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May 31, 2010

Weekend wrap – Terps targets on AAU circuit

Several Maryland basketball targets were on display this weekend at Nike's Memorial Day Classic AAU tournament in Hawthorne, Calif.

Rivals.com has notes on many of those Terps targets, including Nike Baltimore Elite shooting guard Nick Faust, D-One Sports guard Deuce Bello and Boo Williams small forward Dorian Finney-Smith.

Should he replicate what he did on Saturday for the rest of the summer, Finney-Smith is poised to make a climb up the 2011 rankings. A skinny wing with quickness, athleticism and a surprising floor game, he's looking confident right now and is playing in attack mode. He is a slasher by nature who makes just enough shots to keep defenders honest. Saturday, he even ran some point and showed surprising feel for the position. He listed Kansas, Kansas State, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Florida, Xavier and Cincinnati as his current suitors.

• Another collection of UM targets took part in the Bob Gibbons Tournament of Champions in Durham, N.C. this weekend. Team Melo point guard Aquille Carr impressed, although the Patterson freshman did not list Maryland among his offers. Team Loaded's Adjehi Baru, a power forward from Richmond, Va., did mention the Terps.

Adjehi Baru mentioned a list of Maryland, Virginia Tech, Xavier, Virginia, and Richmond. All of them have offered a scholarship.

• Rivals.com named the ACC the top recruiting conference for the 2010 class. Maryland's six-man group checks in at No. 6 in the conference.

Maryland's class is led by four-star prospect Mychal Parker.

• Terps point guard signee Terrell Stoglin reached double figures in the South's 102-90 loss to the North in the Arizona Basketball Coaches Association Class 4A-5A All-Star game.

[Daniel] Bejarano was countered by Maryland-bound point guard Terrell Stoglin of Tucson Santa Rita. Stoglin had 19 points and several nice feeds, including a no-look bounce pass between his legs on a break that Asaad Woods finished with a dunk.

• The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer wrote about North Carolina State's recruiting Saturday, including notes on the Wolfpack's pursuit of DeMatha point guard Quinn Cook.

"They definitely were one of the first (schools) to really show an interest," said Cook, who is rated No. 20 in the 2011 class by Scout.com. "That's going to be part of the consideration when I make my final decision."

• Oakland (Calif.) Soldiers shooting guard Jabari Brown did a video interview with Scout.com, listing Washington, Cal, Arizona State, Maryland, Wake Forest, UNLV and New Mexico as his offers.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:53 PM | | Comments (6)
        

May 28, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

InsideMDSports.com launched an occasional series this week looking back at the past 15 recruiting classes for the Maryland men's basketball team.

For the first installment, Jeff Ermann highlighted the Terps' three-man group from 1995: center Obinna Ekezie, small forward Laron Profit and point guard Terrell Stokes.

A highly-sought recruit who gained notoriety while starring alongside eventual North Carolina and NBA star Rasheed Wallace at powerhouse Gratz, Terrell Stokes was considered the gem of the class. Rated among the top point guards in the country, he chose Maryland over Temple moments before his announcement press conference was to begin.

• Norcom small forward Dorian Finney-Smith, a Terps target, was named the Associated Press Group AAA Boys Basketball Player of the Year in Virginia.

Finney-Smith averaged 19.7 points, 13 rebounds, six assists, three steals and two blocks.

He also was the Virginia High School Coaches Association State Player of the Year and the All-Tidewater Player of the Year.

• Two Maryland women's recruits will try out for the U.S. U-18 national team.

Incoming Maryland women's basketball freshmen Alyssa Thomas and Laurin Mincy were invited to partake in the 2010 USA Basketball women's U18 national team trials June 8-11 at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. They will be among 26 players battling for 12 roster spots on the 2010 USA Basketball women's U18 national team that will compete in the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 championship June 23-27 in Colorado Springs.

Football recruiting

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes that Terps fullback commitment Tyler Cierski is arguably the top returning starter for Mill Creek (Ga.).

The team’s best player may be fullback Tyler Cierski, who had 82 carries for 329 yards and four TDs. The 6-foot, 245-pounder has committed early to Maryland.

• UM defensive end signee Clarence Murphy, his coach and three Hollywood Hills (Fla.) teammates were given the Leo Suarez/Walter Krietsch Courage Award at the Miami Herald All-Broward Athletic Awards on Wednesday.

``This is a life-changing event,'' said Murphy, who will play collegiately at the University of Maryland next year. ``It brought us closer as friends, and we just cherished that moment together.''

• The Sporting News has named DeMatha offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio its No. 1 overall prospect for the class of 2011.

Auburn, California, Clemson, Florida, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Tennessee, UCLA and USC are just a few of the schools that have offered scholarships, as well as nearby programs like Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia and West Virginia. While he has no leaders and no top 10, he did tell Sporting News that he will try to take unofficial visits to Clemson, Alabama and UCLA soon, and he’d like to take his official visits after his senior season.

• ESPN.com's Bruce Feldman conducted a Q&A with St. John's (D.C.) defensive tackle Kevin McReynolds, who has emerged as a national recruit.

Next Friday is my last exam and then I have prom and after that I'm getting on a plane to go to New York to Rutgers. From there, I get on another plane to go to Alabama to see Auburn. From there, I go to see Arkansas. Then, I come back here for three days. After that, I head to Oregon. Then, I go down the coast to see USC and UCLA and then to Arizona State. I'm racking up the frequent flier miles. Then, I go down to Texas and I'll see some family and maybe go to TCU.

• Good Counsel cornerback and Maryland target Blake Countess impressed scouts at a recent Nike camp in Alabama.

Another corner who came in to the camp with a big reputation and definitely lived up to it was Blake Countess (Owings Mills, Md./Good Counsel). Countess was very active during the 7-on-7 session and took as many reps as any of the defensive backs. His ability to break on the ball and his quickness in exploding out of his backpedal were very impressive.

• PennLive.com has a few notes this week on Jamal Abdur-Rahman, a running back from Wyndmoor, Pa.

Abdur-Rahman is generating some Division-1 interest – he’s had a scholarship offer from Maryland for quite a while and has received interest from schools like UCONN, Pitt, Rutgers, Syracuse, Temple and Virginia, according to his profile on Rivals.com.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:00 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 27, 2010

Local hoops: St. Mary's taps Baltimore for talent

For St. Mary’s College men’s basketball coach Chris Harney, there was no reason to mess with a proven method of success.

Thanks to a roster built with a heavy reliance on players from the Baltimore area this year, the Seahawks won their second Capital Athletic Conference championship in the past three seasons, earning another trip to the NCAA Division III tournament.

When it came time to assemble the Seahawks’ 2010 recruiting class, Harney looked to Baltimore again, landing four players from this area, and another two from Montgomery County. At least one other notable player from Baltimore is seriously considering the Seahawks.

“We recruit from Baltimore primarily because of the toughness of the players,” Harney said in an e-mail. “The Baltimore players that come to St. Mary's College are ready for the college game because of the dedication of the great high school and AAU coaches in the Baltimore area. Our Baltimore players have been an integral part of our national success.”

Calvert Hall point guard Kyle Wise, Pikesville shooting guard Devohn Gilmore, former Long Reach guard Deon Queen, Poolesville forward Brendan McFall, River Hill forward R.J. Zukowski and Paint Branch forward Rycourt MacAuley comprise St. Mary’s 2010 class.

Wise, 5 feet 10, was a four-year contributor to the Cardinals, helping them to the Baltimore Catholic League tournament championship as a senior. He’ll serve as the understudy to rising senior Alex Franz (Cardinal Gibbons) at point guard.

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Gilmore is one of the headliners of St. Mary’s class. The runner-up for Baltimore County Player of the Year, Gilmore averaged 26 points for Pikesville. He received Division I interest from Norfolk State and Southern (La.).

“He can create his own shot, he can score off the screen ... the kid’s just a natural scorer,” said Pikesville coach Anthony Dorsey. “He probably needs a little more improvement, but I would say he’s a pretty decent defender. He led us in steals. He averaged like three steals and three assists. He’s more than capable of running the offense. You name it, he can basically do it.”

Queen was an integral part of Long Reach’s run to the Class 3A state final two years ago. He moved on to Sussex Community College in Newton, N.J., where he averaged 17 points and 12 assists last season to earn second-team all-region honors. Queen could contend for a starting role with the Seahawks immediately.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound Zukowski averaged 10 points and nine rebounds for River Hill. He was a second-team All-Howard County selection.

McFall averaged 15 points, six rebounds and three assists for Poolesville, earning a spot on the All-Montgomery County first team. MacAuley, the Seahawks’ other Montgomery County recruit, is another headliner for St. Mary’s. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 18 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for Paint Branch.

