raced 72 yards for what proved to the winning touchdown in a 28-21 Carver victory in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs.

• Maryland athlete recruit Matt Robinson found the end zone once in Atholton’s 14-13 win over Wilde Lake in the Class 3A East regional semifinals.

Wilde Lake scored first Friday night on a 5-yard run by [E.J.] Gilman with six minutes left in the first half. Atholton answered on its first drive of the second half with a 17-play, 70-yard, nearly eight-minute drive, capped by a 4-yard pass from Kalvin Seamonson to Matt Robinson in the corner of the end zone.

Robinson also contributed seven tackles and two sacks on defense.

• Terps quarterback pledge Tyler Smith threw for three touchdowns in Wilson Area High’s 44-19 win over Pottsville in the Pennsylvania District 11-AAA semifinals.

Smith completed 15-of-27 passes for 197 yards, pushing his season total to 2,850 yards and his career total to 7,720, third-highest in state history.

• UM defensive end recruit Ian Evans helped Hammonton to a 30-0 win over Winslow Township in the South Jersey Group 3 quarterfinals.

Hammonton, led by Maryland-bound defensive end Ian Evans, did a great job limiting [Winslow Township quarterback Bill] Belton on long runs.

• The high school career of UM tight end commitment Nermin Delic ended Friday with Northwest Whitfield’s 40-3 loss to Southwest DeKalb in the first round of the Georgia Class 4A playoffs.

“We worked hard all season long,” Delic said. “We had to work through a lot of adversity to finish the season strong and nobody even gave us a chance to make the playoffs. I felt like we did all we could to compete against this team, they’re one of the best in the state of Georgia.”

Basketball recruiting

• Adam Zagoria spoke with Tobias Harris’ father, Torrel, after the five-star prospect’s weekend trip to College Park.

“I don’t think Coach Williams gets enough credit for his success as others coaches around the country. I consider him a future Hall of Famer. I went with my sons, T.J. and Terry, and the coaches to watch the football game while Tobias, Tyler and the Maryland players went to the movies.

• St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey will announce his college choice today. Maryland and Houston are his finalists.

• The Raleigh (N.C.) News & Observer checked in this weekend with five-star forward C.J. Leslie, who will wait until spring to sign.

The only visit he's taken is to Kentucky, but he said N.C. State is still on the list, along with Florida, Oregon, Georgia and Connecticut, and there is no leader.

Tony Mitchell, a five-star small forward who was briefly a Maryland target, has committed to Missouri.

He is expected to complete signing papers by Wednesday, thus joining what is now a four-player recruiting class for Missouri that should rank among the top 20 classes in the country.

• Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs, a 2011 prospect, updated NBE Basketball Report on his recruitment.

“St. John’s, Maryland, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Virginia, Pitt, Indiana, Tennesse and Providence,” responded Gibbs when NBE asked which schools are actively recruiting him.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:09 AM | | Comments (10)
        

November 13, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

After this weekend, the Maryland men's basketball program could have another addition to its 2010 recruiting class.

St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Ashton Pankey, who took an official visit to College Park last weekend, was scheduled to visit Houston this weekend. After that trip, the three-star prospect will make his decision.

“He really liked Maryland and I know he wants to be able to compare Maryland to another school,” [St. Anthony coach Bob] Hurley said.

According to ESPN.com's Christopher Lawlor, Maryland has a very good chance of landing Pankey.

Several sources feel Pankey, a Bronx, N.Y., resident, is a lock for the Terrapins, but it's the policy of coach Bob Hurley that players visit at least two schools, developing a point of reference and allowing comparison of programs.

• The final two visits for five-star forward Tobias Harris are on tap for this weekend, according to ESPN.com. Harris will likely wait until the spring period to sign his letter of intent.

Maryland has been recruiting ESPNU 100 PF Tobias Harris (Brookville, N.Y./Half Hollow) for some time and he has been to College Park on numerous occasions. According to InsideMDSports.com, he'll arrive in Maryland Friday, spend the weekend there and then fly to Georgia Tech on Sunday for his final official. He'll then spend a day or two considering his options before announcing his decision next Wednesday on ESPNU.

• Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin signed his letter of intent to Maryland on Thursday, according to the Arizona Daily Star.

"There was a lot of pressure from the hometown people, but I had to do what was best for me and my family," said Stoglin, referring to the constant questions of whether he would change his mind and stay in Tucson.

The Diamondback spoke with Rivals.com recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer about Maryland's three commitments.

“[Terrence Ross] is a really athletic wing who can shoot, maybe not as good a playmaker off the dribble as some other guards at his position,” Rivals.com national college basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer said. “But nonetheless, he can shoot the ball a lot better than a lot of guards at his position.”

