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March 31, 2010

Hectic year for former City guard Bogues

Life after high school hasn't gone exactly as planned for Nardi Bogues. But the former City standout's college goals are still well within reach.

The 5-foot-9, 160-pound point guard left Baltimore last fall for a post-grad year at Ernst Prep in Petoskey, Mich., a resort city better known for its skiing and boating than basketball.

Bogues, who helped lead City to the 2009 Class 2A state championship, was recruited as the upstart prep school’s starting point guard, a role he assumed immediately. While the team struggled with a schedule that included prep powers Brewster (N.H) Academy and Oak Hill (Va.) Academy, Bogues naturally took over as the team’s go-to player.

“I was the starting point guard. I was their main player,” Bogues said. “I was averaging about 22 points and four assists. ... Cleveland State, Utah, Georgia and a couple other schools told my coach they were interested.”

A typical day for Bogues started at 5 a.m. with a morning run. At 7, the team convened in the gym for a couple hours of practice. After breakfast, Bogues and his teammates attended study hall, where the players spent much of their time on SAT prep work. Lunch, more study hall and an afternoon practice followed.

Bogues was comfortable with the routine, but in January a premature end came to Ernst Prep’s season.

“Coach was at work one day, and something had hit him,” Bogues said. “Something happened with his heart, so he was telling us how he was going to be [taking some time off]. His daughter actually started coaching us for a little bit, but she couldn’t really handle it and we had to break out.”

Suddenly, Bogues and his teammates were forced to find new schools that would help them meet NCAA qualifying standards. Luckily for Bogues, it didn’t take long for him to get settled. He quickly joined another Ernst Prep teammate, forward Dominique Reed, at Progressive Christian Academy in Temple Hills.

Bogues said basketball went well for him at the Prince George’s County school, and his SAT prep work there and at Ernst Prep was a positive experience. He should receive his scores any day now. If he reaches the necessary score for his NCAA eligibility, Bogues could make a college decision soon after.

“I’m really just waiting on my score and then I’ll probably go ahead and commit. I’m really liking Appalachian State at the moment,” Bogues said. “We’ve stayed in contact. As soon as I get my score, I’ll go down there on my official visit. ... I like the way they talk. They say I can be of use to them. So I like that program.”

Bogues said there's a possibility he waits a little longer to make his decision. He could play in a few AAU tournaments as a final showcase of sorts, just in case any other programs have a need at point guard.

Bogues’ uncle Muggsy, the former Dunbar star and long-time NBA player, has guided his nephew every step of the way. The two talk on the phone regularly, with the elder Bogues imparting some much-appreciated wisdom.

“He’s just making sure I make the right choice,” Bogues said. “He’s making sure everything’s good and that I’ll fit in real good in college.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:57 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 30, 2010

Season recap: Natasha Cloud

Natasha Cloud knew going into her senior season that her role would be different.

The Maryland combo guard signee was the lone junior starter on a Cardinal O’Hara (Pa.) team with four Division I-bound seniors last season. This year, Cloud was ready to make the transition from complimentary player to centerpiece.

Right off the bat, however, the Lions faced a spell of bad luck. They lost one potential starter to an ankle injury that required surgery, and another to a stress fracture. Suddenly, Cloud was faced with even more responsibility than initially expected.

“Everybody keyed on her all year,” said Cardinal O’Hara coach Linus McGinty. “We struggled a little bit offensively this year. ... [But] I just think her maturity and her leadership and her unselfishness were her main assets.”

Cloud averaged 13 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 72 percent from the foul line and 41 percent from the field. She led the Lions to a 17-8 record and the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA tournament. In the first round, Cloud guided Cardinal O’Hara to a 33-23 win over Downingtown East.

“We were down eight and I think she had 10 in the fourth quarter,” McGinty said. “We came from down eight to win by 10. That was probably the best [performance]. She helped hold them to four in the second half. She had two steals to start the third quarter and help get their lead down.”

In the second round of the state tournament, Cloud squared off against future teammate Alyssa Thomas and her Central Dauphin squad. Thomas’ team prevailed, 50-42, but Cloud filled up the stat sheet once again, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocked shots.

A well-balanced stat line was a given for Cloud most nights, but she also had notable scoring outbursts throughout the year.

“There were tough games we won because she had like 13 or 14 in the fourth quarter. She did that four or five times,” McGinty said. “A lot of times people would double-team her and our other kids [would step up].”

McGinty coached Cloud for all four years of her varsity career, and was always impressed with her adaptability and leadership. Versatility was always her strong suit, and McGinty expects that to remain true during Cloud’s time in College Park.

“I think she can play the 2 and the 3,” McGinty said. “We’ve been happy when we played her at the 1. ... I think [the Terps] want her to work on her ball-handling skills and become more like a true point guard, be able to play point and maybe guard 2s and maybe some small 3s, too. … I think Natasha did really well and I think Maryland loves how she plays defense and passes the ball. I think they’re getting four other kids that are real good, so she should fit in with the personality of that type of team.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:35 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

March 29, 2010

New Terps recruit is another Fla. standout

Two years ago, Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen announced at his Signing Day news conference that the Terps would no longer focus their recruiting efforts on Florida.

When defensive coordinator Don Brown was hired after the 2008 season, the former UMass head coach put an end to Maryland's Sunshine State hiatus immediately. The decision paid off right away, as the Terps landed three Florida prospects for the 2010 class.

Maryland has continued its renewed efforts in Florida for the class of 2011. The most recent evidence of that came Friday, when Shaun Ward committed to the Terps.

Ward, a 6-foot-2, 225-pound linebacker-defensive end from Boyd Anderson High in Lauderdale Lakes, Fla., is probably the most highly touted of Maryland's recent Florida pledges.

"It's real simple with this kid. He's got one of the fastest first steps you'll see," said Boyd Anderson coach Mark James. "He runs a 4.5 40. He could have went anywhere he wanted to go. He's got 18 offers. I believe his connection with Maryland might have been that his brother [is a graduate student there]. But he could've went anywhere he wanted to."

Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Florida State, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and West Virginia were among the 18 programs that offered, James said. Maryland will face plenty of competition from other schools in the state, but the talent, James said, is worth the effort.

"When you've got schools like Utah and Utah State coming to Florida, it would make sense [for every program] to come to Florida," James said. "We've got a plethora of good guys that can play football at any level -- the SEC, ACC, Big East. Broward County, Dade County and Palm Beach -- if teams want to be successful, these areas should be the main recruiting points."

Ward, who led Broward County with 18 1/2 sacks as a junior, will likely play a hybrid linebacker-defensive end role for the Terps. Boyd Anderson is on spring break this week, which allowed Ward to visit College Park for spring practice, get a glimpse of his future and offer his commitment.

"He's just a great kid," James said. "He's a leader on the team, he has good character, he has decent grades and comes from a strong family background. ... He's definitely a unique kid with his size, speed and agility. Maryland's getting a great player."

Click here for video of Ward.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:41 AM | | Comments (7)
        

March 26, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's 2010 recruiting class might not be complete just yet.

The Terps have made contact with Huntington (W.Va.) Prep coach Rob Fulford regarding 6-foot-10, 210-pound power forward Gorgui Dieng, according to Rivals.com.

Memphis, Maryland, Colorado and Marquette are on the short list for potential visits once Dieng gets his SAT score according to Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford.

As it stands, though, those schools will be playing catch up with Louisville and Marshall for the 6-foot-10, 210-pound post player.

Testudo Times this week took a look at other big men still on the market that could draw Maryland interest.

• The high school career of Maryland women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas came to an end Tuesday. Thomas' Central Dauphin squad suffered a 58-40 loss to Mt. Lebanon in the semifinals of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA tournament.

Thomas, who averages nearly 25 a game, struggled to get the ball in the hole as well when she did find a rare opening — uncharacteristically missing several layups. In her final high school game, Thomas finished with 10 points and 11 boards.

• Penn Wood, led by potential Maryland small forward target Aaron Brown, will meet Plymouth Whitemarsh this weekend for the PIAA Class AAAA title.

Oakman played only 2 minutes, 51 seconds in the first half of the district championship before being saddled to the bench with two quick fouls. Aaron Brown carried much of the load for the Pats, scoring a team-high 20 points.

• Progressive Christian Academy power forward Moses Abraham, who drew some Maryland interest, has committed to Georgetown.

Abraham made a two-day official visit to Indiana earlier this week, after which Joe Boncore, Abraham’s adviser, had what he called “a long talk” with Georgetown Coach John Thompson III and former Georgetown Coach John Thompson II.

Football recruiting

• Maryland was the first school to offer Powder Springs, Ga., linebacker Jabari Hunt-Days, according to Rivals.com.