St. Mary’s loses star combo guard Camontae Griffin (Dunbar) to graduation, but returns Franz and a host of other local standouts, including shooting guard James Davenport (Loyola), guard Devin Spencer (Towson Catholic) and forward Johann Jones (Meade), among others. St. Mary’s success and Harney’s efforts in Baltimore haven’t gone unnoticed by local coaches.

“He made Baltimore a priority,” said St. Frances assistant Nick Myles. “He made our league a priority. He’s a hard worker and he treats his program like a Division I program. When you have coaches like that, it really doesn’t matter what level you’re on.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 26, 2010

Local hoops: Myers, Noel thinking it over

Two Notre Dame Prep (Mass.) players with Baltimore ties are ready to embark on their college basketball careers. Now it’s nearing the time for the other two to decide where they’ll spend the next four years.

Former Lake Clifton standouts Cleveland Melvin (DePaul) and Antonio Barton (Memphis) have signed with their respective colleges, while former Forest Park point guard Antoine Myers and ex-Towson Catholic forward Levi Noel could end their recruitments at any time.

“Antoine is still wide open,” said NDP coach Ryan Hurd. “UNC-Wilmington, Seton Hall, Rutgers. It’s just going to be one of those things where he finishes his way through it and sees what’s really important to him.”

The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Myers is back in Baltimore now and mulling over his decision.

“We’re not going to put pressure on the kids,” Hurd said. “They have to live there for four years.”

Noel, a 6-foot-5 forward from London who spent his junior year at Towson Catholic, is considering two schools.

“Eastern Illinois [has offered], and I’m reasonably certain he has an offer from Mount St. Mary’s, or he will in the near future,” Hurd said.

Hurd said Noel has visited both schools. Now it’s just a matter of deciding where he’s more comfortable.

“I just think his versatility is what [both programs] like in him,” Hurd said. “He can literally play the 1 through 4 in most situations. You can’t find too many guys capable of doing that.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:56 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 25, 2010

Meet Berend Weijs

Berend Weijs didn’t quite know what to expect when he took a chance trip down to College Park for a pickup game last month.

The 6-foot-10, 205-pound center from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., stepped on the Comcast Center court and was immediately matched up with Jordan Williams. Little did Weijs know that his opponent was a member of the All-ACC Freshman team and one of the most promising young post players in the country.

“I don’t follow college basketball that much,” Weijs said. “I don’t really know the [recent] champions or who won the ACC tournament. I really don’t follow college basketball that much, and I’m bad with names, so I really don’t have a clue. The only guy I knew was [Greivis] Vasquez, because he’s in the highlights and stuff. The other guys, I didn’t see them a lot, so for me they were just another [type of] competition. I didn’t know.”

Weijs held his own during the first game and returned to College Park shortly thereafter – with a Harcum teammate – for another. On his third trip to Maryland, recommendations from several Terps players and a full scholarship were riding on his play. Still, Weijs said he never felt any nervousness or pressure on the court.

“Well, when I played with the guys and played good, I was in my comfort zone as soon as I started playing with the guys,” he said. “The first time, I didn’t know what to expect. But I played pretty good that first time. The second time, I was a little more comfortable. Then the next time, I was comfortable, too. But I never knew until the coach said he was offering me a scholarship. I really didn’t know how bad they wanted me.”

Since Weijs’ commitment nearly two weeks ago, he has conducted several interviews, sifted through scores of Facebook friend requests from Terps fans, graduated from Harcum College and embarked upon his summer vacation. He flew home to the Netherlands last week to be with friends and family before starting his college career at Maryland.

While he didn’t necessarily expect – or know what it meant – to play for a high-major program after his two years of junior college, Weijs couldn’t be more excited for how things worked out. Signing with Maryland only reinforced his decision to leave home two years ago.

“I needed to get away. I needed to live alone,” Weijs said. “I actually couldn’t get far away enough because my mom is really taking care of me and really good at what she does, but she took care of me too much. I had to get a little away from that. In the United States, she can’t just come over. It’s hard to get a ticket to the United States, so I really got out on my own.

“My parents, they’re proud of me, that I did it. My dad is really happy that I’m going to Maryland. He loves the Washington area and Maryland is close to there. ... It’s been a really good experience for me.”

Here’s an introduction to Weijs:

Name: Berend Weijs
Birthdate: Dec. 15, 1988
Birthplace: Zaandam, Netherlands
Hometown: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nickname: None
Height: 6’10
Weight: “205, but [at Maryland] they’re going to put 20 pounds on me before the season.”
Position: Power forward and center
High School: Ichthus College
Junior College: Harcum College (Pa.)
Sophomore statistics: 6.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 4.1 blocks
Other schools considered: “Northwood (Fla.), Hampton, Longwood. USC and Virginia … the day I signed they called my coach.”
Favorite pro basketball player: Dirk Nowitzki
Favorite pro basketball team: Orlando Magic
Favorite all-time Terp: “I didn’t start following college basketball until I came here. The best player I know is [Greivis] Vasquez.”
Favorite music: Jay-Z, house, techno
Favorite book: “The Game” by Neil Strauss
Favorite movie: “Ali”
Favorite TV show: “Martin”
Favorite food: Chipotle
Favorite junior college class: International business
Favorite thing about College Park: “Probably Comcast Center.”
Hobbies: “Playing a lot of basketball. I used to snowboard, but I stopped. I used to DJ a little bit, but I stopped. I used to play in clubs back home and I got paid pretty good. One time I DJ’d at a party at my college right here.”
Intended major: Business
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m from a country where everyone’s really open. If you know me, you know me like 100 percent.”
Best basketball moment: “Winning the Gold Cup in Holland. [It was] the national cup for under-23 elite last summer.”
Role model: “My dad is an important role model, of course. Some coaches I had were good role models, so I’ve got a couple. It’s not just one.”
Why Maryland? “It’s in the ACC and there was a spot for a big man. I like the team and I think they like me, too. They went to the coach to say that they liked me and wanted to play with me. That’s really important for me if the players say that. That’s a big part.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:15 PM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

May 24, 2010

Weekend wrap – Big weekend for Gibbs

Sterling Gibbs was at his best when it mattered most Sunday.

The Maryland-bound point guard from Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) scored seven of his team-high 18 points in the fourth quarter, leading the New York Panthers to an 82-80 win over New Heights for the iS8 Nike Spring Classic championship in Queens.

The steady play of Gibbs would eventually pay dividends for the Panthers in the second half, as the Maryland-bound PG used a triad of great defense, high percentage free throw shooting and speed to pick off an inbounds pass for a three point play that gave them a 51-50 lead.

• Terps power forward signee Ashton Pankey was also on hand for the iS8 tournament, suiting up for New Heights. In his third game since having surgery to fix a stress fracture in his left leg -- and first game without his knee brace -- Pankey scored five points.

“That wasn’t a good idea,” he said of leaving the brace at home. Pankey, who plans to be ready to contribute for Maryland next year, later added: “The biggest thing is to get stronger and the pain will go away.”

• UM small forward recruit Mychal Parker made the journey from his Washington, N.C., home to New York, joining the Sean Bell All-Stars for the iS8 tournament.

Parker was asked to fill all types’ roles during the week. He spent nearly a third of each game running the point while proving to be an effective distributor with his very good ball handling skills for a 6’6+ wing. Parker also displayed his three point acumen knocking down several trey balls throughout the weekend and did an excellent job attacking the rim off the bounce while finishing in traffic or finding the open man.

(Credit to Testudo Times for the link)

• The East Bay Express profiled Maryland shooting guard target Jabari Brown this weekend, taking a look at the junior's itinerant basketball journey.

At a muscular six-feet-four-inches, the seventeen-year-old Brown is ranked among the top thirty players in America for the graduating class of 2011. During the summer, he plays for the elite Nike-sponsored Drew Gooden Soldiers traveling team, which competes in front of famous college coaches in tournaments and events around the country and counts several NBA players among its alumni. "I rank Jabari right up there at the top," says Soldiers director Mark Olivier. "The sky is the limit for that kid."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:43 AM | | Comments (12)
        

May 21, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

After a little more than a month of play on the AAU circuit, the two major recruiting services -- Rivals.com and Scout.com -- updated their class of 2011 rankings this week.

Maryland point guard commitment Sterling Gibbs earned a spot on both lists. Scout rates the 6-foot, 170-pound junior as a four-star prospect and the No. 78 player nationally. Rivals has Gibbs listed as a three-star prospect and the No. 135 player in the country.