Football recruiting

• Maryland quarterback commitment Devin Burns is scheduled to visit Georgia this weekend, but the three-star prospect told Rivals.com that Terps fans shouldn’t be concerned.

[Burns] says he is set with the Terrapins.

“Oh yea. I am real excited about going there. I talk with the Maryland coaches every week. Coach (Ralph) Friedgen is the real deal and very down to earth. He’s a father figure and someone you can talk too [sic].”

• Pittsburgh Penn Hills wide receiver Brandon Ifill has set a date for his decision, Rivals.com reports.

“I haven’t taken any visits lately, but I’ve actually set up two official visits for December,” he explained. “I’m going to Pitt for the weekend of December 11, and I’ll be at Maryland for the weekend of December 18. Once I’m done with those I’ll make my decision on December 21.”

• Norcross (Ga.) offensive lineman Max Garcia will decide between Maryland, Vanderbilt and Clemson, which he visited last weekend.

“I like Clemson because it’s close to home,” Garcia said last week. “They have a need at left tackle and some other positions, so it’s a place I think I could impact the program in the first couple of years.”

• Forestville wide receiver Antonio Belt told Rivals.com that he’s more focused on his team’s playoff game against Dunbar on Saturday than recruiting.

Belt claims three scholarships at this time from Maryland, Rhode Island and Temple.

“I haven’t been thinking about recruiting,” he said. “My coach told me other schools are interested, but I’m just thinking about the playoffs right now.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:37 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

November 12, 2009

Digital Harbor's Usher ready to sign

When Texas A&M-Corpus Christi opens its season Friday against Oregon State in Lubbock, the Islanders will have one assistant coach from Baltimore on the sideline (Kevin Norris, Lake Clifton) and two local players on the court (Kevin Palmer, Parkville and Terence Jones, Lake Clifton).

davon-usher.jpg

Dunbar senior Derrell Edwards, a Texas A&M-Corpus Christi commitment, will likely be paying attention to the game from afar, as will Digital Harbor’s Davon Usher, who pledged to the Islanders last week. He plans to sign his letter of intent during the fall period.

Usher, a 6-foot-5, 183-pound shooting guard, visited the campus over Halloween weekend and liked what he saw, calling Corpus Christi “a smaller version of Miami.” Knowing so many people affiliated with the program from his hometown didn’t hurt matters either.

“I think that’s what drove me to want to go to the school even more,” Usher said. “Basically, it’s like a Baltimore family down there. I already knew guys from Baltimore who went to the school and the coach [from Baltimore] who’s there. Me and Derrell basically grew up together. Now we’re just going down there together and getting work done. He committed and he really wanted me to commit. We came to a good decision, somewhere we were going to play together, have fun and win.”

Usher, who averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds as a junior for the Class 1A state champion Rams, said he has been friends with Edwards for years. The two suited up for Nike Baltimore Elite last summer on the AAU circuit and talked occasionally about going to the same school.

“Actually that same day [I committed], his school was playing my school in the football game,” Usher said. “I couldn’t talk to him until after the game, but he was real excited. We were on the phone for about a half hour, talking about what our plans were going to be like when I’m down there. We’re real close outside of basketball.”

Digital Harbor coach Johnnie Grimes said George Mason and UMBC were also looking at Usher, thanks in part to his strong summer on the AAU circuit. Grimes said he thinks Usher will fit in well with Norris as one of his coaches and Jones and Edwards as teammates.

“Coach Norris, he knows the style of basketball that Baltimore guys have and [Davon] has that same type of quality that Kevin Palmer has,” Grimes said. “He’s long and ... he’s a very, very good knockdown shooter. He passes the ball very well at 6-5 and he dribbles well. I think the key for him [in college] is going to be the way he shoots the ball. ... It probably was the perfect fit. With Kevin being down there and Terence coming in, it’ll be perfect.”

While Corpus Christi is nearly 1,670 miles away from Baltimore, Usher said the distance didn’t bother him. Granted, the city’s Miami-like atmosphere was a definite attraction. But having a home away from home certainly had its appeal as well.

“I was kind of thinking that it’s real far,” Usher said, “but [now it seems like] more people from Baltimore are going there than people from Texas. But it’s just good. It’s nice that you have a chance to go somewhere like that, especially being from Baltimore. A lot of people from Baltimore don’t even get a chance to get out of the city, so it’s a blessing and a good opportunity to go across the country and play basketball.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:17 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Meet Whitney Bays

Whitney Bays remembers July 9th like it was yesterday.

The Maryland forward commitment was playing with the West Virginia Thunder in an AAU tournament in Lexington, Ky., when she tore her ACL. She had surgery on July 16 and has been rehabbing ever since.

