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June 30, 2011

Southern forward Cody Joyce headed to Marist

When Cody Joyce sat down for a post-visit meeting in Marist coach Chuck Martin's office, the Southern High grad couldn't help but brace himself for bad news.

Joyce, a 6-foot-7, 210-pound power forward, was no stranger to disappointment when it came to recruiting. Despite a standout senior season with the Bulldogs, Joyce finished high school with just a smattering of DI interest.

Joyce hoped things would be different with Marist, which hosted him on an official visit earlier this week. But there were no guarantees when the All-Anne Arundel County player chatted with the Red Foxes coach.

“[Martin] said I was going to be successful, I have tremendous upside … and he said that I’m the type of kid that everybody loves to be around. Twenty years from now, he can see me being a very successful person,” Joyce recalled. “[Then] I thought he was going to say, ‘But unfortunately, we’re going to go in a different direction.’ But he said, ‘We’re going to offer you.’ I ended up committing right on the spot.”

Joyce’s commitment to Marist on Tuesday capped a seemingly improbable journey from the lower levels of Anne Arundel County rec ball to Division I. As an eighth-grader, Joyce said he was cut from his school's ‘A’ team. During his first two years at Southern, he came off the bench for the junior varsity squad.

“He didn’t get a growth spurt until between his freshman and sophomore years,” said Will Maynard, Southern’s JV head coach and a varsity assistant. “By the time he got on the varsity as a junior, he grew to about 6-6 and was playing like a man. That’s when we realized he had the potential to possibly play Division I with hard work and dedication. After that you could see it. He put more emphasis on his body. He got a lot stronger over the years, put on a lot of weight.”

In the spring Joyce played for Southern’s varsity lacrosse team. In the summers, he played in select tournaments for a variety of local AAU teams. He also dedicated himself in the weight room and during individual workouts in the gym.

Joyce’s offseason dedication paid dividends during his senior season, as he averaged 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Joyce led Anne Arundel County in rebounding, and finished his varsity career with more than 200 blocked shots and 500 rebounds. Maynard said Joyce – a “pick-and-pop 4” with range just inside the 3-point line – slowly started to gain more college interest.

“He was getting looked at by some good Division II schools – Eastern Mennonite, Wheeling Jesuit, Concord, Goldey Beacom, Holy Family in Pa., and a couple DIs showed interest,” Maynard said. “He worked out for UMBC [and] New Hampshire expressed interest. But nobody really went the extra mile. Late in the game, the possibility of prep school was looking likely.”

Joyce had nearly resigned himself to a post-grad year, until fellow Southern High grad and Princeton Day Academy prep school coach Chris Chaney intervened. Maynard said Chaney circulated Joyce’s highlight tape to coaches at Marist and South Dakota State – two programs in need of a big man. The Red Foxes were interested, and Joyce worked with Marist assistant coach Will Lanier to set up an unofficial visit.

“He was just telling me, ‘You need to come up here, you need to see the campus,’” Joyce said. “When I went up there, the coaches just showed me [around] and I just fell in love with the campus. The view and the location in that area is just great. I ended up going for an official visit [earlier this week]. I got to play with the team, got to meet pretty much all the Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) community. I walked into this diner and everybody knew who I was.”

Joyce, who’s considering a major in sports communication, plans to move to New York in August. The former Bulldogs star is expected to come off the bench, play tough defense and rebound for the Red Foxes. Joyce couldn’t be more excited to have that opportunity.

“I can’t thank Coach Martin enough for giving me a chance,” Joyce said. “I’m so blessed and gracious that he offered me a scholarship. I’m excited and motivated about that. … Just getting the chance to play there in the MAAC in and of itself is living the dream.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:11 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 29, 2011

Joe Riddle: Terps pledge 'a childhood dream'

Joe Riddle isn't sure what position he'll play in college, and, quite frankly, the Linganore athlete doesn't care.

The only thing that mattered to Riddle was playing college football at Maryland. On Sunday, the rising senior from Frederick County accomplished that goal by landing a scholarship offer and immediately committing to the Terps.

“It feels great. It’s a great feeling, great news,” Riddle said. “This is what I wanted – to get an offer from Maryland. I wanted to go to school there since I was a little kid. It was definitely a good thing.”

Riddle, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound running back for the powerhouse Lancers, held scholarship offers from Buffalo, Cincinnati, New Hampshire, Towson and VMI heading into Sunday's camp in College Park. While he liked the Bearcats and enjoyed a visit to the Big East school, earning a Maryland offer was No. 1 on his list of priorities. Riddle had a good indication that – with a strong performance at camp – he’d be in line for a scholarship.

Maryland defensive line coach Greg “Gattuso was saying, ‘You’re going to come out of camp a happy man,’” Riddle recalled. “After the camp was over, Coach [Randy] Edsall approached me and said, ‘I want you and your father to come up [to my office]. We’re going to talk.’ We walked into Coach Edsall’s office, [and he was] talking about how impressed he was with me at camp, said I did a great job, saw everything he needed to see, [and then said], ‘We’re offering you a full-ride scholarship to come to Maryland.’ … I committed on the spot.”

Linganore coach Rick Conner has known Riddle for “six or seven years,” ever since his middle son played youth football with the future Terp. Even back then, Conner sensed that Riddle could have a college football future.

“He was a little thicker then, not as fast, but he did things where you went, ‘Wow, he might be OK,’” Conner said. “He takes care of his body. He eats right, gets his rest. When he got to Linganore, [we said], ‘We got something.’ He was getting the ball a lot on JV. We said, ‘Let’s see what happens.’ He came up as a sophomore, [we] kept him in the backfield and he was the primary starter and he played a great deal.”

As a junior, Riddle rushed for nearly 1,000 yards and 13 touchdowns while sharing time with Army-bound running back Dwayne Randall in the Lancers’ backfield. Riddle didn’t play much defense during his 11th-grade season, but he was an often-unstoppable mainstay on the offensive side of the ball.

“We counted on him for big plays,” Conner said. “We were a big-play offense. ... I think what we’re going to do with Joe more this year is we’re going to move him all over. He can catch the ball, he can run, he can open some things up in the passing game. We’ll throw it a little more, put Joe out there. He had a good day at Maryland running routes and catching the ball. I think he’s a versatile type of player. He could be a perimeter receiver or a motion jet guy. Or he could be an outside ‘backer or a free safety.”

Riddle, who played defensive end on the JV team as a freshman, worked out on both sides of the ball at Maryland’s camp, but says he has no preference regarding his college position. That eager-to-please attitude comes as no surprise to Conner, who called Riddle a “very coachable” player.

“He leads by example. He leads by effort,” Conner said. “We’ve had some great football players at Linganore High School and Joe is in that mold. He works as hard as any of them. It’s one of the great things about Joe. He’s a top player and also one of the hardest-working kids we have. It’s a great fit.”

Riddle plans to major in physical education at Maryland in hopes of becoming a teacher and coach after his playing days are done. In the meantime, Riddle says he can’t wait to play in front of his friends and family for “our hometown school.”

“It was a childhood dream just finally coming true,” Riddle said. “It’s an awesome feeling – probably one of the happiest days of my life.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:26 AM | | Comments (3)
        

June 28, 2011

Terps WR recruit A.J. Liddell has 'big upside'

For the past two years, A.J. Liddell has been Gwynn Park’s loss and Georgia high school football’s gain.

Liddell, a Prince George’s County native, moved to Douglasville, Ga., at the end of his ninth-grade year, and joined the Chapel Hill High football program as a sophomore. The 6-foot-3 ½, 195-pound wide receiver has thrived down south, but when the opportunity to come home presented itself in the form of a Maryland scholarship offer, Liddell jumped at the chance. The rising senior committed to the Terps on Sunday.

“We’re proud of him,” said Chapel Hill coach Chris Parker. “Sometimes recruiting is exciting, but it’s also a difficult time. It’s nice for him … and it’s nice for Maryland that he went ahead and committed early. Now he can have a good last year of high school and play at Maryland next year.”

Liddell’s first season with the Panthers was spent mostly on the JV, save for an occasional varsity call-up. The future Terp had to pick up the nuances of the game and get acclimated to Chapel Hill’s offensive system. But Parker said he and his coaching staff “knew immediately” that Liddell was a future Division I player.

As a junior, Liddell put all those pieces of potential together, catching around 50 passes for 700 yards and eight touchdowns. All season long, Liddell was Parker’s “go-to guy.” In addition to wide receiver, Liddell also saw time at safety and just about every special team imaginable.

“We had a punter who got hurt in the summer, so we got through the end of July and needed a punter,” Parker said. “A.J. had never punted in his life, and he actually led the region in punting. He’s not going to punt for Maryland, but it just shows the natural athleticism he has. He’s definitely an ACC-caliber player.”

Liddell also considered offers from Connecticut, Georgia Tech and Vanderbilt, while Auburn, Tennessee and several others were in contact with Parker. Maryland, meanwhile, got involved early in the process, with Terps offensive line coach Tom Brattan visiting Chapel Hill in the spring. The Maryland coaches had a clear vision for Liddell from the start.

“He’s probably going to be a stretch-the-field guy,” Parker said. “He really kind of looks young, and he’s going to get bigger. … As an outside receiver, his ability to go get the ball in the air is probably the best I’ve ever had – and we’ve had some good ones over the time that I’ve coached. [My expectation for him in college is] probably as an outside receiver, stretching the field and making a couple big plays a game. His potential is really big. He’s got a big, big upside. There’s a lot of strength he can still gain, but I think it’ll be a good fit.”

Parker said Liddell still has many friends and family – including his father – that lives in Maryland. The Chapel Hill coach said his star receiver couldn’t be more excited about his return.

“A.J. is the type of kid that wants to go home,” Parker said. “He might have gotten offered by 100 schools. It’s a good fit for Maryland, a good fit for him.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:53 AM | | Comments (4)
        

June 27, 2011

Dunbar's Devante Wallace commits to High Point

devante-wallace-high-point.jpg For two-and-a-half weeks, Devante Wallace waited patiently for a phone call that would determine his college future.

The recent Dunbar graduate made an official visit to High Point earlier this month, but the Panthers were considering him and another player with just one scholarship to give. If the High Point offer came through, Wallace planned to commit on the spot. If the High Point coaches decided to offer the other player, Wallace was ticketed for prep school.

