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April 30, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

The past week saw the Maryland men's basketball program land its first commitment of the 2011 class, and several senior big men with varying degrees of Terps interest go elsewhere.

On Tuesday night, Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs pledged to the Terps.

"Sterling came into my office and started talking about Maryland, asking what I thought about it," [Seton Hall Prep coach Bob] Farrell said. "My exact words were, 'Go home, talk it over with your parents and if you want to go public with it, let me know."’

Click here and here for more on Gibbs' commitment.

• Terps power forward target C.J. Leslie on Wednesday committed to North Carolina State.

"It's the best pickup Sidney Lowe has had," [recruiting analyst Bob] Gibbons said. "He's the most highly rated recruit that Sidney has gotten at N.C. State. He's so versatile. He's an immediate impact guy."

• Huntington (W.Va.) Prep center Gorgui Dieng, a onetime Terps target, has committed to Louisville.

Dieng, who came to the U.S. in October, averaged 15 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots during the season at Huntington (W. Va.) Prep School. He was named MVP of last month's Kentucky Derby Festival Classic.

• Princeton Day Academy forward Eric McKnight, who drew some Maryland interest, has signed with Iowa State.

McKnight, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward, averaged 11.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 4.6 blocked shots per game last season at Princeton Day Academy in Lanham, Md.

• UM women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas was named a USA Today third-team All-American.

Football recruiting

• The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer wrote this week about junior football prospects leaving the state for college, including wide receivers Marcus Leak and Nigel King to Maryland.

King is regarded as one of the state's top receiver prospects. He also had offers from Colorado, ECU, Louisville, LSU, UNC, N.C. State, South Carolina and West Virginia.

• GatorSports.com has updates on several juniors with Maryland offers, including Trip Thurman, an offensive lineman from Dover, Del.

He recently got the Florida offer he was looking for. He’s still pretty open as far as recruiting, but you have to think Florida made up some major ground with its offer. Boston College, Maryland, Penn State, Clemson and Tennessee are schools to watch.

• Phil Kornblut's weekly recruiting update includes notes on a few Terps targets, including Hillcrest (S.C.) linebacker Mike Rose.

[He] has been offered by N.C. State and Maryland and is looking for one soon from Michigan State. Clemson, USC, Alabama and Georgia have shown interest. Rose has visited Clemson and USC and plans to take some out-of-state visits later in the spring. Last season, Rose had 116 tackles, 16 for loss, and 10 sacks.

• Pittsburgh (Pa.) Woodland Hills defensive end Quinton Jefferson recently took a trip to College Park.

“It was the second time I had been to Maryland. Their campus is just as beautiful and their spring game went well. I talked to the coaches again. They’re nice.”

• DeMatha cornerback Jordan Lomax has committed to Virginia, picking the Cavaliers over offers from Maryland, Louisville, New Mexico and Stanford.

Last season, he had 30 tackles, one interception and four pass breakups. On April 15, he took a visit to U.Va., which has had safeties coach and special teams coordinator Anthony Poindexter in charge of recruiting Lomax. Feb. 2 will be the first day recruits can sign a letter of intent.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:42 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

April 29, 2010

Lake Clifton's Josh Selby takes No. 1 ranking

Josh Selby has spent most of the school year as Rivals.com's No. 4 player in the class of 2010, but the Lake Clifton combo guard will graduate high school on top. selby-dunk.jpg

Rivals.com updated its senior rankings today with Selby, who committed to Kansas earlier this month, as its No. 1 overall prospect.

A dynamic playmaker, Selby has the ability to excel at either the shooting guard or point guard position. He can score at all three levels, and no one hits the difficult shot with more consistency than Selby. As a point guard, he has the ability to breakdown defenses and create scoring opportunities for his teammates. On the other side of the ball, he is a high level defender. Combine these attributes with his athleticism and competitiveness and you have the top prospect in the 2010 class.

Other Baltimore seniors cracking the Rivals 150 include former Lake Clifton shooting guard Will Barton (Memphis) at No. 11, ex-Walbrook forward Roscoe Smith (Connecticut) at No. 37, Mount St. Joseph point guard Eric Atkins (Notre Dame) at No. 66, former City forward C.J. Fair (Syracuse) at No. 94, City center Jordan Latham (Xavier) at No. 130 and Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) guard and Randallstown native Brandon Young (DePaul) at No. 146.

Two Maryland-bound seniors also made Rivals' rankings. Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker checks in at No. 60, while Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin is listed at No. 125.

AP photo of Josh Selby by Henny Ray Abrams / March 29

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:18 PM | | Comments (33)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Terps pledge Nigel King could've been a Tiger

If all had gone as originally planned, Nigel King would now be preparing for a college future as an LSU wide receiver.

King, a 6-foot-3, 200-pound junior from Wakefield High in Raleigh, N.C., was all set to end his recruitment four months ago. King visited Baton Rouge for LSU’s regular-season finale against Arkansas, and soon after, he was ready to offer his commitment -- until Tigers wide receivers coach D.J. McCarthy resigned.

“[The commitment] didn’t happen because of the coaching staff change with Coach McCarthy,” King said. “After that, it just fell apart. So I just went and looked at other schools.”

Suddenly, programs like Colorado, East Carolina, Maryland, North Carolina, North Carolina State and South Carolina all had another shot at landing King, one of the Top 250 juniors in the country according to Rivals.com.

The major beneficiary of King’s non-commitment proved to be Maryland. One week ago King -- fresh off a visit to College Park -- pledged to the Terps.

“I mean it’s Maryland. I like where it is,” King said. “The coaching staff is amazing. They stayed with me through the whole recruiting process. When I was getting ready to commit to another school, they stayed with me. I think I have a good chance to come and play early. I liked everything about it and know I can have a good career at Maryland, so that’s a good thing.”

As a junior, King missed six games with a hip injury but still managed to catch 12 touchdown passes and rack up around 900 receiving yards. He helped Wakefield to a 7-5 record and a berth in the North Carolina state playoffs.

Even before his junior season, King was a well-known commodity on the football recruiting circuit. He had shined at several camps and combines, emerging early on as a major BCS-level recruit. LSU was an early favorite, but not everyone around King was sold on it being the best fit.

“Even when he was thinking early on about LSU and the SEC, you could tell there was a problem,” said Charles Johnson, Wakefield’s wide receivers coach. “I think it was all about the name, but it was not a good fit for him. [People thought], ‘Oh my God, LSU offered you a scholarship.’ But you can tell it wouldn’t have been a good choice for him. For the process, I let him find out for himself. I just made sure I walked him through it.”

When Johnson speaks on college football and recruiting, he does so with unquestionable authority. At 6 feet, 200 pounds, Johnson was a big-time recruit who ended up at Colorado and had a standout career for the Buffaloes. The Pittsburgh Steelers selected Johnson with the 17th overall pick in the 1994 NFL draft. From there, he embarked on a nine-year NFL career before moving on to coaching.

King said Johnson never deterred him from attending a school. Rather, he served as a sounding board and pointed out aspects King should look for and prioritize in choosing a program. For Johnson, Maryland always fit that criteria.

“I just looked at the moves they’re making,” Johnson said. “They have a solid foundation. I thought they were trying to build something. I had a nice conversation with [Terps tight ends coach and special teams coordinator Charles] Bankins. It was really nice, no pressure or anything. If Nigel was my son, I would have no problem sending my son to Coach Bankins and the University of Maryland. I know he’ll be taken care of. Forget about the [2-10] record and what has happened. It’s my feeling that Nigel is going to be taken care of. That’s the feeling I’ve got. And I just went with my gut feeling. When there were rumors about him going to LSU, Maryland never wavered. [They said], ‘We’re still here and until he says he’s going there, we’re still recruiting him.’ I just like that they were really open and just patient. That’s what stood out.”

Johnson said King’s strength and size could lead to early playing time. Johnson told King that he’ll undoubtedly make gains in the weight room once he arrives at Maryland, but he’s already in good shape from a strength and conditioning standpoint.

“He’s already strong,” Johnson said. “Going against the typical high school cornerbacks, he’s gonna push them around real easy. He’s very strong at the line and gets off the ball, which is very important. He has a knack for making the big plays. He’s very aggressive around the ball. All you have to do is give him the option. If he’s covered and you throw it at his chest or down low, that shorter guy has an opportunity just as much as Nigel does [to catch it]. But if you throw it in the air, I’ll take my chances with Nigel every day of the week and twice on Sunday that he’s going to come down with it. Plus, he can take a hit. And Nigel can take it to the house. He’s a game changer.”

It’s been a week since King committed to Maryland, and he said it still feels like a relief to have made his choice. While King never planned on prolonging his recruitment into senior year, he is happy that his commitment came in April instead of December.

“I was just glad I waited,” King said. “It was kind of too soon to make a decision. I’m really glad I waited and took a trip up to Maryland, because if I didn’t take that trip, I wouldn’t have felt this way. I’m just glad I waited. ... But it’s good timing and I’m very happy. It’s a good choice and I’m very happy where I am now.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:33 PM | | Comments (4)
        

April 28, 2010

Terps recruit from Bowie has upside, coach says

For Bowie coach Lionel Macklin, watching Jeremiah Hendy develop has been a step-by-step process.

Macklin, who served as the Bulldogs wide receivers coach when Hendy entered high school in the fall of 2007, saw a raw talent with big-time potential. Little by little, Macklin has seen Hendy realize that potential.

“He’s willing to learn anything, but he had a coolness about him and the technique was always there,” Macklin said. “You kind of look for technique [right away], and it was there early. The jumping ability was always there also. You could see right away that he could jump. So now that he’s starting to develop, it’s really showing out.”

Iowa, Maryland, New Mexico and Virginia all saw that ability, with each program offering Hendy a scholarship. Last Saturday after Maryland’s spring game, Hendy returned the favor to the Terps’ staff by offering his commitment. Macklin said Michigan, North Carolina, Texas A&M, UCLA and Wake Forest also expressed interest in the 6-foot-1 ½, 185-pound junior.

Hendy, a three-star prospect and the No. 86 receiver nationally according to Scout.com, plays both ways for the Bulldogs. Macklin thinks he could play offense or defense in college, but the Maryland staff might be leaning toward cornerback.

“I think they want him [on defense],” Macklin said. “But either side will work because I think he’s a great corner – he’s a lockdown corner for sure – and he’s a great receiver, too. I guess when they go to camp, wherever they need him at, they’ll put him there.”

Hendy’s 4.5 speed and impressive jumping ability – he’s a two-time state high-jump champion – was on display throughout Bowie’s 5-5 season. The Bulldogs started last year 0-3, but rallied to finish .500. Hendy played a major role in Bowie’s turnaround, according to Macklin.

“He’s one of those deceptive types of athletes where he turns it on as much as he has to,” Macklin said. “So we played a game against Suitland, they [were] driving the ball and they threw a deep out. It didn’t look like he could get to it, but he reacted, turned his hips, snatched it and took it back like 60 yards. I couldn’t believe he got to the ball and made the catch, all in one motion.”

Macklin, who has coached at Bowie for the past 15 years, starred collegiately at South Dakota State before spending time on the Seattle Seahawks’ practice squad as a wide receiver. Over the past three years, Macklin said he has seen parts of Hendy’s game that will allow him to be successful at the next level.

“I think the sky’s the limit with him," Macklin said. "The key is staying healthy. He’s hungry and he has the work ethic. It’s just about staying healthy and being in the right place at the right time. That’s what [college football] is all about, because everyone is all-everything. ... I think the Maryland coaches are seeing that he’s got a lot of upside.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:07 PM | | Comments (1)
        

April 27, 2010

Maryland's 'the perfect place' for Sterling Gibbs

Sterling Gibbs' introduction to the Maryland basketball program came nearly two years ago when he met Terps assistant coach Chuck Driesell.

Driesell started recruiting Gibbs, a 6-foot, 170-pound point guard from Scotch Plains, N.J., early in his sophomore year at Seton Hall Prep, and the pair immediately formed a strong bond. Gibbs was quickly sold on the Terps’ style of play, which featured elements of his high school team’s system.