“I really do not know much about Maryland to be honest,” he said. “They sent me two letters before today’s news. The coach I spoke to today told me it was a great program with high academics that sends highly rated players to the NFL. I plan to research the academics more now that they have offered.”

• The Terps are one of many programs in the running for David Simon, an offensive tackle from Bay Minette, Ala.

“Maryland was actually my first offer,” he said. “I got that a couple weeks ago or a month. Your first offer gets your blood pumping a bit. Later I got Mississippi State and Vandy. I’ve been in contact with Vandy for a while now. Actually, Vanderbilt’s been recruiting me probably the longest. It’s really gratifying to get these offers in. It makes you feel more accomplished about yourself.”

• GoGamecocks.com has updates on several 2011 prospects with Maryland offers, including Glen Allen, Va., linebacker Curtis Grant.

Clemson offered linebacker Curtis Grant (6-3, 225) of Glen Allen, Va., earlier this month, and the Tigers might get a visit from him during his spring break. Grant has 21 offers. Some of the others are Michigan, Boston College, Virginia Tech, Virginia, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, LSU, Texas Tech, Southern Cal, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, Miami and Nebraska. He has visited Virginia a couple of times, and he has been to Duke.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:01 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

March 25, 2010

Gilman's Darius Jennings keeping busy

Technically, it's the middle of the offseason for Gilman's Darius Jennings. Football season ended four months ago and two-a-days won't begin for another four or so. darius-jennings.jpg

But if this is supposed to be a down time for the 5-foot-11, 175-pound quarterback, you couldn't tell it by his schedule.

Jennings is fresh off one of the best seasons in Baltimore high school football history. In his first year as the Greyhounds’ full-time quarterback, Jennings rushed for 2,028 yards and 25 touchdowns, while throwing for 748 yards and 10 scores. He led Gilman to the MIAA A Conference championship and earned Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro honors for his efforts.

Predictably, Jennings’ standout junior season didn’t go unnoticed. Rivals.com ranks him one of the Top 250 players in the country for the 2011 class, and 24 college programs have already offered him a scholarship. Keeping his grades up, running track and dealing with recruiting has eaten up just about all of Jennings’ free time.

“I wouldn't say it came out of the blue, but [recruiting] picked up quick,” Jennings said. “It gets hectic at times, but it's exciting and it has picked up a lot recently.”

The 24 schools that have offered Jennings are “Oregon, Stanford, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Illinois, Iowa, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, UConn, Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, North Carolina, N.C. State, South Carolina, Clemson, Ole Miss, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, ECU and Boston College,” he said. It’s early enough in the process, however, for other programs to get involved.

“I've been keeping in contact with a few [other] schools right now, [including] Miami, Cincinnati and Notre Dame,” Jennings said. “I just got the contact info for Cal, so hopefully I can keep in contact with them as well. Cincinnati says that once they've sat down as a coaching staff, they're going to most likely offer me as well. Miami and Notre Dame have to see me in person, which I can understand, just to see what kind of player and person I am.”

Jennings lives in East Baltimore and attended public school before entering Gilman as a second grader -- which should dispel any notion that he was recruited to play football for the Greyhounds. While Jennings is modest about his early experiences with the sport, he can identify the time when he first knew a college football future was possible.

"In rec ball, I was an OK player. I was always pretty fast, but just an OK player,” Jennings said. “Probably in my eighth-grade year, I first realized it. I didn't play too much offense. They had a rule where you couldn't play both sides of the ball. For 1st and 2nd down I would play middle linebacker and then go back to free safety, and then I would return punts. So that was probably when I kind of realized I had some talent."

Before his freshman season, Jennings sat down with Gilman coach Biff Poggi to discuss his options for the year. Poggi offered him a spot on the varsity, but Jennings decided it would be best to start on JV. By the end of the season, Jennings was a varsity regular and started both ways in the Greyhounds’ season finale against McDonogh.

Jennings was all set to start at quarterback as a sophomore, but an offseason injury derailed those plans. He ended up receiving some time under center, but also saw action at running back, wide receiver, cornerback and safety, while also returning kicks and punts for the Greyhounds. Jennings’ utility-man role in 2008 could serve as a template for college coaches looking to utilize his talents.

"Some schools see me as a slot receiver, some as an all-purpose back, some as a corner, some are giving me the opportunity to try offense and defense -- whichever I prefer,” Jennings said. “Some schools say they don't know what they want me as. They'll just wait until I get on campus and see where I fit in best in their game plans. All the schools I've talked to are recruiting me as a return man, and since we somewhat run the Wildcat in high school, a lot of schools are talking about me doing that as well."

Jennings’ first scholarship offer came in early October. Two days after rushing for 275 yards and three touchdowns in a 49-37 loss Good Counsel, Jennings visited College Park for Maryland’s game against Middle Tennessee State. “A week or two later,” the Terps became the first program to offer.

“I wasn't really sure [the Terps would offer first] because Maryland hasn't recruited Gilman too much, so I wasn't sure,” Jennings said. “My coach has close ties to Iowa, so I thought Iowa would come first. But Iowa was a close second, right after Maryland. ... It was a great feeling just to be able to go to college for free. That was always the main goal -- just using football to get a good education and degree.”

Jennings said he won’t rush the recruiting process. Right now "it's too early" to formulate a list of top schools, but he plans to visit several colleges this summer and take all five official visits during his senior season. Until then, he'll continue trying to manage an increasingly busy schedule. There's plenty of stress involved, but Jennings wouldn't have it any other way.

“It's so much attention with how quickly word spreads,” Jennings said. “It kind of came in a rush. I get a ton of mail every day, coaches calling up trying to get in contact with me, and schools I would have never guessed would be interested have been in contact with me. So it's just a great feeling.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Darius Jennings by Kim Hairston / Oct. 17, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:38 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 24, 2010

Local standouts power BCCC to title

Terry Maczko didn't have to travel far to assemble his 2009-10 team.

The Baltimore City Community College coach put together a squad this season built primarily on local players, plus a couple of Philadelphia standouts. The results speak for themselves.

“We went 13-3 in the last 16 games ... and finished 18-12 overall,” Maczko said. “We made a nice run in the Maryland JUCO tournament. We beat Southern Maryland, then knocked off Cecil in the quarterfinals, and then beat Frederick. We ended up winning the title. In the championship game, we beat Germantown out of Montgomery County.”

The Panthers, who claimed their first conference title since 1998, were runners-up to Cecil in the region tournament. Maczko credits “a couple really good sophomores” and a loaded freshmen class for BCCC’s success.

John Williams, a former Mervo standout, was a third team preseason National Junior College Athletic Association All-American. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound forward averaged 14.5 points and 10.5 rebounds this season, earning all-conference and all-region honors.

“Williams has to go Division II because his clock burned out,” Maczko said. “You only have five years to play four. He would only have one year at the DI level. But he’s gotten interest from Virginia State, Wilmington (Del.), Gannon (Pa.), California (Pa.), Fairmount St. (W.Va.), St. Thomas in Florida -- a bunch of DIIs.”

Maczko’s other veteran leader, combo guard C.J. Townes, was an all-state cornerback for the Joppatowne football team. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound sophomore is now being recruited by California (Pa.), Gannon (Pa.) and Shaw (N.C.) -- all DII programs. Former Patterson guard Trevor Howze, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, will be a Division III player at the next level.

A few members of BCCC’s highly touted freshmen class could have Division I futures. Former John Carroll forward Wyatt Smith came close to achieving that status straight out of high school.

“His father has been my assistant for 17 years,” Maczko said. “Wyatt came in, and he was a good player at John Carroll. Tennessee-Chattanooga offered him coming out of high school and Rhode Island was on him. He’s a guy that missed the first seven or eight games with a strained ligament in the arch of his foot. It hobbled him a little bit, but he had a fairly decent year.”

Two years ago, Byron Westmoreland was a Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection. After spending a redshirt season at Pitt-Johnstown, Westmoreland stepped in to the Panthers’ lineup and became one of their top players.

“To be honest with you, I was personally surprised he was at a Division II school,” Maczko said. “I looked at him coming out of high school. Every indication was that he would be going to some Division I school somewhere. Last summer, he came knocking at my door. He ended up coming back to us on the rebound. Once everybody found out that he was back in the mix here, MEAC schools, America East schools and the Northeast Conference schools started giving him some interest.”

Maczko said the 6-foot-3 Westmoreland, who averaged 18 points this year, has drawn interest from Morgan State, UMES and UMBC.

Carlos Smith, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Forest Park, is another local Panther with DI potential. Smith was second in the country in blocks per game at 4.6.