One Baltimore junior made the cut for both lists. City shooting guard Nick Faust is a four-star prospect and the No. 91 player nationally on Scout, while Rivals rates him a three-star prospect and the No. 125 player in the country. Lake Clifton small forward Durand Johnson also cracked the Rivals150, checking in at No. 116.

Several other ranked juniors who have received interest from Maryland were selected to both lists. Click here for the Rivals150 and here for the Scout 100.

• Less than a month ago, former Maryland power forward target Terrence Jones announced his commitment to Washington at a news conference at Jefferson High in Portland, Ore. On Wednesday, Jones reversed course and committed to Kentucky.

[Wildcats coach John] Calipari and Washington coach Lorenzo Romar both confirmed to ESPN.com later Wednesday that Jones had signed a scholarship aid agreement, which isn't as binding as a national letter of intent, with Kentucky. Both coaches, who spoke with Jones Wednesday night, expect this to be his final decision.

Football recruiting

• The Virginian-Pilot has updates on two Terps targets in defensive back Demetrious Nicholson and linebacker Travis Hughes, who has leaned on older brother Trenton -- a Maryland cornerback -- for advice.

“He wants me to take all of my visits,” Travis said. “He didn’t take all of his visits. And even though he loves where he is, he said it’s an honor to go visit those schools. So I’m basically taking everything in.”

• Phil Kornblut has updates on several UM targets, including Vad Lee, a quarterback from Durham, N.C.

[He] was offered last week by Wake Forest. His other offers are USC, Duke, North Carolina, Maryland, N.C. State, Georgia Tech, and East Carolina.

• The Terps finished second this week for a dual-threat quarterback.

Martay Mattox, who grew up less than five minutes from Georgia’s Sanford Stadium in Athens, committed to the Gamecocks on Monday over Maryland. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound junior also had an offer from South Florida.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:14 AM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 20, 2010

Meet Pe'Shon Howard

Living away from home is often the most drastic change a freshman faces in college, but for Maryland-bound combo guard Pe’Shon Howard, homesickness shouldn’t be an issue.

The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Howard left his Los Angeles home four years ago, spending his freshman year of high school at St. Edward in Cleveland followed by sophomore, junior and senior years at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson, Va.

“It’s big because I think I’ll be able to adjust early,” Howard said. “I start school early, and I think it’ll be good just being on the national stage and being able to help the team early.”

Howard and his father – who works on movie sets in Hollywood – moved to Cleveland for his ninth-grade year. Then legendary Oak Hill coach Steve Smith came calling. Howard said Smith initially wanted him to play for the Warriors as a junior, but his debut was moved up a year when another recruited point guard went elsewhere.

At Oak Hill, Howard was thrown into the starting lineup of the nation’s most high-profile high school program. The quick introduction to an almost college-like existence wasn’t easy for Howard.

“I was on board, but mentally, it took a lot to adjust,” Howard said. “Coach always helped me with attitude and how I carried myself. And on a big stage like that, you have to be kind of grown up all the time. So it was just a matter of adjusting. ... It probably still hasn’t all clicked. Probably the biggest adjustments [I made were] just this spring.”

Now Howard has three years of high-level competition under his belt, making him a likely candidate for significant time in the Maryland lineup. He’s receiving daily updates on pickup games in College Park from coaches and future teammates.

“I’m kind of ready for it to start happening. I want to be there for myself,” Howard said. “[The coaches] just told me to come in and be aggressive. They want me to have a big role early and [maybe] try to lead the team. I’ll come in and do what the coaches want me to do.”

Here’s an introduction to Howard:

Name: Pe’Shon Howard
Birthdate: Dec. 10, 1990
Birthplace: Los Angeles
Hometown: Los Angeles
Nicknames: P and Mr. Do-It-All
Height: 6'3
Weight: 195
Position: Point guard and shooting guard
High School: Oak Hill (Va.) Academy
Senior statistics: 14 points, 5.5 assists, three steals
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Three stars. Scout.com -- Three stars, No. 28 point guard. ESPN.com -- Three stars, No. 40 shooting guard, 92 rating.
Other schools considered: UCLA, Virginia, South Florida
Favorite pro basketball player: Kobe Bryant
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Lakers
Favorite all-time Terp: “Steve Francis, Juan Dixon, Steve Blake. And I might say [Terps assistant coach Keith] Booth because he’s coaching me.”
Favorite music: Jay-Z, Kanye West, Trey Songz, Drake
Favorite book: The “Harry Potter” series by J.K. Rowling
Favorite movie: “He Got Game”
Favorite TV show: “The Boondocks”
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite high school class: Math
Favorite thing about College Park: "Comcast."
Hobbies: “Pretty much just basketball and studying. If I’m not doing that, then I’m just relaxing and resting up.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “Probably just how much I like school. I have a 3.8 and ever since I’ve been in high school I’ve been on the A or B honor roll.”
Best basketball moment: “My first game on ESPN my sophomore year. You always watch games on ESPN and you always see pros on that. It was just kind of special to me.”
Role model: “My dad because he’s always been there for me and he made me who I am.”
Why Maryland? “Because I like Coach Gary Williams, the ACC is the best conference, I have a chance to play right away, and the system favors my style of play.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:30 PM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

May 19, 2010

Meet Mychal Parker

College hasn't started yet for Mychal Parker, but the Maryland small forward recruit has already had a taste of what it’s like to live in the public eye.

Rumors on blogs and message boards circulated last week that Parker had been kicked out of the Miller School (Va.), just two weeks before graduation. While the future Terp had finished his senior requirements and returned home to Washington, N.C., Parker said any speculation about expulsion simply wasn’t accurate.

“Nothing like that went down, honestly,” Parker said. “It wasn’t [anything] like the people said on the blogs. I guess they can put what they want ... [but] it definitely opened my eyes. I didn’t know I was being watched that close. It’s definitely waking me up.”

Such is the life of a Maryland men’s basketball recruit. As the Terps’ highest-ranked incoming freshman, the spotlight has already shined brightly on Parker. He watched from afar as the Terps shared the ACC regular-season championship this season, dreaming of the day he would suit up for the team.

“I wanted to go this year,” Parker said. “I guess when I get there, I just want to please everyone. … I feel like it’s a lot of responsibility on me, but that’s why I’ve prepared myself right now, so when I get there I won’t disappoint.”

Parker said the past two years at the Miller School helped him focus more on academics and become better prepared for college. Living four-and-a-half hours away from home at the Miller School turned him “from a boy to a man.” He’ll graduate May 29 and start his Maryland career in June.

“I want to show them that I mean business,” Parker said. “I don’t want to play around. I want to really focus. I want Maryland to be back on top in basketball.”

Here’s an introduction to Parker:

Name: Mychal Parker
Birthdate: July 2, 1991
Birthplace: Cleveland, Ohio
Hometown: Washington, N.C.
Nickname: The One
Height: 6'6 ½
Weight: 195
Position: Shooting guard or small forward
High School: The Miller School (Va.)
Senior statistics: 21 points, 6.5 rebounds, four assists
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Four stars, No. 60 player nationally, No. 13 small forward. Scout.com -- Four stars, No. 13 small forward. ESPN.com -- No. 45 player nationally, No. 12 shooting guard, 95 rating.
Other schools considered: Kentucky, N.C. State, Virginia, West Virginia
Favorite pro basketball player: Kobe Bryant
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Lakers
Favorite all-time Terp: Len Bias
Favorite music: Gucci Mane
Favorite book: “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Favorite movie: “Friday”
Favorite TV show: “Fresh Prince of Bel Air”
Favorite food: Chicken
Favorite high school class: Economics
Favorite thing about College Park: "Just the whole area and the people around it.”
Hobbies: "Chilling, listening to music, talking on the phone.”
Intended major: Psychology
Something that not many people know about you: "Sometimes I try to rap. I’m not good at it,” he said with a laugh.
Best basketball moment: “When I scored 75 points in a middle school game.”
Role model: "My Pops is my role model. He’s been there for me through everything.”
Why Maryland? "For one, it was a great coaching staff. My father and I knew that it would be the best school for me. I felt comfortable with that.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:26 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

May 18, 2010

Former Cecil Kirk hoops standouts narrowing lists

antoine-allen-dunk.jpg On Monday, Anthony Lewis saw former Lake Clifton standout Cleveland Melvin commit to DePaul. Now the longtime Cecil Kirk AAU basketball coach is helping two other former players find new homes.

Lewis said Monday that former Lake Clifton standout Antoine Allen and ex-Forest Park star Antoine Myers will sign with Division I programs later this spring.

Lewis said Allen, who decided to transfer from Miami after his freshman season, is looking at Marshall, UNC-Wilmington and Arizona. In 17 appearances for the Hurricanes last season, Allen averaged 2.9 points and 0.8 rebounds. He shot 41.7 percent from 3-point range, and was named to the ACC’s All-Academic team.