On Monday night, player and coach both had good news to share. Gibbs was ready to become Maryland’s first commitment of the 2011 class, while Driesell would be leaving College Park to become The Citadel’s head coach. While Gibbs is coming and Driesell is going, the junior never wavered in his choice.

“That wasn’t really an issue,” Gibbs said. “Coach Driesell just told me I would be in great hands. ... I get along well with Coach [Gary] Williams and I should be alright. But Coach Driesell is a great recruiter, he’s a great coach and he will definitely do well at The Citadel. ... I knew that Maryland was the perfect place for me. At the end of the day, Maryland is what I chose, and I’m definitely happy with my pick.”

After speaking with Driesell, Gibbs called Williams and relayed to him the good news.

“He just said that he feels I can be successful in his offense if I work hard,” Gibbs said. “I should be able to do some good things at Maryland, and it’s definitely the right situation for me. Overall, he was just as excited as I was.”

Gibbs, who averaged 20 points and eight assists for the Pirates as a junior, chose the Terps over offers from Indiana, Florida, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia and Wake Forest. Throughout the process, Gibbs was able to lean on his older brother -- Pittsburgh sophomore Ashton Gibbs -- for advice. Sterling said his older brother, when informed of his commitment, “got so excited and put it [online] first” Monday night. Sterling followed suit soon after, announcing his Maryland pledge on his Facebook page.

Gibbs joined the Seton Hall Prep varsity squad as a freshman, coming off the bench as the sixth man, while Ashton took on the starring role. After Ashton moved on to Pitt, Sterling became Pirates coach Bob Farrell's go-to guy.

“A lot of games that were close ended up going in our favor because he would get fouled down the stretch and make those foul shots,” Farrell said. “But he also is a good shooter from 3-point range so that defenses have to play him honestly. I remember we played a team in a tournament that had scouted him and saw him drive to the basket. So they put at 6-6 kid, a very good Division I player, on him, and I think he had 38 points in that game. He must’ve had six or seven 3s. If you lay off him so he can’t drive, you’re going to have to pay that price, too.”

Gibbs is already familiar with much of Maryland’s roster. He knows two incoming freshmen — Oak Hill (Va.) Academy guard Pe’Shon Howard and St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey — from the AAU circuit. Gibbs played against freshman center Jordan Williams once in high school, and he was hosted by sophomore guard Sean Mosley on a visit to College Park earlier this year.

Mosley will be a senior when Gibbs arrives at Maryland, while Howard and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita’s Terrell Stoglin — both point guards — will be sophomores. For Gibbs, joining a backcourt with so many versatile pieces is “definitely a positive.”

“I think we’ll definitely be able to play together and work together,” he said. “The way the offense is set up, you have to have shooters. I think all three of us are able to knock down the J and get our teammates involved. It definitely should be a good fit. We’re all unselfish, so there’s no going wrong with it. I definitely think it should be a great experience.”

Click here for more on Gibbs' decision from Seton Hall Prep coach Bob Farrell.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:50 PM | | Comments (13)
        

Coach: Sterling Gibbs 'comfortable' with Terps

During Bob Farrell's 33 years as Seton Hall Prep's basketball coach, several highly touted point guards have suited up for the Pirates.

Brevin Knight starred at the West Orange, N.J., high school before heading to Stanford and later embarking on a 12-year NBA career. Brandin Knight followed his older brother’s lead by running the show for Seton Hall Prep and then having a standout collegiate career at Pittsburgh, where he’s now an assistant coach.

Years later came Ashton Gibbs, who left Seton Hall Prep as the school’s all-time leading scorer and earned co-MVP honors as a sophomore at Pitt this season.

For the past three seasons, Sterling Gibbs, a 6-foot, 170-pound junior and Ashton’s younger brother, has stepped right in and added to the Pirates’ illustrious point guard tradition. For Farrell -- who taught Gibbs’ father decades earlier and coached both of his sons in a youth basketball camp -- seeing Sterling succeed was no surprise.

“I think we pretty much knew when he was a young kid [that he could be a Division I player],” Farrell said of Sterling, who committed to Maryland on Monday night. “He was always ahead of kids his own age, with better skills and a better sense of the game. I saw his brother develop in the same way. So it really wasn’t a surprise to me that he has developed that way.”

Gibbs, who picked the Terps over offers from Indiana, Florida, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia and Wake Forest, started his Seton Hall Prep career deferring to Ashton, who was a senior at the time. Still, Gibbs made his mark as a sixth man, showing mature-beyond-his-years poise.

“He was a secondary role player [as a freshman], but he made big plays and made some big shots in big games,” Farrell said. “Other guys on the team were carrying the load, but you could see that as a freshman, he had no fear. It didn’t really matter who we were playing against. If the shot was there, he was going to take it. When sophomore year came to a close, he was going to take it. [As a freshman], he realized it wasn’t his show. ... But it was a very seamless [transition the following year]. He just took over the load and directed us to some great success.”

Gibbs, a three-star prospect and the No. 22 point guard in the country according to Scout.com, guided the Pirates to a 26-3 record, including an undefeated conference slate. He averaged 20 points, eight assists and shot better than 80 percent from the foul line.

“He can do what you need him to do,” Farrell said. “We really only had two scorers that we could depend on -- a senior and obviously Sterling. So he kind of morphed into more of a scorer. He was able to get the ball in the basket easily and draw fouls. A lot of games that were close ended up going in our favor because he would get fouled down the stretch and make those foul shots. But he also is a good shooter from 3-point range, so defenses have to play him honestly. I remember we played a team in a tournament that had scouted him and saw him drive to the basket. So they put at 6-6 kid, a very good Division I player, on him, and I think he had 38 points in that game. He must’ve had six or seven 3s. If you lay off him so he can’t drive, you’re going to have to pay that price, too.”

When Gibbs arrives in College Park in the fall of 2011, he’ll have a chance to compete for playing time immediately. Adrian Bowie will have graduated, leaving Gibbs to battle Pe’Shon Howard and Terrell Stoglin for time.

“He would share minutes as a freshman with those two guys and learn the ropes, pretty much what he did here as a freshman,” Farrell said. “[He’ll] just come off the bench, learn the speed of the game and know what’s involved with the physical aspects of the game in that conference. He certainly will strive to compete for the starting job. But I think he’s realistic enough to know that he’s going to have a learning curve.”

Farrell said he's confident that by Gibbs making an early commitment, any pressure he feels next season will “just melt away.” Farrell, who has a daughter that went to Maryland, said the entire Gibbs family was on board with Sterling’s decision.

“[His parents are] very knowledgeable about the recruiting process, and I know they liked Maryland when Ashton was a senior,” Farrell said. “So when Sterling and I talked [Monday] about Maryland, it kind of triggered back how much they liked Maryland when Ashton was a senior. So I think that probably helped him make the decision. He was very comfortable.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:31 PM | | Comments (3)
        

Reports: Terps land first 2011 hoops recruit

The Maryland men's basketball program has landed its first commitment for the 2011 class.

Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs, according to numerous media reports, committed to Maryland last night. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound junior picked the Terps over offers from Indiana, Florida, Rutgers, Seton Hall, Virginia and Wake Forest.

“They were there the whole time,” Gibbs said. “They were involved since my freshman year. I was the most comfortable at Maryland. Also, Gary Williams is a great coach. He is very fiery and I like that about him.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later today for more on Gibbs' commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:33 AM | | Comments (13)
        

April 26, 2010

Del. OL Evan Mulrooney on his UM commitment

Evan Mulrooney admits there's only a modest amount of size sprinkled throughout his family tree.

At 6 feet 4, 285 pounds, Mulrooney is the biggest in a family that includes his 6-foot-1 father, his "pretty short" mother, and a 6-foot-2 grandmother who, in her prime, was built like "a house."

While Mulrooney, an offensive tackle from the Salesianum School in Wilmington, Del., was the tallest member of his family, he didn't have the weight to match. That changed during his sophomore year, when Mulrooney's football coach informed him that he would move from tight end to defensive tackle. From there, a 65-pound weight gain ensued.

"I stuck to a lot of high-calorie, high-protein [foods]. It was a healthy-fat diet, eating every two hours, [ducking out of] class to eat second period," Mulrooney said. "I was just trying to get bigger and stronger. I was a pretty lean kid before I put that weight on. I didn't put too much fat on, so I was happy about that. I was just a little girly man. I needed to do that."

By adding that weight, Mulrooney transformed himself from a pretty good high school tight end to an impact player on the Salesianum defensive line and a Division I recruit on the offensive line. Maryland and North Carolina State extended scholarship offers, and on Saturday, Mulrooney decided to commit to the Terps.

"They were the first school to offer," Mulrooney said. "From the get go, they said they liked me for my athleticism. They weren't sugarcoating anything. They saw everything they needed to be sold on me. ... Some coaches would say, 'We have doubts about you. Get to campus and we'll check you out some more.' People that weren't sold on me, I think they won't ever be. But Maryland had faith in me the whole time, and I had faith in them. It worked for the best."

Playing left tackle, Mulrooney helped Salesianum to a 10-2 record and the Delaware Division I state championship. The Maryland coaching staff, however, recruited Mulrooney to play center. During his visit to College Park last weekend, one Terps assistant brought him into the coaches' office and pointed out that his name stood alone on their wish list at center for the class of 2011.

"They're just like, 'You have a good shot at contending for the spot when you come.' I don't think I would've got that anywhere else. If I refused that, I would've been dumb. It's just a no-brainer, so I said 'I'll be a Terp.' Then the coaches took me around [introducing me as] the newest Terp. My hand is still kind of sore from shaking hands, but it's cool."

For Mulrooney, there wasn't any temptation to prolong the recruiting process. A self-proclaimed "straight shooter," Mulrooney said he liked the no-nonsense approach of Maryland's staff, particularly offensive line coach Tom Brattan. Once he arrives in College Park next year, Mulrooney said he plans on showing the Terps staff that their faith in him was warranted.

"They can look forward to seeing a manimal out there, a guy that won't give up," Mulrooney said. "I'll do what they want. I'll give them what they want, and I hope that's going to be wins."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:12 PM | | Comments (2)
        

Weekend wrap – Ex-Terps pledge makes decision

Four months ago, Montrose Christian shooting guard Terrence Ross withdrew his commitment to Maryland.

Several weeks later, Ross left the Rockville school and moved back home to Portland, Ore. Now it appears he will stay on the West Coast for college.

“I am going to Washington because of the great relationship I have with the team and coaches. I thought it would be the best choice for me and I would fit in with the team,” Ross told ZAGSBLOG contributor Alex Kline via Facebook.

• The Louisville Courier-Journal reports that Huntington (W.Va.) Prep center Gorgui Dieng is seriously considering the Cardinals, along with several other programs.

The 6-foot-10 Dieng is expected to visit Marquette soon. He's also considering Marshall and Colorado, with Memphis, Michigan, South Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, Virginia and Maryland also showing interest.

• Adam Zagoria reports that Maryland is one of many programs interested in Burlington (N.J.) Life Center Academy forward LaQuinton Ross.

Oklahoma State also flew in to watch Ross. Kentucky, Memphis and Maryland called to express interest. Mississippi State, Baylor and Temple are also involved.

• DeMatha sophomore shooting guard James Robinson has the Terps on his early list of schools.

James Robinson has an offer from Notre Dame to go with interest from Maryland and Georgetown. He did note that it is still extremely early in the process for him.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:56 AM | | Comments (4)
        

April 25, 2010

N.J. linebacker Cole Farrand talks Terps pledge

Victor Paternostro had seen enough and was "madder than hell."

The Pope John XXIII coach watched his Lions limp through a listless first quarter against archrival Sparta (N.J.) last fall. With the Spartans on the move, Paternostro called a timeout.

"Before I got to the huddle, I could hear this voice bellowing, 'We're playing like a bunch of wimps. Let's start doing what we're told and get going.' We turned around and ended up winning the game, 24-14."

Even before Paternostro had made his way to the huddle, he knew exactly which player was leading the Lions' charge. The leader on the field that day -- and throughout Pope John XXIII's 9-2 season -- was linebacker Cole Farrand, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior who committed to Maryland on Thursday.