“MEAC and America East [schools] are interested, but nobody special at this point,” Maczko said. “They’re all interested, but nobody’s on him hard, I would say. He was actually a little bit of a sleeper -- a late bloomer coming out of Forest Park. He’s an unbelievable athlete. Coming out of high school he went to Laurinburg (N.C.) Prep. He came back and matured quite a bit. He has really worked hard and just keeps getting better. He’s got high Division I athletic capabilities. He’s going to be pretty good. He probably has the most potential out of all of them.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:52 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 23, 2010

Calvert Hall's Jonathan Graham taking his time

Calvert Hall forward Jonathan Graham has now won a Baltimore Catholic League championship and been selected to multiple MIAA A Conference and BCL first teams. jonathan-graham.jpg

Now it’s time for the 6-foot-8, 215-pound senior to focus on his college future. The recruitment of Graham, a three-star prospect and the No. 30 power forward in the country according to Rivals.com, probably won't end soon.

“Jon is still undecided right now,” said Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld. “Seton Hall was looking at him, but [with Pirates coach Bobby Gonzalez being fired], I don’t really know how that’s going to play out right now. But Alabama-Birmingham, Davidson and Wright State, they’ve all been in contact with me about him.”

Graham averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds for the No. 3 Cardinals, who ended the season with a 46-44 win over Mount St. Joseph for the BCL title.

“I think his outside game developed more this year,” Bauersfeld said. “He’s more consistent hitting the 15-foot jumper, much more consistent than he’s been in his first three years of high school. A lot of colleges like his touch around the basket. And defensively, he’s become a really good team defensive player. He knows where to be and is always making the right rotations.”

Bauersfeld said he thought Graham would have received more interest from high-major programs, but the schools that are recruiting him heavily are “quality schools.” A nagging back injury slowed Graham in the middle of the season, but he’s healthy now and there’s still time for other schools to get involved.

“He’s going to go out and take advantage [of the process],” Bauersfeld said. “He has all five visits left, so he’ll take advantage of that. And he’ll get out, look at some schools and go from there.”

In addition to Graham, senior forwards Damion Lee and Donya Jackson played big roles in Calvert Hall’s championship run. The Navy-bound Jackson was named Most Valuable Player of the BCL tournament.

“He only ended the year averaging 10 or 11 points a game,” Bauersfeld said of Jackson, the reigning two-time BCL Defensive Player of the Year. “But just down the stretch, especially those last three games, a light went off and he realized how good he really is and how good he can be. He hit a lot of clutch shots for us.”

Senior point guard Kyle Wise, meanwhile, is receiving interest from Philadelphia University, Millersville (Pa.), Adelphi (N.Y.) and Goldy-Beacom (Del.) -- all Division II programs.

For Bauersfeld, having his seniors end their Cardinals careers with a championship was priceless.

“I’d be lying if I said I saw it coming,” Bauersfeld said, “but we were still confident that we always matched up well with those teams. It was big for the program because since I took over, we had never beaten St. Frances [until the BCL semifinals]. Getting the championship was a big hill to climb. It shows the younger kids that Calvert Hall can do this.”

Photo of Jonathan Graham by Patrick Smith / Special to The Baltimore Sun / Feb 22, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:02 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 22, 2010

Weekend wrap – Thomas moves on

Alyssa Thomas has had some memorable games in her varsity career for Central Dauphin (Pa.) High.

Saturday's game against Cheltenham, however, might top the list of Thomas' standout performances. Thanks to the Maryland-bound small forward, the Rams are headed to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA semifinals.

The Rams' forward dropped 40 points, 20 rebounds and two blocks in her best Wilt Chamberlain impression at Reading High, as Cheltenham fell, 75-68, in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals.

Thomas has also been selected to the Parade All-American first team, according to the Erie (Pa.) Times-News.

• Quality Education Academy (N.C.) forward Juvonte Reddic, who had some Maryland interest, has committed to Virginia Commonwealth.

Scout.com describes Reddic as "one of the top available post players in the country." He averaged 16 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks for Quality Education Academy, a charter school in Winston-Salem.

• DeMatha -- led by UM junior targets Quinn Cook and Mikael Hopkins -- came up one game short of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament championship. The Stags on Saturday fell to Gonzaga (D.C.), 68-67.

Cook had a game-high 17 points, five rebounds and four assists for DeMatha (32-4), while Oladipo, Jerian Grant and Mikael Hopkins had 14 points.

• Penn Wood swingman and potential Terps target Aaron Brown guided the Patriots to a 66-55 win over Scranton in the PIAA Class AAAA quarterfinals.

Leading only 26-23, Aaron Brown, a 6-foot-5 junior, spearheaded a 23-point quarter with 12 of his 22, including a powerful dunk from the baseline.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:30 AM | | Comments (5)
        

March 19, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

A new junior target has emerged on the Maryland basketball program's radar.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported this week that the Terps are watching Aaron Brown, a 6-foot-5, 205-pound small forward from Penn Wood High in Lansdowne, Pa.

Maryland and Providence have expressed interest. If Maryland is eliminated early from the NCAA tourney, Terrapins coach Gary Williams is scheduled to visit Penn Wood next week.

• Word of God Academy (N.C.) power forward C.J. Leslie revealed his top five this week in a diary for DimeMag.com.

The crazy thing is I have the same list, but I read stuff that says I’ve cut my list of schools. It’s still UCLA, Oregon, Connecticut, Florida, Kentucky and N.C. State.

• Progressive Christian Academy power forward Moses Abraham appears to be down to two schools, according to The Washington Post.

As for Maryland, [Joe] Boncore said he spoke to Terrapins coaches multiple times on Sunday, but has had no contact with them since then. At this point it would appear that Indiana and Georgetown are the two programs primarily in contention for Abraham's services.

• Maryland targets Quinn Cook and Mikael Hopkins powered DeMatha to an 89-38 win over Cathedral (Ontario) on Thursday in the opening round of the Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament in Frostburg.

Cook had a game-high 18 points and six assists, Hopkins added 16 points and eight rebounds ...

• Maryland women's commitments Alyssa Thomas and Natasha Cloud met in the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA tournament Tuesday. Cloud had 15 points, five rebounds, three steals, three assists and two blocked shots for Cardinal O'Hara, but Thomas' Central Dauphin squad prevailed.

Thomas, who helped Central Dauphin win the PIAA Class AAAA championship as a sophomore, was 9-for-16 from the floor and 9-for-10 at the foul line for 27 points and added 10 rebounds, one steal and one blocked shot to help the Rams (21-6) to a 50-42 state tournament second round win over Cloud and the Lions at Gov. Mifflin Intermediate School Tuesday night.

Thomas will lead Central Dauphin against Cheltenham in a quarterfinal matchup tonight.

Alyssa Thomas might find enough room to roam in the open floor to score 35 or more points. Cheltenham isn't a walk-the-ball-up-the-floor team, and the tempo could be high octane from the opening tap. Thomas has scored 727 points this season alone. For most players, that's a pretty good career.

Football recruiting

• PressBox contributor Dave Lomonico took an extensive look this week at Maryland's in-state recruiting.

Ron Darby, a speed-burner from nearby Potomac High, received a verbal offer from Maryland before his sophomore year. Owings Mills junior offensive tackle Donovan Smith already has multiple Division I offers, but Maryland was one of the first schools on board.

"Sooner or later I’ll have to narrow down my favorites list," Smith said. "But Maryland will be there until the end because they offered me before these other schools."

• Ballou (D.C.) lineman Jamar Lewter visited College Park earlier this month.

“The only school I visited was Maryland a few weeks ago for the Duke game,” he said. “It was good. This time I attended a basketball game and it was just like the football game, even a little bit more hyped since they beat Duke.

• Red Lion, Pa., lineman Andrew Zeller has picked up an offer from the Terps.

“Duke offered me on Friday and then Maryland offered on Monday,” Zeller said on Thursday afternoon. “I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from schools. I’ve heard from UConn, and I’ve actually visited there. I’ve heard from Georgia Tech, Illinois, Oregon, Michigan State, Vanderbilt and Temple.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:52 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

March 18, 2010

Season recap: Laurin Mincy

After tearing her ACL and meniscus in September, Laurin Mincy was resigned to the fact that she would spend her entire senior season at University High in Newark, N.J., relegated to the bench in street clothes.

Mincy, however, wasn’t satisfied with that grim prognosis. The Maryland-bound shooting guard powered through the rehabilitation process and rejoined the active roster midway through the season.

“She had a big, big smile on her face,” University coach Felicia Oliver said of Mincy’s first game back. “Her eyes lit up. She was just so happy and she was having fun. ... I was going to support Laurin whether she played or she didn’t play. My take on it is, I do what makes my players happy. I just support them in any possible endeavor that they would want to do. It wasn’t that our season was based on that. It was just that Laurin was ready to play.”