Allen was a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection in 2008. The 6-foot-2, 185-pound combo guard averaged 16 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Lakers, who won the Baltimore City and Class 3A North regional championships in 2008.

After graduating from Lake Clifton, Allen spent a postgrad season at Mississippi Elite Christian Academy. He considered scholarship offers from Central Florida, Florida State, Providence and Virginia before committing to the Hurricanes in Feb. 2009.

Myers visited Rutgers with Melvin earlier this month and will take a trip to UNC-Wilmington with Allen. In addition to the Scarlet Knights and Seahawks, Myers is also considering Marshall.

A 6-foot-3, 190-pound shooting guard, Myers graduated from Forest Park in 2009 and enrolled last fall at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass. Crusaders coach Ryan Hurd predicted in October that Myers would “have a ton of options.”

“Sometimes you hear people talk about a kid having an extra gear. He’s got one of those gears and when he puts it on, he just flies by people,” Hurd said. “We have to work on getting everything together all the time, but when that stuff clicks, he can go anywhere from the Big East to the America East.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Antoine Allen by Patrick Smith / April 3, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:18 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 17, 2010

Ex-Lakers star Cleveland Melvin headed to Big East

cleveland-melvin-depaul.jpg The first time Cleveland Melvin went through the recruiting process, trips were taken to Connecticut and DePaul.

The former Lake Clifton standout loved the Blue Demons’ Chicago campus, but ultimately decided to commit to the Huskies in November.

When Melvin and UConn parted ways in March, a host of high-major schools came calling again – including DePaul. On Monday, the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Melvin pledged to the Blue Demons.

“It feels great. I always wanted to play in the Big East,” said Melvin, who also considered Marshall and Rutgers. “I was feeling a lot of schools, but I’m just happy it’s over with. It’s a great atmosphere out there. It felt different from home. So it was just a great experience to be in Chicago.”

Melvin, who took another trip to DePaul earlier this spring, joins Randallstown native and Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) point guard Brandon Young in the Blue Demons’ 2010 class. Becoming a part of Oliver Purnell’s first class at DePaul was a major selling point for Melvin.

“I saw his success at Clemson,” Melvin said. “I know that he can do the job at DePaul, help rebuild the team and everything. He’ll get them back on track.”

Melvin averaged 17 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for Lake Clifton two seasons ago, helping the undefeated Lakers to the Class 3A state championship in 2009. Last fall he headed to Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., for a post-grad year.

“Everything went perfect,” Melvin said. “Academically, I got what I needed and got my SAT score. On the court, it was a good year with Coach [Ryan] Hurd. We had a great team that went far. We had a great record, 30-5. [I averaged about] 15 points, 12 rebounds [and] four blocks.”

Soon after enrolling at NDP, Melvin’s recruitment took off, culminating with his commitment to UConn. Three months later, Melvin decided to reopen his recruitment and find a program that wanted him to play the 3 instead of the 4. The Blue Demons coaches, Melvin said, will give him that opportunity.

“He fits in because of their style of play,” said Anthony Lewis, Melvin’s AAU coach at Cecil Kirk. “It’s a team that plays the transition style of play. He has that freakish athleticism that you just don’t see in players. He’s just gifted and blessed with the ability to explode to the basket. If you put him in the open court, he can be so dangerous.”

Melvin is back in Baltimore now, working out and continuing to develop his skills on the wing. He’ll move to Chicago next month for the start of summer school, and the beginning of a new era in DePaul basketball.

“I’m coming in and doing what I’m supposed to do,” Melvin said. “And hopefully we can have a great season next year ... and make it to the tournament.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Cleveland Melvin by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Feb. 23, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:21 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekend wrap – City's Faust standing out

nick-faust.jpg Nick Faust's strong play with the Class 2A state champion City Knights has apparently carried over to the AAU circuit.

Faust, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard who has drawn interest from Maryland, was named the Surprise Player at the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Houston this weekend by ESPN.com's Reggie Rankin.

Faust is a long and athletic wing who possesses excellent skills. He has the ability to play all three perimeter positions and defend them as well. Faust can make scoring plays off the dribble with his length and touch. He knocks down midrange jumpers and finger-rolls over smaller defenders in the lane. He is streaky from behind the arc but is good enough to put the defense on alert.

• Rankin was also impressed with St. Frances junior power forward Greg Lewis.

Baltimore Elite's Greg Lewis (Baltimore/St. Frances) is another very productive power forward in the 2011 class who makes his presence felt with his ability to finish, rebound and block shots. Lewis, 6-9, makes the opposing offense think twice before taking him on in the lane.

• Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer has notes on several Terps targets from the Nike EYBL, including Michael Taylor, a shooting guard from Brooklyn, N.Y.

A host of schools would like to have him score those points for them. Taylor listed offers from Pittsburgh, St. John's, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana, South Florida, South Carolina and Providence and interest from West Virginia.

In June he plans to visit South Florida, South Carolina and Maryland.

• Terps small forward signee Haukur Palsson opened the Nordic Championships last week with a 35-point, seven-rebound, five-steal performance in Iceland's 82-74 loss to Denmark. He scored nine points the next day, had 19 on Day 3 and poured in 28 on the fourth day. Palsson reached double figures again Sunday as Iceland dropped a 90-89 third-place game against Finland.

The best icelandic [sic] was Haukur Palsson ('92) -next year with Maryland (NCAA)- with 28 points, 7 rebounds and 5 assists.

Baltimore Sun photo of Nick Faust by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 16, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:37 AM | | Comments (0)
        

May 14, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

The Maryland men's basketball roster got a little bigger Thursday with Berend Weijs' commitment to the Terps.

The 6-foot-10, 210-pound center from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., was a late discovery by the Terps' staff. InsideMDSports.com caught up with Weijs soon after his pledge. The Netherlands native explained how a random trip to play pickup ball in College Park three weeks ago led to his Maryland commitment.

At that point Weijs wasn’t expecting anything to come out of playing—just some experience. But he asserted himself against Maryland’s players, and they began talking. They told the Terps’ coaching staff, which is not allowed to be present for pickup games, that Weijs could play.

About a week later, Weijs returned to participate again. Same result. Freshman center Jordan Williams, Weijs said, was particularly impressed. The staff invited Weijs to take an official visit this week.

Football recruiting

• Maryland was the first program to offer Hollywood Hills (Fla.) offensive lineman Jared Maldonado a scholarship.

“I was excited because our defensive end Clarence Murphy is going there,” he said of the offer. “So it’s always good getting an offer from someone you look up to. He plays D-Line and he’s going to Maryland next so it’s exciting.”

• The Terps were also first to offer Michael Williams, a cornerback from DeMatha.

“They are still one of my choices right now,” he said. “I’m still trying to focus on getting better and seeing what other schools are doing, but they are one of my choices.”

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr checked in this week with North Point linebacker Connor Crowell, who said he's in no rush to commit.

Crowell holds eight scholarship offers and visited half of those schools this spring, taking trips to Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio State and West Virginia.

• The Detroit Free Press' Matt Dorsey reports that Good Counsel defensive lineman and Maryland target Vincent Croce has two Big Ten schools and an ACC program on top.

The 6-foot-4, 260 pounder visited the Spartans a few weeks ago and was impressed with the school and program. Croce said the Spartans, Wolverines and Virginia Cavaliers top his list. All three schools have offered Croce a scholarship, as have a dozen other BCS programs.

• PennLive.com has notes on several Terps targets who are scheduled to attend a Rivals.com combine in Palmyra, Pa., on Sunday.

Speedster running back Lafayette Pitts of Woodland Hills High, who holds offers from Pittsburgh, WVU, Maryland and Iowa.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 3:50 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 13, 2010

Calvert Hall's Graham picks Big Ten school

For Calvert Hall power forward Jonathan Graham, the recruiting process was often an exercise in patience. jonathan-graham-penn-state.jpg

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound senior bypassed the fall signing period to see which schools came calling this season. Fall turned to winter and winter turned to spring, but Graham remained on the market, still waiting for the right program to emerge.

On Thursday, Graham finally found what he was looking for in a school. During an official visit to Penn State, he committed to the Nittany Lions. Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld said Graham will sign his letter of intent Friday.

“[Recruiting] was hanging over his head for awhile,” Bauersfeld said. “He just didn’t feel comfortable with different situations and offers that he did have. This is definitely a big relief to him and he feels really comfortable with his decision. He’s excited at the same time as being relieved. ... He really liked the coaches when they met. He fell in love with the campus, and obviously playing in the Big Ten is really attractive to any kid. Penn State is a great school.”