"He's an outstanding ballplayer and a true leader," Paternostro said. "In this day and age, you don't have the leadership you used to have. He's a kid that's going to be a leader in his actions and what he does day in and day out. ... We had a very young team ... and he really was the go-to guy as far as being the leader on the team. When things would get down, he was the one who really got things going."

Farrand, who also plays tight end, first started hearing from the Maryland staff late in his junior season. Defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo was his primary contact, and Farrand said he forged a quick connection with the "lively and energetic" Terps assistant. When Farrand met Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen, however, he couldn't help but notice a few similarities between him and his current head coach.

"Coach [Paternostro] is the kind of guy who's committed to you," Farrand said. "If you need something, he'll help you. He doesn't let guys fall behind. He tutors students who fall behind in math and he's just a great all-around guy. And he's a legend, the winningest coach in New Jersey history. ... He is like Coach Friedgen. It seems like Coach Friedgen is always with his guys. He knows everything about them and that's what Coach P is like."

With an aunt who lives in Maryland, Farrand said he always had an appreciation for the Terps. Boston College, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and UConn had expressed interest, but a visit to College Park for spring practice a few weekends ago clinched Farrand's commitment to Maryland.

"What really stood out to me was the coaches' interest in me," he said. "That's what I really liked. I was taking a tour with [defensive coordinator Don] Brown, just me and himself, and he was talking about the school and how I could be a Maryland football player, and I just really enjoyed it. [I knew I would commit] after I left. I just really liked the campus and I really enjoyed every coach, to tell you the truth. I really couldn't have anything negative to say about Maryland. It's just positive stuff."

In Farrand, Paternostro said the Terps are getting the "quickest-reading linebacker" he has ever coached in his 43-year career. He expects Farrand to bring strength, intelligence and leadership to Maryland's program.

"Growing up, all I wanted to do was play DI football," Farrand said. "And actually getting into a great school like Maryland, it still hasn't really hit me yet."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:04 PM | | Comments (0)
        

April 23, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's search for another post player in the class of 2010 hit a bit of a snag Thursday.

Gilvydas Biruta, the St. Benedict Prep (N.J.) power forward who listed Maryland as a school of interest after it became clear Rutgers coach Fred Hill would be let go, will remain with the Scarlet Knights.

“I am definitely coming to Rutgers,” Biruta told Jerry Carino of Gannett New Jersey after the story was first reported here. “I’m excited to see who the new coach is.”

“He’s staying at RU,” St. Benedict’s Prep headmaster Father Edwin Leahy added by text.

• CSNWashington.com's Sebastian Salazar checked in with a couple of incoming Terps recruits, including combo guard Pe'Shon Howard.

"I think people are kind of sleeping on us because we are going to be young," said Pe'Shon Howard, a point guard out of Virginia's Oak Hill Academy. "I just want to work hard and make sure we keep up the same success the team had and maybe go further."

• AOL FanHouse's David Steele this week wrote about the Baltimore-Washington's area's penchant for producing top point guards, including DeMatha junior Quinn Cook.

Among his many suitors are North Carolina, Kentucky, Kansas, Georgetown ... and Maryland, an interesting development because of Gary Williams' well-known disdain for engagement in the AAU side of recruiting. (He and Malone, D.C. Assault's president, once had no relationship, but the two have connected within the past year.)

• Scottie Wilbekin, a junior point guard from Gainesville, Fla., and Maryland target, plans to graduate early and enroll at Florida.

Wilbekin's father, Svend, coaches his son and said he still needs to take the SAT and get clearance from the NCAA to sign with the Gators. But both sides are favorable to making the move now, rather than waiting to enroll in the fall of 2011.

• Huntsville (Ala.) Lee small forward Josh Langford -- a cousin and teammate of Terps junior shooting guard target Devin Langford -- has signed with Auburn.

After de-committing from Louisville, Langford at first had Georgia in the lead. Alabama and Ole Miss eventually eased ahead on his list but continued to consider Auburn, Clemson, Marquette, Tulane, UNLV, Georgetown and Illinois.

• Maryland is in the mix for Tanveer Bhullar, a 7-foot-2 freshman, and older brother Sim Bhullar, a 7-foot-4 sophomore, according to BoxOfMess.com.

Sim lists, “West Virginia, Duke, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, Texas A&M, Drexel, LSU and Stanford” as the teams on his list. However, “my favorite would be West Virginia. I really like coach Haun and coach Huggins.” ... Younger brother Tanveer lists West Virginia, as well. In the freshman’s list he has a top four of the Mountaineers, ” Stanford, Pitt, and Maryland.”

Football recruiting

• Maryland landed its eighth commitment of the 2011 recruiting class Thursday when Raleigh (N.C.) Wakefield wide receiver Nigel King pledged to the Terps on an unofficial visit to College Park.

The 6-foot-3, 199-pounder selected the Terrapins over offers from Colorado, East Carolina, Louisville, LSU, North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina and West Virginia.

Check back with Recruiting Report later this weekend for more on King's commitment.

• Carver (Ga.) defensive tackle Gabe Wright -- a former teammate of Terps quarterback Devin Burns -- has narrowed his list of schools to 11.

Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Southern Cal and Tennessee. He told Scout.com’s Chad Simmons, “if there is a team to beat, it would be Auburn.

• Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln defensive lineman Ishaq Williams has plenty of scholarship offers to choose from, according to ESPN.com.

Williams has a host of scholarship offers, including Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Maryland, Miami, Notre Dame, North Carolina State, Oklahoma, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Carolina, Syracuse, Texas Tech, USC and West Virginia. He has visited Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers and Syracuse unofficially and said the coaches at each of those programs had great knowledge of football.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:28 AM | | Comments (9)
        

April 22, 2010

City's Nwankwo headed to the Big East

For City senior Aron Nwankwo, basketball was always an afterthought when it came to his college plans.

Dreams of becoming a doctor overshadowed thoughts of playing college basketball, even though the 6-foot-7, 195-pound Nwankwo possessed a Division I-caliber game. Last weekend, however, Nwankwo found out that he wouldn't have to sacrifice one for the other.

In November, Nwankwo earned a full academic scholarship to Pittsburgh, where he'll pursue his pre-med studies. Then last weekend, he received an unexpected bonus from the Panthers basketball coaches, who offered him a walk-on spot on the team.

"Other colleges were recruiting me [for basketball], but I didn't really like them too much," Nwankwo said. "Academics came first, so once I got a scholarship and knew I'd be going there, I decided to try to contact the basketball office. I knew they probably didn't have a scholarship, so I was checking to see if there was any chance of walking on to the team. If there was a chance of that, then it would make [me going there] 100 percent."

Nwankwo first contacted the Pitt staff in December or January. He maintained contact and eventually passed along game tape. City assistant coach Tony Biggers said a Panthers assistant had also seen Nwankwo at an AAU tournament and was impressed.

Last weekend, Nwankwo traveled to Pittsburgh with the Baltimore Stars for the Pitt Jam Fest AAU tournament. After the last game, he made a quick stop at the Petersen Events Center to chat with the Panthers staff.

"When I went up there, I met the head coach and he basically laid everything out to me," Nwankwo said. "It was a pretty quick meeting. Coach [Jamie] Dixon said he would like me for their open [walk-on] spot on the team. I'd be a 4 man. They were real nice to me, telling me all the ways they can help me out with the academic [support] and everything. Going to Pitt and being a part of the team [is exciting]. It was very enthusiastic."

Nwankwo, who also plays lacrosse at City, helped the Knights to back-to-back Class 2A state basketball championships. On a loaded team, Nwankwo's numbers were nothing to write home about, but Biggers said he always made an impact on the defensive end.

"He was probably our second-best defender in the paint," said Biggers, who also started Xavier-bound center Jordan Latham in the Knights' frontcourt. "He rebounds and blocks shots. He brings a lot of energy. ... To my understanding, [the Pitt coaches] like him on the defensive end. He's definitely a hard worker."

Nwankwo will follow in the footsteps of two other Baltimore natives who played at Pitt: Chase Adams (Mount St. Joseph) and Jermaine Dixon. The Panthers have made nine straight NCAA tournament appearances.

"Basically, it's my dream in athletics," Nwankwo said. "To make it to the tournament would be a crazy experience. I've got the best of both worlds at Pitt. It's one of the top pre-med programs in the country and one of the top basketball programs. It doesn't get much better than that. It's kind of a dream come true."

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

April 21, 2010

Schmidt, Milton among 2011 standouts at Super 60

You may not find a traditional MIAA B conference boys basketball powerhouse program at the Friends School.

But what you will find at the Quaker school in North Baltimore is a legitimate Division I prospect whose stock continues to rise.

Jon Schmidt, a 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward, was one of the B Conference’s top players this year. His standout play during the season carried over to the Maryland Super 60 Showcase at St. Paul’s on Saturday.

“This is kind of like the first [all-star game I’ve played in],” said Schmidt, who scored seven points to help Baltimore to a 72-56 win over Team Maryland. “It was awesome. It was really fun. Good time.”

Schmidt has played with Nike Baltimore Elite for the past three years, so he’s no stranger to tough competition. An unselfish player who does all the little things, Schmidt generally plays the 4 and 5 on the AAU circuit. At Friends, however, Schmidt has the starring role.

“[Junior year] went pretty well,” he said. “I averaged 19 points, 12 or 13 rebounds, four blocks. We won like two conference games. But we made it to the playoffs, due to a technicality with the snow. But it was a good season.”

Schmidt, who wants to eventually go to law school, shouldn’t have any shortage of college options. Several Ivy and Patriot League schools are heavily recruiting him, but he doesn’t have any favorites just yet.

“All of them [stand out], really,” Schmidt said. “I just want to play at an institution that emphasizes academics along with athletics.”

• In the case of James Milton, Detroit’s loss was Baltimore’s gain.

Milton, a 6-foot-6, 217-pound forward, said there was “too much trouble” surrounding him in the Motor City. So last year, Milton made the journey from Michigan to Maryland, moving in with family here and enrolling at Parkville.

On Saturday, Milton led Team Baltimore in scoring with 15 points. The best part of Milton’s game was on display – repeatedly.

“[I had] six dunks,” he said. “That’s my game.”

Milton was a complete unknown before his junior year, but that has changed after he averaged around 17 per game for the Knights. He should become even more of a household name among local basketball followers with a summer spent on Nike Baltimore Elite's roster.

“Somebody gave my name to them,” said Milton, explaining how he caught on with the team. “[I] came up to tryouts.”

Milton’s high-energy game hasn’t caught the attention of any college coaches just yet, but that should change in a hurry this summer. For now, he’s just thankful for the change in scenery.

“[It’s] different for the better,” Milton said.

• Moving from New Jersey to Baltimore was a whole new ballgame for City forward Rashaun Rasheed.

Rasheed played for Atlantic City (N.J.) High as an underclassmen before transferring to City before his junior year. He joined the defending Class 2A state-champion Knights and played an integral in helping them defend the title.

While Rasheed had plenty of success, adjusting to his new team wasn’t always easy.

“It was hard at first,” said Rasheed, who scored four points Saturday. “I had to get used to Baltimore basketball. My conference that I played in before wasn’t that strong. City is a lot of competition and tough basketball. I just had to get used to it and play through.”

Rasheed, who averaged about 10 points per game throughout City’s playoff run, will team with several of his Knights teammates again this summer playing for Nike Baltimore Elite.

“It’s going well,” Rasheed said. “We started off slow, but we’ll get it together by the end of the summer.”

The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Rasheed thinks he’ll play the 3 in college. Several mid-major – and a couple high-major – programs have already been in contact.

“I’ve heard from George Mason, Siena, St. John’s, St. Joe’s, a little bit from Temple, Boston College,” Rasheed said. “I like George Mason and Siena.”

• After starting his high school career at St. Frances and doing a brief stint at Princeton Day Academy, Mike Cheatham finally found the right fit last year.

Cheatham, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound combo guard, transferred to City midway through 10th grade after starting his sophomore year at PDA in Lanham. He sat out the basketball season because of transfer rules, but assumed a starting role for the Knights as a junior.

“I thought we were going to struggle when I first [saw] the team,” Cheatham said. “But as it came along, it started to get better.”

Cheatham said he averaged around 15 points for the Knights, who won a second-straight Class 2A state championship. Thanks to junior year and his AAU play with Nike Baltimore Elite, several schools have taken notice of his game.

