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September 30, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Much of the talk involving Maryland's power forward targets for the 2012 class has centered on Charles Mitchell, Mitch McGary and Amile Jefferson. But there's at least one other highly rated prospect who still has the Terps on his list.

Robert Carter, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound power forward from Shiloh High in Snellville, Ga., was a standout performer at the Under Armour Grind Session in Chicago last weekend. Maryland was one of five schools that the four-star prospect mentioned to ESPN.com's Reggie Rankin.

PF Robert Carter (Thomasville, Ga./Shiloh) has terrific skill and the ability to score inside and out with 3-point range in addition to being able to handle and pass. Carter is visiting Georgia, Georgia Tech, Maryland, Florida and Florida State.

• The Wolverine's Chris Balas tweeted Thursday that McGary will make his college decision "in a month."

• Detroit Country Day shooting guard Jodan Price, who reportedly received some UM interest, committed this week to DePaul.

Price held offers from Northwestern, Minnesota, and a variety of other mid-major schools as well.

• ESPN HoopGurlz reports that the Maryland women's basketball program has planned a big recruiting weekend.

The courtship of Malina Howard of Twinsburg, Ohio, now is down to Notre Dame and Maryland. Two weeks ago, Notre Dame played host to the prospect ranked No. 7 in 2012 by ESPN HoopGurlz. Now it's Maryland's turn, and it has an equally big weekend planned as the Terps are hosting their current Class of 2012 commitments, including four-star guard Chloe Pavlech and No. 22 Tierney Pfirman.

Brenda Frese and her staff also will welcome a couple of Top 20 Class of 2013 players to College Park this weekend, including No. 17 Alexis "Lexie" Brown and No. 3 Diamond DeShields.

Football recruiting

• Maryland quarterback commitment Caleb Rowe has helped his Blue Ridge squad to the No. 3 spot in WYFF Greenville's high school football power rankings.

Caleb Rowe has led his Tigers off to the team's best start since 2007. The senior commitment to Maryland has thrown 20 touchdown passes this season, throwing at least five per game since Week 2.

• MaxPreps.com this week profiled Friendship Collegiate (D.C.) defensive tackle Eddie Goldman.

Goldman says he won't make his final college choice until signing day in February, and stressed that distance won't be a factor in his decision. He has narrowed his choices, in no particular order, down to seven: Maryland (the first to offer), Alabama, Auburn, California, Clemson, Florida State and Miami.

• ESPN.com's Dave Hooker spoke to several Gilman players this week, including sophomore defensive lineman Melvin Keihn.

"I'm not sure right now," Keihn said when asked what he thought about the Terps. "I think they're a really good football team. Coach [Randy] Edsall is changing a lot of things up there."

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr and B.J. Koubaroulis talk about Terps linebacker pledge Stefan Houston and more in their latest Recruiting Insider video. Check it out here.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:39 AM | | Comments (8)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 29, 2011

InsideMDSports: Terps pay Mitchell a visit

insidemdsports.jpg

Editor's note: Each week, InsideMdSports.com provides this blog with a Maryland recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site.


The Maryland basketball staff continues to log frequent flier miles in its efforts to secure a top-flight power forward to pair with committed center Shaquille Cleare. The Terps' tour stopped Monday in Marietta, Ga., where one of their top targets – Wheeler High senior Charles Mitchell – resides.

“They came to my school two days ago. It was [Maryland assistant] coach Bino [Ranson] and [assistant] coach Dalonte [Hill],” said Mitchell, who joins Mitch McGary and Amile Jefferson at the top of the Terrapins' wishlist. “We didn’t really get to talk a lot because I had to get to class. They just watched me work out..”

Mitchell will take an official visit to Maryland sometime soon, and he said a date will be secured shortly.

“I take my test [the SAT] this weekend, and after that I can start setting up some visits. I’ll probably start the second week in October,” he said.

The burly 6-8 forward is still looking closely at Maryland, Tennessee, Florida State, Clemson and perhaps a few others. He plans to take three officials and make a decision shortly thereafter.

The biggest factor “will probably be my relationship with the coaching staff,” said Mitchell, who has been hearing regularly from Maryland’s staff for several months now. “It’s an open playing field, that’s why I want to get out and take these visits.”

-- Story by Jeff Ermann

To gain access to all of InsideMDSports.com's premium Terps sports and recruiting content, click HERE.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:31 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: InsideMDSports
        

September 28, 2011

Sweet 16: Sean Mosley, Maryland

sean-mosley-maryland.jpg Mark Turgeon learned everything he needed to know about Sean Mosley within minutes of their first meeting at Maryland.

The new Terps coach invited Mosley – one of just two seniors on Maryland’s 2011-12 roster – into his Comcast Center office for a rehash of the 2010-11 season and a look forward to what was expected of him in his final college campaign.

“He was very honest,” Turgeon recalled. “He talked about how he had a bad year and didn’t know why. But he was honestly just excited. He loves Maryland. He loves Maryland basketball. Academically, he’s on track to graduate, which is a great story. He’s done a lot of great things and hopefully he’ll finish up his career real strong and graduate in May. I could tell he was totally committed to doing whatever it takes to be successful.”

Whether or not Turgeon’s first season in College Park will be considered a success depends on a number of factors, including – but certainly not limited to – finding a reliable post player to take Jordan Williams’ minutes, identifying a No. 2 scoring option behind Terrell Stoglin and getting contributions from a woefully thin bench. But a bounce-back year from Mosley – the second-leading scorer in Maryland high school history – could be just what the Terps need to surprise people in the ACC.

Despite a disappointing junior year in which he averaged 8.1 points, Mosley’s ever-sunny disposition hasn’t changed. If anything, the promise of something new has brightened the 6-foot-4, 210-pound wing’s outlook.

“Everything is going great,” Mosley said. “Everybody’s chemistry with Coach [Turgeon] and with the team is working well. We’re working really hard toward having a great season. With the [coaching] change, definitely everything happened fast. But I think we’re back on track as a team with new coaches and new guys coming in. I’m looking forward to great things this year.”

Great things were expected from Mosley immediately at Maryland thanks to the record-breaking legacy he left at St. Frances. A four-time Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection – and the 2008 Player of the Year – Mosley was a rare Charm City recruit for the Terps. Playing for Gary Williams – and fellow Baltimore legend Keith Booth – was a major selling point for Mosley. So the veteran coach’s surprise retirement after a postseason-less 2010-11 campaign came as quite a shock.

“Coach Williams is a Hall of Fame coach,” Mosley said. “But once I found out that he was retiring, it was kind of hard for me because I’ve been around him since freshman year. He’s one of the main reasons I committed to the University of Maryland. But at the end of the day, I had to stick here and not move elsewhere because either way, it was going to be a new beginning for me. Why not stay close to home, with the fans and their support? There’s definitely been adversity. But those of us left, we came together at the team meeting and [decided] we were all going to stay.”

Since that decision to stay at Maryland was made, Mosley has thrived in his leadership role. Turgeon has counted on the former Panthers star to serve as an example for his teammates – on and off the court. Mosley, meanwhile, has surprised his new coach by improving on at least one key element to his game.

“He’s a much better shooter than I thought looking at his numbers,” Turgeon said of Mosley, who shot just 26.9 percent from 3-point range last season. “His form is good shooting the ball. Hopefully it’ll carry over in games. He’s a much better shooter. He’s tough kid, a strong kid who guards multiple positions because of his strength. He’s just a great leader for us. You can tell he’s serious about doing what’s best for the team and leaving his mark. He’s been great.”

Part of Mosley doing what’s best for the team means him playing out of his natural position. Rivals.com’s No. 8 shooting guard in the 2008 class, Mosley has always been asked at Maryland to guard bigger players. That will be the case again this year.

“Sean will do anything for the team,” Turgeon said. “He realizes the situation that our program is in as far as the lack of [frontcourt depth]. If we can get Alex [Len through the NCAA Clearinghouse], that’ll help give us another body and give us a chance to play bigger lineups more. But Sean just wants to play well and do whatever it takes. I think the way that we’ll coach, if Sean starts at the 4, we’ll put him in a position to really be successful.

“What his natural position is, I’m not sure. Maybe a 3, but I think in today’s college game, he’ll be a real threat for us at the 4. So he’s going to play both. That means more playing time for him. I think he’ll be great at both positions.”

Mosley said he’s grown accustomed to guarding guys that are three-to-five inches taller than him. While he may not have envisioned himself spending so much of his college career battling against bigger players in the paint, he’s more than willing to do whatever Turgeon thinks is best.

“At the end of the day, if I have to do that, that’s my job. I’m definitely going to do that because I’ll do anything to help the team win,” Mosley said. “Once the ball is thrown up, the game is on. My mind is clear. I’m not worrying about the past, but just trying to take it one game at a time and getting back to winning.”

The days of Mosley scoring 25 points per game at St. Frances seem like a long time ago. He’s turned into different player at Maryland than many recruiting analysts may have expected. But not once, Mosley said, has he regretted his decision to play for his hometown Terps. His only hope now is to end his college career by leaving “a good legacy behind.”