Oliver says Mincy, a 5-foot-11 senior, is doing well and her leg is back to full strength. Still, the McDonald’s All-American -- who scored 1,843 points in her previous three varsity seasons -- wasn’t completely ready to pick up where she left off. Mincy played the setup role this season for Oliver’s University squad, which finished 18-11 and made it to the championship game of the North Jersey Section 2 Group 1 tournament.

“We didn’t look for her to score. She was a passer and [we relied on her for] just setting up things,” Oliver said. “Anytime she steps on the court, anytime you call her number to go out there, she’s a player and she’s always ready to go. So there was nothing tentative about her as a player.”

Even before she made her unexpected return to the court, Mincy was making contributions to University. Oliver said Mincy never missed a practice and looked right at home on the sidelines, instructing her teammates and pumping the team up.

“She was always at practice and motivated [our team] on the sidelines,” Oliver said. “She would demonstrate drills and just come in with a lot of enthusiasm. She sat on the bench and was the team’s biggest supporter. She was like another coach on the sidelines.”

Mincy’s next significant on-court appearance comes March 31 at the McDonald’s Game in Columbus, Ohio. After that, she’ll start preparing for her arrival in College Park. Oliver said the Maryland coaches are counting on Mincy to be a scorer for the Terps from Day 1. After the early return from a serious injury, Oliver said Mincy will be able to handle anything that comes her way in college.

“Well for Laurin, she’s a competitor. I think [coming back early from the injury] shows that she has good, sound character and she’s tough,” Oliver said. “She dealt with her adversity and she overcame it. A lot of times, how far you go in life is based on how well you deal with adversity and the trials and tribulations. I think she overcame that and she’ll be more mentally prepared when she goes down to the University of Maryland. She won’t have to deal with wondering if she’ll get through it, because all of that has been put to rest.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:07 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Season recaps
        

March 17, 2010

Three future Terps to play in D.C. All-Star game

Pe’shon Howard, Mychal Parker and Terrell Stoglin will give local Terps fans a glimpse of the future April 15.

The three Maryland-bound seniors have signed on to play for the U.S. All-Stars in the 37th annual Capital Classic at American University in Washington. The D.C. roster will be announced March 23, but Josh Barr made an educated guess on the team members in today’s Washington Post.

Howard, a 6-foot-2, 200-pound combo guard, averages 13 points and six assists for Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. He’ll lead the third-seeded Warriors in the ESPN RISE National High School Invitational on April 1-3. The tournament will be held at Coppin State’s Physical Education Complex.

Parker averaged 21.6 points and 7.2 rebounds this season for the Miller School, helping the Mavericks to the Virginia Independent Schools Division I semifinals. Parker, a 6-foot-7, 195-pound small forward, is the highest-ranked Maryland commitment. He’s a four-star prospect according to Rivals.com.

Stoglin, Maryland’s first commitment of the 2010 class, led Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to the Arizona 4A-II state championship earlier this month. The 6-foot-1, 180-pound point guard averaged 29.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals as a senior.

Click here for more information on the Capital Classic.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:01 AM | | Comments (9)
        

March 16, 2010

City's title team has many DI prospects

The City boys basketball team may not have entered the 2009-10 season with the most hype of any Baltimore-area team. jordan-latham-city.jpg

But on Saturday, the Knights became Baltimore’s only repeat champion. No. 1 City defended its Class 2A state title with a 56-45 win over Gwynn Park at Comcast Center.

“It’s been great,” said City assistant coach Tony Biggers. “I’m getting kind of spoiled. Now I’m kind of expecting it every year.”

Senior center Jordan Latham was an integral part of both City championships. As a junior, Latham was known as a defensive stopper who occasionally stepped up as a scorer. This season, Latham maintained his defensive intensity while also developing into one of City’s go-to offensive threats. The Xavier-bound big man averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“We really counted on him this year to up his scoring,” Biggers said. “He was very huge for us throughout his whole career. He set the tone on the court. He accepted his leadership role and he got us two state titles.”

Latham will join a Xavier squad next year that’s readying for its fifth straight NCAA tournament appearance. The sixth-seeded Musketeers face 11th-seeded Minnesota on Friday in Milwaukee. Biggers said the Xavier coaches are counting on contributions from Latham next season.

“They have very big hopes for him next year,” Biggers said. “At the next level, you’ve got to put the work in. He actually came to me [Monday] and said, ‘Coach, can we get in the gym and do some skill work?’ So he wants to get better. Each year he progresses, so the sky’s the limit for him.”

City’s leading scorer for the year was junior shooting guard Nick Faust, a 6-foot-4½ transfer student from John Carroll. Faust averaged 20 points per game, including a team-high 19 in the Knights’ championship game win.

“When he first got here early in the year, he was a little impatient and shot selection was a big factor,” Biggers said. “Once he understood his shot selection, man, he was tremendous. He really started to blossom this year. He came in and had played with some of our guys in AAU. He fit in well. He put the work in shooting, working on his ballhandling and gave a great overall team effort.”

Faust will suit up for Nike Baltimore Elite this summer, but several college programs have already started to notice his play. Biggers said Faust is receiving plenty of high- and mid-major interest.

“Penn State, Oregon State, South Florida, Towson, Delaware, UNLV, I think Florida State took a look at him, [and] St. Joseph’s,” Biggers said. “Most of those guys have offered, or are heavily considering offering him. The scary part is what you see now and what you like is going to be even better next year. He’s going to get stronger, he’s going to get quicker and Nick’s going to be real good.”

Faust will return next season for the Knights, along with classmates Mike Cheatham, Rashaun Rasheed and Charles Tapper -- all Division I prospects, according to Biggers. City also adds another John Carroll transfer in junior combo guard Lionel Greene. Needless to say, City will have high expectations again next year.

“It feels tremendous,” Biggers said. “I think we’re getting it too good. It’s spoiling me now, because I know we may not be done. We have a great team coming back and a great class coming in. It’s possibly going to be the next wave of champions.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Jordan Latham dunking over Patterson's Tyrell Addison by Kenneth K. Lam / Feb. 2, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:35 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 15, 2010

Weekend wrap – All-Terp matchup

Natasha Cloud and Alyssa Thomas will be Maryland teammates next season. On Tuesday, however, the two future Terps will be opponents.

Cloud guided Cardinal O'Hara (Pa.) to a gritty 33-23 win over Dowingtown East on Friday.

“After that first half, I had to talk to them in the huddle,” said Cloud, who had 10 points (after shooting 0-for-7 in the first half), four rebounds, one assist and one steal. “I told them we had 16 minutes left and I didn’t want anyone to leave this gym unless they had left everything they could out there.”

Cloud's Cardinal O'Hara squad will meet Thomas' Central Dauphin team in the second round of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA tournament Tuesday. Thomas scored 18 points and assisted on the game-winning 3-pointer in the Rams' 37-36 win over North Penn.

"We knew we weren't losing this game," Thomas said. "Our defensive intensity was high the whole game. And they started to get careless with the ball at the end, and we took advantage of it."

• WBOC.com posted a summary late last week of how each member of Maryland's 2010 recruiting class has fared this season.

Alyssa Thomas (Central Dauphin H.S., Harrisburg, Pa.) recently became her high school's all-time leading scorer as she led the squad to its second consecutive District title. Thomas has 659 points this season and 2,194 points in her career. She was recently named the 2010 District 3-AAAA Most Valuable Player after her championship game efforts.

• Terps point guard pledge Terrell Stoglin was edged out by Phoenix North guard Daniel Bejarano, an Arizona commitment, for The Arizona Republic's Big Schools (classes 4A-5A) Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

Less than a week after Stoglin helped lead Santa Rita to a two-point win over Gila Region-rival Tucson Amphitheater for his first 4A-II title after three close losses in the final, Bejarano came back with two huge games to lead North to the big-school crown.

• Junior Maryland targets Quinn Cook and Mikael Hopkins powered DeMatha to an 80-70 win over Ballou for the Abe Pollin City Title Game in Washington.

Star guard Quinn Cook scored a game-high 28 points, forward Jerian Grant added 17 and center Mikael Hopkins 13 as DeMatha (30-3) won its fifth City Title in six years.

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

March 12, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Terps junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs came up one game short of a sectional title.

On Thursday, Gibbs' Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) squad dropped a 64-54 game to St. Peter's Prep in the North Non-Public A championship.

Gibbs scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the first three quarters and [John] Caprio contributed nine in that span. That duo would score just seven fourth-quarter points combined.

• UM point guard target Quinn Cook guided DeMatha on Monday to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship.

Cook matched his career high with 30 points and the Stags' other top players also shined as they beat No. 3 Gonzaga by a surprisingly comfortable margin, 71-52, before 4,000 at American University on Monday night.

• Maryland-bound point guard Terrell Stoglin was honored by Arizona's high school basketball coaches earlier this week.