“Xavier, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Virginia [have expressed interest],” said Cheatham, who scored five points Saturday.

There’s very little defense played in all-star games or in an AAU setting. Cheatham, however, prides himself on defense first, along with “shooting and dribbling, getting to the rack.”

“I just stick all the top people on each team,” he said. “I don’t mind playing defense. It’s just what I’m good at.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:05 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 20, 2010

Ga. fullback Tyler Cierski talks Terps commitment

Tyler Cierski says he was just a tall, skinny kid when he started working out in the Mill Creek (Ga.) weight room as a seventh grader.

Now a 6-foot, 250-pound junior, Cierski’s early introduction to lifting has clearly paid off. He was moved up to Mill Creek’s varsity squad as a freshman and has been a fixture in the starting lineup at fullback ever since.

“I use my strength a lot,” said Cierski, who squats 575 pounds, power cleans 340 and benches 300. “If I need to, I can juke somebody out. I guess I could gain some weight, but the only thing is I have to keep my speed, which shouldn't be a problem. I'm pretty happy with my weight right now.”

The Maryland coaching staff, evidently, is also pleased with Cierski’s size. The Terps were the first program to offer Cierski a scholarship, and on Sunday night, the Hoschton, Ga. resident and Long Island, N.Y. native became UM’s seventh commitment of the 2011 class.

“It feels good,” Cierski said. “I called Coach [Ralph] Friedgen at 8:30 [Sunday] night. He was happy about it. He welcomed me to the family and accepted my commitment. He was very excited.”

Cierski first emerged as a Division I prospect as a sophomore, rushing for 424 yards and six touchdowns on 75 carries, and catching eight passes for 62 yards.

Cierski suffered a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for much of his junior year, but he still managed to rush for 327 yards and four touchdowns on 82 carries, and catch four passes for 61 yards and one touchdown.

“[The Maryland staff] said they liked the way I can run the ball and the way I can block, but the thing they like most is the way I can catch the ball,” he said. “That's the thing I'll be used for. Despite the injury, I didn't have any dropped balls this season and every catch was over 20 yards.”

Mill Creek coach Shannon Jarvis said Cierski’s size, speed and body control sets him apart from other high school fullbacks. Cierski, who runs a 4.79 40, basically has a ready-made physique for college football.

“We really knew early that he was a strong kid, but when you get him on the field you see just how agile he is,” Jarvis said. “He's been clocked as fast as a 4.7 40. That kind of speed for someone his size and strength is rare. You don't really see it or think about it until he gets on the field, and then he just goes. With his agility, you can just imagine with his size, people just bounce off him. He has tremendous speed. He's not sluggish. He has great feet and cuts. Sometimes we'll run the counter and he runs that very well because of his cutting ability. He does a little bit of everything well.”

Cierski has four cousins who live in Frederick and another two who live in Burtonsville, both of whom are Maryland graduates. While Cierski was familiar with the school, he never expected the Terps to come down to Georgia to recruit him. Jarvis, however, has grown accustomed to Maryland coaches heavily recruiting the Atlanta metropolitan area.

“Maryland's coming in and they signed the kids from Norcross High, D.J. Adams and Max Garcia,” Jarvis said. “They're doing a great job getting kids that have traditionally gone to other schools closer by. They've done a great job coming in, identifying players and getting them. They build relationships pretty quickly. I think Maryland has done as good a job as any.

“The two from Norcross are just fine young men. They're getting early commitments and upholding those commitments. I think the whole staff, they really build a great rapport with the coaches down here in Georgia. The first thing when they started recruiting Tyler, I talked to Coach [Keith] Maloof, the Norcross coach and a good friend of mine, and he just raved about them. That's all I needed to hear. They've done such a good job. They tell it like it is and have opportunities. Maryland's doing a great job.”

Cierski, who was also recruited by Georgia, South Carolina, Princeton, Wake Forest, Duke and Virginia Tech, plans to study kinesiology at Maryland. He hopes to make at least one trip to College Park this summer, and then concentrate on his senior year.

“It's definitely nice [to have made the commitment],” Cierski said. “There's no pressure for my senior season. I can just have some fun.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:58 PM | | Comments (0)
        

April 19, 2010

Cook, Miles among 2012 standouts at Super 60

Every so often, Daquan Cook gets that itch to step on the court. For the past several months, Cook got that feeling more than ever before.

Cook, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound point guard, transferred to Digital Harbor from St. Frances after the first semester. He had hoped to suit up for the Rams at some point during the second semester, but his eligibility wasn’t resolved because of the transfer.

While Cook has already played for Nike Baltimore Elite this spring, Saturday’s Maryland Super 60 Showcase at St. Paul's finally gave him a chance to show local fans what he’s capable of doing on the court.

“[I’m] real crafty,” said Cook, who scored nine points for Team Baltimore. “I can do a lot with the ball, make exciting plays. My passing ability is my best attribute.”

Digital Harbor loses Davon Usher (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) and Justin Jackson to graduation, leaving a starring role to Cook there for the taking.

“My role next year, I’m [going to] have to do a lot,” Cook said. “But we’re bringing in some guys, some big men, some sophomores and freshmen. We’re going to be good next year.”

While Cook hasn’t done much in high school yet, he’s already well known on the AAU circuit. He helped his Nike Baltimore Elite 16-and-under squad to the silver bracket championship at the Boo Williams Invitational in Hampton, Va., earlier this month.

Cook said he’s in no rush when it comes to recruiting, but he’s hearing from plenty of programs -- including one he grew up following closely.

“Maryland, South Florida, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Boston College, a lot of ACC schools,” Cook said. “I liked Maryland growing up. I like Maryland.”

• Glenelg Country forward Isaiah Miles doesn’t waste opportunities to work on his game -- even if it’s in an all-star setting.

“This game actually helped me a lot, working on my dribbling,” said Miles, who scored eight points for Team Maryland on Saturday. “They don’t play as much defense as in regular games ... but I feel good. I had fun.”

Miles, a 6-foot-7 small forward, entered his sophomore season with a decent amount of hype. After averaging 18.5 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks for the Dragons this year, it’s safe to say he lived up to those expectations. Miles has big plans this summer to continue improving his game.

“The main thing is [playing for] Team Melo and working with my body and getting stronger,” Miles said. “Working on my dribbling and my jumper.”

Miles said Maryland, Massachusetts and Xavier have been recruiting him the hardest. He doesn’t have any concrete plans to make college visits this summer, but one trip earlier this year still stands out in his mind.

“The Maryland-Duke game was crazy,” Miles said of the Terps’ regular-season win over the Blue Devils at Comcast Center. “The atmosphere was crazy.”

• For John Crowder, sophomore year was all about making the best out of a less-than-ideal situation.

Crowder, a 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward, showed plenty of potential as a freshman at Towson Catholic and looked forward to leading the Owls to the upper echelon of the Baltimore Catholic League as a sophomore.

When the Archdiocese of Baltimore announced Towson Catholic’s closing last summer, Crowder was forced to look for a new home. His eventual landing spot, Mount Carmel, proved to be an excellent fit.

“Well it [was] good,” said Crowder, who averaged 18 points and 11 rebounds this season. “Obviously I wanted to stay at Towson Catholic, but it was good. I made all-conference as a sophomore.”

On Saturday, Crowder scored two points in the Class of 2012 game and 11 in the 2011 contest. His cousin and guardian, Brodie Crowder, coached him in the first game.

Crowder, who plays AAU ball with Nike Baltimore Elite, is already hearing from several high-major schools.

“I’m getting letters from Maryland, Virginia Tech, Clemson, St. Joseph’s, a bunch of A-10s and ACC schools,” Crowder said. “For me being from Maryland, I liked Maryland growing up and watching Maryland.”

• There’s very little finesse in Charles Tapper’s game. The City sophomore plays with a lot of intensity, welcoming physical contact and delighting in “the dirty stuff.”

“Came out hard, came out strong, played strong,” Tapper said. “I like to do ... the stuff that don’t get noticed.”

On Saturday, it was impossible not to notice Tapper’s play. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound forward was the strongest sophomore on the court, grabbing rebounds and throwing down vicious dunks en route to an 11-point performance.

Tapper’s play Saturday was a continuation of his sophomore-season success, in which he helped City to its second straight Class 2A state championship. He started for the Knights and averaged about 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Tapper, who’s suiting up for Nike Baltimore Elite, is working on his ballhandling and shooting this summer. Cincinnati and West Virginia have already expressed interest. It’s early on in the process, but Tapper knows the style of play he wants in a program.

“I like to play tough and strong,” Tapper said. “That’s my kind of play. Run and gun.”

Other notables: Gilman guard Cyrus Jones showed exceptional quickness and looked the part of a high-major prospect with his 14-point performance for Team Maryland. He’ll have plenty of college options for basketball and football. ... IBE small forward Quentin Judd is a high flyer with definite high-major potential. Judd and freshman Anton Waters should form a potent 1-2 punch for the Warriors in the years to come. ... City guard Lionel Greene will make an immediate impact for the Knights next season. The 6-foot-3 guard sat out after transferring from John Carroll this year, but will be ready to go as a junior. With Greene, Tapper, Nick Faust, Mike Cheatham and Rashaun Rasheed returning, City has serious three-peat potential in Class 2A.

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on the Maryland Super 60 Showcase.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:20 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekend wrap – Biruta waiting for release

Gilvydas Biruta asked to be released from his letter of intent to Rutgers earlier this month.

When the St. Benedict Prep (N.J.) power forward receives that release, he plans on checking out five schools.

“Seton Hall, Maryland, Creighton, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, these are the schools,” he said.

• The stock of Huntington (W.Va.) Prep senior center Gorgui Dieng continues to rise.

At the Double Pump spring tournament in Denver, Rivals.com's Brian Snow said Dieng showed "an excellent feel for the game both offensively and defensively."

Gorgui Dieng listed Louisville, Marquette, Memphis, Michigan, South Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Marshall, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech, Virginia, and Maryland as schools of interest.

• UM junior point guard target Sterling Gibbs told the Louisville Courier-Journal that he plans to visit Indiana.

“I really want to take a look at Indiana.”

Gibbs, who averaged 23 points and seven assists as a junior, also is looking at Florida, Maryland, Wake Forest, Rutgers, Seton Hall and Pittsburgh.

• Maryland junior center target Desmond Hubert was one of FlagrantFouls.com's Day 2 standouts at the Pitt Jam Fest.

Desmond started his game vs. YAACE silver by blocking 4 shots in 6 possessions. He has great timing and blocked shots with both hands. Desmond is long, athletic, and played really aggressive today. While he needs to develop his back to the basket game, he's a wiry kid with a boat load of upside.

• Terps women's basketball commitment Whitney Bays has been invited to try out for the U.S. 18-and-under team.

Bays, who is headed to the University of Maryland in the fall, confirmed the invitation by Team USA and said that she will likely be cleared to play after tearing her anterior cruciate ligament during AAU last July.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:02 PM | | Comments (6)
        

April 18, 2010

Aquille Carr headlines 2013 Super 60 game

The smallest player drew the biggest crowd reaction by far Saturday at the inaugural Maryland Super 60 Showcase at St. Paul’s. aquille-carr.jpg

With about 1:45 remaining in the Class of 2013 game, Patterson point guard Aquille Carr drove down the right side of the court, facing blanket coverage from a Team Maryland defender the whole way. After dribbling one step inside the 3-point line, the 5-foot-6 Carr crossed over once, twice, faked forward, pulled back and buried an 18-footer as his opponent literally fell to the floor after biting on Carr’s fake.

“Un-uh. Nope. That’s it,” said a Team Maryland assistant who rose from the bench, walked to the scorer’s table and called the game with less than 1:30 remaining. As the crowd erupted, Carr just smiled, having finished with 12 points to lead Baltimore to a 55-34 win. Once he pulled back and let the jumper fly, Carr said he knew it would fall.

“[The defender] was playing me hard the whole game, like he was trying to get a point across. But I wasn’t even trying to go hard until the fourth quarter. So I was letting him get all his talk in the third and second. Then I just killed him,” Carr said with a laugh.