“It’s a blessing to be here at the University of Maryland,” Mosley said. “I’m playing at the highest Division I level. The three years have been great. We’ve been to the [NCAA] tournament two out of the three years I’ve been here, got [an ACC championship] ring when I was here. This is my last year. I just want to go out being remembered and having a great season, making the tournament and playing my best. Last year wasn’t the best season for me or the [team]. But I think this change is definitely for the better. We’re looking forward.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections:

Devon Saddler, Delaware
Devin Brown, Holy Cross
Eric Atkins, Notre Dame
Brendan Bald, Vermont
Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte
Dylon Cormier, Loyola

Baltimore Sun photo of Sean Mosley by Kenneth K. Lam / Jan. 26, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:10 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        

September 27, 2011

Sweet 16: Devon Saddler, Delaware

devon-saddler-delaware.jpg With little fanfare, Devon Saddler committed to Delaware over Drexel and Towson in the fall of 2008. Less than one year later, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound combo guard was back on the AAU circuit, headed to prep school and receiving substantially more interest from a variety of high-major schools.

Saddler, who graduated from Aberdeen in 2009, heard from DePaul, North Carolina State, Oregon, Rutgers, Washington and several other programs thanks to his play with Baltimore Assault. More college coaches discovered the Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection when he took part in open gyms at the Winchendon (Mass.) School that fall.

While the increased attention left Saddler flattered, there was never any doubt in his mind about what he would do during the 2009 fall signing period.

“I knew I was going to sign the papers to the University of Delaware,” Saddler said. “I kind of did look into the other schools, but I really didn’t pay that hype any attention.”

When Saddler’s letter of intent arrived at the Delaware basketball offices, Blue Hens coach Monte' Ross -- who discovered the Aberdeen star at a camp in New Jersey before his senior year -- breathed an expected sigh of relief.

“He was a very, very loyal young man,” Ross said. “That eased our fears in terms of him going to prep school. … We were pretty confident in just the type of young man that he was. He wasn’t a wishy-washy type of young man. He was the type of young man that said what he meant and meant what he said. He pretty much stuck to his word. You always look for that in young men.”

Saddler’s loyalty to Delaware worked out well for both parties throughout the 2010-11 season. The Blue Hens experienced a seven-game improvement from the previous season, and Saddler established himself as one of the Baltimore area’s top college players by earning Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Year honors.

“Winning Rookie of the Year in such a tough league, such a highly regarded league … is quite an accomplishment,” Ross said. “He brought a different type of intensity to our team from Day 1. I think other guys on our team really, really appreciated that. We were better from Day 1 [because of] the type of competitor he was and what he was bringing to the program.”

Saddler’s freshman campaign got off to a promising start. He led the Blue Hens (14-17, 8-10 CAA) in scoring in his first two college games – 19 points in a loss at Ohio, and 15 points in a loss at Cornell. The highlight for Saddler – who averaged 13.3 points and 4.3 rebounds – came at Towson in January.

With plenty of supporters in the Towson Arena stands, Saddler was shut out in the first half. In the second half he came out possessed, pouring in 13 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field. That flawless second-half performance included the highlight of his young career.

“We ran a double screen for Jawan [Carter], and they double-teamed him,” Saddler recalled. “I was open and I hit the game-winner. He kicked it out to me for the 3. It was a buzzer-beater. It was a blessing. It felt so good. I never had a buzzer-beater 3.

“I felt like I was coming out of my shell. I had just now arrived. It was time for me to just start taking over.”

Saddler, whose Blue Hens claimed a 66-63 win over the Tigers that day, did just that for the rest of his freshman year. He carried that over to the summer, when he split time between Newark, Del., and Baltimore. Saddler was a frequent participant in the Melo Center Pro-Am League, teaming with San Antonio Spurs guard and fellow Harford County native Gary Neal against the likes of Josh Selby (Memphis Grizzlies), Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee Bucks) and several others.

Competing with professionals was an eye-opening experience for Saddler.

“I feel like I can go as high as [those] guys can go,” he said. “I came to play, day in and day out. When I was up there, I was holding my own. I’m like, why not? Why can’t I make it if they can? I feel like this year I’m going to try and win the CAA championship and take it from there. We’ve got great leadership this year. … This is our year.”

Ross said Saddler has worked hard on his outside shooting this summer, and has continued to get stronger. He sees no reason why the reigning CAA Rookie of the Year can’t take another step forward this year.

“I think he’s a reason why we took so many strides last year. I think he’ll be one of the reasons why we take more strides this year,” Ross said. “I think his natural leadership ability will come out and he’ll help us in taking the next step. He’s really excited about it. And he’s put the work in this summer to be excited about it. I think good things will happen for him.”

Rookie success hasn’t gone to Saddler’s head. If anything, individual accolades have made Saddler hungrier for team success. He’s ready to do everything he can to help Delaware rise in the CAA standings.

“I’m pleased so far, but I’m not settling,” Saddler said. “I think this year is going to be my breakout year. [I hope] to have a great year this year. I’m working out, my jump shot is falling now [and] I’m getting more comfortable shooting off the dribble. This year might be my year. I might go off.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections:

Devin Brown, Holy Cross
Eric Atkins, Notre Dame
Brendan Bald, Vermont
Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte
Dylon Cormier, Loyola

U.S. Presswire photo of Devon Saddler by Howard Smith / Dec. 18, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:23 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        

Stefan Houston 'a perfect fit' for Maryland

As the Maryland football program underwent wholesale changes over the past year, one thing for Stefan Houston remained exactly the same: the Terps' interest in him.

Houston, a 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker and wide receiver from Clarksburg High in Montgomery County, was first recruited by Terps defensive line coach Dave Sollazzo as a sophomore. When Randy Edsall took over at Maryland last winter, he and offensive line coach Tom Brattan picked up where Sollazzo left off.

On Friday, Houston rewarded Maryland for its consistent pursuit with his commitment.

“It feels really good actually, to have all this weight lifted off my shoulders,” Houston said. “I bonded with every coaching staff member there, just like I knew them from when I was young.”

Houston picked the Terps over offers from East Carolina, Rutgers and West Virginia. Many more Football Bowl Subdivision programs were interested in the Coyotes’ two-way star.

“People have expressed interest [in him from] all over the country,” said Clarksburg coach Larry Hurd. “But Stefan pretty much [knew what he wanted] from the first time he stepped on campus. He’s been there several times. He’s real comfortable. His mom will be able to see his games. He’s pumped about that.”

Hurd, who also coached Maryland sophomore linebacker Avery Graham at Clarksburg, welcomed Houston into his program as a 10th-grader. The future Terp immediately claimed a starting role for the Coyotes and never relinquished those duties.

“He’s always been dedicated to the football team,” Hurd said. “He really loves football, enjoys competition and has done a great job since Day 1. … I think he makes really big plays. There’s no one play that sticks out in my mind right now. He’s just very consistent in what he does.”

On the offensive side of the ball, Houston is a big-play wide receiver who currently leads Clarksburg’s league in receptions (21) and receiving yards (414). Houston, who runs a 4.39 40, has caught five touchdown passes and also carried the ball 19 times for 106 yards.

The Maryland coaches, however, took one look at Houston and saw a perfect fit for the STAR linebacker position, which is currently occupied by Kenny Tate.

“They love his athletic ability and what he does on the football field,” Hurd said. “He’s consistent, makes big plays. He’s got great upside and we’re looking forward to getting him there.”

Hurd said the most important thing Houston needs to do before enrolling at College Park next fall is continue to get stronger. That shouldn’t be a problem for the future Terp, who said he intends to bring “hard work, dedication and team chemistry” to Maryland. Hurd is confident his star player will deliver on that vow.

“We’re extremely proud of him,” Hurd said. “We’re happy he’s at the in-state school. It seems like a perfect fit to me.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:25 AM | | Comments (1)
        

September 26, 2011

The Next Level: Owls' Stewart flawless vs. Terps

The Next Level is a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Chris Eckard, a senior at the University of Maryland and Baltimore Sun sports department intern, is your author.

Temple senior quarterback Chester Stewart (Hanover native) and junior running back Matt Brown (Baltimore native, Peddie School grad) feasted on a lackluster Maryland defense this past Saturday at Byrd Stadium.

Stewart, in particular, had an impressive afternoon. Making his first start of the season, the DeMatha graduate was a perfect 9-for-9 for 140 passing yards. He also rushed for 57 yards on nine carries, often extending a broken play with his legs.

His control of the offense all afternoon led to a 38-7 drubbing of the Terps. It marked Temple’s first win against a BCS opponent on the road since 2002 and its first-ever win against an ACC opponent.

For his efforts, in quite possibly the biggest upset of the weekend, Stewart is this week’s Next Level Player of the Week.

chester-stewart-temple.jpg

Brown also played a big role, leading the Owls with 194 all-purpose yards, including 76 rushing yards on 12 carries. Temple sophomore linebacker Gary Onuekwusi (Dunbar) recorded a tackle in the win.