Graham picked the Nittany Lions over Duquesne. He also had an offer from Seton Hall before the Pirates’ coaching change in March.

A two-time All-Metro selection, Graham averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds this season, leading Calvert Hall to the Baltimore Catholic League championship. Graham, a four-year varsity player and three-year starter, finished his Calvert Hall career as the program’s second-leading scorer with 1,670 points.

Bauersfeld said Penn State first started recruiting Graham during his junior season, and continued to express interest early last fall. The communication waned over the winter, but a Penn State coach touched base with Bauersfeld “about a month ago” to see if Graham was still available. Both parties remained interested, and the recruitment took off from there.

“They love his upside,” Bauersfeld said. “They love the fact that he’s very long. They love his skills for a big guy. They really liked his work ethic and personality-wise, he’s a great kid and solid student. All those aspects they were really impressed with. I think that made Jon really attractive to them.”

Over the past four years, Bauersfeld saw Graham transform himself from a talented freshman who got down on himself whenever he made a mistake to a confident senior who took younger players under his wing and showed them how to win. At Penn State, Bauersfeld thinks Graham has a chance to continue his basketball maturation.

“I think he’d be asked, as a younger player, not to do too much too soon,” Bauersfeld said. “I think they’re going to be really patient for him and let him develop his strength and those aspects. I think their style of play definitely fits with Jon’s game. ... He’s definitely gotten a lot better, became an excellent teammate and became a great leader for the younger guys. It’s been really fun to watch him grow up in front of us.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Jonathan Graham by Patrick Smith / Feb. 22, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:13 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Coach weighs in on Berend Weijs' commitment

Drew Kelly returned from vacation last week to a voice-mail box filled with messages. berend-weijs.jpg

Many of the missed calls for Kelly -- the men’s basketball coach at Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., -- were in regard to sophomore Berend Weijs. The 6-foot-10, 210-pound center from the Netherlands had recently become a hot commodity on the junior-college recruiting trail.

“Just in the last four-to-six weeks, it really started heating up with other schools,” Kelly said Thursday. “[When I was gone] I had calls from Virginia and North Carolina. I don’t know if I’d say Virginia and North Carolina were recruiting him, but it’s funny. [Once word got out that Weijs] was visiting Maryland, then everyone wanted to get involved. He was underrecruited all season. Nobody knew about him. He had a bunch of mid-majors [that had offered], but he was really being underrecruited. It’s funny how things worked out that way.”

Things worked out well for Weijs on Thursday. During an official visit to College Park, the Maryland staff offered him a scholarship and he promptly accepted, signing a letter of intent before leaving. Weijs, who will have two years of eligibility remaining, is the sixth member of the Terps’ 2010 recruiting class. He joins Oak Hill (Va.) Academy combo guard Pe’Shon Howard, Montverde (Fla.) Academy small forward Haukur Palsson, St. Anthony (N.J.) power forward Ashton Pankey, Miller School (Va.) small forward Mychal Parker and Tucson (Ariz.) Santa Rita point guard Terrell Stoglin.

“Berend is a 6-10, very agile and mobile post player,” said Maryland coach Gary Williams in a news release. “With his size, skill and athleticism he will be able to contribute to our team immediately. He played on a very good junior college team and for a very good coach. We are extremely excited about Berend joining our program.”

Kelly discovered Weijs almost two years ago. It was August of 2008, and the Bears were in need of a post player. Harcum assistant coach Barry Uzzell played professionally in Europe and still had overseas contacts, one of whom recommended that he check out Weijs. The Harcum staff got its hands on some film, and soon after Weijs made his way from the Netherlands to Pennsylvania. Kelly said Weijs was a lanky big man with potential, but his transition to basketball in the states would be an ongoing process.

“For any level of basketball, when you’re getting a 6-10 guy who’s pretty athletic, that’s going to be of interest,” Kelly said. “I think one of the big things for Berend when he first came over was just the adjustment of living in America and adjusting to the way we play basketball here, which is definitely different than how they play in Europe. It’s more physical and officiated differently. It’s a big adjustment period for freshmen anyway in how we play the game.”

Going into Weijs’ sophomore year, Kelly said he didn’t quite know what to expect. The Bears were coming off a 22-10 season, their first in the top division of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Weijs had shown flashes as a freshman, but Kelly wondered what kind of second-year improvements he would make.

“You could see there was a lot of skill there. The main thing with him was just the adjustment factor,” Kelly said. “Coming into this year, I didn’t know exactly what to expect from him. But the best thing is he’s a great kid, he works hard and he plays hard. When you do that over a period of time, you’re going to reap the benefits of that. What we saw with Berend was he passed three or four guys on our depth chart. He outworked them. Those things go a long way. He’s someone that certainly could have not adjusted to America at all. He could have gone back, signed a pro contract in the Netherlands and that probably would have been the easy thing to do. But he stuck it out and he was great for us. I think he’s going to keep getting better. His best days are ahead of him.”

Weijs was part of a three-post rotation for the Bears this season, sharing time with a UMES recruit and a Robert Morris signee. In the backcourt were a point guard headed to Longwood and a shooting guard bound for Utah State. Kelly’s four-guard offense – and 13-man rotation – pressed the entire game

Harcum, which led the country in scoring (109.6 points per game), 3-pointers made and 3-point percentage, finished the season 26-3, ranked No. 3 in the country. The Bears held the No. 1 ranking for a week in the middle of the season, becoming the first Northeast junior college to do so since 1974.

Kelly said Weijs averaged 6.1 points and 5.6 rebounds, while shooting 65.7 percent from the field in his 17 minutes per game. On the defensive end, Weijs shined, setting a Harcum record with 119 blocks – an average of 4.1 per game. While Weijs’ numbers were modest, Kelly said he was the best post player on the team and he was integral to Harcum’s success.

“His best strength is that he’s 6-10, really coordinated and really athletic. He runs the floor like a guard and he can do some things that most people his size can’t do,” Kelly said. “Definitely the biggest thing at the table is his ability to block shots. He really goes after the ball aggressively. He has great timing, he hustles and plays hard defensively. He has really long, long arms. That’s his No. 1 strength. For us, he was definitely a force. We’re very aggressive in our full-court trapping ... and if we give up the break, he’s the guy back. But it’s not a guaranteed layup because he’ll block a shot or change a shot. He’s definitely a presence back there.”

Weijs will graduate with his associate’s degree Saturday, probably spend some time in the Netherlands later this spring, and start his Maryland career this summer. His biggest priority, Kelly said, will be adding weight to a noticeably lean frame. A “super-fast metabolism” has made it challenging for Weijs to add weight in the past, but Kelly hopes the Terps’ strength and conditioning program will remedy that problem. Kelly won’t make any predictions on Weijs’ two years in College Park, but he is confident, at the very least, that he’ll fit in well at Maryland.

“I think if he continues to progress the way he’s progressing and continues to work hard, [take advantage of] an obviously great coaching staff down there and be able to do things we can’t do at this level in terms of strength and conditioning, it’s just going to help him play at the highest level,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t tell you what his potential is, because I’m not really sure I know that. There are a lot of unknowns there. ... But they’re getting a great kid, a great student that’s worked his butt off. He’s going to be a great teammate and buy in totally to the Maryland program. And that’s what you ask for.”

Photo of Berend Weijs courtesy of Harcum College.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 6:30 PM | | Comments (35)
        

Terps land JUCO center Berend Weijs

The Maryland men’s basketball team has received a late addition to the 2010 recruiting class.

Berend Weijs, a 6-foot-10, 210-pound center from Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pa., reportedly signed with the Terps during an official visit to College Park today.

“It’s a done deal,” said Harcum head coach Drew Kelly. “He signed a letter of intent this afternoon.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later this afternoon for more on Weijs’ commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:15 PM | | Comments (14)
        

Season recap: Ashton Pankey

St. Anthony assistant coach Todd Palmer didn’t see much of Ashton Pankey this season on the Friars’ sideline.

Pankey, a 6-foot-8, 230-pound senior, had good reason for not being around his team that much. The Maryland-bound power forward was busy doing rehab on a stress fracture in his left leg.

“He didn’t have much involvement ... [because] he was getting his rehab done,” Palmer said. “According to him, everything’s going on schedule. He’s supposedly going to be enrolled in summer school [at Maryland]. He’s on track for that.”

Pankey wasn’t able to play a minute of his senior season, but Palmer said he did rejoin his teammates for the Friars’ state-playoff run. St. Anthony finished the season 26-3 with a loss to Trenton Catholic in the New Jersey Non-Public B championship.