“When it happened, of course it was devastating,” Bays said. “But I’ve come to realize through it that everything happens for a reason. I’ve definitely become a better basketball player and person because of it. I just try to put everything in perspective, because it’s just the little things we take for granted, like walking and jumping. I told my mom I’ll never complain about running again in my life. It was like an eye-opener in that it showed me how much I love basketball.”

Bays, who will miss her senior season, has found other positives in her situation. She and classmate Laurin Mincy, who also tore her ACL and will miss her final year of high school basketball, have bonded over their respective rehabs. Like Mincy, Bays will spend time helping her high school program, while also focusing on her future in College Park.

“My physical therapist is having me do running and getting my body in shape and getting ready for what college is going to be like,” Bays said. “In high school, I wasn’t necessarily doing that. So I’m really excited to play at a big Division I school. It’s an opportunity that a lot of people don’t get and I’m glad that I’m blessed to be in this position and have this opportunity.”

Bays was the fifth and final senior to commit to Maryland for the 2010 class, which is ranked No. 1 in the country by some recruiting analysts. Bays said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join.

“I knew they were getting a great recruiting class when I was trying to make the decision, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it,” Bays said. “The coaches are great and I think all five of us all felt the same way and saw the same things. It was just right for all of us.”

Here’s an introduction to Bays.

Name: Whitney Bays
Birthdate: June 6, 1992
Birthplace: Huntington, W.Va.
Hometown: Huntington, W.Va.
Nickname: None
Height: 6’2
Position: Forward
High School: Huntington High
Rankings: ESPN Hoop Gurlz -- No. 13 player in the country.
Junior statistics: 25 points, 12 rebounds
Other schools considered: Georgia, Virginia Tech, Florida State
Favorite pro basketball player: Candace Parker
Favorite pro basketball team: Boston Celtics
Favorite all-time Terp: Len Bias
Favorite music: “Lil Wayne, Dixie Chicks. I like all kinds of music.”
Favorite movie: Love and Basketball
Favorite TV show: Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Favorite book: “I read magazines more than books. I like Sports Illustrated and Cosmopolitan.
Favorite food: Ice cream
Favorite high school class: Gym
Favorite thing about College Park: “That’s a hard one. I like a lot of stuff. Probably the team and the staff.”
Hobbies: “I used to play volleyball and I like hanging out with my friends. I love playing pickup -- basically any sports. I like playing football with a bunch of guys, [and] I’ll play baseball and home run derby.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “Probably that I actually like listening to country music. And I’m really close with my sister. A lot of people get us confused as twins. She’s 19.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably right now, signing with Maryland.”
Role model: “One is my sister because she always knows how to handle everything. She approaches everything the right way. If it‘s a bad situation, she always looks at it as a positive. [Another role model is] my mom, just because she‘s always there for me. When I have kids, I want to become that type of mom. And God [is also a role model]. I’m very religious, so I have to add that in there.”
Why Maryland? “It just felt right. You hear everyone say that and when some people told me that, I didn’t know what they meant. [I thought], ‘What are they talking about?’ But everything just felt right. Everything clicked. I could see myself playing there. The team was great and just everything went good. There wasn’t anything I could point out that was wrong with it.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:05 AM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

November 11, 2009

Reports: Tsafack picks Memphis

The Memphis Commercial Appeal and Scout.com reported earlier today that Miller School (Va.) center Hippolyte Tsafack committed to Memphis and is expected to sign during the fall period.

Tsafack, a powerfully-built forward with a developing skill set, is a three-star prospect according to both Rivals and Scout. National Hoops Report ranked Tsafack as the No. 5 “sleeper” of the July recruiting period. He visited Memphis and Maryland in October before making his decision.

Maryland's focus remains on St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Ashton Pankey, who will make his decision after visiting Houston this weekend.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:19 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Mount St. Joseph's Beaumont makes decision

Thanks to a little southern hospitality, Ryley Beaumont’s ryley-beaumont.jpg college decision was easier to make than expected.

The 6-foot-6, 195-pound forward from Mount St. Joseph was weighing offers from Elon, Fairfield, Longwood, Loyola and Quinnipiac. Visits to Elon, N.C., however, stood apart from the rest.

“It was great weather both times actually. I love it down south,” Beaumont said. “A lot of people down there are welcoming. They don’t just walk by and snub you or give you the cold shoulder. I think it goes to the coaching staff as well. They’re all examples of [southern hospitality]. They’re all really nice people.”

Beaumont, a Baltimore Catholic League second-team selection who averaged 19 points per game as a junior, committed to the Phoenix over the weekend.

Beaumont had visited Elon with his father during the summer and liked what he saw. Before committing, however, he wanted approval from his mother and sister. It didn’t take much convincing once the Beaumonts arrived in Elon earlier this month.