On Monday morning, Wallace got the call – and the good news – he had been waiting for.

“They called my father. I was asleep at the time. I just woke up and my father was talking to the coach. I asked him if they offered me and he said yes. Then Coach talked to me and said they were offering me. I was just happy because that was one of the main schools,” said Wallace, who also had interest from Eastern Michigan, Loyola, Mount St. Mary’s, Quinnipiac and UMBC. “It was just exciting that [High Point offered and I committed]. It’s a good feeling.”

Wallace's commitment will bring him back to his home state. He grew up in Durham, N.C., and moved to Baltimore late in his sophomore year. The 6-foot-5, 175-pound wing joined Dunbar’s varsity team as a junior, backing up All-Metro player Derrell Edwards as the Poets claimed the Class 1A state championship.

“Anytime you go into a new environment, it’s an adjustment period you have to make,” said Dunbar coach Cyrus Jones. “He just continued to work hard and get adjusted to Baltimore life, Baltimore basketball, which was totally different from North Carolina. … He went into his junior year as a reserve player. At the end of the season, he started to become more acclimated, and then his senior year he started.”

Wallace -- who played AAU with the Baltimore Stars -- thrived in a starting role, averaging 17.5 points, five rebounds and two assists. The Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection saved his best for last, recording 23 points, 10 rebounds, four steals and three assists in Dunbar’s win over Williamsport for the Class 1A state title at Comcast Center.

“I just worked the whole summer, came back and was better,” Wallace said. “I knew that I was one of the best players in the city because I just worked. I just started working harder, working on my ball-handling, my jump shot and my defense, and it paid off.”

While Wallace wasn’t overly enthused about leaving North Carolina for Baltimore, the benefits of his move turned out to be undeniable.

“The people that I’ve gotten to meet … made my game a lot stronger,” Wallace said. “In North Carolina, it’s like a finesse type of game. In Baltimore, you have to play hard. The coaches I had were terrific. They helped me take my game to where it is now. Before I moved up here, I wasn’t a DI prospect. Up here, coaching helped my game a lot and I am going DI.”

When High Point came calling, Wallace knew almost immediately that it was the right place for him. Located just an hour and 15 minutes away from Durham, High Point offered Wallace a school close to his friends in North Carolina, and a basketball program in need of a scoring wing.

“I think it’s a place where I can go in and just start or get a lot of time as a freshman,” Wallace said. “Being a 6-5 guy, they don’t really have a guard my height. And I like the campus. The players made me feel like I was at home.”

Said Jones: “He can knock it down from 3-point range. He continues to work on his strength and his ball-handling. He catches and shoots. … He actually has a senior in front of him, so he’s going to be basically competing for minutes with him. But after the senior leaves, he pretty much should be one of the main players on the team.”

Wallace, who was recruited to High Point by former Mount St. Mary’s assistant Ahmad Dorsett, plans to move to campus early next month for the school’s second summer session. After two years in Baltimore, Wallace can’t wait to get back home.

“Even though my whole family is from Baltimore, I just wanted to go back to North Carolina,” Wallace said. “That’s where all my friends were, where I grew up. That’s where I wanted to be.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Devante Wallace by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 11, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:22 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

Calvert Hall's Da'Quan Davis picks West Virginia

daquan-davis-west-virginia.jpg Da’Quan Davis was preparing for the Penn State football camp this week when he came to a realization: attending another one-day audition in the hopes of landing a scholarship made no sense, especially considering his comfort level with the first school that offered him.

“I don’t see myself anywhere else than West Virginia,” said Davis, who committed to the Mountaineers on Saturday. “It feels really good, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I was waiting around to see who else was going to come around, but I started to feel like West Virginia was the right fit. I didn’t know who else I was waiting for. [Other schools] were taking too long. West Virginia … they just loved me as a player and a person.”

Davis, a 5-foot-10, 172-pound rising senior from Calvert Hall, picked West Virginia over offers from Marshall and Ohio. He was also hearing from Maryland, Temple and Virginia, among others.

West Virginia identified Davis as a top priority for its 2012 class early on in the process, offering him a scholarship in February. While he was flattered by the early attention, Davis didn’t necessarily think then that Morgantown would be his ultimate destination.

“I went there in February … [and] they watched my film,” Davis said. “My coach came up to me at the [West Virginia] basketball game and said they offered me a scholarship. It was a great feeling to finally get a BCS offer on the table. I really didn’t think at the time that I would be at West Virginia, but looking back on it, it was a good deal.”

Ever since that February day, Davis said West Virginia’s pursuit has been consistent. While other programs were “all about 40 times, height and weight,” the Mountaineers coaches recognized that Davis can, quite simply, “play football.” Davis bonded with West Virginia defensive backs coach David Lockwood, and the Mountaineers’ first-year head coach.

Dana Holgorsen is a great guy,” Davis said. “He pulled me into his office Friday afternoon, just giving me expectations coming in. They’re bringing in a new academic staff to help give West Virginia a better reputation on the academic side. Then with football, the West Virginia defense has already been good the past couple of years. His offense, he’s bringing in a whole different feel to West Virginia. It’s worked at Houston, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. I just feel the offensive firepower with Tavon Austin (Dunbar) and [Stedman] Bailey, guys like that, if our defense comes together, we'll have a good program.”

Davis, who committed to West Virginia during a visit to Morgantown for a 7-on-7 tournament, said he hopes to follow the path of Mountaineers cornerback Keith Tandy and former W.Va. star Brandon Hogan.

“I’m a hard worker,” Davis said. “I always outwork everybody and anybody. As soon as I get on campus and adjust to the system and schemes, I’m going to be ready to put on a show for the Mountaineers for the next four years.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Da'Quan Davis by Jed Kirschbaum / Nov. 25, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:07 PM | | Comments (2)
        

June 26, 2011

Brock Dean: Terps pledge 'a dream come true'

Throughout his athletic career, Brock Dean has always been a little bit ahead of the curve.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker from Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa., joined the Crusaders’ powerhouse varsity program as a freshman. He was entrenched as the team’s starting middle linebacker and de facto captain of the defense by the time junior year rolled around.

Dean was similarly precocious when it came to recruiting. The rising senior knew exactly what he wanted early on in the process.

Maryland has “always been on my radar,” said Dean, who has made three visits to College Park. “They were one of the first schools that started recruiting me. I always was kind of – I don’t want to say I knew – but it was always a school I was highly considering.”

On Friday, Dean publicly announced what Bishop McDevitt coach Jeff Weachter said Maryland coaches have known for a month: the three-star linebacker was a Terp.

“It feels great,” said Dean, who also considered Pittsburgh and Temple. “It’s like a dream come true for me. I just feel really blessed that I can make the decision and be in this position to make the decision.”

Maryland made it clear from the beginning that Dean was a top priority for its 2012 class. Defensive line coach Greg Gattuso was Dean’s main recruiter, but Terps coach Randy Edsall and linebackers coach Keith Dudzinski were in contact with Dean “equally as much.”

“It made me feel special -- all those guys recruiting me and just the type of men that they are,” Dean said. “They’re great guys. And that’s really what was one of the things that was most important to me in recruiting. The coaching staff is who you’re spending most of the time with, who you have relationships with. I was able to develop and form good relationships.”

As a junior, Dean recorded 93 tackles (including 18 for loss), five sacks, five forced fumbles, four pass breakups and an interception returned for a touchdown. An all-conference and all-state performer, Dean helped Bishop McDevitt to the Pennsylvania Class AAA championship game. The Crusaders lost 28-27 to Allentown Catholic Central, but Dean was an integral part of their success.

“He can do a little bit of everything,” Weachter said. “He’s a very good edge rusher. Playing linebacker, in his position he steps up and fills a hole and is very physical. He’s a very explosive tackler. ... The Maryland coaches and other coaches recruiting him really liked his versatility. … He’s really a leader of our whole football team.”

Dean’s first visit to Maryland was in March during spring practice. The minute he stepped on campus, Dean said he “got a feeling in my chest.” Academically, Maryland was highly ranked in Dean’s major of choice – business entrepreneurship. And in his interactions with the Terps players and coaches, Dean couldn’t have felt more comfortable.

“I really took to the coaching and took a lot away from what they told me and how they treat me,” Dean said. “It’s kind of like a family atmosphere. That’s another thing that really jumped out at me. Coach Edsall is a really great guy. It’s a great situation. They don’t have too many linebackers. They have five on scholarship. There will be a chance [for me to] go up there and make an impact.”

Dean, who is likely slotted for the MIKE linebacker spot in college, said he is relieved to have made his decision, and excited to focus on his senior season at Bishop McDevitt. After that, he’ll make sure he is well prepared heading into his college career at Maryland.

“I’m a team guy they can expect to come in and really work hard,” Dean said. “I want to just play to the best of my ability and contribute to my team and make an impact for Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 4:33 PM | | Comments (3)
        

June 24, 2011

Terps CB pledge Alvin Hill a 'big-play guy'

alvin-hill-terps.jpg In many respects, Alvin Hill was your typical under-the-radar football prospect.

The 5-foot-11 ½, 180-pound cornerback entered this week with minimal name recognition among recruiting followers and zero Football Bowl Subdivision scholarship offers. Lack of attention, however, never seemed to bother Hill.

“It’s not a priority to be above the radar,” said Hill, a rising senior at Luella High in Locust Grove, Ga. “I had confidence where I was at. I knew I was better. I’m not arrogant -- I was humble. But whatever comes, I [was just going to] make the best of it and make the best choice.”

After an appearance at Maryland’s football camp earlier this week, Hill finally got what he had hoped would eventually come – a Division I scholarship. On Thursday, he accepted the Terps’ offer.

“It feels good, like it’s a relief,” Hill said. “And it gives you more confidence. It makes you feel like you did the right things.”

Luella coach Nick Vasilchek knew it was just a matter of time before a major college football program recognized Hill’s potential. Hill moved from Miami to Georgia before his sophomore year, but played sparingly on Luella’s varsity as a 10th-grader.

As a junior, Hill set the school record for interceptions with six, in addition to recording 43 tackles and breaking up five passes. On offense, the future Terp rushed for 127 yards on 20 carries, and caught six passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. For his efforts, Hill was selected to Georgia’s Region 2-AAAAA first-team defense.