Palmer said St. Anthony was able to fill roles that Pankey would have played. With a runner-up finish in the state championship, the Friars managed just fine without him. But Palmer said they could certainly have used his size and athleticism.

“He’s a very athletic player,” Palmer said. “He’s going to be an active, athletic type. A tip-dunk type of guy. He’s active on the glass. He’s a 4-man probably in the ACC. He has to work on developing his overall game with the ball handling, facing the basket, shooting. That stuff he has to work on, but his athleticism is very good. He’s exceptionally long.”

Maryland fans shouldn’t expect Pankey to make a “major impact” for the Terps as a freshman, Palmer said. Those types of big men are “few and far between.” But Palmer does think Pankey should be healthy by the start of his freshman season, and ready to see minutes as a role player.

“I think he’s back to being able to do basketball-related activities right now,” Palmer said. “As far as full strength, I don’t think he’s 100 percent yet. I think he’s in a progression, going along with his physical therapist. I’m not positive of his timeline. Obviously, I think he’ll be ready for the fall.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:37 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Season recaps
        

May 12, 2010

Edmondson's Stanton Kidd reaches decision

There were three options Stanton Kidd considered when it came to his college basketball future. stanton-kidd.jpg

The Edmondson senior could: wait until later this summer in hopes of an improved SAT score and a Division I scholarship; attend prep school for a year, get a better test score and then move on to college; go to junior college, play two years and transfer to a four-year school.

On Sunday, Kidd decided on the third option. He faxed his letter of intent to South Plains College in Levelland, Texas on Tuesday.

“Me and my father sat down,” Kidd said. “And he said, ‘There’s nothing wrong with JUCO. You can do one year of prep, but JUCO is two years of regular college courses. They’ll give you the experience [to make sure] you’re ready to go to a four-year university. [At junior college you’re] going to classes and taking care of your own responsibilities.’ ... I want to be at school. We [would have had to] pay for prep school, and I wanted to go somewhere for free.”

Kidd, a 6-foot-7, 205-pound small forward, averaged 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks for Edmondson as a senior. A first-team All-Metro selection and team captain, Kidd led the Red Storm to their first Baltimore City championship. He received Division I interest from Delaware, Delaware State, Morgan State and Texas A&M-Corpus Christi.

The South Plains staff discovered Kidd at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest last month, where he was playing with the Crusader Nation AAU team. While Kidd hasn’t visited the school, he was impressed with the high-major schools that regularly recruit South Plains. Texas is a long way from home, but Kidd said he's ready for the journey.

“It’s going to be a new experience to get away from home,” Kidd said. “It’s best to get away and experience what college is all about. It’s only two years, then I’ll leave again to a university, but it’s not too much to worry about. I’ve been training [for college basketball] since AAU at six years old. ... So it feels good [to have made my decision]. It makes my senior year go by much easier now. I don’t have too much to worry about.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Stanton Kidd by Kenneth K. Lam / March 17, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:08 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 11, 2010

Season recap: Pe'Shon Howard

When Pe’Shon Howard makes the jump to college basketball from high school this fall, he might have just a bit of an advantage over other members of the 2010 class.

Howard, who signed with Maryland last month, has spent the past three years facing the best competition high school basketball has to offer. He wrapped up an illustrious career at Oak Hill Academy this spring, becoming just the second three-year starter for Warriors coach Steve Smith in his 26 years at the Mouth of Wilson, Va., school.

Smith brought the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Howard, a Los Angeles native, to Oak Hill as a sophomore to be the backup point guard. When the Warriors’ presumed starter went elsewhere, Howard prematurely assumed that role.

“He got better each year,” Smith said. “He didn't do much scoring [as a sophomore]; he was more of a distributor then. He averaged about six or seven points as a sophomore. Last year, he moved up to about 10 or 11. This year he averaged about 14 for us. And he's a pass-first guy, but I needed him to score a little bit more this year.”

Howard, who also averaged about 5.5 assists and three steals, was a steady double-figure scorer this season with several 20-to-30-point outbursts mixed in. Against Winston-Salem (N.C.) Prep – Oak Hill’s first road game of the season – Howard was unstoppable.

“We had Doron Lamb (Kentucky) and Roscoe Smith (Connecticut), and those guys, we thought, would be our leading scorers. That particular night, he made 10 3s," Smith said of Howard, who shot 48 percent from the floor, 75 percent from the foul line and 35 percent from 3-point range. "He was 10-for-15 from [beyond] the 3-point line. That game stands out, not just because he scored so many points, but because he really came through. It was our first game on the road and we weren't playing that well … and he just stepped up and took over.

"He's got the knack to do that. He might go four or five games and maybe score 10, 12, 14 points. Then he'll say, 'I've got to score tonight.' He has a knack for knowing when to do it and when not to do it. I didn't really tell him to, but once he started going, we started running sets against the zone and he just kept making shots.”

Howard, who led Oak Hill to a 29-4 record, now has three seasons of experience playing against the best competition in the country under his belt. He has developed into a solid shooter, an excellent passer, and a strong defensive presence. Smith said Howard’s trial-by-fire sophomore year showed him the physical attributes he would need to excel at that level. Spending time in the weight room became a priority, and by the time senior year rolled around Howard was one of the strongest guards in the country.

“I think he's excited to get to Maryland. I think he'll be ready,” Smith said. “He's a big, strong guard. He's probably gained 25-30 pounds since his sophomore year. He's real strong physically, a 200-pound guard. Most high schoolers don't have the body that he has. He has worked really hard in the weight room. His work ethic in the weight room and on the court for me, especially his senior year, is one of the things that sets him apart.”

Smith said Howard’s only regret of his time at Oak Hill was not leading the Warriors to a No. 1 national ranking. Oak Hill came closest to achieving that feat during Howard’s junior year, when he and Brandon Jennings – now with the Milwaukee Bucks – guided the Warriors to a 40-1 record. Howard came up short of his goal, but Smith said he couldn’t have asked for anything more from him.

“I'll miss that he played hard every game,” Smith said. “I'll miss his effort. It was contagious. He didn't take a night off. He practices extremely hard and he hates to lose. He's one of the guys that came to Oak Hill and felt we should win every game every year. I'll miss that effort that he gave each night. I always knew he was going to show up and play. Some guys, you're not sure. I always knew Pe'Shon was going to give his best effort. If we lost, it wasn't going to be because he didn't get after it. ... He'll be missed. I don't have many guys for three years, so I'll miss Pe'Shon.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:00 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Season recaps
        

May 10, 2010

Weekend wrap – Carr's stock keeps rising

It's early in the AAU season, but so far Patterson freshman Aquille Carr has picked up right where he left off this winter.

The 5-foot-6 point guard has followed up an All-Metro season with standout play for Nike Baltimore Elite's 17-and-under squad. FlagrantFouls.com picked Carr as one of the most impressive players at this weekend's Baltimore Elite Invitational at Hoop Magic in Chantilly, Va.

He is lightning quick, has outstanding handles, and can flat out score the basketball. What makes Aquille special is the way he gets in the gaps and finishes at the rim. He's got outstanding body control and is a terrific finisher. Think a cross between Allen Iverson and Louis Williams.

• Testudo Times took a look Saturday at two potential center targets for the Terps from the junior college ranks.

The first is Berend Weijs. ... Weijs is originally from the Netherlands and plays for Harcum CC just outside of Bryn Mawr. If you're interested, he has a Twitter...in Dutch. Weijs has been to Longwood and has an offer from the Lancers. He visited Maryland in late April and claims an offer from the Terps, along with interest from a handful of other mid-majors.

• The New York Post checked in Friday with Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln defensive end Ishaq Williams, a Maryland target with 25 BCS-level scholarship offers.

The 17-year-old from Clinton Hill speaks to several assistant coaches per day. Thursday afternoon, he had a Skype video conference with Alabama coach Nick Saban. He has taken unofficial visits with his father, Shaun, to Syracuse, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Miami and Maryland, meeting each school’s head coach.

• Rivals.com updated the recruitment of Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) linebacker Connor Wujciak late last week.

To this point Wujciak has visited Maryland, Rutgers, Boston College and Pittsburgh. He said he will definitely take some more visits. Wujciak wants to have his decision made before his senior season, though he doesn’t know if that will be possible. That means he should be on the road a little bit this summer.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:59 AM | | Comments (1)
        

May 7, 2010

Weekly recruiting roundup

Atlantic Christian (N.J.) forward Luke Piotrowski reportedly has offers from Maryland, Arizona, Arizona State and Oregon State, but the 6-foot-11 junior might not necessarily go the high-major route.