“My mom and sister immediately loved the school, the coaches and everybody,” Beaumont said.

The coaching staff was a major draw for Beaumont. Matt Matheny, a North Carolina native, spent 16 seasons as an assistant at Davidson before taking the head coaching job at Elon last March. Beaumont said he’s excited to join a program that’s embarking on a new era.

“[Matheny] was [at Davidson] with Steph Curry and their Elite Eight run,” Beaumont said. “I know he’s a great coach and the whole staff is very warm and welcoming. They’re just generally good people. It’s nice to be surrounded by those kinds of people.”

Pat Clatchey, who has coached seven current Division I players at Mount St. Joseph, said Elon is a perfect fit for Beaumont from a basketball and academic standpoint.

“I just think he’s really developing into a very good all-around player,” Clatchey said. “I think [Elon] really likes his versatility as a player. He can score in a variety of ways. He can shoot, he can move well without the ball and he has a nice mid-range pull-up. I think they really like him because he’s very committed to becoming the best player he can be. He’s willing to put in the work, both in the weight room and the gym. I think he’ll be a successful player at the next level.”

Beaumont, Gaels point guard Eric Atkins (Notre Dame) and shooting guard Matt Miller (Seton Hill) will all sign their letters of intent this week. Beaumont said he’s excited that he and his teammates have finished the recruiting process.

“It’s just nice to get the decision done with before the season,” Beaumont said. “Now I can get with my teammates, focus on the season and hopefully get to that championship.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Ryley Beaumont by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Feb. 13, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:04 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 10, 2009

Darius Kilgo talks Terps commitment

A sense of hopelessness came over Darius Kilgo on Saturday.

The Maryland defensive tackle commitment sat in front of his computer, following the Terps’ every move as they took on North Carolina State.

Kilgo said monitoring Maryland’s 38-31 loss “wasn’t that frustrating” -- other than the fact that he wasn’t there to help.

“Absolutely [I wanted to be there] because they’re a young team and I feel like I can contribute,” Kilgo said.

A standout lineman at Weddington High in Matthews, N.C., Kilgo received offers from East Carolina, Illinois, Michigan State, South Carolina and Tennessee. But Maryland, according to Kilgo, was “the first school to offer.”

“They were always on my mind because the coaches were always calling me throughout the recruiting process,” Kilgo said. “They were just saying I could come in and possibly play as a freshman, so I just need to come in and work hard.”

Plenty of hard work has already been done. Kilgo, 6 feet 4, checked in at 315 pounds as a junior. Now he’s down to 280 and can’t help but notice how much his footwork and stamina has improved -- something that should please his future position coach at Maryland.

“Me and Coach [Dave] Sollazzo have been talking a lot. We’re starting to build a relationship,” Kilgo said. “He’s just a great coach. He’s always fired up and I like that about him. He always has energy.”

Kilgo will continue following the Terps from afar, while readying for the stretch run of his high school career. When he arrives in College Park, Kilgo will be ready to hit the ground running.

“I’m not going to let Maryland down,” Kilgo said. “I’m going to work my hardest and try to contribute as much as I can.”

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

November 9, 2009

Weekend wrap — Six scores for Burns

Devin Burns saved one of his best offensive performances of the year for Carver (Ga.) High’s regular-season finale.

The Maryland quarterback commitment threw for five touchdown passes and rushed for a three-yard score in the Tigers’ 48-15 win over Northside.

Burns, who sat out the second quarter as Tiger reserves played, came back with pinpoint passing as he hit three different receivers for scores in the second half and ran for another.

• UM tight end recruit Nermin Delic made big plays on offense and defense in Northwest Whitfield’s 43-33 win over Paulding County (Ga.).

The Bruins seemed to be in control when Delic blocked a punt midway through the second quarter, setting up his own 21-yard touchdown catch from Chad Keeter two plays later for a 22-12 lead with 4:09 left in the half — but as it turned out, they still had plenty of work to do.

• Terps fullback commitment Rahsaan Moore found the end zone once in Wise’s 14-12 loss to C.H. Flowers.

Down 12-6 after a fumbled snap on a punt set up Wise's Rahsaan Moore for a three-yard touchdown run, C.H. Flowers embarked on a 17-play drive that began with just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter and ended with Jaguars senior Reginald Woods scampering into the end zone with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

• Maryland athlete pledge Matt Robinson caught one pass for five yards and led Atholton with seven tackles as the Raiders beat Glenelg, 14-13.

After a short pass play to midfield, [Glenelg quarterback Gage] Trawick spiked the ball and then tossed a pass intended for Shane Kellaher at the goal line that was broken up by Matt Robinson as the clock expired.

