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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)


Who? Yeah, he's better than a Tobias Harris, CJ Leslie or top 100 guy. Good get Terps.

Good stuff Matt. Congrats and Welcome Ashton! I hope you're the first of many future St. Anthony's guys coming to College Park

Matt, does this mean we are out of the Harris running? Pankey plays the same position. Are we now out of scholarships for next year barring no one leaves early? Also why is Kim on the team? I really don't see much talent or upside from the kid.

Who? David who? I'm sure future hall of fame coach Gary Williams and his staff have a little more knowledge on the subject than you David...this kid played for Bob Hurley, nuff said...

I defintely think he will be good for the Terps especially with his athletic ability. I just wonder if this deters Harris from coming on. He had a great time this weekend with the team and students

Hey david thanks for being sports stupid Tobias can play three different positions him and pankey are two different players!!!!!!!!!

It's good to know that we can be Houston, Rice, Drexel and Hofstra in recruiting. Will this guy be more than one of the annual project big men?

Let's hope so, but his other suitors weren't exactly a who's who of college basketball titans

They have one more scholarship...

Pankey is a pf. Harris wants to play sf. If anything, Pankey's commitment helps with Harris...

Pankey is much less of a project than Hippo Tsafack, and could/should be a solid contributor off the bench next season...


You are right in that Pankey is not as highly regarded as either Leslie or Harris, but rclangley is correct in that Williams and his staff know what they're doing, particularly when it comes to identifying the type of player that will succeed in the Terps' system. It appears that the kid already has a solid frame, is athletic, rebounds and runs the court well. Given his relatively late recruitment, he sounds to me like a "late bloomer" with as much upside as Padgett and/or Williams who also were not consensus Top-100 recruits. Such players, because they aren't heavily recruited early, generally do not obtain the same "star " rating as the Harris' or Leslie's (you may recall that Jordan Williams only started attracting major D1 attention after his junior year AAU summer and then squeaked into some of the Top-100 player lists by the very end of his senior year). Pankey should certainly have great fundamentals coming from St. Anthony's program. So, although I have never seem him play, I can easily envision him fitting into Maryland's program as a 4-year player and nice addition to a young, developing and solid front line.

Finally, while I agree to some extent that this signing could possibly impact Harris' decision, I really don't think it will deter Harris if he was truly interested in attending Maryland as he is, once again, a Top-10 national recruit. Therefore, he should not be concerned over losing playing time to a "lesser" regarded player. If he is, then that should shed some light on Harris' competitive character and he would be better served playing elsewhere. After all, the last thing the Terps need is another highly rated, but underperforming Travis Garrison-type player on its roster.

Amen to that, TnT. For what this is worth, Terrell Stoglin didn't appear on the rapidly changing ratings boards a year ago, but he's on there now.

There is influence and money in recruiting rankings, but they shouldn't be taken as gospel. The player does have to fit the system. Plus, for every highly ranked player that wows, there have got to be far more that don't live up to the hype and a bunch that far exceed any pub that got given to them.

John Gilchrest was rated much higher than Steve Blake coming out of HS. Which one would you rather have?

This is big news? Hey Twerps fans, look at the schools who sought Hanky Pankey out: Houston, Rice, Drexel, and Hofstra. DUH. It would be a coup for the Twerps if the four schools they beat out were Duke, N. Carolina, Kansas, and Texas. Houston? Rice? Drexel? Hofstra? *LMAO@ Gary Williams.

Looks like another Gary Williams type player that could develop well with the core we have now.I think it's a steal for Maryland and if Tobias comes here,it should be a top 5 recruiting class for Maryland.By the way did anybody else notice Kentucky's top ranked class almost got beat by Miama of Ohio tonight?

Cool. I never thought Tobias or Leslie would join up. But this is great. GW is doing a great job recruiting. Or his staff is. Either way he has focused on it and look at the results. A win against Nova and a potential game against Cincy and Lance with a win will seal this team's future for the next 5 years. Three big men to shuttle or start and some gifted guards and this is a steady rolling squad.

David, you're an idiot. Please, read the articles about Pankey. You're probably a typical MD / Gary hater like most of the pessimistic Terps fans. In this season of being thankful, praise 1 Nat'l Championship, 2 Final Fours, 600 wins and a VERY clean program.

Pankey is a real steal and I say that because he is a bully in the paint. From what I have seen he has the ability to get a rebound and attack the basket with force. He plays like he loves contact with Ashton, Williams, and Padge this trio should increase the Terps rebounding by at least 10 to 12 boards a games. He doesn't care how tall you are when the ball comes off the rim it's his. I see his freshman year getting most of his points off of put backs and dunks but depending on how much he plays he could be one of the top three rebounders on the team as a freshman.


