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February 24, 2011

'Sky is the limit' for Terps recruit Martin Breunig

martin-breunig-terps.jpg Martin Breunig left his Leverkusen, Germany home last summer for St. John's Northwestern Military Academy in Delafield, Wis., with a clearly stated purpose.

“When he first got here, he said ‘I want to play major college basketball’ almost immediately,” St. John’s coach Brian Richert recalled.

On Thursday, Breunig made that dream a reality. The 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward committed to Maryland, picking the Terps over Virginia and several other Division I programs.

“For someone to [go after] his dream, come to a different country and give up his family life and social life to chase a dream, and then accomplish it, I’m just so proud,” Richert said. “It’s something I know he’s always wanted. … Going to Maryland, you’re not going to get much bigger than that. We’re very happy for him.”

The recruitment of Breunig – who joins Seton Hall Prep (N.J.) point guard Sterling Gibbs and City shooting guard Nick Faust in Maryland’s 2011 recruiting class – was a whirlwind process. He came to Wisconsin last summer to play for St. John’s inaugural post-graduate team. After questions about his academic eligibility and amateurism were resolved, a host of mid-major programs – including Green Bay, Maine, San Francisco, St. Louis and UAB – came after the future Terp.

Maryland, meanwhile, offered Breunig last month after Terps assistant Keith Booth saw him play at a tournament in Virginia. Breunig immediately appreciated Maryland’s recruiting approach.

“There were other coaches that called Martin and said, ‘I can make you into an NBA player,'” said Martin Esters, St. John’s player development coach and international scout. “I explained to him that it’s a big selling game. Coaches are trying to sell. But he really felt like Maryland wasn’t trying to sell it too much.”

During Breunig’s official visit to College Park on Sunday and Monday, he had a chance to witness the Terps’ 87-80 win over North Carolina State and check out a practice. Seeing the team in action, Esters said, gave Breunig confidence that he could play in the ACC.

While the Maryland coaches made no promises on playing time to Breunig during his visit, the staff did make clear that Dino Gregory was set to graduate, leaving an open spot in the starting lineup at the 4.

“They’re just saying he brings another dimension,” Richert said. “He’s so athletic and he’s long, so he can play multiple positions. He can go down on the other end and help them defensively. He’s very multi-dimensional. He’s been working very, very hard at getting stronger, bigger and faster. You would think at this level, with all the egos, that everyone is concerned with offense and scoring 20 points a game and making the headlines. But he’s doing it a different route. [He’s said], ‘I really want to get ready on the defensive end for the next level.’ And I think he’s approaching it the right way.”

Esters – who’s also from Germany and played for Richert on St. John’s high school team – struck up a friendship with Breunig nearly three years ago. Then a 6-4 guard for the junior team in his town, Breunig demonstrated plenty of potential to Esters. The St. John’s assistant can’t wait to see how Breunig develops at Maryland.

“He’s not a kid that’s only played four years, but he grew late and kept his guard skills with his body,” Esters said. “He’ll get the right coaching, which is another big aspect for why he chose Maryland. He felt that Coach Booth and [Terps assistant coach Rob] Ehsan will really teach him to play the game and help him get better at it. It’s kind of cliché’, but the sky is the limit with him. He doesn’t just have a great body and is athletic; he’s really skilled and has a high ceiling. That’s the thing about him. He can really be great.”

Photo of Breunig courtesy of St. John's Northwestern Military Academy

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:19 PM | | Comments (6)


This is good news.
I read one scout say that this guy could be the next Dirk Nowvitski.
That's a lot to say.

I still see Whittington as like a Joe Smith type.
They need to get Hubert or GW too. That would give them a top 5 class in the ACC, and secure a top 15 preseason ranking.

I think they miss on both.
They are down, because of the recruiting, bottom line. I don't care what anyone says, the program is, and hasnt been as good as it was from 1995-2003., in these last 8 years.

Matt, I do like one thing, remember when T MO, and Holden, Smith, etc. those guys were PF's, that would step out, and could consistently hit the 3. That made them such great weapons, and was the MAIN reason we were an elite program.
We got away from that. I don't know if that was by plan, or, they just couldn't get the recruits. Tobias Harris is like a point forward, and we lost out, now we see that could have been because Pearl might have bought him a house, or whatever.

With the recruits they are targeting, Breunig, and Whittington, those 2 can step out and hit the trey.

I really thought Parker was going to be a stud from day 1. ESPN has the best recruiting scouting report IMHO, and one of their writers said he was another Durant, because of his superior athleticism, and handles, he can shoot, and because of his speed, he could take a man to the hole. SUPER match up problem.
Doesn't seem like that's gonna happen.

Lets hope they win out, and get into the tourney.

This is great news. He seems like a quality kid and he just wants to get bettter. I love the fact that other coaches were selling the NBA and he didn't fall for any of those tricks.

It's pretty clear that many other programs will say anything to get kids to their school. With the explosion of the internet and the explosion of "online recruiting" it will always be tough to get the "top kids." Too many D I programs out there and the talent is now being spread out amongst the different programs. That didn't used to happen. It used to be that kids wanted to play in the ACC or Big East or Big Ten, etc. or that was it. Now, they don't mind playing for the CAA or the A10 or the WAC. That's why I appreciate the consistency that GW has maintained over the years. He always brings in kids that care about the game and that just want to get better. I'll take those kids over others that have a few stars next to their names.

Fear the turtle!

He played for a pro team in Germany...

After what happened with Enes Kanter at Kentucky, I'd just wait and see about this kid. The NCAA is not going to really look at his eligibility until he actually enrolls

Sean: Where have you seen that he played for a pro team? His coaches have said that he played for a junior team, and that his amateur status is fine. -- Matt

Matt: He was on the 09-10 Bayer Giants Leverkusen senior roster I saw on Looks like he was listed as reserve thought so maybe he never played, or got paid. Most of the articles I have seen about him have also have not mentioned anything about him being on the junior squad. His profile at St. Johns website is the only one that mentions the junior team .

Hopefully Gary and his staff did more research then John Calipari did with Kanter.

Sean: Thanks for the response. -- Matt

He was listed erronously on the roster on Martin made it a point not to play any games with the "pro" team but instead opted to play only with the youth team and in an amateur senior league. He did that with the intent to stay eligible for US high-school and NCAA play.

Had he played on the pro team, the situation would have been comparable to that of Elias Harris of Gonzaga, Lucca Staiger formerly of Iowa State and Chris Standhardinger formerly of Nebraska. According to new NCAA rules, it seems as he would have been eligible right from the start.

This situation is nowhere near the situation with Enes Kanter.

Another this the best the terps can do? other colleges get the best of Philly , Baltimore and Brooklyn.... Terps get the best of iceland and germany.... do the math.

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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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