It’s been that kind of year for Carr, who immediately became one of Baltimore’s best players in his freshman season at Patterson. Carr averaged 25.5 points, eight assists and 5.3 steals, earning Baltimore Sun All-Metro honors. Life in the spotlight is something he has come to relish.

“[The best part is] when people come up to you and ask you, ‘Is you Aquille Carr?’ and ‘Can you dunk?’”

The answer to the second question is always an emphatic “yes.” He had two breakaway opportunities Saturday but brought it too strong on both, with the ball ricocheting off the back of the rim. Elevation is not a problem for Carr, as evidenced by his jaw-dropping slam against City’s Nick Faust -- arguably the top-ranked junior in Baltimore -- during a regular-season game.

This summer, Carr will team with Faust in Nike Baltimore Elite’s backcourt for the 17-and-under age group. It’s a lot of exposure for a freshman, and several high-major programs have already taken notice. Carr said he has heard from Kentucky, Memphis, Wake Forest, Delaware and Arkansas.

“It’s kind of a lot of pressure,” Carr said, “but I just keep moving.”

• When Warren Powers Jr. takes the floor, it’s hard not to wonder how the 6-foot-4 ½, 210-pound forward would fare on the football field.

After all, Powers is the son of the former Maryland football player of the same name. When the younger Powers was choosing a high school, his father had a few simple words of advice -- none of which involved him playing football.

“He kind of just wanted me to go with my heart,” said Powers, who scored eight points Saturday for Team Baltimore. “Whatever I wanted to do, he just told me to go hard and do what I wanted to do.”

Powers’ choice was to play basketball at Glenelg Country, an academically rigorous school 25 minutes away from his Finksburg home. GCS, which doesn’t have a football program, allowed Powers to showcase his game immediately.

Powers claimed a spot in the starting lineup from Day 1, averaging 14 points and six rebounds for the Dragons, who finished in the MIAA B Conference’s final four. Several high-major schools have already noticed his game, including Maryland, which Powers calls his “dream school.”

“I talked to [Maryland assistant] coach Rob [Ehsan],” Powers said. “He came to watch [Glenelg Country sophomore] Isaiah Miles and I. We practice together. He came to watch our practice and he said he’d keep an eye on me for the next few years.”

Xavier, Virginia Tech and Richmond are also keeping tabs on Powers, who’s playing for Team Melo this summer. Powers said he’ll probably play the 3 in college, unless he outgrows the position -- a distinct possibility with a father who’s 6-7.

“I hope I pass him,” Powers said. “A couple more inches.”

• For the past two summers, Powers has teamed with Anton Waters in Team Melo’s frontcourt. The pair was together again Saturday, with Waters delivering one of the most eye-opening performances of the afternoon.

Waters, a freshman at the Institute of Business and Entrepreneurship (formerly Walbrook), scored 10 points with an impressive array of post moves and dunks.

“I felt good,” Waters said. “I just wish the game was a little more live.”

Waters, 6-5, 183 pounds, said he doesn’t watch much college basketball and hasn’t given much thought to recruiting. Expect that to change sooner rather than later, especially if he keeps playing as well as he did this past season.

“My freshman year was a good experience because I was a freshman playing varsity,” Waters said. “And I was in the starting five averaging a double-double. So yeah, it felt good.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later this week for more on the Maryland Super 60 Showcase.

Baltimore Sun photo of Aquille Carr by Kim Hairston / Dec. 22, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:34 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 17, 2010

Lake Clifton's Josh Selby commits to Kansas

For about 45 seconds Saturday night, all eyes at Madison Square Garden in New York were intently focused on Josh Selby. josh-selby-lake-clifton-commits.jpg

After months of rumor, speculation and conjecture, the Lake Clifton combo guard was finally ready to end his recruitment at the Jordan Brand Classic all-star game. Before a nationally televised audience on ESPN2, Selby, at long last, revealed his college destination.

"It's tough," Selby said, "but I'm going to be a Kansas Jayhawk. ... I think that's the best way for me to mature on and off the court and get to the next level."

Selby, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior, selected the Jayhawks over offers from Arizona, Connecticut, Kentucky and Tennessee. At Kansas, Selby will likely be counted on to replace Sherron Collins, a four-year contributor, as the Jayhawks' starting point guard.

"His ability to shoot the basketball and spread the floor is going to give them an extra gear as well," ESPN analyst Jay Williams said after Selby's announcement. "He can attack the basket off the dribble. ... [Kansas shooting guard] Tyshawn Taylor and he might be one of the best backcourts in the Big 12."

Selby, who started his high school career at John Carroll and spent his sophomore and junior seasons at DeMatha, committed to Tennessee in Sept. 2008. Ten months later, Selby reopened his recruitment and immediately became one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.

Playing for Nike Baltimore Elite on the AAU circuit last summer, Selby battled the best point guards in the country on a weekly basis and more than held his own. Rivals.com has rated Selby the No. 4 player in the country and No. 2 point guard, while ESPN.com lists him as the No. 5 player nationally and the No. 3 point guard. Analysts and scouts have praised him for his scoring ability and competitiveness.

"What I like about Josh Selby, regardless of where he goes, he's going to make that team tough," said ESPN analyst Jimmy Dykes during Saturday's broadcast. "This kid competes. He's got some dog in him, in the right way. ... Josh Selby is going to pour himself into the personality of that ballclub, and I love that about this guy."

Selby showcased that toughness as a senior at Lake Clifton, averaging 32 points, seven assists, five rebounds and two steals for the Lakers. He was honored as The Baltimore Sun's All-Metro Player of the Year, and picked up invitations to play in the McDonald's All-American Game -- in which he won the dunk contest last month -- and the Jordan Brand Classic.

Lake Clifton coach Herman Harried said Friday that he expects Selby to have "a great impact" as a freshman. Selby will be surrounded by more talented players, Harried said, and those talented teammates will have to be accounted for by the opposition.

"In high school, opposing defenses played all five on him," Harried said. "At the college level, they won't be able to do that. He's going to have other talented players around him to make plays. They'll be able to trap him and stuff like that, but they won't be able to send the whole bench after him. ... He just possesses a will to win, talent, of course athleticism, and he's a team player."

At Kansas, Selby will play for a program just two years removed from the national title. Playing for Bill Self, Selby said, was a major factor in his decision.

"He kind of reminds me of myself," Selby said of Self. "He's very outgoing. He's a great coach and he gets the job done."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:06 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 16, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

One year ago, local basketball fans were treated to the inaugural I-95 Elite Challenge, a Baltimore vs. Washington all-star event featuring Mychal Parker (Maryland), Will Barton (Memphis), Eric Atkins (Notre Dame), C.J. Fair (Syracuse) and a host of other high-major prospects.

On Saturday, the Maryland Super 60 Showcase will attempt to do the same. The Baltimore vs. Maryland all-star event -- presented by InsideMDSports.com, DTLR and World Fed Apparel -- features three games Saturday afternoon at St. Paul's.

The event tips off at 1 p.m. with the class of 2013 game. For the Baltimore team, two players to watch are Patterson point guard Aquille Carr and Glenelg Country forward Warren Powers Jr. Carr, a 5-foot-7 freshman and Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, is already being recruiting by Maryland. Powers, 6 feet 4, is the son of the former Terps football player of the same name. On the Maryland team, Princeton Day Academy point guard Chris Thomas is the headliner. The 6-foot-5 freshman from Denver could be another future Terps target.

The class of 2012 game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. On the Baltimore squad, Mount Carmel forward John Crowder (6-8) and Digital Harbor guard DaQuan Cook (6-2) are ones to watch for Maryland fans. Cook, according to event organizer Dwayne Wise, is hearing from Maryland, Indiana, Kansas State, Tennessee and Xavier, among others. The Maryland team, meanwhile, features at least two Terps targets in Montrose Christian swingman Justin Anderson (6-6) and Glenelg Country small forward Isaiah Miles (6-7). Gilman forward Ryan Ripken -- son of Cal -- will also suit up for the Maryland squad.

The 2011 game is scheduled to tip off at 4 p.m. A trio of St. Frances juniors (point guard R.J. Williams, shooting guard Sam Cassell Jr., center Greg Lewis), Friends forward Jon Schmidt (6-7) and City forward Rashaun Rasheed (6-5) will headline the Baltimore squad.

Check out CharmCityFinest.com and InsideMDSports.com for more info, and come back to Recruiting Report all weekend for coverage of the event.

• Maryland commitments Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard and Haukur Palsson played in the Capital Classic on Thursday night in Washington. Palsson had three points and four rebounds, while Stoglin and Howard both reached double figures.

Stoglin, a slight lefty, scored the game's first points on a floater in the lane. He made three of his first five shots and finished with 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting -- including three 3-pointers.

Howard, a rugged guard who relishes fancy passes and man-to-man defense, scored 14 points on 6-for-10 shooting and had three assists. He began his scoring with a vicious dunk and also had an impressive assist to a baseline cutter in the first half.

• The Terps could still be in the running for Huntington (W.Va.) Prep center Gorgui Dieng, according to the Charleston Gazette.

But Dieng isn't expected to sign with anybody today. Huntington Prep coach Rob Fulford said he is preparing to play in an AAU tournament in Denver, and will take one official visit to Marquette and one to Maryland or Wake Forest. A decision is expected in perhaps a week and a half.

Mike Rosario, a sophomore shooting guard, has received his release from Rutgers.

Several other schools have also begun calling about the 6-2 Rosario, including Tennessee, Kansas State, Maryland, Kentucky and Oklahoma, according to Jorge Fontan, Rosario’s mentor and the father of USC point guard Jio Fontan.

• Bronx, N.Y., shooting guard Jose Rodriguez, a class of 2011 prospect, has popped up on Maryland’s radar.

Rodriguez made a visit to Maryland the week after the Terps lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. He spent the morning there before tripping into the District, where he visited Georgetown.

At Maryland he met up with [assistant coach Rob] Ehsan, who tried to sell him on being the next Greivis Vasquez. Ehsan took him into the players’ lounge and showed him video of Vasquez’s game in Maryland’s 79-72 win against Duke, in which he had 20 points and five assists.

• Maryland women’s small forward commitment Alyssa Thomas has been invited to try out for USA Basketball’s U-18 women’s team, according to The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.

The official roster won’t be released until mid-May, but according to Rams’ coach Bill Wolfe the 6-1 Maryland recruit was invited to the trials in Colorado Springs.

Football recruiting

• West Virginia wide receiver Deon Long, a former Dunbar (D.C.) standout, told InsideMDSports.com that he would like to transfer to Maryland.

Virginia, Virginia Tech, New Mexico and Arizona are among the schools Long and his former high school coach, Craig Jefferies, have discussed looking into. But Long said he plans to appeal WVU’s exclusion of Maryland in the release; such appeals are usually based on financial hardship.

• ESPN.com’s JC Shurburtt reports that Jamal Abdur-Rahman, a running back from Philadelphia, has Maryland on top.

"I like the coaches [at Maryland]," Abdur-Rahman said. "They've had an interest in me since the beginning of my junior season. That speaks a lot to me.

• Maryland was the first BCS program to offer Darien Bryant, a tight end from Pickerington, Ohio.

“I have been to Maryland before, but it was my first time there in awhile,” Bryant said. “Watching the practice, seeing the way they use their tight end position was really good. I talked to coach [John] Donovan. He showed me their history with Maryland tight ends going to the NFL, and the way they use them in their offense.”

• Phil Kornblut checked in with Good Counsel defensive back Blake Countess this week for an update on his recruitment.

His offers are from Maryland, Notre Dame, Louisville, Wisconsin, Pitt, Cincinnati, Arkansas, Illinois, and West Virginia. Others showing interest include Clemson, USC, North Carolina, LSU, Virginia, Michigan, Oregon, and Oregon State.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:11 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

April 15, 2010

Josh Selby will reveal college choice Saturday

During halftime of the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday at Madison Square Garden, Lake Clifton point guard Josh Selby will announce to the world where he will play college basketball. josh-selby-lake-clifton-basketball.jpg

"I don't know [what school he will choose], to be honest with you," said Maeshon Witherspoon, Selby's mother. "Whatever he does is going to be between him and God. Those are the only ones that know."