Piotrowski's older brother Mat recently committed to Boston University. Tom Piotrowski, the boys' father, told the Press of Atlantic City that Luke will also consider mid-major programs.

"Luke's got quite the following," Tom Piotrowski said. "The question for Luke is what is the most important criteria for his college selection. He has the potential to play at the highest level. But he might be a kid who says I can do what I want to do and get where I want to go at a mid-major. I get the feeling that may be the direction he goes."

• Dan Wiederer of The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer weighed in this week on Maryland's recent commitment from Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs.

Gibbs, who stands 6-1, chose the Terrapins over fellow ACC schools Wake Forest and Virginia and also over Pitt, where his older brother Ashton will be a junior next season. Gibbs is said to be a scrappy player and an accomplished scorer who can get into the lane to create. His feel for the point guard position will need to improve dramatically if he is to come anywhere close to enjoying half the success that Vasquez had at Maryland. But on the developmental curve, Williams is hoping he can bring Sterling along similarly to how Jamie Dixon has helped Ashton grow at Pitt.

• SLAM's Franklyn Calle was impressed with Terps center target Desmond Hubert at last weekend's King of New York Basketball Classic.

This 6-8 forward showed tremendous upside. The long and lanky Jersey native got some serious hops. Hubert ran the floor well and consistently was in the paint ready for tip-ins. On the defensive end, he did a good job contesting shots and playing off the ball.

Hunter Mickelson, a onetime Maryland target and Jonesboro, Ark., native, committed to his hometown Razorbacks.

Most recruiting services rank Mickelson as a top-50 prospect. He averaged 19 points and 10 rebounds in his junior year. Mickelson makes a living both inside the paint and on the perimeter.

Football recruiting

• Boys' Latin's Marco Jones was one of the top defensive line prospects at the Nike Football Training Camp in State College, Pa., on Sunday, according to ESPN.com's Bill Kurelic.

Another rising senior defensive end, Marco Jones (Baltimore/Boys Latin School), made his presence known as well. The 6-3, 245-pound Jones is quick and agile and stays on his feet well but must continue to develop. He has scholarship offers from more than a half dozen schools, including Penn State, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Louisville.

Martay Mattox, a dual-threat quarterback from Athens, Ga., has narrowed his choices to South Carolina and Maryland. PalmettoSports.com reports that he will make his decision between May 14-17.

Mattox has visited USC several times and but has not yet been to Maryland. "I won't visit (Maryland) before I decide," he said, "but I do feel like I know them pretty well. I talk to them a lot and know a lot about them."

• Philadelphia Northeast defensive end Deion Barnes visited Maryland late last month.

“I just came back from Maryland last week,” he said. “I was there for their spring game and I was surprised at how big it was. I didn’t expect the facilities for the football team to be so big. I didn’t really get to see the academic side of things but the football complex was nice.”

• Sterling (Va.) Dominion running back DeAndre Reaves also took a recent trip to College Park.

“I went to Maryland and West Virginia in the past two weeks,” he said. “I liked them. They were great.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:12 PM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

May 6, 2010

Season recap: Mychal Parker

Scott Willard didn't quite know what to expect from Mychal Parker when he took the Miller School (Va.) coaching job last summer.

Willard moved to Virginia after one season as Wyoming's director of basketball operations and two years as head coach at Division III Lesley University in Cambridge, Mass. At the Miller School, he inherited Parker, a Top 60 talent and one of the premier small forwards in the 2010 class.

While Parker's talent was undeniable, Willard heard mixed reviews on his work ethic. Those concerns were quickly alleviated.

"When I took the job I heard that he wasn't taking advantage of his talents and he wasn't working hard enough," Willard said of Parker, who committed to Maryland shortly after he took the job. "To my surprise, he worked his butt off. He gets up a lot of shots and his work ethic is going to help, no question. He's going to need it. ... He can do it all. He can rebound, he can shoot it, he can drive to the basket and he can defend when he wants to. So this year, he was without question one of the most talented players I've ever coached. He needs to play hard on every possession, but I think he got better as the year went on."

Willard's system called for Parker to work off ball screens, driving to the hoop or pulling up for the jumper, depending on how the opposition defended him. It was a different experience for Parker, but Willard said he flourished, averaging 21 points, 6.5 rebounds and four assists for the Mavericks, who finished 15-7 with a semifinal appearance in the Virginia Independent Schools Division I playoffs.

"He saw some junk defenses thrown at him -- triangle-and-2, box-and-1." Willard said. "He's what they tried to take away. [But] he handled it well. Obviously putting up those kind of numbers when you're a marked man is a testament to how he handled it. He did a good job."

Parker's finest moment of his senior season came in late December. The Mavericks traveled to Parker's hometown of Washington, N.C., for the 30th annual Washington Daily News/PotashCorp Aurora Holiday Tournament. In front of a hometown crowd, Parker went off.

"We just saw his raw ability. We drove five hours to North Carolina to play in a tournament," Willard said. "Cameras there, news crews, a packed gym, and he honestly rolled off the bus and was unbelievable. We got off the bus and he went for 35. And he took a final earlier in the day. So that just gave us a taste of, if he works hard and gets stronger, his God-given ability is really unmatched at this level. It was a great moment for him."

Willard said there's no question Parker has "the tools" to succeed at the ACC level. He's a versatile 6-foot-6 wing who can shoot, rebound and handle the ball with both hands. Willard said Parker thinks he'll see significant time in Maryland's lineup right from the start. With added strength, Willard can envision that scenario happening.

"He's been fun to be around, and as a high school coach, it's great to coach those kids," Willard said. "But it's even more gratifying to be a fan once they reach the collegiate level. Him being at Maryland will [allow us to] hopefully see him on TV some, and obviously when he comes to play U.Va., that's a short trip for us. We'll make sure to be there."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:54 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Season recaps
        

May 5, 2010

Change of plans for Calvert Hall's Damion Lee

damion-lee-calvert-hall.jpg

Instead of suiting up for Towson’s basketball team next fall, Calvert Hall forward Damion Lee will delay college for a year.

Lee, a 6-foot-5, 195-pound senior who signed with the Tigers last November, has decided to attend prep school and pick a new school for next year.

“He felt that he didn't want to go to college in the same town he grew up in,” said Calvert Hall coach John Bauersfeld. “[The Towson coaches] were disappointed, but they handled it well. They were very understanding with Damion and don't have any ill feelings toward the kid at all.”

Lee, who is fully qualified academically, has narrowed his prep school choices to St. Thomas More in Oakdale, Conn., and the Winchendon (Mass.) School. He’ll graduate from Calvert Hall next month and has plans to keep busy this summer.

“He's playing for D.C. Assault's 17-and-under team with [DeMatha point guard] Quinn Cook and a lot of other really good guys,” Bauersfeld said. “He'll get a lot of good exposure there. I think he's hoping to play in a bigger conference.”

College programs can’t contact Lee -- a Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection -- until Sept. 1 when his letter of intent to Towson expires.

Cardinals forward Donya Jackson, the reigning two-time Baltimore Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year, will also spent next year at prep school.

Jackson is headed to Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy in the fall before enrolling at the Naval Academy in the summer of 2011. Bauersfeld said it’s “pretty standard operating procedure for a lot of” Navy athletes to attend prep school before matriculating to Annapolis.

“That's been on the table since Day 1, since he verbally committed,” Bauersfeld said. “And he understands that he's taking a year to get himself better prepared academically to go to the Academy. He's not down or depressed about that in any way.”

Calvert Hall’s three other senior starters are also firming up their college plans. Cameron Cook, a 6-foot-4 small forward, will play at Hood College. Point guard Kyle Wise has plans to visit St. Mary’s College soon. Wise is also hearing from Stevenson.

Jonathan Graham, meanwhile, has “narrowed it down to a couple Division I schools and will make a decision in the next few weeks,” Bauersfeld said.

Graham, a 6-foot-8 forward and three-star prospect according to Rivals.com, averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds for the BCL-champion Cardinals.

Baltimore Sun photo of Damion Lee by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 22, 2010

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

May 4, 2010

Ex-Arundel forward commits to MAC school

Auraum Nuiriankh’s original plan called for a college visit to Buffalo for a few days followed by a trip to Tulane. auraum-nuiriankh-photo.jpg

The 2009 Arundel graduate completed the first part of his itinerary last Tuesday, but never made it to New Orleans for the second visit.

“I liked Buffalo. It’s a great atmosphere,” said Nuiriankh, a 6-foot-5, 190-pound shooting guard. “So I called the head coach this past weekend [and committed]. He was ecstatic. He said ‘congratulations’ and I made the right decision.”

Nuiriankh, a Baltimore Sun All-Anne Arundel County first-team selection in 2009, plans to sign his letter of intent to Buffalo this week. He also received interest from Boston College.