Not only did the Terps get humiliated Saturday, but they also lost starting sophomore safety Matt Robinson (Atholton) to a season-ending shoulder injury. He had recorded eight tackles (13 total) before suffering the injury. Terps sophomore defensive end David Mackall (Edmondson) had one tackle in the loss (six total). Maryland junior safety Eric Franklin (Archbishop Curley) had five solo tackles (12 total). Maryland junior defensive tackle A.J. Francis (Severn native, Gonzaga grad) recorded one tackle.

Honorable mention

• West Virginia's Tavon Austin (Dunbar) had another huge game Saturday night. The junior wide receiver had 187 yards on 11 receptions in the Mountaineers’ 47-21 loss to LSU. Austin also had 100 kickoff return yards on six returns. West Virginia junior safety Terrence Garvin (Loyola) had two solo tackles (four total) in the loss.

• Colorado State sophomore Shaq Barrett recovered a fumble and scored a touchdown on a 15-yard run-back in the Rams’ 35-34 overtime victory against Utah State. Barrett (a Baltimore native who went to high school in Nebraska) also led the team with six solo tackles (14 total) and recorded a five-yard sack.

• Michigan freshman cornerback Blake Countess (Owings Mills native, Good Counsel grad) played his best college game to date, with five solo tackles (seven total) in the Wolverines’ 28-7 win against San Diego State. Wolverines freshman safety Josh Furman (Old Mill) had a solo tackle (two total) in the win.

• Syracuse junior wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) caught an 18-yard touchdown pass with 2:07 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Orange a late lead over Toledo. Syracuse went on to win 33-30 in overtime.

Other contributions

• Arkansas State senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) recorded four tackles in the Red Wolves’ 53-24 win against Central Arkansas.

• Army junior slotback Kelechi Odocha (Atholton) carried the ball once for 16 yards in the Black Knights’ 48-21 loss to Ball State.

• Central Michigan sophomore safety Leron Eaddy (River Hill) had two solo tackles (seven total) as the Chippewas fell to Michigan State, 45-7.

• Virginia freshman wide receiver Darius Jennings (Gilman) had two receptions for 23 yards in the Cavaliers’ 30-24 loss to Southern Mississippi. Cavaliers senior defensive tackle Nick Jenkins (Westminster native, Good Counsel grad) had a sack and four tackles in the loss.

• Virginia Tech junior wide receiver Corey Fuller (Woodlawn) had a 7-yard reception in the Hokies’ 30-10 win against Marshall. Hokies sophomore cornerback Kyle Fuller (Mount St. Joseph) had three solo tackles (four total) in the win.

• North Carolina senior linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) had three solo tackles (six total), one for a loss, in the Tar Heels’ 35-28 loss to Georgia Tech.

• Rutgers sophomore linebacker Nick DePaola (Hereford) had a tackle in Rutgers’ 38-26 win against Ohio.

• Ole Miss senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey (Southwestern) had three solo tackles (six total), including one for a loss, as the Rebels’ lost to 27-13 to Georgia.

• Penn State freshman safety Adrian Amos (Calvert Hall) returned one kickoff 18 yards and recorded two solo tackles in the Nittany Lions’ 34-6 win against Eastern Michigan.

• UAB sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry (Dunbar) split time and finished with 106 yards passing (9-for-16) and 13 yards rushing on five carries in the Blazers’ 28-23 loss to ECU. East Carolina sophomore defensive end Derrell Johnson (Cardinal Gibbons) had two solo tackles (four total), including one sack in the win.

• San Jose State senior cornerback Brandon Driver (Parkville) had three solo tackles (five total) in a loss to New Mexico State, 34-24.

• New Mexico freshman safety Zach Dancel (Ellicott City native, Good Counsel grad) had three solo tackles (six total) in the Lobos’ 48-45 loss to Sam Houston State.

Getty photo of Chester Stewart by Rob Carr / Sept. 24, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:37 AM | | Comments (1)
Categories: The Next Level
        

Weekend wrap – Braglio powers Eagles

With five seconds left in the first half of No. 4 McDonogh's game Friday against No. 9 Archbishop Spalding, Roman Braglio made the play of the game to break a scoreless tie.

The Maryland-bound defensive end recovered a Cavaliers fumble and returned it 75 yards for a touchdown. The Eagles went on to beat Spalding 20-7.

It was only the second touchdown of Braglio’s career. His first came three weeks ago when he returned an interception for a score in the 17-14 loss to Gonzaga.

“Every practice, I kind to mess around and pick up a loose ball and run it,” the 6-foot-4, 240-pound Braglio said, “and when I saw it, I was like, ‘Oh man, here’s my chance.’ I picked it up and I ran for my life. I ran as fast as I could.”

• Clarksburg linebacker Stefan Houston committed to the Terps on Friday.

“He came in this morning and said he had made a decision,” Clarksburg Coach Larry Hurd said. “It’s exciting. He’s put his time in, been to the places, spoken to the coaches. I know [Clarksburg graduate] Avery [Graham] being at Maryland influenced his decision and so did seeing [Quince Orchard 2010 All-Met] Alex Twine play the last couple weeks. Coach [Randy] Edsall and [assistant] coach [Tom] Brattan have done an excellent job recruiting him.”

Check back with Recruiting Report later for more on Houston's decision.

• Maryland quarterback pledge Caleb Rowe threw for three touchdowns in Blue Ridge's 49-7 win over Travelers Rest (S.C.).

In the second half, Blue Ridge scored after the 18-yard loss that killed a TR drive. Rowe and [Brennen] Griffin connected on a 35-yard pass play and then Rowe threw to Bryton Griffin for 16 yards and a touchdown for a 28-7 lead.

Through five games, Rowe has thrown 20 touchdown passes.

• Maryland-bound athlete Joe Riddle's Linganore squad recorded a 47-6 win over Oakdale.

Linganore's Joe Riddle ran for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns on 10 carries.

• Terps recruits Perry Hills and Anthony Nixon helped Pittsburgh Central Catholic to a 31-13 win over Woodland Hills.

Nixon finished with eight catches for 84 yards, and Hills completed 11 of 15 passes for 117 yards and no interceptions.

• UM wide receiver commitment Malcolm Culmer had a big game to pace Willingboro (N.J.) in its 34-13 win over Maple Shade.

Anthony Robbins threw two of his three touchdown passes to Malcolm Culmer, who picked up 115 yards on 11 catches, helping the visiting Chimeras (2-0) pull away in the second half of an interdivision game.

Basketball recruiting

• KentuckySportsRadio.com reports that the Wildcats are now interested in Terps forward target Amile Jefferson.

Amile Jefferson, a 6-foot-7 power forward from Philadelphia, is on Kentucky’s radar and Coach [John Calipari] and his staff are making a hard push in his recruitment. He’s Scout.com’s No. 4 power forward in the class of 2012 and he holds offers from a number of schools including Syracuse, Ohio State, Miami, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech.

Buddy Hield, a three-star shooting guard from Kansas who reportedly drew some Terps interest, committed to Oklahoma on Sunday.

Rivals reports Missouri, Memphis, Texas A&M, Colorado, Nebraska, Miami and Utah were among schools that offered scholarships. Hield visited Nebraska and Colorado in the weeks leading up to his trip to Norman.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 8:58 AM | | Comments (2)
        

September 23, 2011

Reports: Christian Sanders picks Stanford

A prime Maryland shooting guard target is apparently off the board.

According to multiple media reports, Christian Sanders committed to Stanford on Friday.

A three-star prospect from St. Thomas High in Houston, Sanders was recruited by Mark Turgeon at Texas A&M, and the pursuit continued at Maryland. Sanders, a teammate of Terps pledge Shaquille Cleare on the Houston Defenders, also had offers from Colorado, Oklahoma State and Vanderbilt, among others.

Another prospect with Terps interest also made his decision Friday night. Elijah Macon, a four-star power forward from Columbus, Ohio, committed to West Virginia.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:44 PM | | Comments (2)
        

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland's 2012 basketball recruiting class of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman will undoubtedly add members sooner rather than later. But for now, the three-man group is considered one of the Top 25 classes in the country.

Rivals.com this week updated its team rankings, and the Terps checked in at No. 20 on the list

Four-star post player Shaquille Cleare is a physical presence who should have a significant impact on the ACC. Layman is a talented combo forward with a smooth shooting stroke and upside. Allen, a shooting guard, rounds out the class.

Other ACC teams listed are North Carolina (11), Florida State (13) and Virginia (16).

• Tar Heel Illustrated conducted a Q&A this week with Maryland target Mitch McGary.

And do you know of any other official visits at this point in time?

(I'll officially visit) Maryland, Kentucky, and Florida sometime soon.

• TerpsInsider.com posted a highlight video Thursday of Allen, the Terps combo guard pledge. Check out the video here.

• Jon Rothstein reported that Maryland forward target Amile Jefferson will make an official visit to Ohio State from Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

It is his only scheduled official visit as of now.