“He was our big-play guy on offense and defense,” Vasilchek said. “He single-handedly made big plays for us in games all year. He was a one-man wrecking crew for us honestly. He was our first-ever permanent captain. We usually have game-by-game captains, but he was captain for the whole season because he’s a quiet leader who’s going to make plays and make everyone better around him.”

Maryland was one of the first BCS-conference programs to take an interest in Hill. Terps offensive line coach Tom Brattan had recruited Hill’s older brother – former Luella defensive back Detrick Bonner. Bonner picked Virginia Tech, but Brattan’s relationships in the area gave him a leg up with Hill.

“We already built the relationship” months ago, Hill said. “It was fun. He’s a spirited person. He made jokes with me. He made me feel comfortable. We had, not really a debate, but a talk about who’s going to win the NBA finals. It was kind of fun.”

The turning point for Hill in his recruitment came at a Nike Sparq camp in Atlanta last spring, when he clocked a 4.54 electronically-timed 40 – the second-fastest time at the event.

“His vertical leap was also just off the charts,” Vasilchek said. “After the Nike Elite camp, he went to some football skills camps. Basically every time out he was a one-man gang. He pretty much locked it down. After the first camp, his stock was on the rise. But Maryland did a good job early. They were the first school and he felt comfortable with them.

"He was not a guy who wanted 55 different [offers]. [He said], ‘The first one, I’m going with it.’ He stuck to his word. A lot of other schools were going to come later this summer. They wanted him to work out and evaluate him. He felt good about Maryland and just [went] with it.”

Hill, who had an offer from Tennessee-Chattanooga, was receiving interest from Georgia, Middle Tennessee State, Tennessee and UAB. Heading into the Maryland camp, he thought it was “50-50” that the Terps would offer. But a strong performance clinched the offer, and an enjoyable campus tour ensured Hill’s commitment. Now Hill said he can’t wait to reward the Terps coaches for their faith in him.

“I know I’m going to bring hard work,” Hill said. “I’m pretty sure we can build a better team and be able to compete for more bowl championships.”

Handout photo of Alvin Hill courtesy of Luella High School

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:18 PM | | Comments (4)
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

The Maryland men's basketball program continues to expand its list of 2012 targets.

This week Robert Carter, a five-star prospect from Thomasville, Ga., reportedly made an unofficial visit to College Park.

CBS Sports profiled Carter earlier this week. The 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward already has a lengthy list of interested schools involved.

He currently holds offers from a number of schools, including Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State and Virginia Tech. Most of the ACC and SEC schools are on his trail as well.

• The Washington Post wrote this week about the ultra-competitive recruiting landscape in the D.C. area thanks to several notable coaching changes. Gonzaga (D.C.) point guard Nate Britt appears to be a prime target for the new Terps staff.

As for Britt, he said he enjoyed meeting with [Maryland coach Mark] Turgeon and sees him as someone he could play for. Maryland is far from the only suitor for Britt, who was among the most impressive point guards at the NBPA camp. He said Villanova, Pittsburgh, Arizona and UCLA have also already offered scholarships. But with new assistants in place throughout this area, it may be harder for schools to poach talented prospects from this region.

• The Louisville Courier-Journal checked in this week with DeMatha center Bee Jay Anya.

The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Anya is ranked as one of the top centers in the class. He also lists Maryland, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Miami, Duke, UCLA, Texas and Syracuse.

Football recruiting

• The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday that Maryland picked up a commitment from Luella (Ga.) High defensive back Alvin Hill.

Hill auditioned for a scholarship at Maryland’s camp on Tuesday, performed so well he was offered within an hour afterwards, and committed to the Terrapins on Thursday. He’s the younger brother of Virginia Tech cornerback Detrick Bonner.

Check back with Recruiting Report later for more on Hill's commitment.

• Bishop McDevitt (Pa.) linebacker Brock Dean committed to the Terps on Friday morning, according to PennLive.com.

“A lot of guys who went through the process all told me once you get on campus you'll just know,” said Dean, who had 93 tackles in 16 games as a junior. “All three times I visited Maryland's campus, I knew.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later for more on Dean's commitment.

• Maryland-bound offensive lineman Evan Mulrooney and running back Brandon Ross participated in Delaware's Blue-Gold Game on Saturday night.

Ross started at tailback, gaining 11 yards and nine yards on the Blue's first two plays Saturday.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:44 PM | | Comments (10)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 23, 2011

Terps QB pledge Caleb Rowe a 'special player'

After competing in nine camps in 10 days, Caleb Rowe finally found what he was looking for Wednesday.

The Blue Ridge High quarterback traveled to College Park, impressed the Maryland coaching staff during camp, earned a scholarship offer and promptly committed to the Terps.

"I’m really excited," Rowe said Thursday. "It’s a relief knowing I’m going to Maryland. Now I can focus on Blue Ridge High School and my team and my coaches. We don’t have to worry about where I’m going and who’s calling. It’s a good feeling."

Said Blue Ridge coach Wade Cooper: “As soon as they made the offer to him, he knew that was where he wanted to be. He’s had a good relationship with [Maryland running backs] coach [Andre] Powell all along, even when Coach Powell was here at Clemson. Coach Powell did an excellent job recruiting him, and [Caleb] knew where he wanted to go.”

Rowe’s freshman year at Blue Ridge, located in Greer, S.C., coincided with Cooper’s first year at the school. Rowe, now a 6-foot-3, 211-pound rising senior, was the Tigers’ starting JV quarterback as a ninth-grader. He also saw time as the varsity backup. Cooper said it was apparent right away that Rowe was “a pretty special player all along.”

“He could have been our starting quarterback [freshman year],” Cooper said. “We weren’t real confident in his supporting cast. We didn’t want to throw him into the fire too early. We wanted him to grow into our offense and what we were doing. I think that paid off real well for us. He was talented enough to be our starting quarterback.”

Rowe assumed the starting quarterback job as a sophomore and never looked back. He was especially prolific as a junior in Cooper’s spread offense, throwing for 2,680 yards, 27 touchdowns and just four interceptions.

“What impressed me the most was his maturity, his overall grasp of the game, and the boy’s a worker,” Cooper said. “He studies it, he works hard at it, he lives it and breathes it. You couple all that with the God-given talent that the boy’s got, and he’s pretty special.”

Cooper said Rowe’s evolution over the past three seasons has been “pretty amazing.” This summer provided him with an opportunity to show off his talent for college coaches.

“He’s performed very well at all of these camps, but I’ll say this: Maryland has been the most thorough,” Cooper said. “I think they evaluated him just so much better. They spent a lot of time doing their homework. We were very impressed with the Maryland staff.

“I think [getting the Maryland offer and committing] was a sense of relief, to put all this behind him and concentrate on his senior year and the things we want to accomplish here with our program. He’s never lost sight of that. He’s a very mature, very level-headed young man. But he’s kept [everything] in great perspective, and it’s a sense of relief for him. I think Maryland is where he wanted to go. Early on he had a good relationship with the coaches. And he’s a very happy guy.”

Before coming to Maryland, Rowe also worked out at Clemson, North Carolina State, South Carolina and Wake Forest, in addition to camping at several Football Championship Subdivision schools. The Terps, however, were the first FBS program to offer him a scholarship.

“Other ones, I think, were forthcoming,” Cooper said. Programs that didn’t offer Rowe “screwed up. They waited too long. He’ll make them pay for that later on, I promise you.”

Rowe said every school was on equal footing when he began his camp tour, but the trip to College Park vaulted the Terps "up the list pretty quick." While he was exhausted heading into the Maryland camp -- the final stop of his tour -- Rowe tried his best to impress the Terps coaches.

"My shoulder was getting tired, [but] I just had to keep pushing through," Rowe said. "I think [the Terps coaches liked watching me] just throwing the football, and also my enthusiasm. I like to have fun out there, jumping around with the receivers and having a good time. I think that’s part of being a quarterback – being a leader."

Rowe said the entire camp process was "pretty hectic" but ultimately very exciting. The response from friends and family to his Maryland commitment has been unanimously positive.

"A lot of people are saying, ‘Go Terps,’" Rowe said. "I think I’ll turn a lot of people in South Carolina into Maryland fans. It’s just really exciting. Everybody’s pretty pumped."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:40 PM | | Comments (6)
        

June 22, 2011

Forest Park's Sharod Hartgrove under the radar

After three years of high school basketball, Sharod Hartgrove has definitely paid his dues.

As a freshman at Walbrook, Hartgrove was the leading scorer on the Warriors’ 2008-09 JV championship team and moved up to the varsity late in the season.

“He didn’t play much,” said former Walbrook coach Greate White, now Forest Park’s head coach. “[But he] came back the following year and started.”

Hartgrove followed White to Forest Park for his junior season, and was the Foresters’ second-leading scorer at 17.5 points per game. Now White hopes that the 6-foot-3, 175-pound combo guard is primed for an even bigger season next winter.

“He brings defensive consistency on any given night,” White said. “He’s a shooter. He shoots the mid-range shot. What he needs to bring to the table a little bit more is getting to the hole a little more efficiently. He’s shooting at 85 percent on free throws and about 40 percent from 3-point range. He’s been one of the better shooters the last two years in the city.”

Hartgrove has mostly played shooting guard, but White hopes to transition him to more of a 1 before his senior season. A game at Poly last season stands out in White’s mind as a good representation of Hartgrove’s skills.

“He made like eight 3s – 8-for-9 from behind the 3-point line,” White recalled. “And he can pass the ball well off the dribble. He did a full-court bounce pass ... on the break that made the whole crowd crazy. An almost [three-quarters]-court bounce pass, [not] too many kids can do that.”

White said Charleston Southern, The Citadel, Florida Gulf Coast and Morgan State have expressed interest in Hartgrove. Interest has been relatively minimal, mostly because Hartgrove hadn’t played AAU until this spring. A torn ACL prevented him from playing last summer, but now Hartgrove is suiting up for the Baltimore Stars’ 17-and-under squad. White suspects college coaches will be pleasantly surprised when they finally get a look at his star player.

“This kid can get it done,” White said. “He can shoot. He’s a great asset to our team. He’s a good kid and he can shoot the ball very well. He’s been a winner for a long time.”

