Stock of Terps target Jake Layman is rising
Sean McInnis always expected Jake Layman to develop into a Division I recruit. But what the King Philip Regional High coach couldn't predict was just how emphatically his star player "exploded" onto the high-major basketball scene.
Layman, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward from Wrentham, Mass., has followed up an acclaimed season with McInnis’ Warriors with an eye-opening summer playing for the Boston Amateur Basketball Club. Thanks to his play on the AAU circuit, Layman has emerged as a highly touted recruit – and a prime Maryland target.
“He’s tremendous,” McInnis said. “If you look at the stats from the Nike [Elite Youth Basketball League], there was a game he went 8-for-8 from 3-point range. Down in Texas he went 9-for-10 in one game. Jake has a tremendous outside shot [and] he takes it to the rim very strong. He’s got a lot of finesse and has an almost 7-foot wingspan.”
Layman’s ascent to the top level of high school basketball can be traced back to the recreation centers in Wrentham and nearby Norfolk, where McInnis first met the lanky wing. In the fall of 2008, McInnis was a first-year varsity boys coach and Layman a freshman starter at King Philip, which was coming off 57 straight losses. Right away, Layman and McInnis changed the Warriors’ fortunes.
“He averaged about 10 points a game,” as a freshman, McInnis said. “We’re in a very tough league in Massachusetts, one of the top leagues in the state. Then all of a sudden he just exploded. Last year he was averaging in the mid-20s. … He brought everything that you could ever imagine to our team. He also averaged in the high teens in rebounds, nearly double digits in blocked shots. He was outstanding in the open court. He’s a great leader. Jake is just such a tremendous asset to our program. It’s not just the team and what he brings to his team. It’s what he brings to the program and the community.”
Layman, who helped King Philip to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association South Sectional title game, probably would have played center for another high school program. But in McInnis’ system, Layman plays the 1 and the 2. A “long, lean athletic kid that can play outside and run the floor so well,” Layman has drawn comparisons to Andrei Kirilenko and Corey Brewer for his style of play.
Off the court, McInnis says Layman has immersed himself in community service.
“He’s a young man who spends eight hours every Saturday coaching youth players,” McInnis said. “We’ll get home at 11 at night on the bus, and the next thing you know he’s in the gym eight hours later to spend another eight hours with the kids. He also has helped to start the program where we go into the elementary schools. He reads to young kids in town. He’s helped establish an anti-bullying program. So this is not just a basketball player that somebody’s getting. Jake has been brought up in our system. He has really dedicated himself to being part of the community. “
Layman was a regional recruit earlier in his high school career, but his performance with BABC this summer has taken his recruitment to another level. McInnis said it’s hard to keep track of Layman’s scholarship offers.
“He’s got a bunch. I know that they’re coming in seriously day by day,” McInnis said. “[Boston College], Maryland, Notre Dame, Florida, Wake Forest, Pitt -- these are schools we’re in contact with daily. And there’s so many more that we’ve been talking to. The key is finding Jake the proper fit coaching-wise, academic-wise and institution-wise. If the kid can fit those things, we know the basketball will come through with all these schools. We want to make sure it’s the right fit for Jake with the coaches and the community. He’s a firm believer in the community.”
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon and assistant Scott Spinelli started recruiting Layman when they were still at Texas A&M. Their pursuit of Layman continued when they moved on to College Park, culminating with a scholarship offer earlier this month. McInnis said Layman’s impressions of Turgeon have been positive.
“Turgeon and Spinelli are two dynamic people,” McInnis said. “They are outstanding, family type of people. They do such a great job recruiting. They have been watching Jake and have been involved with Jake since [they were at Texas] A&M. They have been tremendous. They’re both tremendous people. Jake is extremely interested in Coach Turgeon as a person and a coach. He loves the Maryland area. His family has some very strong connections to the Maryland area.”
McInnis said Layman will likely sit down with his family and coaches in August to evaluate his offers and formulate a list of schools. Layman will probably start making official visits in September. McInnis said his star player is looking for a school with “a very strong coach … great academics … and a program that’s active with the community.” With those elements in place, everything on the court for Layman should take care of itself.
“I see Jake as somebody who’s going to contribute as a freshman if put in the right position,” McInnis said. “Jake is going to continue to develop. He’s somebody who’s consistently getting better. The sky’s the limit. He has to tap into the full potential of his ability. I’m just excited to watch him grow as a basketball player. I think he’s going to help out a program for four years.”