• CBSSports.com posted an update earlier this week on Elijah Macon, a 6-foot-8 forward who had drawn some Terps interest.

Macon is going through the process for a second time, and he still has plenty of teams in hot pursuit. DePaul and West Virginia have come through for in-home visits, while Kansas State, Louisville and Pittsburgh have also gone to Huntington Prep (W.Va.) to watch him work out.

• Former UM target Twymond Howard committed this week to UTEP.

• Rivals.com's Eric Bossi reported Friday that Zach Auguste, who reportedly drew interest from Maryland's previous staff, committed to Notre Dame.

Football recruiting

• Phil Kornblut's weekly report for The Post and Courier of Charleston, S.C., includes updates on several Terps targets, including Good Counsel running back Wes Brown.

RB Wes Brown of Olney, Md., narrowed his list to 10 but is not ready to reveal them. Maryland has been making a strong push, and USC also is recruiting him.

• Gilman athlete and Terps target Cyrus Jones is headed to Morgantown this weekend.

While Cyrus Jones from Baltimore (Md.) Gilman works out the logistics to take an unofficial visit to Saturday night's West Virginia-LSU game in Morgantown, one thing is clear: He'll have plenty of company from the surronding areas.

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr talked about Maryland football commitments Sean Davis and Shawn Petty in his weekly Recruiting Insider Live video feature.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:50 AM | | Comments (4)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 22, 2011

InsideMDSports: Terps chasing Torian Graham?

insidemdsports.jpg

Editor's note: Each week, InsideMdSports.com provides this blog with a Maryland recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site.


The Maryland basketball staff continues to span the country in its efforts to bring in a top 2012 recruiting class, a tour that recently made a pit stop at Arlington Country Day School in Jacksonville, Fla. – the new home of senior shooting guard Torian Graham.

Graham, a highly touted former N.C. State commitment ranked the No. 52 prospect in the Class of ’12, has been on Maryland’s radar for some time, having known Terps assistant Dalonte Hill from his days playing for the D.C. Assault AAU program. Hill joined head coach Mark Turgeon on the visit to Graham, an ultra-athletic 6-foot-4 scorer who hails from Durham, N.C.

“They think he’s an outstanding player and would be an asset to their program,” said ACD head coach Rex Morgan. “Coach Turgeon makes his kids better, and as a coach, that’s important to me.”

Both Morgan and Len Lilly, Graham’s guardian, said Graham is nowhere near making a decision. He’s been settling in at Arlington Country Day following his fall transfer there, working on academics and coping with the recent passing of his mother.

“He’s doing pretty good. He’s taking everything well. I’m impressed with him. He’s matured a lot,” Lilly said. “He’s really just taking it easy right now.”

Lilly said Maryland, Baylor, Florida State and Texas are among the schools seriously pursuing Graham. Graham has been high on Kentucky for some time, but does not have an offer from the Wildcats and may not receive one following the commitment of blue-chip Arkansas shooting guard Archie Goodwin on Tuesday.

“He’s got a lot of schools recruiting him,” Lilly said. “I talked to Dalonte. They offered, I think it was a few weeks ago.”

Could the presence of Hill, who’s known Graham for years, secure Graham’s commitment? It could help, Lilly said, but won’t be the deciding factor.

“Sort of, but it’s not that big of an influence. Dalonte is a good guy,” he said.

Graham has yet to schedule any visits but will likely do so soon, including a trip to College Park.

“He hasn’t as of right now, but he will probably [take visits] in November some time,” Morgan said.

It remains undecided whether Graham will sign early or wait until the spring period. Morgan said Graham is preparing to take the ACT and/or SAT right now.

Graham has been recovering from an ankle injury, but Morgan has had no trouble seeing why high-major programs are seeking his commitment.

“He’s very explosive. He’s been injured but I’d seen him play before. He’s also got very good basketball IQ,” he said.

The other question: is Maryland pursuing Graham as a sixth recruit – the Terps will likely take a power forward and are in prime position with Houston guard Christian Sanders – or is he an alternative in case Sanders goes elsewhere? Only the staff knows for sure, but it’s become clear there is serious interest in Graham.

Stay tuned …

-- Story by Jeff Ermann

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Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:00 AM | | Comments (10)
Categories: InsideMDSports
        

September 21, 2011

Headliners, sleepers in local DI basketball classes

For the past three months I've been catching up with the nine head coaches of the state's Division I men's basketball programs, starting with Loyola's Jimmy Patsos in June and ending with Mount St. Mary's Robert Burke last week. Each coach discussed his school's incoming recruiting class at length.

With the interviews complete and classes back in session, here are my picks for headliner and sleeper for each team's group of newcomers.

Maryland

Headliner

This one’s easy. City shooting guard Nick Faust was Mark Turgeon’s lone signee of the 2011 class. “I was really impressed with him and his ability,” Turgeon said of the Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro player. “He can do a lot of things on the floor. I thought he had tremendous upside.” It’s probably a safe bet that Faust -- a consensus four-star prospect -- sees serious minutes on the wing for the Terps early on in his freshman year.

Sleeper

My interview with Turgeon was conducted before the Terps brought in Alex Len in late August. Information on the 7-foot-1, 225-pound center from the Ukraine is scarce, save for his numbers from the U18 European Championships in 2010: 16 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.3 blocks, 1.7 steals and 0.8 assists per game. With an unproven trio of post players in James Padgett, Ashton Pankey and Berend Weijs, Len will have ample opportunities for playing time. “I can see myself coming in and contributing right away and helping our team compete in a great league,” Len said in a news release.


Towson

Headliner

First-year coach Pat Skerry lost his headliner earlier this month when the NCAA denied an eligibility waiver for Kelvin Amayo, a point guard from the allegedly academically dubious NIA Prep. With Amayo out of the mix, we’ll go with Marcus Damas, a JUCO transfer from Westchester (N.Y.) Community College who will have three years of eligibility. The 6-foot-7, 200-pound forward averaged 14 points and nine rebounds last season, and could be a factor at the 3 or the 4 right away. “He’s a guy that can play a couple different positions,” Skerry said. “He’s long and athletic. He’s got to get stronger and more consistent with his shot, but he’s a versatile guy with length.”

Sleeper

Will Adams signed with Towson in 2009, but was diagnosed with leukemia just a few months later. Now the 6-foot-4, 190-pound shooting guard from Philadelphia is cancer-free and ready to compete. “We need him to make shots and be another guy that will guard and be an interchangeable guy,” Skerry said. “I also think he could become a very good leader.” For more on Adams’ incredible story, check out this excellent feature by The Sun’s Ken Murray.


Loyola

Headliner

One year after Dylon Cormier (Cardinal Gibbons) stayed home to play for the Greyhounds, St. Frances point guard R.J. Williams decided to follow suit. “He’s a pass-first, defense-first guy. In this day and age, that’s hard to find,” Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos said of the first-team All-Metro player. “He just wants to pass first and play defense first, which means he wants to win.” Patsos said that if Williams didn’t start, he would “probably be the first guy off the bench.”

Sleeper

Tyler Hubbard was the designated outside shooter for national powerhouse Montrose Christian last season. For the Greyhounds, Hubbard could be called on to fill that very same role. “He can make shots, he can stretch the defense,” Patsos said. “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.” Hubbard’s an obvious candidate to eventually emerge as that much-needed 3-point threat.


UMBC

Headliner

Joey Getz capped his career at Archbishop Wood by leading the Philadelphia Catholic League in scoring at 21 points per game. The 6-footer is more than just a prolific scorer – he also was one of his squad’s top distributors. “He can score in a couple different ways,” said UMBC coach Randy Monroe. “He’s very competitive. He’s definitely one who will be able to play both guard positions.”

Sleeper

Monroe traveled to Indianapolis to sign Chandler Thomas, a 6-foot-6, 210-pound forward who was named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association 2011 All-State team. The final recruit in the Retrievers’ class is well-versed in the fundamentals of the game. “For a guy his size, he does a terrific job of rebounding the basketball,” Monroe said. “He really does have a nose for that. … A shot goes up, he blocks his man out and he does not allow him to get any scoring chance. I think he’s really good at that.”


Navy

Headliner

Here’s the abridged resume of former Calvert Hall wing Donya Jackson: two-time Baltimore Catholic League Defensive Player of the Year, member of the 2010 BCL tournament-champion Cardinals, 20-plus-point scorer at Mercersburg (Pa.) Academy. The versatile 6-foot-3, 212-pound wing stayed committed to the Mids throughout his prep year despite interest from several mid-major programs. “He loves to play,” said first-year Navy coach Ed DeChellis. “I think he’s going to be a very, very good player here and hopefully in the Patriot League. But he has a high skill-set and he has a high, competitive motor. He just loves to play. He loves to compete and he’s very athletic.”