Notes: Rising junior Anton Waters earned Most Outstanding Player honors at a Five-Star Basketball camp at Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College earlier this month. White said Iowa recently expressed interest in the Foresters forward. … Shooting guard Quentin Judd, Forest Park’s leading scorer last season, will do a post-grad year at Mack Academy in Charlotte. DePaul-bound Montray Clemons – a former Poly standout – is the most recent Baltimore player to attend Mack.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:54 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 21, 2011

Long list for Miss. SF Twymond Howard

Maryland has been mentioned in connection with Twymond Howard for several months now, but the Terps are far from the only program to have made contact with the Pearl (Miss.) small forward.

Howard, a four-star prospect, said in a phone interview from the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va., last week that he is hearing from several high-major programs.

"Arkansas [has] been on me, Tennessee, Ole Miss, Auburn," Howard said. "Most of the SEC schools have been talking to me. [Plus] Wake Forest, West Virginia."

Regarding Maryland, Howard said, "They hit me up whenever they can call. All the schools have when they can."

Rated the No. 66 player and No. 16 small forward by Rivals.com, the 6-foot-6, 205-pound rising senior said education will be a big factor in his decision, and that location is "not a big problem."

Howard said most programs like his motor. Based on what he's heard, Howard likes Maryland's "style of play."

"I can see myself going there," Howard said of Maryland. "But I haven’t really planned a visit yet."

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:31 PM | | Comments (2)
        

June 20, 2011

Weekend wrap – Jefferson stars at NBPA camp

Amile Jefferson finished his run at the NBPA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va., as the event's leading scorer at more than 20 points per game.

Jefferson, a Maryland forward target from Philadelphia, impressed scouts from start to finish at the camp.

He has a knack along the baseline for scoring. Jefferson's body is nowhere close to being developed, but his mobility and slinky driver ability allow him to forge entries into the lane. He's a gutty finisher and competitor. The training staff gave him the option of sitting out because of an injured finger, and at his choice, he hasn't so much as missed a single drill.

Jefferson gave an updated list of schools he's considering to Northstar Basketball.

He mentioned Villanova, Temple, Ohio State, North Carolina State, Georgetown, Maryland, West Virginia, Wake Forest, Miami, UCLA, Stanford, and UConn.

• Maryland center target Shaquille Cleare impressed Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer during the Saturday session of the Top 100 camp.

Cleare's game is all about strength. He controls space and produces in traffic. A sure-handed rebounder, Cleare is also a great finisher through contact.

• UM center target Mitch McGary was consistently strong throughout the Top 100 camp.

McGary is getting calls from all over the country and is one of the hottest commodities. He had a big-time effort on Saturday afternoon with 22 points and averaged 12 points a game for the event.

• NBE Basketball Report caught up with DeMatha forward Jerami Grant at the Top 100 camp.

Recently, Syracuse has jumped on him, to which he noted “They contacted me yesterday, Coach (Jim) Boeheim and Coach Red (Autry). And yeah, I’m looking at them”. The Orange have offered, along with Georgetown, Notre Dame, Rutgers ... along with “UVA, V-Tech, NC State, Maryland.” The Terps hosted him unofficially recently.

• Gonzaga (D.C.) point guard and Terps target Nate Britt -- a rising junior -- was second in scoring at the Top 100 camp with 16.7 points per game.

• RunTheFloor.com named UM shooting guard signee Nick Faust to its preseason All-ACC rookie team.

He’s got wing size in a 2-guard game. He can shoot over people, has a nice mid-range game, and can use his size at the rim.

• Maryland women's commitment Lexie Brown was ranked the No. 13 prospect nationally in the 2013 class in ESPN HoopGurlz's new rankings. For 2012, future Terps Tierney Pfirman and Chloe Pavlech were ranked 20th and 99th, respectively.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:36 AM | | Comments (7)
        

June 17, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Brewster (N.H.) Academy center Mitch McGary was one of the most sought after players Thursday at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va.

The five-star prospect spoke to Kentucky.com during a break in the action, telling the website that Maryland is recruiting him the hardest.

Maryland's advantage is assistant coach Orlando "Bino" Ranson. He's longtime friends with one of McGary's coaches and a tireless recruiter.

"Like an aggressive salesman," McGary said with a smile. "Like a car salesman trying to get you to buy."

Check out more from McGary, who said he's "wide open," in the video below.

• Terps small forward target Amile Jefferson had a strong first day at the Top 100 camp.

Jefferson does his best work on the baseline and was effective throughout the day with slashing drives and offensive rebounding. He had a big scoring day, averaging 18 ppg to be the No. 2 scorer in the camp.

• ESPN.com's Dave Telep tweeted Friday that Houston center Shaquille Cleare -- who said Thursday that the Terps are No. 1 on his list -- is "as strong an area rebounder as we have in camp."

• DeMatha center Bee Jay Anya was one of a few underclassmen in attendance at the Top 100 camp.

A 2013 player to watch is BeeJay Anya, the DeMatha star with a 7-foot-9 wingspan at 6-foot-7, 245 pounds. He’s a load and he’s really improved since last summer.

• Testudo Times also posted an extensive "Terp-centric" recap of Day One of the Top 100 camp.

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr reported Thursday that Montrose Christian forward Michael Carrera and center Kevin Larsen -- both of whom received some Maryland interest in the past -- have been offered by Virginia Tech.

[Carrera] also has scholarship offers from Richmond and Gonzaga, [Mustangs coach Stu] Vetter said.

Football recruiting

• MDHigh.com's Dave Lomonico ranked the Top 15 Baltimore City and County rising senior football prospects for Pressbox this week, listing Terps commitment and McDonogh defensive end Roman Braglio at No. 7.

Braglio received a scholarship offer from Maryland as a sophomore, and a year later, he decided to accept. The 6-foot-4, 260-pound Braglio had just one other school recruiting him (West Virginia), but that would have changed had he waited to commit. Braglio, who runs a 4.65 40 and has an array of refined pass-rush moves, is one of the most underrated prospects in Maryland.

• Maryland-bound linebacker Cole Farrand finished his high school track career on a high note at New Jersey's Meet of Champions.

On the boys' side, Pope John's Cole Farrand grabbed a bronze in the shot put to end his high school track and field career. The senior Lion heaved the ball 58 feet, 2 1/2 inches, breaking his own Sussex County record by almost one foot (57-3).

• Terps defensive end signee Quinton Jefferson will play Saturday in the 54th annual Big 33 All-Star Game, which pits Pennsylvania's top seniors against the best players from Ohio.

• WDEL 1150 AM caught up with UM commitments Evan Mulrooney and Brandon Ross before Saturday's Blue/Gold All-Star Game at the University of Delaware. Check out radio interviews with Mulrooney and Ross here.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:24 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 16, 2011

Shaquille Cleare: Terps are 'No. 1 on my list'

After a weekend trip to Maryland, Shaquille Cleare headed south this week to take part in the NBPA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville, Va.

The second day of camp was going “pretty smooth” for Cleare, who reflected on his visit to College Park in a phone interview Thursday.

“It was nice,” said Cleare, a 6-foot-9, 285-pound center from The Village School in Houston. “I met the coaches, spent time with the players. They showed me around a little bit. … I just liked spending time with some of the players. They’re pretty good guys.”

Cleare said he enjoyed bonding with the Maryland players, and chatting with Mark Turgeon. The first-year Terps coach – who recruited Cleare when he was at Texas A&M – had a clearly stated vision for the four-star prospect.

“He just wants me to come in and play hard,” Cleare said. “He knows I’m going to bring energy and fill in Jordan Williams’ spot. [Turgeon said if I], ‘Come in and work hard, you’ve got a spot playing right away.’”

Cleare said he’s also considering offers from Arizona, Baylor, Florida, Texas and Texas A&M. But after visiting College Park, Maryland stands out to Cleare above the rest.

“There’s a good chance I’m going to be there,” Cleare said. “They’re No. 1 on my list right now.”

Cleare said he plans to make his decision by “the end of July or the first [week] of August.” He doesn’t know if he’ll be able to visit any other schools before then.

“My schedule is pretty tight right now,” Cleare said. “I don’t know if I’ve got time.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 5:21 PM | | Comments (16)
        

Terps in the mix with Arnaud Moto

In many ways, Arnaud Moto is everything Jim Fitzpatrick wants an Episcopal student to be.

Moto, who came to the Alexandria, Va., high school two years ago from Cameroon, is “an outstanding student” who played soccer in the fall and runs track in the spring. Sandwiched in between those seasons is basketball, where Moto stars for Fitzpatrick’s varsity team and has emerged as one of the top recruits in the 2012 class.

“He is a basketball sponge,” said Fitzpatrick, a former Wake Forest player and Elon assistant who also serves as Episcopal’s associate director of admissions. “It’s really a special thing, and he’s also very coachable. He takes instruction as well as any player I’ve ever seen. His demeanor on the court, he never gets too high, never gets too low. He’s very even-keeled. He’s just constantly working on his game. For me, as a coach, it has just been an absolute delight. I know that any future coach is going to say the same thing. When he graduates after four years at wherever he decides to play, they’ll have success and Arnaud will be a big part of that.”

Maryland is one of many high-major programs involved with Moto, who’s spending this week at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in Charlottesville, Va. Scouts have taken note of the 6-foot-6, 215-pound small forward, who’s starting to realize the potential Fitzpatrick saw in him upon his arrival as a 15-year-old sophomore.

“With many international kids, the first year in the United States is acclimating,” Fitzpatrick said. “The way the game of basketball is played here is very different – the way the game is officiated and coached. It’s just a new world in terms of basketball for these kids. First year is a transition year. Sophomore year, he showed signs and flashes in practice of what we consider a high-major player. I saw it right away. My coaching staff saw it right away. But it takes time, just getting his footwork together, not traveling as much, figuring out the speed of the game, how the game is officiated.”

At first Moto attracted a smattering of local mid-major interest, starting with George Mason and VCU. In the fall, Fitzpatrick hosted several college coaches interested in taking a look at Moto.

“Teams began to say, ‘Oh my gosh, this kid is a gem.’” Wake Forest and Jeff Bzdelik came in the fall, Paul Hewitt when he was at Georgia Tech came in the fall,” Fitzpatrick said. “Both of those coaches knew they saw something special in him. They offered him right away. Seton Hall was one of the first to offer, really because they saw him and saw the potential that he has.”

Moto lived up to the hype as a junior, averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds in leading Episcopal to “the best season it’s had in years.” Scholarship offers began to pile up for the Washington Post All-Met selection.