• Terps defensive end recruit Ian Evans’ Hammonton (N.J.) squad fell to undefeated Egg Harbor, 23-19.

Hammonton needed a big play, and after it took over on its 15, [Nick] Crescenzo hit Ian Evans for a 31-yard gain. Eight plays later, Josh Baez went 1 yard for a touchdown with 10:33 left in the game. The extra point sailed wide left, and Hammonton trailed, 23-19.

• UM quarterback commitment Tyler Smith threw for three touchdown passes in the first half of Wilson Area (Pa.) High’s 41-0 rout of Notre Dame-Green Pond.

Basketball recruiting

• A decision from Miller School (Va.) center Hippolyte Tsafack could come soon.

Memphis should hear something this week regarding 6-8 forward Hippolyte Tsafack, who visited Memphis last month and is deciding between the Tigers and Maryland.

• Testudo Times took a look at the Twitter page of Ashton Pankey, the St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward who visited College Park over the weekend.

• Visits to Maryland and Georgia Tech are next on Tobias Harris’ itinerary after the five-star prospect checked out West Virginia this weekend.

“They’re losing Da’Sean Butler and they might lose Devin Ebanks so [Bob Huggins] wants me to come in and play the roles they’re playing. It sounds good,” Harris said.

C.J. Leslie’s mother told Adam Zagoria that her son “probably won’t sign until the spring.”

Leslie had in-home visits with Kentucky, Maryland, Seton Hall, Arizona State, Georgetown, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, Florida International and Oregon.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:51 AM | | Comments (1)
        

November 6, 2009

Weekly recruiting roundup

Last weekend Miller School (Va.) center Hippolyte Tsafack made an official visit to Maryland.

This weekend, it’s St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey’s turn to see College Park.

“He and his mom took the train down today and it wouldn’t surprise me if he really liked the visit, he might just take one more to compare apples to oranges,” [St. Anthony coach Bob] Hurley said.

Tobias Harris visited Louisville last weekend and is scheduled to take a trip to West Virginia today.

Harris, who has already visited Syracuse, Tennessee, Kentucky and now Louisville, heads to West Virginia on Friday and will then visit Maryland and Georgia Tech before announcing his college decision on November 19th.

• Maryland shooting guard commitment Terrence Ross’ Montrose Christian squad was ranked the No. 5 high school team in the country by ESPN Rise.

Outlook: The Mustangs have added [Josh] Hairston, a Duke recruit who averaged 25 points and 11 rebounds last season, to the fold. Top returning veterans include Maryland recruit Ross, who averaged 18 points per game as a junior, and the precocious Anderson, last season's sixth man as a freshman. Hairston is the No. 27 player in the ESPNU 100, while Ross checks in at No. 39. Anderson is the No. 6 player in the ESPNU Terrific 25. Another newcomer is 6-foot-6 junior Paul Gombwer.

• St. Anthony (N.J.) forward Devon Collier, a former Maryland target, committed to Oregon State last night.

The Bronx product, who currently attends St. Anthony's HS in Jersey City, verbally committed to Oregon State, choosing the Pac-10 program over St. John's, Seton Hall and Providence.

Football recruiting

• GoBlueWolverine.com reported earlier this week that Michigan has started pursuing Terps defensive end recruit David Mackall. In response to that report, InsideMDSports.com’s Jeff Ermann spoke to John Shuman, Mackall’s prep school coach at Fork Union Military Academy.

Shuman said no such visits have been set up, there has been no talk from Mackall about re-opening his recruitment and that all of their collective energy is being focused on getting Mackall eligible per NCAA standards to enroll at Maryland in January. He’ll take the SAT this Saturday and likely will take the ACT Dec. 12. His enrollment at Fork Union expires in about six weeks, so it’s imperative he becomes qualified as soon as possible. There has been no discussion about alternative plans should he not receive the requisite scores; Shuman doesn’t want to plant any seeds of doubt in Mackall.

• Terps offensive line target Max Garcia, a Norcross, Ga., native, will visit Clemson this weekend.

"I like Clemson because it's close to home," said Garcia. "They have a need at left tackle and some other posiitons so it's a place I think I could impact the program in the first couple of years."

• Maryland commitments Matt Robinson and Andre Monroe both have first-team spots on The Washington Post’s All-Met watch list.

-- DL Andre Monroe St. John's Sr. Five tackles in 30-7 victory over O'Connell.

• Robinson and his Atholton squad take on Glenelg tonight in the Raiders’ regular-season finale.

What [Glenelg coach Butch] Schaffer is anticipating is another big game from Atholton's quarterback-receiver combo of Kalvin Seamonson and Matt Robinson. The pair has connected on 37 passes for 781 yards and eight TDs.