Stoglin, a Maryland commit, was also named the state's 4A-II Player of the Year by the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association. And Santa Rita's Jim Ferguson was that conference's Coach of the Year.

• Adam Zagoria reported this week that Boys & Girls (N.Y.) junior guard Michael Taylor has an offer from Maryland.

Taylor just recently received a scholarship offer from South Carolina and now has offers or interest from Villanova, St. John's, Providence, Pittsburgh, South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia Tech, Maryland and Indiana, according to Boys assistant Elmer Anderson.

• Richmond (Va.) Benedictine small forward Michael Gbinije, who had a Maryland offer, has committed to Duke.

"Duke basketball is like Notre Dame football. A lot of people love it and a lot of people hate it," [Benedictine coach Sean] McAloon said. "But for Michael it began and ended with Coach K. I mean he is the U.S. Olympic coach.

• Terps women's small forward recruit Alyssa Thomas participated in a Q&A with PennLive.com before her Central Dauphin (Pa.) team opens play in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association AAAA tournament tonight.

I loved everything Maryland stood for. They play my style of basketball, the coaches are great, and I fit great with the team. Overall, Maryland is everything I stand for.

• Maryland combo guard commitment Natasha Cloud leads Cardinal O'Hara against Downingtown East tonight in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association AAAA tournament.

“Every team has its ups and downs,” Cloud said. “We seemed to have some of our downs in the most important games of the year. We played well last week, and I think everyone knows they have to go all out if we’re going to be successful as a team (tonight).”

• UM shooting guard signee Laurin Mincy made a surprise appearance in University High's 48-45 loss to New Providence in the North Jersey, Section 2, Group 1 final.

The Maryland-bound Mincy, who has been bothered by an ACL injury, made her first appearance with 2:15 remaining and made an impact, getting a steal and an assist on Shanique Graves' layup to cut New Providence's lead to 44-43 with 1:15 remaining.

• The Charleston (W.Va.) Gazette this week profiled Terps forward pledge Whitney Bays, who has missed her senior season with a knee injury.

"It's hard,'' she said, seated directly across the Civic Center from her former teammates' bench, during Huntington's game against Martinsburg. "I want to play so bad, especially this time of year. But I'm here, supporting. That's all I can do.''

Football recruiting

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr had updates this week on Gonzaga (D.C.) quarterback Kevin Hogan and St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds.

The scholarship offers keep coming in for St. John's defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, who recently added Southern Cal and Ohio State to a list that includes Maryland, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, North Carolina, North Carolina State and East Carolina.

• Newport News, Va., athlete Clifton Richardson has made a commitment to Virginia.

The 6-foot, 195-pound running back/receiver/defensive back has also been offered by Maryland, Miami (Fla.), North Carolina State, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, Louisville and East Carolina.

• Maryland safety signee Matt Robinson's Atholton High basketball team dropped a 64-55 game to Stephen Decatur in the state Class 3A East final.

"(Cedrick Johnson) just took over for them," said Atholton's Matt Robinson, who scored 24 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. "He's quick and when we tried to help on him, other guys hurt us."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:11 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

March 11, 2010

Season recap: Terrell Stoglin

Even before he suited up for Santa Rita's varsity team as a freshman, Terrell Stoglin was no secret to high school basketball followers in Tucson, Ariz.

Stoglin was a middle-school phenom at point guard who many expected to have a special high school career. Just how special, however, would have been difficult to predict.

"He came in as a freshman and it was obvious he was ready for the varsity level," said Santa Rita coach Jim Ferguson. "I wasn't expecting him to have a great year his freshman year. I was expecting that he would have a good year. But he made us very good. Every year he was here, we made it to the state championship game."

For three straight years, Santa Rita came up one game short of a state title. Last month, Stoglin made sure he went out on top in his final high school season. The Maryland-bound senior led the Eagles to the Arizona 4A-II state championship. Along the way, Stoglin broke the Tucson city scoring record, and finished his career as the state's second-leading scorer for big schools behind Atlanta Hawks point guard Mike Bibby. Stoglin averaged 29.4 points, 6.4 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.6 steals as a senior, and shot 54 percent from the floor.

Ferguson's expectations of Stoglin were lofty from the start, but the Eagles' longtime coach did wonder about his point guard's athleticism. Stoglin, however, answered those questions in a hurry.

"I questioned if he would be athletic enough to play at the highest DI level," Ferguson said. "But between his freshman and sophomore year, he went to a personal trainer. To Terrell's credit, he worked really hard to develop his body and get really athletic. And at this point, he's extremely strong and very explosive. I questioned whether he would dunk the basketball. Now he just flies out there. He's just dunking the ball with ease. And I didn't know that he would be able to do that. I would say that he's still not a spectacular athlete. When I talked to the coaches at Maryland, the only reason they say he's not a Top 25 player is because he doesn't have that 'wow' factor. He doesn't wow you with his jumping ability."

Watching Stoglin's record-breaking career unfold has been a mixed blessing for many Tucsonans. On one hand, the community has been extremely supportive of Stoglin's success and is excited to see him become the city's first ACC player. There are others, however, that can't help but wonder how Stoglin would look in an Arizona uniform, and speculate on what might have been.

"There are some people that are really disappointed that U of A didn't really go after him hard. Quite honestly, they didn't with all the coaching turmoil that was going on," Ferguson said. "Reggie Geary at the time was in charge of their recruiting, and I talked to Reggie about Terrell. [I said], 'What's going on with you guys? You haven't really spoken to Terrell much.' Just some token conversations. And he said, 'We're really not convinced about Terrell.' I just about fell out of my chair and said OK. And that was kind of it. I shared that with Terrell. But I think a lot of people are upset. People that have seen him play [know] that he can play for UA right now, and I think be their best player. I think he's better than [Arizona senior point guard] Nic Wise right now."

When Sean Miller got the Arizona job last April -- less than a week after Stoglin committed to Maryland -- the former Xavier coach called Ferguson to assess his point guard's situation.

"Miller said he respected Gary Williams. He knew him and he wasn't going to interfere with Terrell going to Maryland," Ferguson said. "But he wanted to let Terrell know that if he had interest in going to the U of A, he would be happy to talk to him. But he would leave it up to Terrell to make the phone call. And Terrell just said, 'No, it's too late. I'm committed to Maryland. I like the coaching staff, and that's where I want to go.' So a lot of people are upset that the U of A didn't get on him very early. But also, he's gotten a lot of positive publicity from people in Tucson. I think the community is going to be very anxious to follow his career and see how he'll do in the ACC."

There will be plenty of playing time available at point guard for Maryland next season with the graduation of Greivis Vasquez. Adrian Bowie will return for his senior season, and the Terps have also received a commitment from Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard Pe'Shon Howard. The Maryland staff, however, has big plans for Stoglin, according to Ferguson.

"I think they expect him to start, and I have no doubt that he can do that. He's ready," Ferguson said. "He's going to have to have a mindset that he needs to play defense and just focus on that. He's got the athleticism and fundamental skill to do it. He's just got to make [that a priority]. Offensively, he's ready. From what the Maryland coaches have told me, and looking at personnel, I think he's going to be the guy running the show for them next year."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:08 AM | | Comments (18)
Categories: Season recaps
        

March 10, 2010

Ex-Arundel hoops star finally has options

Frustration started to set in around this time last year for Auraum Nuiriankh. auraum-nuiriankh.jpg

The Arundel forward had a storybook senior season, leading the Wildcats to a 21-4 record and their first county title since 1995. A Baltimore Sun All-Anne Arundel County first-team selection, Nuiriankh did everything that was asked of him and more. Still, an offer to walk on at the Citadel and a smattering of Division II interest was all he could muster.

"I was still in contact with a couple of schools, and they would say 'We hear great things about you. We'll see how our recruiting goes,'" said Nuiriankh, who was fully qualified academically coming out of high school. "It was really frustrating. Me and my AAU coach just kept calling schools and sending out tape."

When no Division I offers came, the 6-foot-5, 190-pound Nuiriankh decided to delay college for a year by attending prep school. At Charis Prep in Wilson, N.C., Nuiriankh found the right place to improve his game and finally attract the kind of interest he felt he deserved.

"I've got [offers from] Sacred Heart, Iona, Robert Morris, Buffalo -- they haven't officially offered me yet but they're my No. 1 school," Nuiriankh said Tuesday. "Albany, they offered me back in the early signing period. That's it for the offers. Charleston Southern, Tennessee Tech, Albany -- they haven't offered again for the regular signing period -- Maryland-Eastern Shore, Northeastern University, those are the ones that call me consistently."

Nuiriankh has been a fixture in the starting lineup for Charis (33-5) since the beginning. On a team with at least five future Div. I players, Nuiriankh averages about 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists per game. He hopes to lead Charis to the national prep school championship, which kicks off tournament play Thursday.