“Just in terms of sheer numbers of offers, he’s in the neighborhood of 30 to 35 Division I offers at this point,” Fitzpatrick said. “Several ACC schools, SEC schools, Big East schools, the Pac-10 – UCLA has done a great job. Florida and Billy Donovan have offered, Vanderbilt, Stanford. So several schools [are in the mix]. The ACC schools are Wake Forest, Georgia Tech – Coach [Brian] Gregory and his staff continued that offer that [Paul] Hewitt [made]. Miami, with Coach [Jim] Larranaga, is doing a great job of following him. Virginia Tech, with Coach [Seth] Greenberg, and N.C. State. That’s a strong group of schools in there.”

Maryland got involved with Moto thanks to former assistant coach Rob Ehsan, who’s now at Virginia Tech. The Terps have maintained contact since the coaching change, and Fitzpatrick readily acknowledges that 2012 is “a very important class” for UM. The Episcopal coach and his star player made an unofficial visit to College Park last Friday. The first meeting with Maryland coach Mark Turgeon was “a very good introductory visit.”

“Coach Turgeon is a terrific person,” Fitzpatrick said. “He really has … a great way about him. He speaks very well and is very excited about the future of Maryland basketball. I think coming in, he heard a lot of great things about Arnaud from [Team Takeover coach] Keith Stevens, from myself, and from [Terps assistant coach] Dalonte Hill. But to offer a scholarship is a big deal – and it should be. So I think that Coach Turgeon would like to evaluate him a little bit more before he looks Arnaud in the eye and says, ‘You’re the guy that’s going to help us hang banners in the rafters of this university.’”

Fitzpatrick said he mailed more of Moto’s game film to Maryland on Tuesday. He expects the Terps’ staff to continue evaluating Moto once the open period in July begins.

“Some programs may offer kids off of what they’ve heard,” Fitzpatrick said. “I don’t think that Coach Turgeon does that, and I give him credit for that.”

Moto has bonded over the past year or so with Team Takeover teammates James Robinson, Jerami Grant and Bee Jay Anya, all of whom attend DeMatha. All four players are at the NBPA Top 100 Camp this week. After that, Moto is scheduled to take part in the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and the LeBron James Skills Academy before rejoining Team Takeover for the stretch run of the AAU season.

Fitzpatrick said Moto’s recruitment is fairly wide open at the moment, but he has some clear criteria for picking a school.

“We want a good academic school,” Fitzpatrick said. “We know some day the ball will stop bouncing – for him, hopefully after a pro career somewhere. But the mind will work a lot longer than his knees. So a very good academic program where he’s going to grow as a student and a thinker. We want him to be around a coaching staff and a makeup of a team that feels like a family. We know he has to work hard over the next four years and be in a situation where he’s competing for championships. He wants to play in the NCAA tournament, and obviously we want to make sure that the team comes first. He’s looking for that opportunity. He’s young and he wants to play.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:28 PM | | Comments (4)
        

June 15, 2011

Charles Tapper adapts to new recruiting status

charles-tapper.jpg Charles Tapper has spent the early part of this summer much like every other summer he can remember: playing basketball.

The 6-foot-4, 240-pound forward has assumed his regular role as Nike Baltimore Elite’s resident rebounder / enforcer / garbage man. But this run on the circuit for the former City standout is a bit different than in years past. For Tapper, there are no hopes of landing a Division I basketball offer based on his AAU play. He already has plenty of college scholarships on the table thanks to football.

“I love the game of basketball,” Tapper said. “I know this is probably my last year of playing. But it’s fun being back.”

This last hurrah with basketball comes months after his first season of organized football. Tapper joined George Petrides’ Knights and quickly emerged as a physical, athletic presence on the defensive line, and a dynamic pass-catching threat at tight end and wide receiver.

“It wasn’t very easy, but I didn’t think I was going to adapt like I would,” he said.

Thanks to his junior season with City and a couple key performances with Next Level Nation in 7-on-7 tournaments, Tapper went from an unknown, inexperienced prospect to a nationally touted recruit in a matter of months.

Scout.com rates Tapper a four-star prospect and the No. 10 tight end nationally, while Rivals.com lists him as a three-star player and the No. 24 strongside defensive end in the country. The highest praise for Tapper comes from 24/7 Sports, which ranks him as a four-star prospect and the No. 112 player in the entire 2012 class.

Tapper credits basketball for his rapid rise to the top of the football recruiting charts.

“It’s beneficial to me because when I step on the football field, people underestimate the way I play the game,” he said. “They think I’m not a very technical player. They forget that I’m quick. In basketball, playing a big-man position, they think I’m slow and my footwork is bad. But when I step on the football field, it’s like I get to show my athleticism.”

Several colleges have taken note of his potential. Tapper said he has been offered by Oklahoma, Rutgers, Maryland, San Diego State, Penn State, West Virginia and Miami. He currently has three schools he considers favorites, starting with the Sooners.

“My first offer was Oklahoma. I thought I was dreaming,” Tapper said. “It’s a little different from home, [it’s] top 10 in college football, and [I like] the coaching staff. [Oklahoma assistant defensive coordinator] Bobby Wright is just a straight-up guy. He’ll be honest with you.”

The Mountaineers are also at the top of Tapper’s list. Tapper said the proximity to home – his mother could drive to a game in Morgantown and back to Baltimore that day – is a definite positive.

“[I took an] unofficial visit up there. It was beautiful,” he said. “Their stadium is beautiful. Fans come out to support them. We stayed for a basketball game. I got to talk to [former Dunbar running back] Tavon Austin... [and he] told me all about the campus.”

The Hurricanes are the final team on Tapper’s list of favorites. He likes the coaching staff and hopes to visit this fall.

“Miami, that’s just always been my childhood favorite,” Tapper said. “I haven’t visited there yet, but they say … they just treat their football players like celebrities there.”

Tapper, who’s not sure where he will attend school for his senior year, plans to spend the rest of the summer playing with Nike Baltimore Elite. After the Peach Jam next month, he’ll focus on football again, taking a couple unofficial visits, playing in some 7-on-7 tournaments, and just enjoying his new-found status as a Division I recruit.

“It’s just like a big [blessing] to see all these big-time colleges call my phone, and I actually get a chance to talk to the coach and visit their beautiful campuses.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Charles Tapper by Karl Merton Ferron / Nov. 6, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:35 AM | | Comments (5)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 14, 2011

Q&A with Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos

jimmy-patsos-loyola-2011.jpg With the bulk of his rotation coming back and three accomplished recruits coming in, Jimmy Patsos' anticipation for the 2011-12 basketball season is increasing by the day.

The Loyola coach, heading into his eighth season, guided his team to a 15-15 mark last year. The veteran-dominated Greyhounds are bringing in three freshmen this year: St. Frances point guard R.J. Williams, Lee Academy (Maine) center Chen "David" Cai and Montrose Christian shooting guard Tyler Hubbard. Loyola also landed Xavier transfer Jordan Latham, a former City standout who led the Knights to back-to-back Class 2A state titles. Latham will redshirt and be eligible for the 2012-13 season.

Patsos spoke to Recruiting Report last week about his 2011 class, Loyola's returners, the coming season and more.

This was a class with a very local flavor, starting with R.J. Williams.

I mean, we’re just happy to have another kid from the Baltimore Catholic League. It’s funny – I went to the first Hall of Fame [ceremony] for the Baltimore Catholic League, and you see the tradition. Wojo’s up there, Tony Guy, who was a great player at Kansas, Marc Wilson from Calvert Hall, played at Minnesota. And now we get kids, two years in a row, that are first-team All-Catholic League (editor's note: Gibbons' Dylon Cormier was the other). That was the goal – it took five or six years to get there. We’ve gotten transfers from the Baltimore Catholic League that are really [great players]. But Luke D’Alessio has been an excellent recruiter. He’s a good guy. So to get R.J. was a really good get for us.

I imagine that you and your staff followed him for awhile. What really stood out to you?

Yeah, we were watching him because we always watch the league. [We thought] ‘that guy keeps winning’ and ‘boy, he plays hard.’ We talked to everyone at St. Frances about how great a person he was. And we lose Brian Rudolph, our starting point guard, a senior. So R.J. is a point guard and he has a chance at the 1. If he doesn’t start, he’ll probably be the first guy off the bench.

What does he bring to the table at the point?

He’s a pass-first, defense-first guy. In this day and age, that’s hard to find. He just wants to pass first and play defense first, which means he wants to win. [Mark] Karcher can really coach. Coming from a great program with Karcher as the coach, I like that about him. I talked to the nun, Sister John Francis, and other people who weren’t basketball people, and they all spoke really well about him. That says a lot about it.

The next guy is Chen "David" Cai. What can you tell us about him?

He doesn’t come here until Summer 2. He’s not here now, so I don’t know. He’s a nice kid and he’s got a good upside. He’s a real wide body. He’s a big guy with a soft touch, but he’s probably a year away from really helping us. We have Shane Walker back and Julius Brooks back and Erik Etherly. He’s more of a down-the-road guy. But we’re happy we got him. He’s a very good student. He’s from China, has only been in the country four years. It’s interesting because with the emerging market in China, he’s a guy that helps us not only on the court, but expands Loyola University over to the mainland in China. He’s from the third-biggest city in China – not Beijing or Shanghai. But he’s a good player, but I’m not looking for him to help us right away as much as R.J.

What's his game like?

He’s a wide body [that plays with his] back to the basket. He can shoot. He’s got a nice, soft touch. I have seven left-handers on my team. I keep getting leftys.

He played in a tough prep school league this year, so he shouldn't have been a secret to other schools. What was the competition like for him?

We beat out Santa Clara for him, another Jesuit school and a team that’s a good program. It really came down to us and Santa Clara. To beat out Santa Clara, that was a good situation for us. And he’s just going to be fine. He’s adjusting to the speed of the game, but prep school helped him. He was not a star on his team, but he started. He’s going to help us the year after because Walker leaves.

Tyler Hubbard's a guy that really impressed at the National High School Invitational, a nationally televised event. How did you get involved with him?