"They throw the ball really well, (Robinson) might be the best receiver I've seen in a long time. There's a reason he's going to have a chance to play for Maryland," Schaffer said. "I hope it rains and there are 50-mile-per-hour winds (on Friday), but I don't think that's going to happen."

• UM defensive end pledge Ian Evans will lead his undefeated Hammonton (N.J.) High team against unbeaten Egg Harbor tonight.

Tight end Ian Evans, a Maryland recruit, has 10 receptions for 27 yards and two touchdowns. Evans is also a force at defensive end.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:14 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Coach: Terps DT recruit an 'impact player'

The Maryland football program added a big body to its defensive line this week when Darius Kilgo committed to the Terps on Wednesday.

Kilgo, a 6-foot-3, 285-pound defensive tackle, picked Maryland over offers from East Carolina, Illinois, Michigan State, South Carolina and Tennessee.

Kilgo’s coach at Weddington High in Matthews, N.C., Justin Hardin, said his standout lineman started hearing from Maryland early on in the recruiting process.

“They jumped on Darius the spring of his junior year,” Hardin said. “So they jumped on him pretty early on and that was a selling point. They stayed with him through the entire recruiting process, calling him, sending letters and visiting. He felt comfortable that they wanted him so that’s why he committed there.”

Hardin said Kilgo, who also plays on the offensive line for Weddington, is a surprisingly nimble athlete.

“To be as big as he is, he’s athletic,” Hardin said. “He was 325 pounds last year and he’s lost a lot of weight to get in good condition. But he’s athletic at 285 pounds. He runs very well for a big fella. He’s got good hands and good speed, and that’s what sticks out to colleges. [Maryland was impressed with Kilgo being] as big as he is and as well as he can move.”

Hardin calls Kilgo a “physically dominating” player at the high school level. College will undoubtedly be a major adjustment, but Hardin likes Kilgo’s chances at successfully adapting.

“I think he’s going to be an impact player at Maryland. I think they’re lucky to have him,” Hardin said. “He’s a good football player and he’s a great kid. I expect nothing less than him having a great career at Maryland.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later this weekend for more on Kilgo’s commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:46 AM | | Comments (8)
        

November 5, 2009

Many schools tracking Glenelg Country's Miles

After Isaiah Miles' standout freshman season at Glenelg Country School last year, most people expected him to develop into a high-major Division I recruit.

Now it’s official. Miles, a 6-foot-7, 190-pound sophomore forward, drew “probably 10-15” Division I coaches to the Glenelg Country open gyms this fall, according to Dragons coach Charlie Stewart. In talking with the coaches, Stewart said the consensus was that Miles is “a big-time Division I player.”

“Maryland was out, the University of Washington, Penn State, Xavier has been there from day one, Richmond really likes him a lot ... [and] UMass has been very actively recruiting him,” Stewart said. “So he’s gotten a wide amount of interest from pretty much every major conference. It’s been very exciting for him to get across-the-board, high-major interest from virtually every major basketball conference.”

A strong showing this summer with Nike Baltimore Elite ensured Miles’ status as a high-major recruit. He positioned himself as a definite top 100 -- if not top 50 -- prospect in the 2012 class. Still, having so many big programs visit Glenelg Country was startling at first.

“Maryland was a big deal, obviously,” Stewart said. “To get them out, being the local school [was great]. He had a chance to go to Maryland Madness and was very impressed with obviously the school and the coaches. So it was a big deal to have Maryland out and be interested in him. But the University of Washington was great and Xavier likes him ... and was really the first school that showed serious interest. They’ve seen him in our gym probably five times last year. They’re a great program as well.”

Maryland assistant coach Rob Ehsan has been the point man for the Terps with Miles early on in his recruitment. According to Stewart, Ehsan has made a strong impression thus far.

“Coach Ehsan came up and watched Isaiah work out,” Stewart said. “We talked for a good bit about how they’re interested and that recruiting local kids is very important to their success. Isaiah knows a lot of their guys. He knows Sean Mosley just from playing on the AAU circuit over the years. So immediately when Maryland came, that made an impact on him. I probably have to say that [the Terps] are at the front of the pack, just because they carry a lot of weight around here and they’ve certainly done a good job in just the short period that they have been recruiting him actively.”

While college coaches came to see Miles and came away impressed, they were also intrigued by Warren Powers, a freshman wing who came to Glenelg Country for the strong academics and to play in the dribble-drive offense. Stewart said Powers is a definite “high-major Division I kid.”