Sleeper

Jared Smoot’s senior statistics at Crown Point (Ind.) High were modest -- 9.6 points, 7 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game – but he does bring one important factor to the table that none of his Navy teammates possess: the size of a true center. At 6 feet 10, 244 pounds, Smoot’s the tallest Midshipman by three inches. “He’s a big kid, is strong, can run and jump and can block shots,” DeChellis said. “He has got very good timing and he’s a very good shot-blocker. I think he’s a kid that will continue to get better and better.”

Morgan State

Headliner

Anthony Hubbard was a high-major recruit coming out of Frederick Community College. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound wing eventually chose Iowa over Nebraska and Penn State. But after a month with the Hawkeyes, the Woodbridge, Va., native left Iowa City and enrolled at Morgan State. “… He can really create his own shot and can really get to the basket,” said Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman. “He’s really strong, so he rebounds and can play three positions – all three perimeter positions.” It wouldn’t be crazy to pencil Hubbard into the Bears’ starting lineup – at least at some point in the season.

Sleeper

Thair Heath comes from San Bernardino (Calif.) Valley College with three years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-9 forward was a first-team all-conference selection last season. And that’s about the extent of what we know about Heath. But Bozeman likes what he could bring to the Bears. “He’s one of those kids that’s just a tenacious rebounder,” Bozeman said. “He throws his body around a lot. We really believe in his defense and rebounding.”


Coppin State

Headliner

None. Thanks to an Academic Progress Rate score below the NCAA-mandated minimum, Coppin was prevented from adding any new players to its roster because of scholarship loss.

Sleeper

We’ll go with the same player that occupied this spot last year: Logan Wiens. The 6-foot-8 forward redshirted last season after transferring from Merced (Calif.) College. Eagles coach Fang Mitchell expects Wiens to be part of his playing rotation. “Well he is a very intelligent player,” Mitchell said. “He passes well, but he can put the ball on the floor and he can also shoot it. He just adds shooting. We led the conference in 3-point shooting, and Logan adds another 3-point shooter.”


UMES

Headliner

Pina Guillaume appeared in 25 games – starting nine – for Binghamton during the 2009-10 season. When things didn’t work out with the Bearcats, Guillaume headed to Blinn College in Texas. The 6-foot-9 power forward should be an instant-impact player for the Hawks this season. “At 6-9 he can put it on the floor, dribble and [shoot the] jump shot,” said UMES coach Frankie Allen. “I think he’s a very capable defender and rebounder. Like I said, he’s got good skills offensively with his back to the basket and facing the basket. He can step out and shoot the mid-range jumper and be an outside threat. I really feel very fortunate that we were able to get him.”

Sleeper

Gregory Womack is a 6-foot-5 shooting guard that was recruited by the Hawks for one main purpose: 3-point shooting. The former Redlands (Okla.) Community College player shot 65 percent from beyond the arc. “He’s got good size also, but he can really stretch the defense with his 3-point shooting,” Allen said. “Gregory can do other things. He’s a good rebounder, a solid defender, and just a solid player. He’s kind of a no-nonsense type of guy that gets the job done for you.”


Mount St. Mary’s

Headliner

Xavier Owens could be just the type of do-it-all player Robert Burke needs in Emmitsburg. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing was a versatile scoring threat for Wharton High in Wesley Chapel, Fla. “He's got good size and strength that, right away, should allow him to compete,” Burke said. “He's an outstanding defender. It's rare you find a guy who has that defensive mentality that was able to put up the [offensive] numbers that he did in high school. We'll look for him to be versatile and fill in wherever he's needed, mostly on the perimeter, but maybe if we play small he can help on the frontcourt.”

Sleeper

Taylor Danaher, a 6-foot-10 center, was home-schooled before playing for Fredericksburg (Va.) Christian last season. He’s a developmental prospect that intrigued Burke enough to offer him a scholarship before last fall’s signing period. “Obviously, strength will be a factor,” Burke said. “But he’s versatile and already has a really nice feel around the rim. He likes to rebound the ball, he can really run, and he seems to have good endurance in that regard. So I think he can [help] in a lot of different ways.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 1:03 PM | | Comments (0)
        

September 20, 2011

Sweet 16: Devin Brown, Holy Cross

devin-brown-holy-cross.jpg After final exams in May, the Holy Cross campus in Worcester, Mass., becomes somewhat of a ghost town.

Living in a nearly vacant college town might be lonely for some. But Crusaders guard Devin Brown, a second-team All-Patriot League player last season, wouldn’t have it any other way.

“The entire campus empties,” said Brown, a 2007 City grad. “I’m with my teammates in the gym, working out, usually three or four times a day up at the Hart Center. It’s really good. It cuts down on the distractions, allows me to work on my game as much as possible.”

When Brown wasn’t working on his game this summer, the Baltimore native was interning at GE and plotting his post-graduate plans for entering the business world. That summer balancing act of books and basketball was typical for Brown. Over the past three years at Holy Cross, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound senior has emerged as a seemingly model student-athlete at the academically rigorous institution.

"We talked earlier in the summer about some things he was going to need to do from a basketball standpoint, but he also has had some things off the court with his academics,” said Holy Cross coach Milan Brown. “One of the [business] professors pulled me aside and said, ‘He’s absolutely going to be a star.’ … [This is] what kids who go to Holy Cross do. They’re going to play and be about academically trying to set themselves up for the future and where they’re going to work. He goes just as hard going for 30 points as he does in [in the classroom]. He’s done both. He’s talked a lot about being good in both avenues.”

Devin Brown’s status as one of Baltimore’s top college basketball players certainly wasn’t a given coming out of high school. He transferred to City from Calvert Hall at a time when the Knights were far from the powerhouse program they are today. As City’s lone senior starter during the 2006-07 season, however, Brown led the Knights to a 20-5 record – its best mark since 1999. A first-team Baltimore Sun All-Metro selection, Brown averaged 20.5 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Brown was fully qualified academically coming out of high school, but decided to enroll at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., in hopes of generating more college interest. In Holy Cross, Brown found a program with a rich basketball history and – most importantly to him – an institution that offered a rich educational experience.

“I would definitely say the academic reputation of Holy Cross [was a major reason I committed],” Brown said. “One thing about Holy Cross is that academically, I’ll be graduating with a degree that will make me competitive in the work force. I would be surrounded by a lot of smart individuals. That was something that was really important to me. I was fortunate enough to learn early on that the basketball won’t bounce forever. I wanted to focus on basketball for as long as possible with a good athletic program, and also really establish myself academically as well. That’s kind of how I came to the decision.”

On the court, things haven’t gone quite as smooth for the Crusaders during Brown’s three seasons. Ralph Willard, who guided Holy Cross to four NCAA tournaments, left after Brown’s freshman year to join Rick Pitino’s Louisville staff. Sean Kearney, Willard’s successor, was fired after just one year.

Then came Milan Brown from Mount St. Mary’s, who knew of Devin Brown “just a little bit” from his time recruiting Baltimore.

“I had remembered seeing him playing at City, but it had been so long,” Milan Brown said. “A couple of people we know from back home told us he was a good athlete, good player, and we would probably have a chance to turn him into an even better player than he is now. Obviously we’re excited with the way he played. Physically, he’s a freak. He’s a really strong kid. He’s benching over 300 pounds. Last week he had a 35-inch vertical. It’s pretty freakish for a kid that’s 6-2 and doesn’t play football.”

Devin Brown, who’s majoring in psychology with a pre-business concentration, said he bonded with his third coach in three years almost immediately. His individual results reflected a comfort in the new system. Brown averaged a team-best 15.6 points, reaching double figures 21 times. The former City star converted on 81.1 percent of his free throws and 36.6 percent of his 3-point attempts.

But for Brown, all the individual accolades were essentially for naught. Holy Cross finished the 2010-11 season with an 8-21 record, including a 7-7 mark in the Patriot League.

“I would say there were a few moments when I was able to produce at an individual level,” Brown said. “But as my coach said and told my team, it really doesn’t matter. If the team isn’t performing as a whole, there’s probably something going on with the individual parts. It doesn’t matter how many moments I had. If we’re not producing, it really doesn’t mean much.

“I wish I would’ve been able to do more to help the team – taking [better] shots, grabbing more rebounds, finding the open man, getting a few more steals, motivating my teammates better when I’m on the bench, pushing the team more in practice – a lot of things I could have done. When we didn’t perform as well as I thought we should have last year, I took it really hard.”

Milan Brown appreciates the passion his star player has exhibited on a daily basis since he’s known him. He knows the senior has time for two activities in life -- basketball and school – but that clearly suits him just fine. The fruits of Devin Brown’s labor this summer have definitely been noted.

“Once we got here for the first week of workouts, you can tell how hard he’s worked, and his mentality and how he’s been in workouts,” Milan Brown said. “He worked on his game last summer. He’s basically ready, basketball-wise, to take that next step.”

Devin Brown has big plans for his post-college life. He’s “loading up on business courses now” in the hopes of landing a job in finance. But he’s also intently focused on his senior season with the Crusaders. Brown committed to a Holy Cross program that was used to winning. By drawing on his Charm City upbringing, Brown hopes to restore the Crusaders to their old ways.