We recruited him, and his assistant coach played at Loyola. Damien Jenifer played at Loyola. He was before I got here. But [Montrose Christian coach] Stu Vetter just called me, said ‘You should really take a look at this guy.’ But I saw him play on TV, just like you. I watched those three games. We were not allowed to go there – it was during the dead period – but the games were on TV. I watched just like everybody else. I’m still a fan. But that guy makes big shots. He came up to the school and committed. We beat the team that won our league, St. Peter's. We beat them for him. But make no mistake about it – I’m just like you. Same as you, no different, [I saw him] on TV, making big shots. He’s a high-character guy. I like guys that play for Stu Vetter. Those kids that play for Stu Vetter, he runs a college environment in terms of basketball. Montrose Christian is like a mini college environment in terms of practice. Like R.J., he’s more ready to play right away, due to both [his experience] and playing for a head coach like Stu Vetter.

What does he bring to the table?

He can make shots, he can stretch the defense. I thought we struggled just getting easy baskets [last season]. We would throw the ball inside, everyone collapses, throw it out, and we shot very poorly from the 3-point line. As a coach, they weren’t bad 3s. We just didn’t have someone to make enough of them. He reminds me of Marquis Sullivan, who was a Catholic League kid from Spalding. He reminds us a lot of Marquis Sullivan. I wasn’t sure [about him], but when I saw those games on TV, [I thought], ‘Wow, this guy can really make it.’ He’s from a nice family, lives in Bowie so they can come to his games.

Jordan Latham's the last new addition to the roster. How did that recruitment develop after he decided to transfer?

He decided to leave Xavier and we were really lucky to be involved with him. His parents are close by and want to watch him play. He knew Dylon Cormier. ... Jordan came in here and loved it. We beat out Old Dominion, Delaware and Towson. Those were the [other] schools. I’m happy we got him. He’s a high-character guy, great personality. He’s glad to be back home. He has to sit out a year, but he’ll have three years left to play. He’ll help us practice. He’s just a really good kid. I already know that in a short period. He’s a really good kid. I can’t watch practice, but I hear he’s playing well. It’s going to be good for us. He’s a 4/5 that can shoot better than people think.

With all the success you've had these past couple years recruiting locally, do you think that the program has kind of turned a corner?

You get a job, then start patch-working, taking certain guys here. We had a good year, 15 wins. The year before, we had injuries, with [Anthony] Winbush being hurt. We beat Indiana, then the next week, we lost Brett Harvey. But now we’re getting deep, nine or 10 guys. Local kids have always been my plan. We were so bad for awhile that they didn’t want to go to Loyola. They went away to schools with winning programs. I give Gerald Brown a lot of credit. He’s the one these kids knew. Now we’ve got Luke D’Alessio, Greg Manning’s working really hard recruiting, and they see the result. And the fact that they’re all on Twitter and Facebook, they talk to each other all the time. Once Dylon, a great player, got to school, R.J. is friends with Dylon. They talked. With Jordan coming home, he talked to a bunch of people. Our kids did a really good job with him.

Jordan, I think, liked the Jesuit education at Xavier, but wanted to play closer to home and play a lot of minutes. It’s more stable here now. Our situation at Loyola is nice and stable, which is what we like. Before we were fixing holes with patch-work and kind of trying to build on it. I’m happy with the way it’s going. We had the highest team GPA for our basketball program ever. Jamal Barney graduated, Brian [Rudolph] graduated. Things are the way I wanted – it just took a while to get there. [Former Maryland coach] Gary Williams said it takes longer than you think. If you’re at a place you want to be a long time, [that’s good]. If you want to hit and run, it’s not a good place. [Williams said then that] ‘Loyola will be a great place for you.’ It just took awhile, because we’re doing it the right way here. These kids coming, with Jordan – even though he’s a transfer – he’s got three years left. With the redshirt year, Jordan will be here for four years. It’ll be great.

Barney played in just 16 games, so Rudolph is really the main guy you're losing.

Losing Rudolph was a lot. He’s tough, a great competitor, and he’s just a good point guard. But R.J. and Dylon combined can take all those minutes. Dylon started for us at the 2. He started every game except when he had mono.

Do you think, with all that experience returning, that you're in a good spot this year?

Yeah, winning 15 last year was good, but we want to build on it. We have a lot to build on, lots of positive momentum. I like it. I’m much more positive as a coach and a person than I was seven years ago. I barely yelled this year. I got about one or two technical fouls. I didn’t even curse to get them. But it’s not about me. It’s the kids you coach. I like our team, like our program. I just want to keep building. These kids are great, focused kids.

How do you see your lineup shaking out?

I would say Walker at the 5, Erik Etherly at the 4, [Justin] Drummond starts at the 3 – he had a great second half. He’s a local guy from Prince George’s County. Bobby Olson from Georgetown Prep plays the 2, Dylon [Cormier] at the 1 with R.J. backing him up. J'hared Hall was sixth man of the year in the league, and Anthony Winbush is back. He redshirted last year, tore his ACL. But he looks great. He’s our most versatile player. He got hurt the year before and it killed us. Then we’ve got Julius Brooks as an inside sub. That’s nine. We’ll see where Tyler Hubbard or Pierson Williams fit shooting the ball.

So at the point, Williams and Cormier will both see some time?

R.J. could beat Dylon out. Dylon likes playing the 2 because he likes to score. He was our best defensive player last year. That was a change for him. He didn’t play [a lot of] defense in high school [because] he scored 30 points a night. But we have a lot of experience. We’re building. We’re excited for the way the program is going.

What's the biggest x-factor for your team this season?

If Shane Walker can give a consistent effort on the court, we have a chance to be really good. When he’s playing well, not many guys in the league are like him. He shoots it, he can pass it. Consistently playing hard or not, that’s what we’re working on.

Finally, what's the overall goal for this season?

Keep building. We came in fifth last year – [we want to] do better than that. In our tournament – we’re not the CAA – only one team is going to the NCAA tournament. But our goal is the postseason – NCAA, NIT, CBI, stuff like that. But we came in fifth last year and we want to keep moving forward. I think we can compete for the league title. In the regular season, we play Wake Forest, Kentucky, Mount St. Mary’s, Coppin – they had a really good year last year – we play UMBC. We still play the locals. And then Bucknell, who went to the NCAAs. It’s a really tough schedule. It’s about improving in the league and finishing [where we left off] from last year.

Photo of Jimmy Patsos by Steve Ruark / Special to The Baltimore Sun / Nov. 29, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:19 PM | | Comments (0)
        

June 13, 2011

Weekend wrap – Anya stars, Cleare visits

The stock of DeMatha center Bee Jay Anya continues to rise.

Rivals.com analyst Jerry Meyer called Anya -- a class of 2013 prospect and prime Terps target -- the "top post player" on the first night of the U.S. 16-and-under national team tryouts in Colorado Springs.

Beejay Anya was impressed with his recent visit to UCLA. He has an offer from the Bruins as well as from Texas, St. John's, Indiana, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Maryland and Georgetown. Kansas and Syracuse have not yet offered but are recruiting Anya. The talented big man is looking for a program that takes pride in its big men and a program where he can make an early impact and also develop his game.

• The Village School (Texas) center Shaquille Cleare visited Maryland this weekend, according to InsideMdSports.com. A four-star prospect, Cleare is also being recruited by Arizona, Baylor, Texas and Texas A&M.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:58 AM | | Comments (1)
        

June 12, 2011

Pittsburgh QB Perry Hills talks Terps pledge

The Maryland wrestling coaches looked at Perry Hills in January and saw a 189-pounder with ACC potential. Randy Edsall and the Terps football staff checked out the rising senior from Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Saturday and saw their quarterback of the future.

The 6-foot-3 Hills was in College Park this weekend for Maryland’s annual football camp. While the Terps’ wrestling staff sold him on the school, Hills hoped to earn his way to campus on the gridiron. At 6 p.m. on Saturday, after camp had ended, Edsall offered Hills a scholarship. One hour later, Hills accepted.

“I let him know Maryland was my No. 1 school. It’s been my No. 1 school since January,” Hills said Sunday. “He told me we could get this marriage on the road, [and then have] me start recruiting some of my teammates that have been offered by Maryland, too.”

Hills, who threw for 1,580 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior, also considered offers from Akron, Buffalo, Kent State, Miami of Ohio and Old Dominion. Pittsburgh, Michigan State and West Virginia were also involved in his recruitment.

A two-year varsity football player and all-state wrestler, Hills quarterbacked coach Terry Totten’s Central Catholic squad to the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League semifinals last fall.

“He’s tough as nails, he’s a leader, he’s a winner [and] he’s tough,” Totten said. “His throwing motion, his size and his strength are just going to continue [improving] through the next year, year and a half. … I mean he’s had certain games, definitely, where he throws and you said, ‘Wow, he’s really on the verge of becoming a big-time kid.’”

Totten called Hills “a dropback guy,” but the future Terp has demonstrated his ability to run the football on a regular basis. At Pittsburgh’s camp a week ago, Hill was clocked at a 4.57 in the 40. At Maryland, he followed that up with a 4.67.

Hills came to Maryland’s camp knowing that a scholarship offer wasn’t a given. Defensive line coach Greg Gattuso told him he was in their top group of prospects, but he would have to do well in front of the staff for them to pull the trigger. The pressure to perform didn’t faze Hills a bit.

“To be a quarterback, you have to deal with pressure,” he said. “You learn how to deal with pressure in wrestling [because] everyone’s eyes are on you on the mat. That helps me a lot dealing with pressure."

Hills said Edsall joked that he planned to “get some champagne” to celebrate the commitment. The newest Terps pledge, however, had a more low-key celebration that consisted of driving back to Pittsburgh with a feeling of satisfaction.

“It feels great to know that you don’t have to worry about the recruiting game anymore, just concentrate on competing at the high school level," Hills said. "I’ll be the hardest worker, hopefully become a great quarterback and hopefully win a national title at Maryland.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:53 PM | | Comments (9)
        

June 10, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland is still in the mix with Amile Jefferson, but the Terps have plenty of company in the competition for the four-star forward's services.

Jefferson spoke to NBE Basketball Report this week after the Rasual Butler All-City Classic in Philadelphia. The Friends Central (Pa.) rising senior provided an updated list of schools and discussed some of his summer plans.

“Soon I’m hoping to get a visit down to NC State, hope to get a visit to Maryland,” Jefferson said. “I talked to a coach at Ohio State [and I am] hoping to get a visit there [and] however many schools I can.”

New video highlights of King Philip (Mass.) power forward Jake Layman, a 2012 Terps target, surfaced this week. Check out the video below.