“Warren is 6’4, 205 or 210 pounds. He is very, very well built for a kid that’s 14-years-old,” Stewart said. “He jumps well, dunks the ball with two hands, handles the ball really well and has pretty good perimeter fundamentals for a kid that has played inside his whole career. ... We’ve had Warren go up against Isaiah [in open gyms] and he’s really challenging Isaiah. He’s not able to score on Isaiah all the time, but he has shown some flashes of brilliance. His stock continues to rise every day.”

As for Miles, he’s already improved a great deal in a short amount of time. Stewart expects Miles -- who averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks per game as a freshman -- to take additional steps forward this year.

“It’s amazing how much he’s improved,” Stewart said. “Last season, he was just a 14-year-old pup getting pushed around a little bit at times by some of the older guys. Now he’s put on probably 15 pounds of muscle before the start of this season. He has a long way to go physically but his physical maturation in the weight room has been invaluable to his improvement. ... When the college coaches see a 15-year-old who is 6’7, who can dribble inside the 3-point line and dunk or pull up in transition and hit a 3, those are the things that correlate to a high Division I-level college player. He still has a long ways to go, and he’d be the first person to tell you that. But he’ll continue to get better.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

November 4, 2009

Rahsaan Moore discusses Terps commitment

Almost 10 months ago, Wise defensive end and fullback Rahsaan Moore watched as his teammate, safety Titus Till, committed to Maryland.

This week it was Moore’s turn to do the same. He pledged to the Terps on Monday.

“It feels good. It feels like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” Moore said of his commitment. “I always wanted to go to a DI school and fortunately Maryland has been the school I’ve been wanting to go to since I’ve been in high school.”

Moore, 6 feet 2, 235 pounds, admitted he wasn’t sure if a Maryland offer would come through. A host of powerhouse FCS schools offered, including James Madison, Richmond and William & Mary. But New Mexico was Moore’s only FBS offer -- until the Terps followed suit this fall.

“I was definitely nervous because being my size and being a tweener type, it’s hard to figure out where to put me,” Moore said. “So I just had to make sure I went out this year and proved that I’m able to play D-IA football.”

Moore thinks a position switch may have ultimately convinced the Maryland staff that he was worth offering. Moore has played defensive end throughout his time at Wise, but he made the switch from tight end to fullback before this season.

“I think [the Maryland staff] watching my tape at fullback showed that I’m able to play at Maryland,” Moore said. “The past couple of years I’ve been playing tight end, and being 6’2, that’s not the typical height of a tight end. They were looking for somewhere they could put me and fullback just happened to show up.”

It’s not a guarantee that Moore will play fullback at Maryland -- defensive end is still a possibility -- but the coaches have told him he’ll come to school as “a big athlete.”

Moore said he’s aware that because he slipped under the radar of most programs, some might doubt his ability. The relative lack of Division I offers just serves as motivation.

“It definitely makes me hungry because it shows that I have to go out there and prove people wrong,” Moore said. “Size doesn’t really matter -- it’s just how you go out there and play. I think I definitely have a chip on my shoulder to prove some people wrong and let them know that I can dominate the game just as well as anybody else can.”

Click here for Wise coach DaLawn Parrish’s take on Moore’s commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:48 PM | | Comments (3)
        

November 3, 2009

Gibbons point guard talks Loyola pledge

There were plenty of reasons why Cardinal Gibbons point guard Dylon Cormier decided to commit to Loyola last week.

Reason No. 1 on the 6-foot-2, 180-pound senior’s list of positives was simple.

“Minutes. A lot of minutes,” said Cormier, who averaged 19 points, six rebounds and four assists last season. “The situation is that they’re losing their starting point guard, Brett Harvey. The kid that’s the backup right now, Brian [Rudolph], is going to be a senior next year, and that’s the only point guard [on the roster for next season]. I’ll get minutes as a freshman and it’s pretty much going to be my team for the rest of my college career.”

Cormier, an All-MIAA A Conference first-team selection as a junior, picked the Greyhounds over offers from Long Island, St. Francis (Pa.), Stony Brook and Youngstown State. Cormier took an official visit to St. Francis earlier this fall, calling the trip to rural Loretto, Pa., “real boring.” His visit to Loyola, meanwhile, couldn’t have been better.

“[It was a] drastic [difference]. Crazy,” Cormier said. “Everybody was nice, everybody was friendly. There were a lot of people there and a lot of students there. I just liked the atmosphere there. It’s a lot of people there and it’s close to home.”

Loyola started recruiting Cormier this summer after noticing him on the AAU circuit with Crusader Nation. Greyhounds assistant Greg Manning, a 2008 Loyola graduate, made a good impression on Cormier immediately.

“He’s real, real cool. He’s my guy,” Cormier said. “He’s really funny and he went to Loyola, actually. He was telling me everything about his experience, so that was cool. ... He went through it, so he wouldn’t lie about it. That was real cool.”