Coming out of high school, Nuiriankh attracted just a few Division II scholarships and a walk-on offer from The Citadel. The lack of Division I attention prompted his move to North Carolina, where he spent the past school year playing for Charis Prep.

A forward in high school, Nuiriankh was able to refine his game as a 2-guard this year in prep school. He averaged 18 points and eight rebounds, helping Charis to a 35-6 record, all while attracting attention from several mid-major programs. Arundel coach Jeff Starr said it was just a matter of time for schools to notice Nuiriankh's potential.

“In high school, he played forward based on his size,” Starr said. “He knew at the next level, he was going to have to be on the perimeter. So over the summer and during the fall, he really worked on his perimeter skills and it really paid off for him during the winter. Offensively, even though he was a forward in high school, he would still knock down 3-pointers with consistency, which made him a tough matchup at the high school level. ... He’s going to bring a lot of energy. He increased his vertical, he increased his range [and] he improved his ball-handling skills. He’s going to bring a lot to the table at Buffalo.”

Buffalo emerged as Nuiriankh’s favorite over the winter. His trip up to Western New York last week confirmed those feelings. Nuiriankh toured Niagara Falls, visited the place where Buffalo wings were invented, and spent an ample amount of time with the players and coaches.

“It’s a family atmosphere and they’re a winning program,” Nuiriankh said. “Tulane was 8-22 last year, so it was a rebuilding process. I want the chance to go to the NCAA tournament and everything like that. [Buffalo] won 18 games last year. They were pretty good and had a chance at a couple postseason tournaments. They had a chance at the CBI and the NIT.”

Nuiriankh is back in Maryland now, working on his game and preparing for college. The Buffalo coaches told him he’ll compete for a starting position immediately.

“It’s really crazy to me,” Nuiriankh said. “I always knew with my size … and being able to shoot the ball that I was a Division I player. It was just a matter of exposure, but I never thought I would be possibly starting [at a Div. I school] in a year. ... It’s a big weight off my shoulders.”

Note: Arundel center Zach Lynch will play at Hood College next year, according to Starr. Lynch averaged 8.3 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists for the Wildcats. He led Arundel with 34 blocked shots, and also recorded 23 steals on the season.

Baltimore Sun photo of Auraum Nuiriankh by Doug Kapustin / Dec. 30, 2008

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:40 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

May 3, 2010

Decision is in for St. Frances' Dante Holmes

holmes.jpg Plenty of college programs recruited Dante Holmes throughout his four years at St. Frances.

The 6-foot-3, 185-pound wing heard pitches from coaches in the ACC, Big East, Big 12 and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, among others. But a late entrant from Conference USA ultimately earned Holmes’ commitment.

“We did an official visit over the weekend, and it was one of those things where some schools started calling like Boston College, Iowa State,” said Carlos Green, a St. Frances assistant and Holmes’ uncle. “But Marshall just ... wanted him really bad. They were real consistent in his recruitment. The head coach, as soon as he got the job, he called the next day. He wanted to come and see Dante. The assistant coach was consistent in calling and it was just a real good fit.”

Holmes, who also considered Loyola, St. John’s and UAB, committed to the Thundering Herd on Monday. Green said Holmes would sign his letter of intent to Marshall either “tonight or tomorrow morning.”

A two-time second-team All-Metro selection, Holmes guided the Panthers to the MIAA A Conference championship this past winter. After the completion of Holmes’ senior season, recruiting started picking up significantly. Green said Marshall -- which finished 24-10 this year -- emerged as a possibility last month.

Tom Herrion was hired to replace Donnie Jones -- who took the Central Florida job -- as Marshall’s coach April 10. Herrion, the former Pittsburgh assistant and College of Charleston head coach, spent one day on the job before identifying Holmes as a top prospect on the Thundering Herd’s wish list. On the second day of the open contact period, Herrion came to Baltimore to see Holmes in action. Green said Herrion came away impressed with Holmes, who should see "double-digit minutes" as a true freshman.

“He said basically like, ‘We don’t promise starting spots,’” Green said. “How hard he works depends [on how much he is] going to play right away. ... But Coach’s style of play is really get up and down and that’s pretty much Dante’s style. They’re going to run it as much as possible. They run some sets, but they’re going to get up and down the floor and play pressure defense. That’s the perfect fit for his game.”

Holmes finished his St. Frances career with two MIAA A Conference championships and two Baltimore Catholic League titles. He scored more than 1,200 points over his past two seasons, leaving behind a legacy as one of the most successful players in St. Frances’ illustrious history. Holmes’ past clearly impressed the new Marshall staff.

“I think the main thing they see is a guy who can come in and play every day, every possession,” Green said. “He’s just a winner and he’s the kind of player that does a little bit of everything. One minute he’s doing his thing defensively, and [the next minute] he can score. For a guard, his height is [a] real [positive], and he can do a bit of everything. The main thing with him is winning. He’s been a winner ever since he was 11 years old.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Dante Holmes by Gene Sweeney Jr. / Jan. 22, 2009

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:44 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Weekend wrap – Ex-UM target (sort of) makes choice

At Jefferson High in Portland, Ore., on Friday afternoon, former Maryland shooting guard pledge Terrence Ross -- as expected -- committed to Washington. His teammate Terrence Jones, a onetime Terps target, also announced for the Huskies.

Ross signed his letter of intent, but Jones, who also seriously considered Kentucky, remains unsigned.

Kentucky coach John Calipari called Jones after his announcement and Jones was on the phone for a very long time. About 15 minutes. Reading body language, Jones seemed pained.

He told me, "You hurt thousands of people just as much as you make people happy."

The Seattle Times' Percy Allen wrote today that Jones' status remains unknown.

I know folks want some type of resolution on the Terrence Jones issue, but we'll just have to wait. As for updates, well really what more is there left to say? The only real news can only come from Jones or his parents and they're not talking at the moment.

• Terps linebacker pledge Cole Farrand was one of the MVPs for the Pope John XXIII track team at the Hunterdon/Warren/Sussex Relays on Saturday in Vernon Township, N.J.

Also for Pope John, senior Cole Farrand, who recently gave a verbal commitment to Maryland for football, led the meet in the shot put with a 53-1½ and he was second in the discus with a 143-9, keying victories in both events. Farrand was named the boys' field event MVP. Hilgart was named the boys' track MVP.

• The Maryland women's basketball program is one of many schools tracking Blair Academy (N.J.) forward Temi Fagbenle, according to ESPN HoopGurlz. Fagbenle, a 6-foot-4 junior, was born in Baltimore and raised in London.

Fagbenle is very much a person who needs a city nearby so most schools in a rural setting are more than likely going to be cut. This weekend she made a trip north to visit three schools -- Boston College, Connecticut and Harvard. Georgetown, which [coach Daniel] Bowmaker said was high on her list, has a scheduled visit later in the month. She also is considering Columbia and Penn from the Ivies. She has previously visited Maryland and Rutgers.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:04 AM | | Comments (5)
        

May 2, 2010

Milford Mill's Anthony Goode signs with DI school

anthony-goode.jpg Ever since Anthony Goode started high school, he patiently waited for the day a Division I program would offer him a scholarship.

It took the Milford Mill combo guard four years, a Class 3A state championship and a second-team All-Metro season, but last month that day finally came. The 6-foot-1, 175-pound Goode got the good news from St. Francis (Pa.) coach Don Friday.

"He just said it like, 'I'm offering you a scholarship,' telling me how much it was worth," Goode said. "And after he did, I was thanking him. ... I went on a visit and everything. And then I waited another week and then I committed."

Goode, who averaged 11 points, six assists, five rebounds and three steals for the Millers this season, signed his letter of intent to St. Francis last Monday.

“I’m proud of him,” said Nick Myles, Goode’s AAU coach with Baltimore Assault. “He was underrecruited the whole process, and I think schools were finally starting to see his potential. I think he’s going to be a great player in the [Northeast Conference].”

Myles called Goode an athletic shooter who can put the ball on the floor and defend. "I just think he's one of the most underrated players in this whole area, as far as seniors," Myles said of Goode, who had an offer from Division II Bowie State and interest from New Hampshire.

Goode said Friday, who first started recruiting him in January, told him that his only expectation is for him to come in and work hard for a spot in the rotation. After four years of doing just that, Goode's ready to do the same at the collegiate level.

"It does feel good because I've been working hard," Goode said. "Everyone always says hard work pays off, and I guess I'm just realizing that from a personal standpoint."

Baltimore Sun photo of Anthony Goode by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 11, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:15 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Local recruiting
        
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About Matt Bracken

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

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