For Arundel coach Jeff Starr, seeing Nuiriankh finally receive recognition from colleges is overdue, but extremely rewarding.

"He played forward and center for us, and he's been playing shooting guard down there," Starr said. "It's a more natural position for him at the next level. ... I'm happy he's getting some looks. He sacrificed a lot of personal stuff for the benefit of our team. So I hope colleges can see that attribute as well as his playing ability."

Nuiriankh has visited Sacred Heart and will take trips to Robert Morris and Buffalo after the conclusion of Charis' season. A decision should come soon after.

While his recruitment wasn't ideal, Nuiriankh now sees the benefits of his year at prep school.

"I would have rather just been a signee straight out of high school," Nuiriankh said. "I definitely felt like I could play. But I'm doing a lot better. I grew an inch, got a lot stronger, have improved my ballhandling and my [overall] game. So I like the decision I made."

Baltimore Sun photo by Doug Kapustin / December 30, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:19 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

March 9, 2010

Mazyck talks Terps commitment

Larry Mazyck, a 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle, had always used size to his advantage on the basketball court. But it wasn't until last fall that he strapped on the pads for a high school football season.

The fact that Maryland offered Mazyck after just one varsity season at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington is certainly noteworthy. But it's a fact that doesn't seem to faze Mazyck.

"It means something, but I still have to work," Mazyck said. "It's like a jumpstart. Basically, it's like I just put one foot forward, but it's motivation to work harder."

Mazyck said he played Pop Warner football when he was younger. His high school career didn't start until last fall for a couple different reasons, most notably because Cesar Chavez High doesn't have a team. Mazyck attends the Washington public charter school and plays for the basketball team. For football, however, the Friendship Collegiate team presented the best opportunity.

Cesar Chavez basketball coach Malcolm Battle and Friendship Collegiate football coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim have both played integral roles in Mazyck's development thus far.

"I give [Abdul-Rahim] all the credit for getting me in shape," Mazyck said. "All the other credit, I have to give to my basketball coach. He's been on me since before I was [a Division I prospect]. He's always been working with me."

Mazyck made his commitment to the Terps six days ago, just hours before witnessing the Maryland basketball team upset Duke at Comcast Center. Mazyck, who averages about eight points and 12 rebounds per game, was excited to see the game. But he was already sold on his future at Maryland.

"I had always had interest in Maryland," Mazyck said. "But what sold me was I got to speak to the coaches and see how it's family with the program. And the school has one of the top business schools, and that's what I want to do if football [doesn't] work out."

Click here for Friendship Collegiate coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim's take on Mazyck's commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:58 PM | | Comments (2)
        

March 8, 2010

Weekend wrap — Parker's team goes down

Mychal Parker's high school career came to an end Friday night.

The Maryland small forward commitment's Miller School squad dropped a 69-51 game to Blue Ridge in the Virginia Independent Schools Division I semifinals.

Parker got into some foul trouble of his own and was blanketed defensively down the stretch. As a result, last year’s tournament MVP failed to score in the second half and finished with eight points, well under his 20-point-plus average. The 6-foot-6 sharp-shooter will be a familiar face in the years to come for ACC fans, as he will play for Gary Williams at Maryland.

• The Arizona Republic's Richard Obert broke down the games of the four best high school seniors in Arizona, including a look at the college potential of Maryland-bound Terrell Stoglin.

Stoglin is a true point guard who is tailor-made for the ACC and Maryland coach Gary Williams' half-court offense. He is a scoring point guard who can hit the 3 and is very good at distributing, much like Steve Blake was when Maryland won the national championship.

• After Montverde (Fla.) Academy forward Haukur Palsson committed to the Terps on Friday, Testudo Times' Ben Broman broke down the Terps' scholarship situation and the remainder of the 2010 class. Click here for the breakdown.

• Terps junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs led Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) to a 65-56 win over Bergen Catholic.

Junior guard Sterling Gibbs scored 33 points for top-seeded Seton Hall Prep to advance to the North Non-Public A semifinals.

• UM junior point guard target Quinn Cook helped DeMatha to a 53-47 win over St. John's (D.C.) in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference semifinals.

Cook led DeMatha with 13 points. St. John's guard Chris Martin had a game-high 20 points.

• The Oregon Schools Activities Association denied Terrence Ross' hardship waiver for eligibility, effectively ending the former Maryland shooting guard commitment's high school career.

Ross, The Oregonian 2008 Class 5A Player of the Year as a sophomore at Jefferson, recently transferred back to the North Portland school after spending his junior year and the first half of his senior year at Montrose Christian in Rockville, Md.

• Maryland women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas guided Central Dauphin to a 51-38 win over Harrisburg for the Pennsylvania District AAAA championship.

Alyssa Thomas led the Rams, finishing with a double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds.

• UM center recruit Alicia DeVaughn helped the Broward All-Stars to a 55-45 win over the Miami-Dade All-Stars in the South Florida All-Star Classic.

Kianna Conner of Dillard added 15 points and Alicia DeVaughn of Ely had 13 points for Broward.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:35 AM | | Comments (4)
        

March 7, 2010

DeMatha coach on Morton's UM pledge

Bill McGregor welcomed Delonte Morton into his office last week for a serious one-on-one chat.

The DeMatha coach wanted to discuss the future with his junior running back-linebacker. Morton, a three-star prospect according to Scout.com, was preparing for an unofficial visit to Maryland on Wednesday.

"The day before he committed," McGregor said, "he came and I asked him, 'If you had your druthers, and you could go anywhere you wanted, where would you want to go?' He said, 'Well, there are three places.' One was Maryland, he said two was Pitt and he said the third was Oregon. I said, 'I don't want to burst your bubble, but Oregon's not going to recruit you. They never come this far east. Pitt hasn't offered, but they want to see you and you can go there [this summer]. Right now you do have an offer from Maryland.' And he said, 'Coach, I'm thinking about that. I just may take that.' And then he went to the [Maryland-Duke basketball game] on Wednesday and committed to them."

Morton's pledge to the Terps came hours after Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) offensive tackle Larry Mazyck committed, giving Maryland two significant local prospects to kick off its 2011 recruiting class.

Morton's recruiting story was a little different than that of a typical DeMatha prospect. The spotlight shines brighter on the Stags than probably any other program in the state, making any potential Division I recruit a household name among recruiting followers early in their careers. Morton was on that track before an unexpected setback last summer.

"Actually what happened is he went up to Maryland for a one-day camp last summer and they offered a scholarship based off that one-day camp," McGregor said. "He came into our camp and we were doing just an installation type of drill for the offense. He runs down on a toss sweep and tears his ACL. So he wasn't able to play for us. But he's totally rehabbed, running, sprinting and working out. It was just a really unfortunate accident that happened."

What DeMatha missed in Morton last season was a punishing inside runner; a big, bruising athlete at 6'1, 255 pounds that showed tantalizing potential before that preseason injury.

"They couldn't tackle him in the 9th grade," McGregor said. "As a sophomore, he played for us [on varsity]. He got playing time. Last year, he would have come in and played with our other back, [Iowa-bound] Marcus Coker, and we would have run forever. And he probably would have played inside linebacker or defensive end for us."

In McGregor's opinion, Morton "passes the eyeball" test for either running back or linebacker at the collegiate level. McGregor isn't sure what side of the ball Morton will ultimately settle on in College Park. But he is confident that Morton will make an impact at Maryland one way or another.

"He's just the type of kid that you bring in. You just take him," McGregor said. "If he doesn't make it offensively, you know he can play defensively for you right now. ... Everyone just wanted to make sure he was OK. He didn't go out to other one-day camps. [If he played last year] he would be very, very highly recruited."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:00 PM | | Comments (2)
        

March 5, 2010

Haukur Palsson commits to Maryland

It just so happened that Haukur Palsson's visit to Maryland this week coincided with one of the most memorable games in Comcast Center history.

Palsson, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward from Iceland witnessed the No. 22 Terps’ 79-72 win over No. 4 Duke on Wednesday. Now the Montverde (Fla.) Academy senior will have a chance to create his own set of memories on the Comcast Center court.

“He came back from his visit, we sat down and talked, and he’s now verbally committed to the University of Maryland,” said Montverde (Fla.) Academy coach Kevin Sutton. “He thoroughly enjoyed [the visit]. He was excited to be a part of that atmosphere, but he was also excited to tour the university and meet with the academic people. “

Palsson was supposed to play his senior year of high school at DeMatha, but Stags assistant David Adkins joined Brenda Frese’s Terps staff last summer. Adkins referred Palsson to Sutton, who has coached at Montverde for the past seven years. Palsson decided Montverde -- an international boarding school with more than 40 countries represented among the student body -- was the right place for him. It turned out to be a great fit for both parties.