• Brewster (N.H.) Academy center Mitch McGary reportedly made an unofficial visit to Maryland this week. InsideMdSports tweeted that the "Terps are in the mix more than some may think."

• SLAM posted a scouting report Wednesday on Terps center target Shaquille Cleare and others from Memorial Day Madness in New Orleans.

Shaq’s presence in the post was definitely felt at the tournament. The Bahamian showed good hands along with the ability to pass well out of the high and low post areas. His big physique allows him to dominate around the basket; whether it’s rebounding or drop stepping at the rim. If Cleare makes conditioning a main priority, he will definitely be an instant impact freshman on the high level.

• Christ the King (N.Y.) shooting guard Omar Calhoun committed Friday to Connecticut.

UConn had some heavy competition for the 6-foot-4, 185-pound shooting guard, including North Carolina, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, Villanova, West Virginia, Seton Hall, Maryland, and Georgetown.

Football recruiting

• The Washington Post reported this week that DeMatha cornerback Michael Williams was released from his letter of intent to play football at Maryland and will instead pursue track in college.

His family, including older brother Madieu Williams who has played seven NFL seasons, was “pretty shocked,” Michael Williams said. “I felt like it was time to take my footsteps and do what makes me happy. Track makes me happy. I’m walking in my own footsteps instead of following in someone else’s. [People] say it’s crazy, but I’m going to do what makes me happy.”

• Maryland-bound linebacker Cole Farrand broke a record last weekend at the New Jersey Non-Public A Track and Field Championships.

When his turn in the shot put came Saturday afternoon, Farrand really let fly, shattering his county mark and winning his second state crown of the meet with his eye-popping distance of 57 feet, 3 inches. His previous record was 56 feet, 1 1/4 inches.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:01 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 9, 2011

Milford Mill's Tevin Hanner headed to prep school

tevin-hanner-phelps.jpg Before Tevin Hanner embarks on a college career at Loyola, the 6-foot-5 wing from Milford Mill will take a one-year detour to prep school.

Hanner, a Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection, decided last month to spend a fifth year at The Phelps School in Malvern, Pa.

“I was OK with it,” said Hanner, who committed to the Greyhounds in March. “Of course, coming straight out of high school, you want to go right to college. But I feel like I was OK with it because there are some things I need to work out – academic-wise, athletic-wise. Another year getting better on both those parts was cool with me.”

When Hanner’s SAT came up short of NCAA qualifying standards, the Loyola coaches recommended that he look into Phelps – which Hanner said other Greyhounds commitments have attended.

Hanner visited Phelps’ campus a couple weeks ago. The Millers star said it was a rural environment with no distractions.

“It’s a small population, real private-school like,” Hanner said. “It’s different, of course. And they’ll give me the focus that I probably never would have been given had I went to a coed prep school. I’ll just focus on my goal. Being [an] all-boys [school], there’s nothing else to do but play basketball and be in my books.”

Hanner -- who averaged 15 points and eight rebounds as a senior in leading Milford Mill to its second straight Class 3A championship -- said he has no plans to reopen his recruitment. After his prep year, Hanner’s still counting on joining the Greyhounds.

“Going to Loyola, that’s still the plan,” he said. “It gives my family a chance to see me playing another four years at home. And the coaching staff -- I feel real comfortable with [Loyola coach Jimmy] Patsos and what he can do with players. I feel real comfortable with the staff right now. That’s the plan -- go to prep school and go to Loyola.”

Photo of Tevin Hanner by Steve Ruark for The Baltimore Sun / March 12, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:47 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 8, 2011

Milford Mill's Isaiah McCray makes a change

isaiah-mccray-ipfw.jpg Isaiah McCray had his heart set on Colgate for months, but a late coaching change at the Patriot League school forced the Milford Mill combo guard to alter his college plans.

McCray, a 6-foot-1 senior, felt “hurt” when Raiders coach Emmett Davis was fired in March. The Millers captain and three-year starter gave Davis’ successor a chance, but by then his feelings had changed.

“I didn’t feel a sense of home like I had felt with Coach Davis,” said McCray, who signed with Colgate in November. “I told my parents and … they felt pretty much the same thing. … I just felt like it was time to back out, make better choices, make better moves. It was just time to make changes.”

Fortunately for McCray, several other opportunities arose after he was released from his letter of intent – including one with a Colgate connection. Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne – better known as IPFW – added former Raiders assistant Jon Coffman to its staff.

“He showed some film on me [to IPFW coach Tim Jasick], they took a strong interest [and] I couldn’t let it go. I couldn’t leave that opportunity,” said McCray, who committed to the Mastodons during a visit to Fort Wayne over the Memorial Day weekend. “It felt much better than what I felt at Colgate. It’s a great thing.”

McCray, a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection who averaged 10.5 points, four rebounds, 2.5 assists, two steals and 1.5 blocks as a senior, also drew interest from New Hampshire, Northeastern and Quinnipiac. Millers coach Albert Holley thought IPFW was “a great fit” for his star guard.

“He got an opportunity to play right away,” Holley said. “They’ve got a good team returning, a good team in the Summit League. He had a chance to contribute right away as a freshman. [The coaches like] his ability to play the 1 or the 2, his strength, his ability to get to the basket and his on-the-ball defense.”

At Milford Mill, McCray became accustomed to winning. He guided his team to back-to-back Class 3A state titles, and in his three years as a starter, the Millers went 72-9 – including an undefeated mark in Baltimore County. Had McCray ended up at Colgate, he would have joined a rebuilding program coming off a 7-23 campaign. At IPFW, however, McCray is expected to contribute right away for a team that went 18-12 during the 2010-11 season.

“From Day One, I just felt a sense of great things,” McCray said. “Coming off an 18-12 season, [IPFW was] well over. 500. It felt like a great situation for me. And surprisingly, I was the first recruit that they had called for the 2011 class. So it felt even better with that. … I fell in love with it when I got there. I was happy.”

McCray, a 3.7 student who’s considering a major in accounting or psychology, said his family, friends and coaches were supportive of his switch from Colgate to IPFW. And they’re all excited for him to carry his winning ways from high school onto college.

“I just hope to bring leadership [and] everything I learned from Milford,” McCray said. “I hope I bring … a winning presence from a winning school. I’m just happy to be part of the program. I can’t wait to meet all the guys. I just can’t wait to get on campus and just start a new legacy like the legacy I left at Milford.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Isaiah McCray by Gene Sweeney Jr. / March 10, 2011

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

June 7, 2011

Meet Brene Moseley

Throughout her senior year, Brene Moseley played the role of diligent rehab patient and dedicated team cheerleader.

The Maryland-bound point guard from Paint Branch High took both responsibilities to heart. But Moseley is hopeful that her days of being relegated to the sideline are over.

“It was hard. It took a lot from me,” said Moseley, who tore her ACL last spring and missed her entire 12th-grade season. “At the time it was frustrating. I love basketball and to sit out basically since June -- that was my surgery -- sitting out that long and not even playing the game was not easy.”

Moseley, who committed to Maryland last October, wasn’t happy missing her last year of high school basketball, but the future Terp did feel good about the progress she made in coming back from a torn ACL.

“I feel good. I feel like everything’s there,” said Moseley, who was cleared to play one month ago. “I’m going to have obstacles. I’m not used to playing. I have an opportunity to come in July, when I’m back on the court. I’m excited.”

Moseley said she’s working hard to get back to full strength. As a freshman at Maryland, she hopes to challenge for playing time at the point.

“I’m just going to work my way into it,” Moseley said. “I’m going to do what I can and I’m going to work hard and go from there. No one wants to come in and sit on the bench. And that’s not what I’m going there for. I’m going to work my butt off. They said they have spots there. I have to fight for it. That’s what I’m planning.”

Name: Brene Moseley
Birthdate: Nov. 25, 1993
Birthplace: Washington
Hometown: Burtonsville
Nicknames: Bones
Height: 5’7
Position: Point guard
Rankings: ESPN HoopGurlz -- Four stars, No. 70 player in 2011 class, No. 18 guard, 93 rating.
High School: Paint Branch
Junior statistics: 26 points per game
Other schools considered: “Pretty much just Maryland. I kind of knew I wanted to take my time. They told me they would always be there. I just took my time to make sure I knew it was the right school before I committed.”
Favorite pro basketball player: Kobe Bryant
Favorite pro basketball team: Los Angeles Lakers
Favorite all-time Terp: Kristi Toliver
Favorite music: Lauryn Hill
Favorite movie: “Love and Basketball"
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite book: “Chamique Holdsclaw: My Story”
Favorite food: Crabs
Favorite high school class: English
Favorite thing about College Park: “The campus, the people … it’s everything”
Hobbies: “Shopping, hanging out, chilling, listening to music, internet, phone, hooping.”
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: “I’m really goofy.”
Best basketball moment: “Probably my junior year when I had 39 against Springbrook, [and] got my 1,000th point. And probably winning states my freshman year.”
Why Maryland? “At the time I was going through my knee [injury], and they stood out through the whole thing. It didn’t go in and out. They stayed consistent the whole time. There were people coming in and out. When I was at my lowest point in the whole world, when I didn’t have basketball, they were standing beside me and showing me they’ll be there. That was big, and the fact that it’s close to home. I want to stay close to my family. And it’s good competition, playing in one of the best conferences for women’s basketball, playing for one of the best coaches. Academically, it’s just great. It has great academic support. So that’s just a couple of reasons.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:57 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Meet the recruit
        

June 6, 2011

Weekend wrap – Breunig headed to Washington

The last player signed by Gary Williams at Maryland has finalized his college plans.

Martin Breunig, who committed to the Terps in February but asked out of his letter of intent shortly after Mark Turgeon was named Williams' replacement, committed this weekend to Washington.

“He wants to be part of a winning program and sees a lot of potential at Washington to win championships and develop as a player,” Martin Esters, Breunig’s mentor, told CBSSports.com. “Paul Fortier was also key in his recruitment.”

• UM center target Mitch McGary, a class of 2012 center from Brewster (N.H.) Academy, was compared to a current NBA star at the Under Armour Best of the Best camp in Atlanta.

Somebody in the crowd mentioned that McGary's game resembles that of former UCLA star and current Minnesota Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love and that seems like a pretty accurate comparison. On Saturday afternoon, he showed off the ability to make beautiful no-look passes, knock down shots, operate on the low post, and rebound at a high level.