“Just growing up in Baltimore, you have to be tough,” he said. “Nobody is going to give you anything. Everything you have, you really have to earn it. You just have to go the extra mile. That’s something I’ve tried to bring here to Massachusetts. There’s always someone coming for what you have. To remain on top, it’s always good to have a goal. I think that really comes from training and being from Baltimore.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections:

Eric Atkins, Notre Dame

Brendan Bald, Vermont

Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte

Dylon Cormier, Loyola

Photo of Devin Brown courtesy of the Holy Cross athletic department.

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Categories: The Sweet 16
        

September 19, 2011

The Next Level: Lemon a bright spot for Syracuse

alec-lemon-syracuse-usc.jpg The Next Level is a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Chris Eckard, a senior at the University of Maryland and Baltimore Sun sports department intern, is your author.

In a similar fashion to last week’s Next Level Player of the Week, Syracuse junior wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) made an impact not only as a play-making pass-catcher, but also a southpaw trick play quarterback.

Playing on the other side of the country against USC, Lemon hauled in seven catches for 72 yards and a touchdown. But the Trojans quickly built up a sizable lead, which cued a trick play by the Orange in the third quarter. Lemon threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Van Chew to bring the game within two touchdowns. USC went on to win, though, 38-17.

Lemon, a 6-foot-2 junior, has become a reliable target in the Orange’s offense this season, leading the team with 24 receptions. He is second on the team with 218 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. For his efforts against USC, Lemon is your Next Level Player of the Week.

Honorable Mention

• West Virginia junior wide receiver Tavon Austin (Dunbar) torched the Terps for 122 yards on 11 receptions, including a 47-yard catch, as the Mountaineers won 37-31. He also returned six kickoffs for 121 total yards.

Defensively for West Virginia, cornerback Terence Garvin (Loyola) returned an interception 37 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Terps. The score gave the Mountaineers an early 14-3 lead. He also had five solo tackles (nine total).

Maryland junior safety Eric Franklin (Archbishop Curley) led the team with 15 total tackles, including 10 solo stops against West Virginia. Terps sophomore safety Matt Robinson (Atholton) finished with 11 solo tackles and two pass breakups, junior defensive end David Mackall (Edmondson) had two solo tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble, and junior defensive tackle A.J. Francis (Severn native, Gonzaga grad) recorded one solo tackle.

• North Carolina senior linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) led the team with seven solo tackles (12 total) and forced a fumble in the Tar Heels’ 28-17 win against Virginia. Cavaliers freshman wide receiver Darius Jennings (Gilman) had a reception for 15 yards.

Other contributions

• Colorado State sophomore linebacker Shaquil Barrett had six solo tackles (seven total) in the Rams’ 28-14 loss to Colorado.

• Connecticut junior safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) had three solo tackles (six total) and a pass breakup in the Huskies’ 24-20 loss to Iowa State.

• Michigan freshmen cornerback Blake Countess (Owings Mills native, Good Counsel grad) and safety Josh Furman (Old Mill) each recorded a solo tackle in the Wolverines’ 31-3 win against Eastern Michigan.

• Ole Miss senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey (Southeastern) recorded a sack and forced a fumble in the first quarter in the Rebels’ 30-7 loss to Vanderbilt. He finished with four solo tackles (five total).

• San Jose State senior cornerback Brandon Driver (Parkville) had a solo tackle (three total) and a pass breakup in the Spartans’ 17-14 loss to Nevada.

• Temple senior offensive lineman Pat Boyle (Calvert Hall) had a solo tackle, junior running back Matt Brown (Baltimore native who graduated from New Jersey's Peddie School) had 11 rushing yards on two carries and senior quarterback Chester Stewart (Hanover native, DeMatha grad) went 3-for-6 for 28 yards in the Owls’ 14-10 loss to Penn State.

• UNLV freshmen defensive back Mike Horsey (Dunbar) had two solo tackles in the Rebels’ 40-20 win against Hawaii.

• Virginia Tech's Kyle Fuller (Mount St. Joseph) had four solo tackles (five total), 1.5 sacks and a punt return for nine yards in the No. 13 Hokies’ 26-7 win against Arkansas State. Red Wolves senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) had five tackles (six total) and an interception.

• Wake Forest junior linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) had a solo tackle in the Demon Deacons’ 48-5 win against Gardner-Webb.

Getty photo of Alec Lemon by Stephen Dunn / Sept. 17, 2011

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Categories: The Next Level
        

Weekend wrap – Davis stars, Liddell out

Maryland cornerback commitment Sean Davis starred on offense, defense and special teams Saturday in Maret's 32-7 win over Randolph-Macon (Va.).

Davis returned the opening kick-off 91 yards for a touchdown. He caught seven passes for 159 yards. On defense, he had two interceptions and 13 tackles.

A.J. Liddell and Maryland have parted ways, according to InsideMDSports. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound wide receiver recently transferred high schools and picked up offers from Connecticut and Vanderbilt, plus interest from Georgia.

• Terps quarterback commitment Perry Hills had an efficient game Friday in leading Pittsburgh Central Catholic to a 42-7 win over Kiski Area.

Hills finished 6 of 7 for 115 yards and two touchdowns.

• Maryland athlete pledge Joe Riddle's Linganore team suffered a surprising 32-31 loss to Westminster.

Lancers running back Joe Riddle, a University of Maryland commit, racked up 199 rushing yards and a touchdown on 33 carries, but the Owls (2-1) limited him to just two yards on his final four carries. They also forced a Riddle fumble early in the fourth quarter, which [Dan] Johnson recovered.

• UM wide receiver recruit Amba Etta-Tawo caught a touchdown pass in McEachern's 55-0 win over Campbell (Ga.).

Less than 8 minutes into the first quarter, McEachern already was up 21-0, thanks to three touchdown passes from [Trent] Thompson to Tray Fletcher, Amba Etta-Tawo and Victor Brannon.

• Maryland linebacker pledge Shawn Petty, playing quarterback for Eleanor Roosevelt, was knocked out in the first quarter of the Raiders' 23-22 win over Wise.

“He said that when he was throwing a ball, someone dove and hit his foot in the joint between his foot and his ankle, and he really couldn’t put pressure on it,” [Raiders coach Tom] Green said. “I was hoping he could fight through it, and hopefully he’s OK and we’ll get him back soon.”

Basketball recruiting

• Terps coach Mark Turgeon was scheduled to see four-star forward Charles Mitchell work out at his high school in Marietta, Ga., today, according to Scouts Focus.

• DeMatha forward Jerami Grant committed to Syracuse on Friday, according to The Washington Post.

“I was definitely close [to picking Maryland] with the new coaching staff and all,” Grant said. “It felt like that was a good decision at the time. Then the decision-making process got crazy. It didn’t feel like it was going to be the right fit.”

Robert Upshaw, the 7-foot center from Fresno, Calif., is no longer considering the Terps, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Upshaw had narrowed his list of schools to nine: U of L, Arizona, Georgetown, Fresno State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Maryland, USC and UNLV. He said Maryland and USC are no longer in the running.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:09 AM | | Comments (2)
        

September 18, 2011

Loyola's Jordan Floyd talks UConn commitment

jordan-floyd-uconn.jpg Any questions Jordan Floyd may have had about the Connecticut football program had been answered long ago.

The Loyola safety and wide receiver saw a Huskies spring practice last April, and was comfortable with the coaching staff’s plans for him in their secondary.

But before Floyd could offer his pledge to Paul Pasqualoni’s program, he needed a little more information about what Connecticut had to offer off the field.

“My parents and I had a couple questions academically. We went up there [Friday] and talked to the academic advisers,” Floyd said. “They don’t have a criminal justice major, but you can individualize your major, which is basically … [putting] a lot of classes together and creating your own major, which is what I really want to do. … They answered all of our questions. After that, it was a done deal.”

Floyd committed to UConn before its 24-20 loss to Iowa State on Friday night. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound senior picked the Huskies over offers from Marshall, Maryland and Temple.

“It feels great,” Floyd said Sunday. “It’s a weight off my back. It’s nice to just have a home.”

A 2010 Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection, Floyd was fairly unfamiliar with the Huskies’ football program before they started recruiting him during his junior year. During his visit last spring, however, he was disavowed of the notion that UConn was strictly a “basketball school.”

“I sat and watched a practice, and I knew it would be a place I could see myself at,” he said. “I had never been up there before. It’s a really nice campus. It’s big, which I like. It’s a beautiful campus.”

Floyd said he bonded with his recruiter, quarterbacks coach Joe Moorhead, and safeties coach Darrell Perkins.

“[UConn has] a lot of great coaches,” he said. “Coach Moorhead, we talked a couple times a week. It wasn’t even always about football, which really sold me. He’s just a really good guy. He was straightforward from the beginning. There was never any deception. He’s like a friend basically. Coach Perkins, I talked to him a lot on Friday. I got to know him pretty well. He’s a very good guy, and a great coach.”