“He’s very talented and he’s multidimensional,” Sutton said. “He can play outside – he’s shooting 52 percent on 2s and right around 41 percent on 3s. He’s a very good free-throw shooter. He’s averaging 10 points and right around five rebounds, but he’s a very versatile player. Those numbers don’t jump out at you, but we’re a very balanced team with James Bell, who’s going to Villanova, at 18 a game, and Jamail Jones, who’s going to Marquette, averaging 15. So those are pretty good numbers for a kid who’s the sixth man. But he’s very talented -- he also rebounds well for his position. He’ll be a really good player at the University of Maryland.”

Palsson, who picked the Terps over South Florida, is now part of a five-man class for 2010. He joins Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard Pe’Shon Howard, St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey, Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin as future Terps. Sutton thinks Palsson will fit in well with the group and be a perfect fit for Maryland’s system.

“They love his skill set and they love the fact that he’s coming from a program where we’ve been fortunate in seven years to produce many players that have been very successful at the collegiate level,” Sutton said. “I think he’s a player that will do very well playing for Gary Williams because he’s a Gary type of player. He wasn’t on everyone’s recruiting radar, but he’s going to be a very good player for Maryland. He’s a tough-minded kid.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:07 PM | | Comments (28)
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

Mychal Parker is just two wins away from a Virginia Independent Schools Division I title.

The Maryland-bound small forward scored 20 points Wednesday to lead the Miller School to a 68-52 win over Fork Union Military Academy.

Parker, who is headed to Maryland next season, cashed in on two three-point plays and scored 12 of Miller’s 19 points in the third quarter to give the Mavericks some breathing room against a pesky FUMA squad.

“My coach kind of got on me at halftime and told me I needed to step it up. That kind of got in my head and I didn’t want to let my team down so I had to step it up and play my game,” Parker said.

• The Diamondback's Jeremy Schneider checked in with Pe'Shon Howard before the UM combo guard pledge attended the Maryland-Duke game.

Howard is hoping to wear Greivis’s number 21 next year, and wants to take over for Vasquez at the point as well.

• Arizona Daily Star columnist Greg Hansen offered a college comparison this week for Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin.

It is, however, unfortunate that the timing and recent chaos of Arizona's basketball program prevented Stoglin from becoming a Wildcat. How good is he? Once Gary Williams teaches Stoglin to play defense the way it needs to be played in the ACC, Stoglin will be Kyle Fogg with more explosiveness and better ball-handling and jump-shooting abilities.

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr on Friday profiled DeMatha junior point guard Quinn Cook, who has the Terps under consideration.

The number of suitors vying for the 6-foot point guard's skills at the college level seems to be growing, with national powers such as Kentucky, Kansas and North Carolina joining a list that also includes Maryland, Georgetown, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

• Maryland forward target Desmond Hubert had a monster game Wednesday in New Egypt's 58-48 loss to Penns Grove (N.J.).

New Egypt's Desmond Hubert collected his 12th triple-double this season with 20 points, 16 rebounds and 14 blocked shots.

• Terps women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas had the best game of her career in the Pennsylvania state playoffs Monday.

Thomas finished with a career-high 37 points and 12 rebounds to lift eighth-seeded Central Dauphin over No. 5 Reading 73-58 in the District 3-AAAA Tournament semifinals at Giant Center.

Harris' Central Dauphin squad faces Harrisburg tonight in the district finals.

Thomas averaged 25 ppg in the two previous meetings with the Cougars, and is scoring at 29.3 ppg a clip in the district tournament. Sabre Proctor and Jasmine Poole teamed up to score 71 points in the two meetings with CD.

• UM combo guard recruit Natasha Cloud led Cardinal O'Hara to a 58-48 win over Frankford in the Pennsylvania District 12 Class AAAA third-place game.

Natasha Cloud sparked the Lions down the stretch, scoring 13 of her 24 points when O'Hara went on an 18-6 scoring run. The Lions were 10 for 12 from the free-throw line during that stretch.

• Maryland center commitment Alicia DeVaughn was named to the All-Florida Prospects first team.

Football recruiting

• One month after Signing Day for the 2010 class, Maryland landed its first two commitments for 2011. Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) offensive tackle Larry Mazyck pledged to the Terps on Wednesday. Hours later, DeMatha running back Delonte Morton followed suit, according to The Washington Post.

DeMatha Coach Bill McGregor said that Morton, who is 6 feet 1 and 230 pounds, received a scholarship offer based on his performance at Maryland's one-day camp last summer. He played running back and defensive end as a sophomore and could be the Stags' top tailback this fall.

• The Virginian-Pilot offered an update this week on Kempsville (Va.) athlete Travis Hughes, the younger brother of Terps defensive back Trenton Hughes.

The second-team All-Tidewater running back also has offers from Virginia Tech, Maryland, North Carolina, N.C. State, West Virginia, Virginia, Louisville, South Carolina, Clemson, East Carolina, Texas Tech, Oregon, Penn State and Connecticut.

• Maryland is one of many schools that has offered Mallard Creek (N.C.) quarterback Marquise Williams, according to the Fayetteville Observer.

Williams produced more than 2,400 yards passing, 1,000 yards rushing and scored 40 touchdowns as a junior. His offer list is up to 15 and includes East Carolina, Florida, Louisville, LSU, Maryland, N.C. State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Carolina, Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest.

• Jacksonville, Fla., running back Andrew Buie has an early Maryland offer.

RB Andrew Buie (5-10 190) of Jacksonville has the offers piling up including one from USC. His other offers are from Michigan, Iowa State, Ole Miss, North Carolina, Auburn, Maryland, and Louisville.

• South County (Va.) safety Ronny Vandyke has committed to Virginia Tech.

He turned down offers from U.Va., Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Rutgers, Boston College, Maryland and Syracuse.

• Maryland-bound safety Matt Robinson led the Atholton boys basketball team to a 46-41 win over Centennial in the Class 3A East semifinals.

It was Robinson (20 points, 10 rebounds) and fellow senior Connor Cortes (6 points) that ultimately helped the Raiders answer. Atholton coach Jim Albert said that the experience of those two, having started on last year’s state semifinalist squad, was huge in keeping the team composed.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:54 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

March 4, 2010

Cleveland Melvin reopens recruitment

Former Lake Clifton standout Cleveland Melvin has made a change in his college plans. cleveland-melvin.jpg

The 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward committed to UConn in November, but FoxSports.com’s Jeff Goodman reported that Melvin reopened his recruitment today. Melvin’s AAU coach at Cecil Kirk, Anthony Lewis, confirmed the news and said the parting of ways was mutual.

“Basically, he’s just looking to be more of a 3-man,” Lewis said. “So he just wanted to open the process back up and see where everything is going.”

Melvin, who is doing a post-grad year at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., is mainly looking at seven schools.

“Right now it’s Marquette, Pitt, Seton Hall, South Florida, Miami, DePaul and TCU,” Lewis said. “Those are the ones I know of.”

Lewis said Melvin doesn’t want to rush his decision, but also doesn’t want a “long, drawn-out process.” He’ll start making visits after NDP’s season concludes.

“I think [his time at Notre Dame Prep] has been great for him,” Lewis said. “It’s given him the opportunity to develop into a 3-man, not just talk about it. He's gotten the opportunity to do what he wants to do, so I think it’s been great.”

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

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:12 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

D.C. offensive tackle commits to Terps

Just six months ago, Larry Mazyck suited up for his first high school football game.

Now the 6-foot-7, 320-pound offensive tackle will have his college education paid for thanks to the game. Mazyck, a junior at Friendship Collegiate Academy in Washington, committed to Maryland on Wednesday.

“I think he was leaning toward Maryland before [Wednesday’s] junior day,” said Friendship Collegiate coach Aazaar Abdul-Rahim. “He’s a kid that pretty much didn’t want to go too far from home. I think location played a factor more than anything else. And Maryland was his first offer. He’s only played one year of high school football, and his stock will rise through the combine process. But I commend the Maryland coaching staff for putting that offer out, because I’m pretty sure a lot more were going to come.”

Mazyck’s first love was basketball, but after some encouragement from Abdul-Rahim and others, he decided to try football last fall. The potential Mazyck showed as a junior led to him receiving two early scholarship offers and plenty of Division I interest.

“New Mexico and Maryland were his official offers,” Abdul-Rahim said. “Oregon, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Virginia, North Carolina, N.C. State, a lot of them wanted him to come to their camps ... and were pretty much going to offer after that, I think. But the pressure is off him right now.”

Mazyck is an obvious redshirt candidate as a freshman, but Abdul-Rahim said the Maryland staff is excited about his long-term potential. With just one season of football under his belt, it’s safe to expect plenty of improvement in the years to come.