Harris is a Top 10 recruit...he wont shy away because of this. I heard he had a great visit at MD. Pankey is a talent and his size is much needed at MD.

c'mon fellas. let's grow up.
as a coach you have to recruit based on potential contributions and potential for early departure. harris, a top 10 recruit could be a 1 or a two years and done player. i am also guessing that he sees something in those guys. williams or padgett might have that potential as well. so in prepping for the future williams just secured a 4th big man. and that does not count the potential loss of dino gregory. his status might be a bit more serious than we believe if gary puts a commitment out there so soon.
that basically means a 4/5 combination of williams, padgett, pankey, [gregory] and goins. athletic and aggressive big men. a nice set of attributes to have. small forward combinations of kim/choi, [potentially harris] and parker. 2guard combinations of mosely, tucker and ross. point guards would be stoglin and bowie. a nice team to run with for next season.
don't discount choi/kim. he was just a freshman last year and is getting things down. he's long, can shoot and although not muscle-bound, he's pretty feisty and tough.
the john gilchrest to steve blake comparison is priceless. one less touted guy generals a team to a national championship and later the nba for what has been an 7 year career!?! the other 'more-talented at the time' player was considered a cancer for his team, split the locker room and bashed his coaches [all rumor and suggested], but hasn't made it to the nba despite being a stronger, faster, offensively talented guy with a body-type built for the nba point guard position.

According to ESPN, he also got offered by Oregon State and VaTech, Georgia Tech, Seton Hall and UConn were interested. Are those good enough teams to be interested in him?

Getting another big strong guy who is committed to defense and rebounding is a nice get for Gary. I think we all forget that players like Juan Dixon and Lonnie Baxter were not highly ranked coming out of high school. Joe Smith was not supposed to be the amazing player he turned into.
Maryland is getting back into the recruiting game strong again. Landing Harris would be great but if decides to head elsewhere the Terps will be fine.

I cannot believe the people that complain about Gary Williams. The guy has built a program that 95% of fans wish there school had. He also did it with the deck stacked against him because of the Len Bias tragedy, Bob Wades ineptitude, an Athletic Director who is so power hungry that she does not support him, and running not just a clean program but also not getting into bed with the AAU "coaches/street agents." I would much rather have a strong solid recruiting class than the top recruiting class like Kentucky and be worried about whether or when there is going to be a scandal.

I love people like you who think they know everything about recruiting. You're like a little kid who gets all excited when they see names like Kansas, Duke, UNC, etc... Apparently that is all that matters in recruiting, that as long as recruits are getting interest from those places, they must be the only good players available. You're laughing at a future hall of fame coach? He and others will continue to laugh at you as he uses the negativity of so called "fans" to continue to produce quality seasons in the next few years, and perhaps more trips to the final four. Maybe learn a little more about the game before you spew insignificant garbage from your mouth

Any word on Tobias? He is expected to announce today, right?

Love the passion for Terps basketball. Although there are different messages coming across about the Terps' recruiting, the one thing that I do see is that there is plenty of passion for the Terps. Glad to see that Terp Nation is strong.

Anyone got any info on Terrence Ross? WaPo's J. Barr is reporting that he's waiting till the spring to sign his letter of intent

First off, most of Gary's critics were silenced by Gary Williams' coaching job last season. That's why they only show up every now and then and are not part of the regular dialogue.

Pankey is the perfect player to add to an already outstanding recruiting class that inlcudes Parker, Ross and Stoglin. He can board, play defense, score inside, run the court and is extremely athletic. With Padgett and Williams set to man the frontcourt for the next four years, Pankey is a player who could develop into a frontline player or become a guy who could back-up at the 3 or 4. The late interest from GT, VT and UConn reflect just how much upside this guy has.

Don't sleep Kim just yet. He outside shot could prove to be the difference in a few games this year. Too bad MD had som many big man issues last year. Kim would have really benefited from sitting out one season and building his frame.

Conventional wisdom has Harris going to TN, SYR or WVA. It's been quiet on the CJ front. I would bet MD will hold a scholly if both of those two guys go elsewhere. And why not. It's an outstanding class.

Second-hand information from a source that is well-connected says that Ross is solid to MD, not to worry. Not unusual for Montrose players to wait until spring to sign.

The USF basketball program has committed numerous NCAA rules violations over the past months, a report by Brett McMurphy at alleged Wednesday night.

Most of the alleged violations involve USF video and conditioning assistant Terrelle Woody. He was hired last August in a non-coaching position as part of a package deal to ensure the enrollment of Maryland transfer Gus Gilchrist. The alleged violations include Woody providing transportation to student-athletes, watching "open gyms," coaching players and illegally working out USF players.

Oops. I seem to recall a lot of Gary Bashers jumping on the bandwagon when Gilchrest transferred. I seem to remember some of us, me included, pointing out that something like this would end up happening. So....the Gary bashers got bashed again. And once again, Gary Williams made the right call. Now, will anyone over at the Washington Poop issue an apology or retraction for their coverage of Gilcrest's "transfer."

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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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