Floyd, a three-star prospect and the No. 46 safety in the country according to Scout.com, was recruited by some schools as a wide receiver. But playing on the defensive side of the football was OK with him.

“They basically said that for what they needed, I’d probably see the field at safety first,” Floyd said. “That’s fine with me. I love football, so whatever I play is great. … They said they like my size and speed. They’re going to put me at strong safety. They like to blitz their safeties a lot.”

Floyd said the response to his decision from friends and family has been extremely positive. He’s happy to be able to focus his attention entirely on the Dons’ season, while also planning for his future in Storrs.

“I hope to just bring intensity and passion for the game,” Floyd said. “I want to be a big-play threat on defense and just make their whole team better.”

Photo by Steve Ruark of Jordan Floyd / Special to The Baltimore Sun / Sept. 3, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:48 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 16, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Three-star shooting guard Christian Sanders is in College Park this weekend for an official visit, giving the Maryland men's basketball staff a chance to impress one of its top targets.

Sanders, who also has offers from Colorado, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Texas and Vanderbilt, was a teammate of Terps center commitment Shaquille Cleare on the Houston Defenders. Brad Sanders, Christian's father, spoke to InsideMDSports.com this week about his son's visit to Maryland.

“This is not a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision. At least that’s the way we view it. I don’t know if that makes us unusual. It’s the way that Christian is approaching this decision,” Brad Sanders said. “The idea for this weekend is to be fully informed. When we’re ready and we feel completely comfortable with a specific situation, we will [make a commitment]. We’re not saying we’re definitely going to go to all of these places, but that’s the plan right now.”

• CBSSports.com's Jeff Goodman visited Brewster (N.H.) Academy this week and spoke to Terps power forward target Mitch McGary.

McGary didn't deny the fact that his parents favor Duke while his summer coach with the SYF team, Wayne Brumm, likes Michigan.

He also said he's still taking it all in right now.

• Maryland had an in-home visit this week with Charles Mitchell, according to InsideMDSports.com. Mitchell is a four-star power forward from Marietta, Ga.

• The Louisville Courier-Journal posted a quick update on the list of Fresno, Calif., center Robert Upshaw.

The 6-foot-11 Upshaw is also considering Arizona, Fresno State, Georgetown, Kansas State, Maryland, Oklahoma State, UNLV and Southern California.

• Miller School (Va.) wing Andrew White, who reportedly has a Terps offer, has scheduled official visits to Kansas, Louisville and Texas, according to Rivals.com.

• Inside the Hall conducted an Indiana-focused Q&A with DeMatha center and Terps target BeeJay Anya.

On the strengths of his game and what he’s looking to improve upon:

“I think my strengths are definitely attacking the rim and rebounding. And I want to get better at facing up and shooting the 16- to 17-footer and just being able to be more consistent with my jump shot. And get my ball handling better as well.”

Football recruiting

• Maryland wide receiver commitment A.J. Liddell recently picked up offers from UConn and Vanderbilt. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound senior from Fulton County, Ga., has also started hearing recently from Georgia, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

What if UGA offered? “I don’t know, I’m committed to Maryland. Georgia is a good school, I’d listen to what they had to say.”

• Terps linebacker pledge Shawn Petty was 6-for-11 for 105 yards and two touchdowns, in addition to rushing for two 1-yard scores in Eleanor Roosevelt's 35-7 win over Bowie on Monday night.

Petty shook off the early fumble and led the Raiders on three scoring drives in the fourth quarter. The 6-foot-3, 220-pound University of Maryland recruit ran for a touchdown, then hit Jermaine Boykins for a 23-yard touchdown pass and connected with Tamlin Antoine for an 8-yard score.

• Press Box contributor Dave Lomonico spoke to a number of in-state recruits who were impressed by the Terps in their season-opening win over Miami.

"Maryland is a great university with an outstanding staff," said [Good Counsel five-star wide receiver Stefon] Diggs, who claims more than 40 offers. "They are definitely in contention for me after this Miami game."

• Good Counsel running back Wes Brown spoke to The Washington Post about his visit to Maryland for the Miami game.

“It made me like them more,” Brown said of the Terps’ season opener, saying he liked the crowd and atmosphere, but didn’t much like the new helmets. “We’ll see how they do next time.”

• The Frederick News-Post spoke to former Linganore running Zach Zwinak about Terps commitment and current Lancers star Joe Riddle.

“I was shocked by how fast he was, honestly,” said Zwinak, who starred at running back for the Lancers before accepting a scholarship to Penn State University. “I tried catching up to him, and I just wasn't ready for it.”

• The Sun's David Selig reported this week that Maryland was the first school to offer two Gilman standouts.

Maryland football coach Randy Edsall attended the matchup between the top two teams in the state, and on Monday he offered scholarships to Gilman's junior quarterback Shane Cockerille and sophomore defensive end/wide receiver Melvin Keihn.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 15, 2011

Sweet 16: Eric Atkins, Notre Dame

eric-atkins-notre-dame.jpg In the fall of 2006, Mount St. Joseph coach Pat Clatchey gave Eric Atkins the ball and asked the ninth-grader to lead his team.

Mike Brey didn’t go quite that far with Atkins last season. But the Notre Dame coach had no problem giving Atkins more responsibility than your average freshman point guard in the Big East.

“I was extremely pleased with what he was able to do coming off the bench … and actually starting a little bit,” Brey said. “He believes he’s supposed to be good. He knew it was his destiny to be a really high-level Big East guard. He prepared for it mentally. Even though his body was young last year, he was able to be a very efficient player in the Big East because of his discipline.”

Atkins may have had a modest season statistically for the Fighting Irish last year (5.8 points, 3.2 assists, 1.8 rebounds), but the two-time Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro player proved to Brey and other Big East observers that his best was yet to come.

“I think I had a really good experience as a freshman last year,” Atkins said. “Coach Brey told me before the season that pretty much everything was going to be done just the way it happened. He told me how my playing time was going to be. I knew how it was going to play out.”

For those who watched Atkins’ decorated four-year career at Mount St. Joseph unfold, seeing him appear in all 34 games – and starting six – for the Irish was no surprise. The Columbia native proved to Brey early on in his freshman season that he was up to the challenge. Notre Dame (27-7) reached the championship game of the Old Spice Classic in Orlando last November. In the Irish’s 58-51 title-game win over Wisconsin, Brey said Atkins -- who scored 12 points against the Badgers -- was arguably “the most consistent player” on the floor.

“The first couple of weeks [of practice], there were times that he was the best guard on the floor,” said Brey, whose team also featured senior guard Ben Hansbrough, the Big East Player of the Year. “[Atkins’] ability to find guys at the right time, understanding tempo and controlling the tempo as a point guard, those were things [that immediately stood out]. In the Wisconsin game, and really the whole Old Spice tournament … [he was] making big plays for us and really helped us win there. When Carleton Scott got hurt, we beat St. John’s and Connecticut with him starting for us. That’s why this season I’m so excited to just give him the ball and say, ‘It’s your team.’”

Beating UConn in Storrs was a definite highlight for Atkins, although watching the Huskies win the national title brought on somewhat of a bittersweet feeling.

“It kind of made me mad to see them win the national championship knowing we beat them twice last year,” Atkins said. “It’s just kind of frustrating, but our team knew what we were capable of doing. I wouldn’t say we reached our potential last year, losing in the second round [of the NCAA tournament]. But we’re ready to build up and [our time] is coming.”

Looking back on the 2010-11 season, Atkins said he was pleased with how he performed, but acknowledged there was plenty of room for improvement. He spent the summer focused on two key areas: improving his jumper and adding strength. The 6-foot-2, 183-pound sophomore added 10 pounds of muscle to his frame, which Brey expects to make a big difference in Atkins’ ability to handle the physicality of Big East competition.

Atkins credits Clatchey for teaching him how to be a leader. It didn’t come naturally to Atkins as a freshman at Notre Dame, but this season he’s definitely up to the task.

“I’m looking forward to becoming one of the leaders of this team,” Atkins said. “Leading my team to wins, whatever I have to do to make that happen, if it’s scoring, assists, locking down the other team’s best offensive player, whatever they need, I want to do it. … Getting back to the tournament, that’s my first goal. Winning the Big East is another goal, and just probably finishing in the top three again, just like we did before, would be another team goal of mine.”

Brey, who welcomes back two senior captains in Tim Abromaitis and Scott Martin, has already noticed Atkins becoming more vocal in the locker room. Atkins may have “learned by survival” as a freshman, but with an improved jump shot and much-needed strength, the former Gaels star seems primed for an expanded role this season.

“I’m just looking for him to make a big jump so that by the end of the season, Eric Atkins will be referred to as one of the better guards in the Big East,” Brey said. “I feel strongly about his career here. It makes me sleep well at night, knowing he’s the guy running the team for three more years.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections:

Brendan Bald, Vermont

Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte

Dylon Cormier, Loyola

U.S. Presswire photo of Eric Atkins by Mark L. Baer / Feb. 23, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        

September 14, 2011

Sweet 16: Brendan Bald, Vermont

brendan-bald-vermont.jpg Near the beginning of what proved to be a relatively nondescript freshman season for Brendan Bald, Vermont assistant coach John Becker was reminded why the Severna Park grad was such a coveted recruit for the Catamounts.