Arizona, Connecticut, Kansas, Kentucky and Tennessee are all under consideration. Selby said Thursday that all five programs are on equal footing.

"I don't know where I'm going to go yet," he said. "I'll probably decide by [Friday]. ... All five schools [are in the mix]. I'm just going to go out there and make the pick. It's going to be good to get it over with."

One trait all five programs share is a need at guard. Kentucky will lose freshman John Wall to the NBA, but on Wednesday, the Wildcats secured a commitment from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., point guard Brandon Knight. Knight is Rivals.com's top-ranked player in the 2010 class, but Selby said he's unconcerned with the decisions other players make.

"I'm really not paying attention [to other commitments and departures] because it really [doesn't] have an effect."

The Volunteers were somewhat of a surprise late addition to Selby's final list. Selby, Rivals.com's No. 4 senior in the country, committed to Tennessee in Sept. 2008 before backing out of his pledge last July.

"We've always had a relationship with [Volunteers assistant coach Steve] Forbes. We've always talked to Coach Forbes," Witherspoon said. "Josh knows a lot of the players, especially Tobias Harris and Scotty Hopson. They've been trying to recruit him. He spent time with Tobias Harris at the McDonald's game."

Kansas, meanwhile, has a gaping hole at point guard with the impending graduation of Sherron Collins. Selby has made a few visits to Lawrence already, so there's a definite comfort level there with "the coaching staff and the players," he said.

"[I'm looking for] a coach who can mature me on and off the court, and get me to the next level so I can achieve my goals," Selby said.

Witherspoon has handled all the details of Selby's recruitment from the start. She called the process a "surreal" experience, but is grateful for the attention and opportunities provided to her son.

"It's kind of like just going through every emotion," Witherspoon said. "It hasn't hit yet that he's been invited to participate in these games that most kids dream of playing in."

Baltimore Sun photo of Josh Selby by Kenneth K. Lam / Jan. 19, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:51 AM | | Comments (19)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 14, 2010

Season recap: Haukur Palsson

For better or worse, the end of Haukur Palsson's high school career played out live on national television.

Palsson suited up as the sixth man for top-seeded Montverde (Fla.) Academy -- just as he had all season long -- in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound small forward from Iceland had been one of Montverde's most consistent performers throughout the year, but at Coppin, the Maryland-bound senior was off his game.

"He struggled with his shot," said Montverde coach Kevin Sutton. "Actually, he tinkered with his shot before the tournament, so his shot was a little bit off. So it wasn't representative of his talent at all. Defensively, yes, but from an offensive standpoint, it wasn't at all. He's a skilled basketball player. He's a young man that's going to be a good player for Maryland. He didn't play as well as he's capable of playing."

The Eagles finished the year at 23-4 with a loss to Findlay (Nev.) Prep in the ESPN Rise championship game. Montverde's apperance in the tournament -- held the first weekend in April -- came nearly two months after its last game. Sutton believes that hiatus also contributed to Palsson's quiet tournament.

Regardless of the reasons for Palsson's play, many Terps fans tuned in to watch the games, and subsequently expressed less-than-enthusiastic reviews on message boards.

"I'm not sure [if Palsson paid attention to criticism], but whether good or bad, it's just people writing their opinions," Sutton said. "They're faceless. Gary Williams knows what he's getting and I'm sure those same people were writing messages about some other players Maryland has got. I'm sure they didn't think Greivis Vasquez would turn out to be as good as he was. I'm certain [there were people] thinking he couldn't play at Maryland. But that's just people writing on the message boards. I know Gary Williams well enough to know that he doesn't care about [what people write on message boards], whether it's good or bad."

Palsson finished the year -- his first living in the U.S. -- with averages of 10 points and five rebounds per game. He was the Eagles' best free-throw shooter at 72 percent, and also shot 51 percent from two-point range and 39 percent from beyond the arc. While Palsson's numbers may appear underwhelming at first glance, Sutton cautions observers to remember that playing for Montverde is much different than playing for a local public school.

"We have a very talented team, yes, and Hawk is one of the talented players. It's more like playing at a college. It's preparing for college rather than [playing for] an all-star team," Sutton said. "Every day he's going up against James Bell, a Parade All-American who's going to Villanova, he's going up against Jamail Jones, who's going to Marquette, and every day he's going up against Papa Samba Ndao, who's going to Boston College. Practicing against high-level players daily enables him to be a high-level player himself. Playing for us prepares him for the next level, physically, socially and academically. If he was playing at a public school, I think obviously he would score a lot more points, but I'm not sure he would be as prepared."

The Maryland staff has told Sutton they expect Palsson to come in, play tough defense and knock down long-range shots. He'll have another chance to play in front of local fans Thursday when he suits up for the U.S. All-Stars in the Capital Classic at American University in Washington.

Sutton hasn't known Palsson very long. It was less than a year ago that former DeMatha assistant and current Maryland women's assistant David Adkins recommended Palsson to Sutton. But the two have grown close over the past several months, and Sutton can't wait to see Palsson start his career in College Park.

"I will miss him as a person, first, because he's a quality young man," Sutton said. "I'll miss his competitive sprit as a basketball player. He brought a lot of things to our team that made us a complete team. We wouldn't have had this good a season if he hadn't come to our program. In general, I'll just miss Hawk period. He combines the three things I look for in a student-athlete. No. 1, being serious about his academics, which he is. Hawk's an honor-roll student. He's also a young man who's a good role model and has high character. And then I want passionate basketball players, and he was. He's a passionate basketball player. He exemplifies everything I want in a student-athlete to come out of Montverde. So I'm just going to miss him period."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:47 AM | | Comments (16)
Categories: Season recaps
        

April 13, 2010

Fla. DB Allen Ramsey talks UM pledge

For Dillard (Fla.) defensive back Allen Ramsey, two minutes of highlight film ended up deciding his college future.

Ramsey, a 6-foot, 176-pound junior cornerback, participated in a 7-on-7 all-star tournament in Tampa, Fla., earlier this year. Highlights of his play -- a two-minute clip -- surfaced on SoFlaFootball.com. According to Ramsey, a Maryland football staff member discovered the film, showed it to other coaches and then arrived at a consensus that he was worthy of an offer. On a visit to College Park last weekend, Ramsey thanked the coaches for their faith in him and offered his commitment before returning home to Florida.

"It feels good," Ramsey said. "It's sunk in and I really felt a connection with the players and the coaches and I really liked the campus. ... It means a lot because they've offered other cornerbacks, but they've only seen two minutes of my highlights, so they really want me to play for them. I didn't want to wait on nothing else. They made a commitment to me, so I made my commitment to them."

Ole Miss, South Florida and Western Kentucky were also recruiting Ramsey, but the Terps were the first program to offer a scholarship. Ramsey and Dillard coach Manny Martin were in the process of putting together a highlight tape to send to colleges, and he still plans on sending the finished product to Maryland. While that tape surely would have garnered more interest and offers, Ramsey said there was no temptation to extend the recruiting process any longer.

"One of my teammate's, Wayne Lyons, he has 41 offers. So to me, that's like 41 headaches," Ramsey said. "It's going to be a tough time picking a school for him. They were the first to offer me and that's a plus for me and them. So I'm going to their school and I'm looking forward to playing."

Martin first met Ramsey last spring when he took over as head coach at Dillard. After starring at Central High in Miami and collegiately at Alabama State, Martin moved on to the NFL, where he spent five seasons with the Buffalo Bills and two with the Houston Oilers. A three-year stint in the CFL followed before he moved back to Florida and got involved with coaching. He immediately liked what he saw of Ramsey.

"I had to learn my team as we had to go, and that really came along in spring of last year," Martin said. "[Ramsey] showed some big things then. It was in our kickoff classic last year that he took an interception back 109 yards. I wanted him to take a knee so we could get the ball on the 20, and he just came out and took it all the way back. I was impressed with him."

Martin said Ramsey isn't he fastest corner in the 2011 class, but he makes plays and has a noticeable competitive streak -- two attributes that impressed the Maryland staff.

"I'm not going to say Ramsey's a burner. He's more fast than he is quick," Martin said. "He ran track and got clocked in the high 21s in the 200. That's what he runs. He's a strider. ... I think they're impressed with his size and for him to be that tall and cover the way he does. He's a cover guy. He's a guy that actually makes plays. I think that he's what they're looking for in a playmaker."

Ramsey said he wasn't that familiar with the Maryland football program before the initial contact was made, but he followed the basketball team's run to a co-ACC regular-season championship and started doing research on the school shortly thereafter. Needless to say he liked what he discovered. Now Ramsey's ready to go back to work, happy to be done with recruiting and grateful that the Terps' staff believed in him.

"[Maryland defensive coordinator Don] Brown told me I was a diamond in the rough," Ramsey said. "Nobody really knows about me or anything like that. They want to keep it that way. But I committed to Maryland. [Even if] everyone comes after me, I'm not going to go back on my word. Me and Coach [Ralph] Friedgen made an agreement. I don't plan to go to any school other than Maryland for my four years of college ball."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:19 PM | | Comments (3)
        

April 12, 2010

Weekend wrap – AAU season tips off

The spring AAU season is officially under way.

Nike's Boo Williams Invitational in Hampton, Va., was the most notable tournament over the weekend. Eric Bossi, a longtime basketball writer and scout, reported on the action all weekend long, including his thoughts on DeMatha power forward and Maryland target Mikael Hopkins.

He's still lacking a bit for strength, but the 2011 big man is progressing quite nicely. He scores around the rim and is a high level rebounder both in and out of his area. Overall his fundamentals are solid (not surprising given he plays for a great coach at DeMatha in Mike Jones) and he plays with purpose.

Bossi was also impressed with Devin Langford, a 6-foot-6 Terps target from Huntsville, Ala.

During the winter, Huntsville's Devin Langford was touted as a 6-foot-6 point guard. When I saw him play, he struggled mightily and looked disinterested. Playing alongside Austin Rivers for Each 1 Teach 1, Langford looked like a high major wing prospect at times. A solid athlete with some versatility, it'd be interesting to see what he would do if he got much more aggressive.

Desmond Hubert, a junior center from New Egypt (N.J.), continues to list Maryland.

Hubert has offers from UConn, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Penn State and Villanova. Georgetown, North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Maryland are also on his list.

• Norcom (Va.) forward Dorian Finney-Smith is on Maryland's radar, according to the Daily Press (Va.).

Virginia Tech, Maryland, Alabama, Cincinnati, Xavier, Marquette and Notre Dame have contacted [Norcom coach Leon] Goolsby and told him they will monitor Finney-Smith this summer.

• Testudo Times has more Boo Williams notes here and here.

Marcus Thornton, a senior forward from Atlanta and former Maryland target, has asked to be released from his letter of intent to Clemson.

Thornton will reportedly also consider Georgia Tech and Georgia.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:15 AM | | Comments (3)
        

April 10, 2010

N.C. wide receiver Marcus Leak talks Terps pledge

When Nelson Rowell took the head coaching job at Parkwood High in Monroe, N.C., three years ago, two players immediately stood out.

Marcus Leak was a versatile freshman wide receiver, and older brother Maurice was a sophomore dual-threat quarterback. Together, the Leak brothers formed a potent pass-catch combo for the first three years of Rowell’s Parkwood tenure.

“They’ve come a long way since then," Rowell said. "Initially, their athleticism jumped out at you. With Marcus, I saw him make ... just incredible catches. You just see him make the catch and go, ‘How did he do that?’ That’s the thing that jumped out at me then. From a physical standpoint, he probably had some [defensive backs] freshman year that were able to bully him a little bit and move him around. That’s not happening anymore.”

These days, Marcus is a 5-foot-11, 195-pound junior who missed four games last fall with a high ankle sprain but still led the conference in receptions and receiving yards. Leak’s standout junior season led to interest from Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina State and South Carolina. After a recent visit to College Park, Leak decided Thursday that Maryland was the best school for him.

“It feels pretty good knowing where I’m going and not having to worry about visiting other schools and things like that,” Leak said. “... I like the campus, how everything is right where you need it. They have a great coaching staff, and they were very nice to me. [They were] telling me how I would be playing early, and how they have academic support that when you go up to school, they get you right into tutoring so that you get ahead in class and don’t have to worry about it. They do that with all the players. I felt right at home, like I’ve been there for a long time.”