“As far as his size, he’s big enough to play,” Abdul-Rahim said. “He just has to continue to familiarize himself with football and just the mental aspects of the game, because he has all the physical tools. He’s just scratching the surface of his potential. So I really think we’re talking about a kid who, if he plays football in the 9th grade, he’d be a five- or four-star recruit right now. So Maryland is getting a steal.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on Mazyck.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:06 PM | | Comments (4)
        

March 3, 2010

Princeton Day's McKnight has Terps interest

Van Whitfield's Princeton Day Academy squad is 25-5 with the postseason just around the corner.

A major part of the Storm’s success this season is thanks to Eric McKnight, a 6-foot-9, 210-pound senior who left his Raleigh, N.C., home last summer to spend his last year of high school at the Lanham prep school.

“He’s a 4 right now, but he’s got the potential to be a 3-man because he’s so adept at putting the ball on the floor,” Whitfield said. “He can score facing the basket. He has high energy, is skilled offensively and has a freakish 7-foot wingspan. So he blocks a lot of shots.”

Whitfield was tipped off to McKnight by a good friend and AAU coach in North Carolina. McKnight was described to Whitfield as a “completely under-appreciated big” who needed to develop. His development at Princeton Day Academy, Whitfield said, has been significant.

“[He has developed] more than any player I’ve ever coached in one season,” Whitfield said. “I’ve been blessed and fortunate to coach a lot of really talented young men, but he works so hard at it. When he arrived, no one knew who he was. After some really strong, consistent performances against some of the really top talent [in the country], he has kind of emerged as one of the surprise players in the country.”

McKnight, who is ranked the No. 40 power forward in the country by ESPN.com, is receiving interest from a variety of high- and mid-major programs.

“George Washington, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison at the mid-major level [have offered],” Whitfield said. “At the high-major level, the interest is certainly there. Missouri, Memphis, Maryland really likes him a lot, Penn State, Georgetown, Rutgers, Minnesota, California. Anyone who sees him is instantly attracted to him because he is so athletic for that size.”

Whitfield said McKnight would like to sign soon after the spring signing period begins. The Terps haven’t offered a scholarship, but Whitfield said McKnight remains on their radar.

“He’s been out to Maryland games. In fact, I’m almost certain he’ll be at the Duke game [tonight],” Whitfield said. “He was going to do an official visit, but we were supposed to go out of town but now we’re not. I think they would have offered if it was an official. But he really likes Virginia Commonwealth a great deal. He’s developed a real keen respect for their coaching staff. And he likes a lot of the other college teams that have been in touch.”

McKnight isn’t the only PDA player Maryland is tracking. Chris Thomas, a 6-foot-5 point guard from Denver, has emerged as one of the top freshmen in the country.

“He arrived and instantly became one of the best players, regardless of class, in the Washington area,” Whitfield said. “He’s a 6-5 point guard as a freshman with a skill set that you just don’t see for that grade. He has a very advanced skill set and a very advanced knowledge of the game. He’s wise beyond his years on the court and he’s doing real well in school.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:20 PM | | Comments (2)
        

March 2, 2010

Season recap: Alicia DeVaughn

Tommie Butts knew exactly what to expect from Alicia DeVaughn this season.

After her first three years at South Broward (Fla.) High, DeVaughn decided to transfer to Blanche Ely in Pompano Beach for her senior year. Butts couldn't help but notice the 6-foot-4 center during her first three years of high school.

When the Maryland-bound DeVaughn suited up for Butts' Ely squad for the first time last fall, expectations were immediately met.

“I thought she did a wonderful job," Butts said. "She showed tremendous leadership, she gave us extra possessions in ball games. She had 20 points and 32 rebounds in the win over Nova in the district semifinals. Then we came back and beat Dillard for the district championship. Then they came back and beat us for the state regional semifinals. But she did a lot of things for us."

DeVaughn led Ely to a 23-4 record. She averaged 19.5 points, 18.7 rebounds and 8.4 blocks. Opposing defenses always made concerted efforts to limit DeVaughn's effectiveness, but those efforts from the opposition never quite worked out.

“They knew she was the nucleus of our basketball team, and they tried to limit her to different things," Butts said. "They tried to push her away from the basket and force her to be a perimeter player. So Alicia could knock down some 3s and drive to the basket with ball penetration. But the biggest thing with our season was role playing and how our girls stepped up. Alicia was going to bring it every night and going to put up her numbers. It was just a matter of other girls playing their roles."

Butts said DeVaughn was a little timid at first around her new teammates. She was clearly the best player on the court from Day 1, but she felt uncomfortable assuming a leadership role from the start. Butts, however, "kind of forced" that role upon her, and never regretted doing so.

"When the girls lost focus in practice, she would say, ‘Listen, we’ve got a game to play. We’ve got to stay focused and humble.’ After we won the district championship game, she reiterated to the girls, ‘Our job is not finished. We have to go accomplish our goals, one game at a time and work hard in practice.’ She’s just a wonderful leader. ... And [after showing her skills and work ethic], I had a team vote and they all stated that they wanted Alicia to lead us and that’s how she came to be team captain."

DeVaughn's high school career may be over, but she has one very important game left on her schedule before she moves to College Park. DeVaughn will suit up for the East team in the 2010 McDonald's All-American Game on March 31 in Columbus, Ohio.

"It was a tremendous honor to our program and to Alicia," Butts said. "It actually brought morale to our program and really showed how much hard work pays off. Our girls feel very privileged and thrilled to be playing alongside a McDonald’s All-American player."

Butts said he thinks DeVaughn will be able to contribute 8-10 minutes per game for the Terps right away next fall. As the season progresses, Butts expects her to become more comfortable and play more minutes. If DeVaughn displays the same type of leadership and work ethic she did at Ely, Butts thinks the sky's the limit for her.

"She showed leadership, going to the younger players and giving them a belief in winning," Butts said. "She was just a tremendous help on and off the court. I hate to see her leave, but that’s part of life, I guess. I wish her the best up at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:42 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

March 1, 2010

Weekend wrap — Stoglin claims title

Terrell Stoglin ended his high school career on top Saturday.

The Maryland point guard commitment helped Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita to an 86-84 win over top-ranked Amphitheater for the Arizona 4A-II boys basketball title.

"We're state champions," Santa Rita star guard Terrell Stoglin said. "We're state champions. We're state champions. It's a dream, boys. It's a dream."

Stoglin reached double figures despite going up against a particularly stingy Amphi defense.

Shooting guard Dominique Kelley totaled 25 points and power forward Andre Hatchett added 26 as Stoglin was constantly hounded by double teams, finishing with 22 points - nearly eight below his season average.

TucsonCitizen.com named Stoglin its Southern Arizona Player of the Year.

Stoglin scored 90 points against Amphi this year – a 30 point average.

• UM small forward signee Mychal Parker helped the Miller School to a 53-46 win over Liberty Christian.

Brice Kofane and Mychal Parker had 12 points each for Miller (14-6). Hippolyte Tsafack added 10 points.

• Terps combo guard recruit Pe'Shon Howard was Oak Hill's third-leading scorer in the Warriors' 79-65 win over Benedictine (Va.).

Three Warriors besides [Doron] Lamb scored in double figures: Roscoe Smith with 16 points, Pe'Shon Howard with 14 and Juwan Staten with 10.

• Sanford (Del.) junior shooting guard Trevor Cooney committed to Syracuse on Friday.

He chose the Orange over Notre Dame, West Virginia and Maryland, but also held offers from Villanova, Wake Forest, Virginia, Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Delaware.

• Two Maryland targets helped Lee-Huntsville (Ala.) to a 62-48 win over Carver for Alabama's Class 5A championship.

Josh Langford scored 14 points and cousin Devin Langford added 13 for Lee, which won its first state title since 1968.

• Former UM shooting guard pledge Terrence Ross' hardship waiver request to play his senior year at Jefferson High in Portland, Ore., has been denied.

Ross, The Oregonian Class 5A player of the year in 2008 and one of the country’s top unsigned college recruits in the class of 2010, was hoping to join No. 1 Jefferson in time for the state playoffs. The Democrats (21-3) are the two-time defending state champions in Class 5A and will enter next week’s OSAA playoffs as the 5A PIL No. 1 seed.

• Maryland women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas came up big for Central Dauphin in its 50-41 win over Red Lion in the Pennsylvania District 3-AAAA quarterfinals Saturday.

“We definitely kept our composure, played smart and worked the ball inside. Everyone played well,” said Rams’ senior Alyssa Thomas, who led all scorers with 21 points and also had 11 boards.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:26 AM | | Comments (8)
        
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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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Maryland's 2012 football commitments
Maryland's 2011 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
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