Cormier also it off with Jimmy Patsos, Loyola’s animated head coach. Witnessing Patsos in action during his visit to the school sealed the deal.

“Man, he’s a character,” Cormier said. “But he just likes to win. I don’t have no problem with that. Everybody says he’s real crazy. But if you want to win as bad as him, then it’s the right place to go. He knows what he’s talking about.

“I remember when they were going through practice and I was watching and [some of the guys] were just loafing around. Then Coach Patsos storms on the court and starts [yelling] and just giving them an earful on what they were doing wrong, from the beginning of practice to the end. ... Then I was like, ‘OK, he wants to win.’ He’s pushing them and I need someone to push me.”

Cormier, who plans on majoring in accounting, said he’s excited to follow in the footsteps of other local players -- including Jamal Barney (Southwestern) and Gerald Brown (Douglass) -- who went on to have great careers at Loyola.

“Hometown heroes,” Cormier said. “You can’t beat that.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Wise High athlete commits to Terps

A familiar face will accompany Maryland safety commitment and Wise High senior Titus Till to College Park next season.

Rahsaan Moore, another Pumas standout, committed to Maryland on Monday.

Moore, a 6-foot-2, 235-pound defensive end, tight end and fullback, picked the Terps over offers from New Mexico, Delaware State, James Madison, Liberty, Old Dominion, Richmond, Towson and William & Mary.

“He’s a great all-around football player,” said Wise coach DaLawn Parrish. “He understands the game. He reads plays very well and diagnoses them. He knows where he needs to be. He’s very physically strong with his hands. He’s just a dominating player. And he runs very well for his size. At one combine this summer he ran a 4.58 [40] and at a couple colleges he ran a 4.62 and 4.66.”

Moore, as well as Till, have been instrumental in Wise’s 9-0 start this season, which includes eight consecutive shutouts.

“He’s been very important [in our success this year],” Parrish said. “He’s been here and played varsity here three years now and he’s an exceptional leader. He does all the right things in the classroom and he’s tremendous.”

The Maryland staff first noticed Moore last year but wanted to see him play this season before deciding to offer. Once the Terps offer came, there was little doubt in Parrish’s mind what Moore would do.

“He told me he always wanted to play for Maryland,” Parrish said. “That’s all it took -- for them to offer. He knew what he was going to do.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:19 AM | | Comments (16)
        

November 2, 2009

Weekend wrap — Evans dominates

Ian Evans' Hammonton (N.J.) High team cruised to a 41-0 win over Millville on Friday night.

The Maryland defensive end commitment played an integral role in the Blue Devils’ shutout, starting with a forced fumble and recovery on Millville’s first possession.

"We swarmed to the ball," he said. "Our secondary covered every guy perfectly. Our line made the right cuts and the right slants. Everyone did a great job."

Evans had three sacks to go along with the fumble recovery.

• Carver (Ga.) High trailed 7-0 in the second quarter to LaGrange on Friday night, until UM quarterback recruit Devin Burns rushed for a 25-yard touchdown on fourth-and-18. Burns’ squad then pulled away for a 27-7 win and the Georgia Region 2-AAA championship.

[Burns] finished with 105 passing yards and a touchdown plus 39 rushing yards and a score.

• Terps quarterback commitment Tyler Smith guided Wilson (Pa.) Area High to a 28-13 win over Salisbury.

Smith passed for 319 yards and three touchdowns in yet another dominant outing for Wilson.

• Despite a big game from Maryland athlete recruit Matt Robinson, previously-unbeaten Atholton dropped a 35-14 game to River Hill (9-0).

The Hawks allowed only 37 points in their first eight games, but Atholton quarterback Kalvin Seamonson threw touchdown passes of 90 and 80 yards to Matt Robinson as the Raiders took a seven-point halftime lead.

• UM safety pledge Titus Till helped Wise to a 35-0 win over Bowie, the Pumas’ eighth consecutive shutout.

Wise got its next points in bizarre fashion when Bowie's Kevin Clayborne misplayed a Titus Till punt inside his own 5-yard line and tried to elude the onrushing Pumas by going backwards. Eventually he fumbled the ball through the back of the end zone for a safety.

Basketball recruiting

• The Terps hosted a visitor from the class of 2010 this weekend.

Hippolyte Tsafack was at Maryland on an official. He could very well announce something this week.

Tobias Harris was scheduled this weekend to visit Louisville.

Harris has visited Syracuse, Tennessee and Kentucky, and he's expected to see Maryland, West Virginia and Georgia Tech. Harris is expected to announce his decision on Nov.19.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:14 AM | | Comments (6)
        
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About Matt Bracken

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

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Area high school commitments -- 2009
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