Dating back to elementary school, Marcus and Maurice were an inseparable duo on and off the football field. Marcus credits Maurice -- who will play football at the University of Charleston (W.Va.) -- for much of his success as a receiver, as does Rowell. But the Rebels coach is also quick to point out just how much talent the younger Leak possesses.

“He can do it all,” Rowell said. “When there’s a jump ball, he’s going to go up and come down with it, just because his hands are so strong. But he’s got soft hands at the same time, if that makes sense. He’s the kind of kid that if you need four yards, he’s going to get you five. If you need a score, he’ll get the score. He makes people miss, he runs over people, he runs by people. He runs some very good routes and that’s something at the next level that he’ll get even better at when he gets better coaching. He understands what it is that we’re trying to do with each route. He can be a deep threat, a home-run threat. We run a lot of bubble screens and he makes things happen. He’s an athlete that just doesn’t come around every so often.”

Rowell said the Maryland coaching staff plans to spread the ball around and get Leak involved in the offense sooner rather than later. Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen told Rowell that Leak’s “an instinctive player,” while wide receivers coach Lee Hull was impressed with his hips and athleticism. Based on his conversations with the UM coaches, Rowell thinks Leak has a solid chance at coming in and being “productive right away” for the Terps.

For Leak, having an opportunity to contribute early at Maryland is just an added bonus. He went into his visit last week with a million questions, and left with all the answers he needed. There’s no question in Leak's mind that he arrived at the right decision.

“When I came into high school, I didn’t think I would get as much attention as I have,” Leak said. “I thought I’d go to a smaller school and play sports, but I just kept getting better and kept working harder. It’s like a dream come true.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:40 PM | | Comments (5)
        

April 9, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Sagemont (Fla.) small forward Rod Days Jr. has one cousin headed to Georgia Tech to play football and another being recruited by the Yellow Jackets.

Days, a three-star junior basketball prospect, is seriously considering Georgia Tech as well. But the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Maryland is also in the mix.

There is some work left to be done. Georgia Tech is not Rod Days’ only opportunity. As the 12th-ranked small forward in the country (per Scout.com), he has a lot of them. From more than a dozen offers he has narrowed his choices down to five favorites: Georgia Tech, Richmond, Maryland, Michigan and Wake Forest.

• Former Maryland center target Gilvydas Biruta has asked Rutgers for a release from his letter of intent.

We should know more about Gilvydas Biruta’s situation next week after the Fred Hill situation clears up. The 6-8 Biruta lost his high school coach (Dan Hurley) and his prospective future college coach (Hill) in the same week and his future remains up in the air.

• The Washington Post named UM point guard target Quinn Cook its All-Met Player of the Year.

Matched his career-high with 30 points in the WCAC title game victory over No. 3 Gonzaga, then had 28 against Ballou. Averaged 20 points, 5.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds.

• Terps women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas was honored by the Associated Press this week when it selected a Pennsylvania all-state team.

Thomas, a Maryland recruit who scored 777 points and pulled down 409 rebounds, was honored as the Class AAAA Player of the Year.

• Maryland combo guard commitment Natasha Cloud also made the AP's all-state team for Pennsylvania.

Cloud, who is headed to Maryland to play college ball, was a four-year starter for coach Linus McGinty. The 6-0 senior contributed 12.5 points and 5.1 assists a game, but more important was her defense. McGinty could put her on a 6-2 forward or a quick 5-7 point guard and know she could do the job. She was an all-Catholic League first-team selection for the past two seasons.

• Before the McDonald's All-American Game in Columbus, UM shooting guard recruit Laurin Mincy and other game participants visited the Ronald McDonald House of Central Ohio.

“It was an eye-opener for me,” said 6-foot Maryland-bound guard Laurin Mincy (University Academy Charter HS, Jersey City, N.J.). “That made me grateful for my blessings to see some kids not being able to walk or have certain disabilities. It made me feel very grateful.”

Football recruiting

• The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C., checked in with Wake Forest-Rolesville offensive lineman Ryan Doyle, who committed to the Terps last week.

"Maryland is a fantastic school," Doyle said Tuesday morning. "Its architectural school is ranked among the top 25 in the country, and that's what I want to study.

• ESPN.com this week checked in with DeMatha offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, who claims 25 scholarship offers.

"Some of the schools that have already offered are Alabama, FSU, Tennessee, USC, LSU, Cal, Maryland, Pitt, West Virginia, Boston College, Iowa, among others. I don't have any top groups or anything right now. I plan to travel around this summer and see some schools. I have been to Virginia, Maryland and Pitt already."

• Phil Kornblut has notes on several Terps targets, including Tyler Cierski, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound running back from Hoschton, Ga.

[He] has an offer from Maryland and is hearing from USC, Clemson, Georgia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, among others. He says his favorites are USC, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. He was scheduled to visit Maryland over the weekend. Cierski attended junior days at USC and Georgia.

Curtis Grant, a linebacker from Hermitage High in Richmond, Va., could take a trip to College Park this summer.

Grant said he plans to check out at least North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Florida, Clemson and West Virginia when he gets a chance, but he doesn't have any kind of list of favorites yet.

• Maryland safety pledge Matt Robinson was selected to the Howard County Times' All-Howard County boys basketball team.

Named Defensive Player of the Year in football, he finished the winter leading the Raiders' basketball team in five different statistical categories. In fact, his final averages in points (15.0), rebounds (10.2), assists (4.0), steals (3.8) and blocks (1.5) each ranked him among the top nine in the county. He notched a double-double in the Raiders' last six games and led the team to a berth in the 3A East regional final. In three of his final four high school games, he scored at least 20 points.

• Terps offensive guard signee Sal Conaboy and his brothers have been involved with their school's Relay for Life program for the past seven years.

Sal Conaboy, a 19-year-old senior, served as logistics chair for three years, beginning as an eighth grader as a shadow for his brother John, 22. John also held the position for three years.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:32 AM | | Comments (12)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

April 8, 2010

Melvin, Barton had big prep seasons

Four players with Baltimore ties suited up for Notre Dame Prep -- a post-grad basketball program in Fitchburg, Mass. -- this season. Here’s Crusaders coach Ryan Hurd’s take on the four local standouts.

• Former Lake Clifton forward Cleveland Melvin was one of NDP’s headliners, averaging around 13 points on a well-balanced roster. The 6-foot-8, 210-pound fifth-year senior had committed to Connecticut in November, but reopened his recruitment in March.

“I think Cleveland is going to take it slowly and see what’s available,” Hurd said. “The interest level is ACC and Big East schools. It’s just a matter of him making an informed decision. I have no doubt that he’ll be [committed] somewhere soon and it’ll be a high-major school.”

Cecil Kirk coach Anthony Lewis told Recruiting Report last month that Marquette, Pitt, Seton Hall, South Florida, Miami, DePaul and TCU were involved in Melvin’s recruitment. Hurd mentioned two additional programs.

“Duke’s involved now, and Clemson was until [Oliver] Purnell left [to take the DePaul job],” Hurd said.

• Melvin’s former Lakers teammate, Memphis-bound Antonio Barton, ran the point for NDP. Hurd said Barton initially played the setup role and deferred to his new teammates, but eventually felt more comfortable in taking on a scoring role.

“Antonio Barton was a pleasant surprise with his ability to score,” Hurd said. “I knew he was a fantastic player, but he scored a lot better than I anticipated. ... I know he can be a scorer in Conference USA. He went head-to-head with high-major point guards this year and put the ball in the basket. He’s a kid we relied on to do that and he answered the challenge.”

Levi Noel, a 6-foot-5 forward from London who spent his junior year at Towson Catholic, plans to visit Maine next weekend and will have “two or three more visits after that,” Hurd said. Boise State and Kent State are among the many mid-major schools that have expressed interest.

“He ended up starting a lot more games than I thought he would,” Hurd said. “He has a really great feel for the game.”

• The last Crusader with Baltimore ties is Antoine Myers, a 6-foot-2 point guard from Forest Park. Hurd said Myers will be in school until June, but he’ll have plenty of options.

“The highest level we’ve heard from is DePaul,” Hurd said. “Everybody that needs a point guard [from high-majors] to the lowest level [has expressed interest]. His speed is the X-factor with him. That’s what he needs to rely on going forward. We were loaded at guard and he waited his turn and did a great job.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:59 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 7, 2010

One Terp in, one Terp out of Capital Classic

One Maryland-related change has been made to the U.S. roster for 37th annual Capital Classic at American University in Washington on April 15.

Terps small forward pledge Haukur Palsson will take the place of Mychal Parker, who had a scheduling conflict. The 6-foot-6, 215-pound Palsson helped Montverde (Fla.) Academy to a runner-up finish at the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex last weekend.

Two other Maryland commitments -- Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard Pe'Shon Howard and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin -- will join Palsson on the U.S. roster. For more information, visit TheCapitalClassic.com.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:28 PM | | Comments (0)
        

Season recap: Alyssa Thomas

Judging a basketball player by his or her statistics is often a risky proposition. In the case of Alyssa Thomas, however, numbers really do tell an accurate story.

Thomas, the Maryland-bound small forward from Central Dauphin High in Harrisburg, Pa., finished her four-year varsity career as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,291 points. She also recorded 1,390 rebounds, 452 assists and 372 steals over her career, leaving a lasting legacy that Rams coach Bill Wolf will never forget.

"Anytime you have a player of her ability, just the biggest thing I’ve always said about Alyssa is that great players make their teammates better. And that’s going to be the thing I’ll miss most about her," Wolf said. "You have somebody like her on the court that could elevate the play of her teammates. Not only was she a great athlete herself, but she made her teammates better. When you have kids like that, they’re hard to replace."

Four years ago, Thomas stepped right into the Rams' lineup as a wide-eyed freshman. She showed plenty of promise, finishing the year with 278 points, 225 rebounds, 101 assists and 85 steals. As a senior, the 6-foot-1 Thomas had upped those numbers to 777 points, 409 rebounds, 108 assists and 69 steals, good for averages of 24.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 2.2 steals.

"If you take a look at her stats, starting her freshman year and then finishing up her senior year, you just see a continual improvement," Wolf said. "The biggest difference is that for one, she ended up getting stronger. Getting stronger, again, helps her rebounding. So her rebounding continues to improve. Her last year here, I think she averaged 13 rebounds a game. But as well as just her overall strength [being] an improvement and her rebounding, was her outside shooting ability.

"Pretty much as a freshman, she just got most of her points in transition or around the basket. But each year, she continued to improve on her outside shot to the point now that she can shoot the 3, which I don’t even think she attempted to do her freshman year. ... Rebounding, her defense, really again, she improved especially from junior to senior year, to the point where her senior year, she regularly guarded the best offensive player on the other team. We did that as much as we could. So really defensively, she has improved as well. She just continues to improve in all facets of her game."

Thomas' scoring, rebounding and outside shooting were instrumental in the Rams' run to a Mid-Penn league championship, the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 3 title, and a semifinal appearance in the state tournament. In a quarterfinal win over Cheltenham, Thomas turned in arguably the best performance of her high school career.

"She scored 40 points against Cheltenham, the No. 2 team in the state at the time. She had 40 points and 23 rebounds," Wolf said. "... She just stepped up her numbers in the playoffs. I mean, she was averaging 30 points a game. Her ability to step up in the big games was real important."

Thomas, a Parade and ESPNU All-American, will join a young Maryland team this fall that eyes a return to the NCAA tournament after a one-year absence. How close the Terps come to realizing their goals could depend largely on the success of the highly touted 2010 recruiting class. Thomas, in particular, will be counted on to play a major role next season.

"They’re looking at her to be able to step right in and be a starter. They’re expecting big things for her," Wolf said. "She’s a pretty special player because she’s so versatile. She can bring the ball up the floor. I think her natural position in college is going to be the 3. But she played point guard for me this year. [She has the] ability to handle the ball, to shoot from the outside, and she’s just a force on the boards. [So the Maryland staff is] expecting big things. ... I plan on going to as many games as I possibly can. It’ll be fun to watch her."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:04 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Season recaps
        

April 6, 2010

Gilman offensive lineman picks Wake Forest

From the beginning, Hunter Goodwin had a good feeling about the Wake Forest football program.