• Pearl (Miss.) wing and Terps target Twymond Howard caught the eye of Rivals.com's Jerry Meyer at the Pangos All-American Camp in Carson, Calif.

Playing with great energy, Howard was effective handling the ball and scoring in the midrange.

• Maryland target Jake Layman, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Wrentham, Mass., helped BABC -- his Boston-based AAU team -- win the Boston Shootout.

But [Nerlens] Noel’s put-back dunk off a missed 3-pointer by Jake Layman (17 points), and another slam helped BABC go on a 7-3 run for a 40-31 lead at intermission.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:38 AM | | Comments (0)
        

June 3, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

The Maryland men's basketball program continues to expand its list of targets for the 2012 class.

Never was that more evident than during the third session of Nike's Elite Youth Basketball League, which ended Monday in Torrance, Calif. Jake Layman, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Wrentham, Mass., was just one of many Terps targets that fared well.

A legitimate 6-foot-8, he looks like a genuine small forward. He has a pretty shot with deep range, is swift in the open floor and an excellent finisher on the break. According to Layman Providence, Boston College and UMass have offered while Maryland and Notre Dame have been showing more recent interest.

NBADraft.net also offered a positive scouting report of Layman.

He is long and skilled. He can shoot the long ball, showed some ability to put the ball on the floor, can get out and fill a lane and has very good athleticism at the rim. He reminds you of a Gordon Hayward type but with more length and athleticism. Could be a face up four, but I think he is skilled enough to eventually move to the wing. With added strength, he can be a very good player at the college level and possibly beyond.

• The Terps have reportedly expressed interest in Jodan Price, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard from Detroit Country Day.

Price mentioned interest from Boston College, Iowa, Iowa State, Oakland, Central Michigan, Maryland, Providence, USF, St. Joseph's, Temple and Colorado.

• UM is reportedly involved with Isaiah Zierden, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard from Golden Valley, Minn., who received rave reviews from scouts at Nike's EYBL session last weekend.

The three-star two-guard is a skilled perimeter scorer who puts clinics on defenders away from the ball. He scored 23 big points when his team needed him the most in a Monday morning win over the Albany City Rocks that propelled it into the Peach Jam.

• Several Maryland targets will take part this weekend in the Under Armour Best of the Best camp in Atlanta this weekend, including Village School (Texas) center Shaquille Cleare, Brewster (N.H.) Academy center Mitch McGary, and Travis (Texas) guards Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

• NBE Basketball Report caught up with DeMatha forward Jerami Grant after a Team Takeover game at the EYBL.

Jerami Grant‘s list of offers include Clemson, Georgetown, Maryland, NC State, Syracuse, Texas and Virginia Tech. Grant would like to commit to a program that allows him to come in and contribute early while playing his game.

• Former Maryland signee Martin Breunig made an official visit this week to South Florida

Breunig, rated as the nation's No. 26 power forward by Rivals.com, has already visited Washington, and Richert said he believes Breunig will decide between the two schools, though UCLA has also expressed interest in bringing him in for a visit.

Football recruiting

• UM defensive back recruit Jeremiah Hendy won a title at the Class 4A state track meet at Morgan State last weekend.

Bowie senior Jeremiah Hendy reclaimed the Class 4A boys' high jump title that he first won as a sophomore in 2009. Hendy missed last year's state meet due to academic ineligibility. On Friday, he cleared 6 feet, 6 inches, winning the high jump crown by 2 inches.

• Terps linebacker signee Cole Farrand won a New Jersey Non-Public A state title last weekend.

Pope John senior Cole Farrand, a Green Pond resident, threw 169-5 to win the discus, and also finished second in the shot put.

• Maryland-bound running back Brandon Ross won the 200 at Delaware's Meet of Champions.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:50 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

June 2, 2011

Former Lansdowne star Brent Arrington goes DI

brent-arrington.jpg With just a handful of Division II and III offers coming out of high school, Lansdowne's Brent Arrington knew he would need a year of prep school to make it to the top level of college basketball.

Thanks to a connection through Cecil Kirk coach Anthony Lewis, Arrington ended up at Southern Sports Academy in Jackson, Miss., more than 1,000 miles away from home.

“At first I was like, ‘Dang, [we] can’t find a school close to home at all?’” Arrington recalled.

Arrington, a 6-foot-3, 176-pound combo guard, eventually got used to the more relaxed pace in the Magnolia State -- so much so that he decided to spend another four years there. Late last month, Arrington signed a letter of intent to play for Mississippi Valley State – a Division I school that plays in the Southwestern Athletic Conference.

“I’m just real excited,” Arrington said Thursday. “I’m just ready to go down there and do what I’ve got to do. … Mississippi is far away – a whole different world to me down there. But I got there and it’s cool. It’s very slow, different from Baltimore. It’s just a different experience. There’s not a lot going on down there, [so] it’s easy to focus on basketball and school and everything.”

At Lansdowne, Arrington was a versatile scorer who led the Vikings to a region championship in 2009 and another state playoff appearance in 2010. For his varsity career, Arrington averaged 18.6 points, four assists and 2.9 steals.

With Cecil Kirk in the summer, Arrington was an under-the-radar facilitator on a team filled with future Division I players.

“He was a tremendous asset to the team,” Lewis said. “He was on the team with Cleveland Melvin, Montray Clemons, Antonio Barton, Antoine Myers, Durand Johnson. It was a very, very good team. When you’re talking about kids going to Memphis (Barton), Pittsburgh (Johnson) and DePaul (Melvin and Clemons), it’s very easy to be overlooked. But he was a very integral part of that team.”

At Southern Sports Academy, Arrington transitioned from the 2 he played in high school to the 1. Teaming with former Lake Clifton guard and Cecil Kirk teammate Jeff Fields, Arrington excelled throughout his fifth year.

“Me and Jeff, we were cool at Cecil Kirk, but we went down there and got a lot closer,” Arrington said. “Everybody else is from Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, all those states. We were the only East Coast kids down there. We knew each other already, got very tight down there. That helped us on the court also. We stepped up [as] the two leading scorers on the team.”

Arrington, who averaged 17.8 points, 8.2 assists, 6.0 rebounds and 3.1 steals in his prep season, said he received interest over the year from Duquesne, Loyola of Chicago, Middle Tennessee State, Montana State, Southern Mississippi and Western Kentucky. But Mississippi Valley State pursued him the hardest.

“They showed a lot of interest,” Arrington said. “It was in-state and I had been down there for a year. I knew my prep school coach and people around me were able to support me. Even though I’m far away from home, I’ve got my little support system down there. They can shoot right over for a couple games and see me play. I have someone I can call for a home away from home.”

Lewis, who started coaching Arrington when he was 15, said his former player is comfortable at the 1 and the 2. His mental toughness and decision-making have improved dramatically over the past several years.

“He shoots the ball extremely well,” Lewis said. “He can put it on the deck and attack. From a defensive standpoint, he can really push up and disrupt the team. … He’s an athletic kid, he’s a workaholic and he became a better shooter.”

Arrington, who plans to major in accounting, is back in Baltimore for the summer, helping out with Cecil Kirk’s 17-and-under team and working out on his own. He’s looking forward to starting his college career, especially with the Delta Devils’ challenging non-conference schedule, which Arrington said includes matchups with Notre Dame, North Carolina, Memphis and DePaul, among others.

“I’m actually looking forward to ball, really,” he said. “I put in work while I’m here and just working as hard as possible to train [and] get my game to the best I can get it this summer. [I’ll] do my best to get as good as possible before I start.”

Patuxent Publishing photo of Brent Arrington by Matt Roth / Jan. 13, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:58 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

June 1, 2011

Jamel Artis stepping up his game

Jamel Artis isn't afraid to admit that his junior season at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, N.J., fell short of expectations.

The Baltimore native and former Dunbar player had a decent amount of individual success, scoring “about 12 points a game.” He also improved his academic standing. But the Gray Bees, a perennial national power, labored through a 13-12 season.

“We lost a lot of games,” said Artis, who hasn’t decided where he will attend school this fall. “It wasn’t a good fit for me. … But I was one of the major players on the team.”

This spring, Artis is back to his winning ways with some familiar faces by his side in his Nike Baltimore Elite 17-and-under teammates. Artis, a 6-foot-5 ½, 190-pound point guard, guided NBE last weekend to a 5-0 record during the third session of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League in Torrance, Calif.

“I think everything went pretty good, [and we] just came out strong,” Artis said. “I knew we were going to get the five wins, so we just came out and played aggressive. Everything came our way. I think everything went well. … The chemistry is very good. Everybody knows their role on the team. Nobody goes off on their own and [everybody] is good to do what they do. That helps, for real.”

Artis played the role of facilitator, setting up Isaiah Miles (Glenelg Country), Kayel Locke (McDonogh), Kameron Williams (Mount St. Joseph), Daquein McNeil (Vermont Academy) and his other scoring-inclined teammates. For the weekend, Artis averaged seven points, 4.6 rebounds and two assists.

Rivals.com analyst Eric Bossi was impressed with what he saw out of Artis in California, writing that “the 6-foot-5 wing is strong, can handle the ball a bit and is an outstanding passer. We'll be monitoring him more down the road, but Artis looks to have some high major potential with a little smoothing out of the edges of his game.”

Artis said he’s still waiting on his first scholarship offer, but several high- and mid-major programs have expressed interest in him, including Connecticut, Maryland, Miami, Ohio State, Richmond, Syracuse, Texas, Virginia Tech, Washington and Xavier. Artis said three of those schools are at the top of his wish list.

“I like Syracuse, Xavier and Washington,” Artis said. “Syracuse, [in] their 3-2 zone, I can play at the top of the 3-2. Washington, it goes through their point guard. Everything runs through their point guard. And Xavier, I just think that would be a good fit.”

Most of the interested programs tell Artis that they like his ball-handling abilities, his floor vision and his size. He describes himself as a “point forward” that attacks the basket.

Thanks to Nike Baltimore Elite’s perfect showing last weekend, the program locked up an invite to the Peach Jam in North Augusta, S.C., next month. Artis can’t wait to showcase his game for college coaches in attendance.

“I was expecting some offers by now,” he said, “but I’ll just keep working hard, and it’ll come.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:26 PM | | Comments (0)
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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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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