The 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive tackle from Gilman consulted coaches, players and his family, including older brother Dave, an offensive lineman at St. Francis (Pa.).

“I sat down with my family and talked about it,” Goodwin said. “They said, ‘Hunter, if you had the dream offer, could that beat out Wake Forest?’ And I really couldn’t find anyone else that would have the total package deal, especially with the coaching staff, the academics and the small-school [environment]. I really do like the personal, family [feeling]. It’s a tight-knit community. That’s one thing that really stayed with me and I was really comfortable with it. That was a big thing, and nobody was going to top that school for me.”

After celebrating Easter at his aunt's house, Goodwin returned home and called Demon Deacons offensive line coach Steed Lobotzke to offer his commitment.

"When I called Coach Lobo, he kind of got real quiet for a second," Goodwin said. "Then he said, 'Hunter, I can't lie to you right now. I'm smiling from ear to ear. We talked about how we both were really happy about the decision and it just felt right."

Goodwin picked the Demon Deacons over Maryland and West Virginia, while Connecticut, Pittsburgh and Rutgers were also in the mix.

While the entire Goodwin family approved of Hunter's decision, he also sought advice from a couple of former Greyhounds. Navy secondary coach Napoleon Sykes is a Gilman graduate who played at Wake Forest and served as a graduate assistant. Goodwin spoke with him and Demon Deacons linebacker Joey Ehrmann, who was a senior at Gilman when Goodwin was a freshman.

"I felt really comfortable getting his perception from inside," Goodwin said. "Anywhere you go, coaches are going to put on a little bit of a show, so it's hard to be 100 percent real. But I think the Wake Forest coaches did a really good job [of being genuine]. I feel like I know the real coach [Jim] Grobe. I talked to Joey about him and what his opinion was on Coach Lobo and see what he thought about the academic advisers and the practice schedules and all that. [Ehrmann told me] how manageable [everything was] after being prepared at Gilman."

Goodwin expects to redshirt his freshman year at Wake Forest and compete for playing time as a second-year player. Gilman assistant coach Henry Russell thinks Goodwin's leadership and toughness will suit him well in Winston-Salem.

"Hunter's an extremely large kid at 6-6, 280. He just had a really strong year for us," Russell said. "He certainly opened holes for us in the running game. That will be his strength, definitely run blocking. He opened a lot of holes for Darius [Jennings] and Dexter Davis last year. The coaches were impressed with the physical nature he brings. He's also a very coachable kid who's very easy to get along with, and I think the coaches like that about him. They're excited to see how much he grows next year, especially with the schedule we're playing next year."

That schedule includes nonconference matchups with Good Counsel, DeMatha and Don Bosco Prep (N.J.), in addition to a typically challenging MIAA A Conference slate. Thankfully for Goodwin, he can now focus entirely on senior year, knowing that his college future is secured.

"Wake Forest was really like the package deal," Goodwin said. "It had everything I was looking for -- great coaching, great academics, great location and great people all around. It has everything I was always looking for. I really enjoyed my time at Maryland and West Virginia. I really like that Maryland was close to home and I really like the coaches at West Virginia. But I really like the small-campus feel of Wake Forest more than the huge-campus atmosphere. Everything aligned and really helped me make the decision."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:54 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

April 5, 2010

Terps land N.C. offensive line recruit

Reggie Lucas has been involved with the Wake Forest-Rolesville (N.C.) football program for the past 15 years, with most of that time spent as a defensive assistant.

When Lucas became the Cougars' head coach one year ago, priority No. 1 was getting in the film room and better familiarizing himself with his offense. Lucas knew offensive tackle Ryan Doyle was a top returning player, but looking at tape on the 6-foot-6, 265-pound junior put things in a whole new perspective.

"I think just watching him on film ... I had the opportunity to study the offense a little more," Lucas said. "I was just impressed with the way he finished blocks off. He's just going to finish you all the way until the whistle. ... It's not just his size, but his quickness and his athletic ability. His quickness really impressed coaching staffs, along with his size."

The first college staff sold on Doyle's ability were the Maryland coaches, who offered him a scholarship earlier this spring. Doyle accepted that offer three days ago.

"It was over the weekend, I think after his visit to Maryland last week," Lucas said of Doyle, who is Maryland's fourth commitment of the 2011 class. "He was real excited about the school and the way the coaches related to him and made him feel really welcome and wanted. It was obviously a [great time for him to experience] the University of Maryland, and he was very impressed with the overall visit."

East Carolina, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest were all "getting close" to offering, but Lucas said Maryland was always the most intriguing option for Doyle. The Terps' staff was immediately sold on Doyle's work ethic.

"I just think Ryan has a tremendous work ethic," Lucas said. "He has matured a great deal in the weight room. When you see Ryan, you're not going to see much body fat or any body fat at all. His maturity in the weight room has been outstanding. He's also just a smart student of the game. He has studied our offense and learned the playbook inside and out. He's definitely the captain of our line. Overall, he's very mature on the playing field and off it as well."

Maryland brought in four versatile offensive linemen in the 2010 class, and adding Doyle for 2011 continues that trend. Lucas thinks Doyle has the potential to play a couple different spots once he arrives in College Park.

"Ryan played offensive tackle for us the last two seasons," Lucas said. "We're actually talking about moving him around this coming season with his athletic ability. As far as the University of Maryland, they have options with Ryan. I think he could play guard. He definitely has a lot of upside as far as putting on weight. I think he could play guard or tackle. I think he's very flexible."

Click here to see video of Doyle.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:28 AM | | Comments (3)
        

Weekend wrap – A few hoops links

For leading Penn Wood High to a runner-up finish in the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Class AAAA playoffs, potential Terps small forward target Aaron Brown has been named to the Philadelphia Inquirer's All-Southeastern Pa. first team

Arguably the area's most improved player, Brown, an athletic and high-leaping swingman, averaged 19.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals for the Del-Val League and District 1 champions. He shot 58 percent from the field and 44 percent from beyond the arc. Scholarship offers, with more to follow, have come from Drexel, Rice, St. Joseph's and Temple.

• Point Pleasant Beach (N.J.) junior forward Jarelle Reischel was named the Shore Player of the Year by NJ.com.

Reischel, who averaged 22.7 points, 13 rebounds, two steals and two assists per contest, transferred into the Ocean County school from Germany before his sophomore season. Besides Rutgers and St. John's, other suitors include Penn State, Temple, Maryland, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Providence and ``the entire Atlantic 10," according to [his] coach.

• North Star Basketball's Alex Schwartz recently tracked down a list of schools for Desmond Hubert, a Maryland junior center target from New Egypt (N.J.).

North Carolina, Wake Forest, UConn, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Pitt, Georgetown, Villanova, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Penn State, and Texas are the schools on the big man's list. He claims offers from over half of them, in Virginia Tech, Virginia, Penn State, Pitt, Wake Forest, Villanova, and UConn.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:52 AM | | Comments (1)
        

April 2, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

The first day of the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex saw one future Terp's high school career come to an end, and another survive to play at least one more game.

Oak Hill (Va.) Academy dropped a 59-53 decision to Mountain State Academy (W.Va.). Maryland-bound combo guard Pe'Shon Howard reached double figures in the loss for the Warriors.

Pe’Shon Howard, committed to Maryland, added 11 for Oak Hill.

“I told Pe’Shon he had to be more aggressive in the second half because I was getting tired,” [Doron] Lamb said.

Small forward pledge Haukur Palsson's Montverde (Fla.) Academy team toughed out a 51-49 win over Montrose Christian, advancing to a semifinal matchup with Winter Park (Fla.).

Testudo Times' Ben Broman offered a scouting report of Palsson's game.

He had some nice passes, but if this game was any indication, he's not a shooter, or a scorer, or a penetrator. ... On the good side, he played decent when he saw the floor, and had a nice feel for the game, evidenced by a few solid assists.

• Maryland women's small forward signee Alyssa Thomas was the headliner on the Harrisburg (Pa.) Patriot-News' Big 15 team. The paper took an extensive look back at Thomas' record-breaking four-year career.

"She has so much talent, no joke, I think she really could have averaged 10 points a night this season in the Mid-Penn boys' league," said Harrisburg coach Dwan Lee, a former boys' coach at Bishop McDevitt.

• Terps center commitment Alicia DeVaughn had three points, five rebounds and one block in the McDonald's All-American Game on Wednesday.

"It is was a privilege to get selected,'' DeVaughn said late Wednesday night. "I never played before such a large crowd and on such a big network like ESPN. Not everybody is able to become a McDonald's All-American like Candace Parker and Ivory Latta. It’s like you are part of that team now."

• UM combo guard pledge Natasha Cloud was selected to the All-Delco Girls Basketball team.

A senior and two-time All-Delco, she averaged 12.4 points per and helped the Lions qualify for the PIAA Class AAAA Tournament for the second year in a row. Her strong offensive and defensive efforts made it possible for O’Hara to beat Downingtown East in the opening round of states.

Football recruiting

• MaxPreps.com checked in with Boyd Anderson (Fla.) defensive end Shaun Ward, who committed to Maryland one week ago.

"Maryland is a really good school," said Ward. "The coaches seem like positive role models for their players and I hear they have one of the top Criminal Justice programs in the nation. That’s what I want to study in college so it definitely helped my decision."

• The York (Pa.) Daily Record's Frank Bodani this week profiled Maryland defensive back target Kyshoen Jarrett. The East Stroudsburg (Pa.) product helps care for his 19-year-old brother, who has cerebral palsy and is legally blind.

"I really don't mind staying home and watching him when everyone else is partying. It just saves me from getting in trouble," said Kyshoen, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback/safety hybrid.

• ESPN.com's JC Shurburtt has updates in his weekly column on several Maryland targets, including Brooklyn, N.Y., defensive lineman Ishaq Williams, St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, and a new defensive end prospect.

Maryland is the latest offer for defensive end Deion Barnes (Philadelphia, Pa./Northeast).

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:37 AM | | Comments (34)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

April 1, 2010

Two future Terps in Baltimore today

Two members of the Maryland men's basketball team's 2010 recruiting class will be in Baltimore today.

Small forward commitment Haukur Palsson and combo guard pledge Pe'Shon Howard will lead their respective teams in the ESPN Rise National High School Invitational at Coppin State's Physical Education Complex.

Palsson, a 6-foot-6, 215-pound senior from Iceland is top-seeded Montverde (Fla.) Academy's sixth man. Howard, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound senior, is third-seeded Oak Hill (Va.) Academy's starting point guard. Former Walbrook forward Roscoe Smith, a UConn commitment, plays alongside Howard for Oak Hill.

Here's the tournament schedule:

Thursday

No. 1 Montverde (Fla.) Academy vs. No. 8 Montrose Christian, 2 p.m.
No. 4 Christ School (N.C.) vs. No. 5 Winter Park (Fla.), 4 p.m.
No. 3 Oak Hill (Va.) Academy vs. No. 6 Mountain State (W.Va.) Academy, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Findlay Prep (Nev.) vs. No. 7 Charlotte (N.C.) Christian, 8 p.m.

All games televised on ESPNU.

Friday

Winner of Montverde-Montrose Christian vs. Christ School-Winter Park, noon
Winner of Oak Hill-Mountain State vs. Findlay-Charlotte Christian, 2 p.m.

Both games televised on ESPN2.

Saturday

Championship game, 1:30 p.m.

Televised live on ESPN.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:57 AM | | Comments (5)
        
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Matt Bracken was a lightly recruited football and tennis prospect out of East Lansing (Mich.) High School in 2001, but spurned all (nonexistent) scholarship offers to attend the University of Michigan. Matt graduated from UM in 2005, earned a master's degree in new media journalism from Northwestern University in 2006, and spent the first 11 months of his career as an online producer / videographer / blogger at the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson. He has worked at The Baltimore Sun since July 2007, where he currently serves as the deputy sports editor for digital.

High school recruiting database
Area high school commitments -- 2009
Area high school commitments -- 2008
Maryland's 2012 football commitments
Maryland's 2011 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2010 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2009 football recruiting class
Maryland's 2008 football recruiting class
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