“Against Providence his freshman year, we got killed,” said Becker, who was elevated to head coach in May after Mike Lonergan left for George Washington. “But Brendan followed a miss, came in and had a two-handed dunk. There you got a sense of his athleticism.”

Moments like that were somewhat scarce for Bald during the 2009-10 season. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound wing, who scored 12 points against the Friars that day, finished his freshman year with a stat line of just 2.9 points and 9.9 minutes per game.

“I knew I could play,” Bald said. “I just waited for the opportunity to perform. I was sucked into my role freshman year a little too much – a little too comfortable. I had a good role for my freshman year and helped my team a lot. But the team needed me a lot more sophomore year.”

Bald was able to answer those needs all throughout the 2010-11 season. The Baltimore Sun’s 2009 Anne Arundel County Player of the Year was Vermont’s second-leading scorer at 11.3 points per game and its top 3-point shooter at 41 percent. He also served as a lockdown defender on the wing. For his efforts, Bald was named the America East Defensive Player of the Year, in addition to earning third-team all-conference honors.

“It was great. I automatically stepped into a larger role on the team,” Bald said. “I felt like I had to perform. I really worked on my game after my freshman year. I basically just had the opportunity and seized the opportunity by just getting better and better. Hopefully I’ll take another large leap after this year.”

Becker first encountered Bald when he was an assistant at Catholic University in Washington. Brad Bald -- Brendan’s older brother who eventually signed with UNC-Wilmington -- was a recruiting target for Becker, along with a couple of his Triple Threat AAU teammates. Becker later moved on to Vermont as the director of basketball operations, and the younger Bald brother emerged as a top target for the Catamounts.

“Coming out of high school when we recruited him, we thought he was a great athlete. That’s the thing that kind of jumped out at you,” Becker said. “We thought he could really develop into a dynamic wing player in the America East conference.”

Much of Bald’s development freshman year took place behind the scenes. Georgetown Prep grad Garvey Young saw most of the minutes at the wing, while Maurice Joseph -- a Michigan State transfer -- was another starter on the perimeter. But after the 2009-10 season, Joseph graduated and Young transferred to Quinnipiac, opening up plenty of minutes for Bald.

“He did really well offensively and defensively in the league,” Becker said. “He can really guard and take the opposing team’s best wing player out of the game. Offensively, we’re going to need him more this year – more than the last two years. I told him he better get better on those wind sprints. We’re going to need him to perform at a high level both on and off the court. I told him that he has a chance to be a Player of the Year-type in our league the next two years. That should be his goal. I think he’s really motivated and worked really hard this summer. I think he’s going to have a really great junior and senior year.”

Vermont lost to Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA tournament during Bald’s freshman year, and the Catamounts suffered a first-round loss to Cleveland State in the NIT last season. Bald stayed on campus all summer, taking classes and working out with his teammates in the hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament once again.

Bald said he’s excited for Vermont’s first year under Becker’s direction. Player and coach are in full agreement on expectations for the coming year.

“I’m definitely going to be looked on as an aggressive scorer, and I’m still going to have to lock up the other team’s best player,” Bald said. “I’m going to have a larger role this year. My team’s going to depend on me a bunch. We’ve got a lot of good guys coming back, a lot of guys that are going to step up. It’s looking great this summer with the freshmen coming in. I think we’re going to have a good year and surprise some people in the postseason.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections:

Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte

Dylon Cormier, Loyola

U.S. Presswire photo of Brendan Bald by Mark L. Baer / March 6, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:00 AM | | Comments (0)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        

September 13, 2011

InsideMDSports: Jefferson weighing options

insidemdsports.jpg

Editor's note: InsideMdSports.com will be providing this blog with a weekly Terps recruiting feature that previously appeared as premium content on its site. Thanks to Jeff Ermann for making this partnership between InsideMDSports.com and The Sun possible.


It's been difficult to gather any new information this fall on Amile Jefferson, the highly touted senior forward from Friends Central School in Wynnewood, Pa. Jefferson, one of the highest-rated prospects remaining on Maryland recruiting board, has been silent about his recruitment, preferring to move through the process without great fanfare and at his own pace.

It remains unclear where Maryland stands with Jefferson, though Friends Central coach Jason Polykoff did give InsideMDSports.com a brief re-cap of his meeting last week with the prized 6-foot-9 forward.

“He still doesn’t have a favorite list, per se,” Polykoff said of Jefferson, who visited Maryland unofficially for the Miami football game. “He wants to visit a lot of the schools before he makes a decision. He doesn’t want to just make a decision based on what their record was last year or where a friend is going.”

Polykoff said Jefferson has just one official visit planned, to Ohio State the final weekend of this month. He’d also like to see Maryland again, along with Syracuse, UConn, St. John’s and possibly Stanford. He’s already visited Temple, N.C. State and Villanova and is considering those schools as well. While his coach remains hopeful Jefferson will decide before the start of his senior season, he said a spring decision is possible.

“The whole process for him, I think, has been a roller coaster,” he said.

The Terps have been recruiting Jefferson for more than a year, and he’s been to College Park on several occasions.

“He definitely enjoyed it. I know he’s been there before and he enjoys it every time he’s there. I think he’s still open and looking at a bunch of schools,” he said.

A versatile player who averaged around 19 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks as a junior, Jefferson is nightmare match-up for any high school team. Though he plays in the post in high school, he’s working hard on his jumpshot in an effort to transition to the small forward spot in college.

Combine his obvious on-court talent with his strong character, academic focus and sunny disposition off it, and it’s easy to see why he’s a no-brainer for most college programs.

“He’s a bright kid. Friends Central is one of the best private schools in Pennsylvania and he does well here,” Polykoff said. “The word that I hear all the time from college coaches is ‘refreshing.’ He’s the big man on campus here and everybody loves him. We have a clinic every year and the kids just [gravitate toward him]. He’s just a lovable guy.”

-- Story by Jeff Ermann

To gain access to all of InsideMDSports.com's premium Terps sports and recruiting content, click HERE.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:10 PM | | Comments (4)
Categories: InsideMDSports
        

Q&A with Mount St. Mary's coach Robert Burke

robert-burke-2011.jpg Robert Burke's first season in Emmitsburg didn't go exactly as he had hoped.

The Mount St. Mary's coach dealt with an injury-plagued, inexperienced roster, and the Mountaineers labored through an 11-21 season. Burke's squad did, however, finish 9-9 in the Northeast Conference. With eight players back and an accomplished class coming in, the worst should be behind the Mount.

Burke has added four freshmen to Mount's roster: Chad Holley, a 6-foot, 160-pound point guard from New York City who played at the Blue Ridge School in Virginia; Xavier Owens, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound wing from Wharton High in Wesley Chapel, Fla.; Taylor Danaher, a 6-foot-10 center from Fredericksburg (Va.) Christian; and Kelvin Parker, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound walk-on forward from William Penn High in York, Pa.

Mount St. Mary's also welcomed two transfers to its roster: Sam Prescott, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound junior guard from Philadelphia's Imhotep Charter who was Marist's leading scorer last season, and Rashad Whack, a 6-foot-2, 179-pound junior guard from Bishop McNamara who played sparingly in two seasons at George Mason.

Burke spoke with Recruiting Report recently about his 2011 class.

Holley’s a point guard who won a lot of games at Kristijan Krajina’s alma mater. What are you looking for in terms of contributions from him?

He’s a guy that I think has an ability to penetrate and get people involved. That’s something we didn’t have a ton of [last season]. He’s a good decision-maker, he’s won a ton of games with his team against good competition, and he makes open shots. So I think we’ll look for all of that, [keeping in mind that] you have Julian Norfleet and Josh Castellanos and Lamar [Trice] returning from last year, and so how can he help push that group and fill in the gaps. He can support all those guys. I think he’ll be able to complement all those guys.

Owens was a pretty prolific scorer in high school. Is that what you’re looking for him to do at the Mount?

Well probably this is something we’re going to look for in [all our guys]. We're looking for all of our guys to be versatile, to be able to score, to pass, to help the team rebound. I certainly think Xavier is someone who can do all of that. He's got good size and strength that, right away, should allow him to compete. He's an outstanding defender. It's rare you find a guy who has that defensive mentality that was able to put up the [offensive] numbers that he did in high school. We'll look for him to be versatile and fill in wherever he's needed, mostly on the perimeter, but maybe if we play small he can help on the frontcourt. With our forwards last year, we didn't have a lot of depth. Hopefully he will help in that regard ... and give us some size on the perimeter.

Danaher will be the biggest guy on the roster. Will he be a factor right away, or is he more of a developmental guy?

I think given his weight and strength at this point, I would be surprised to see him beat out our four returning post guys. He’s very skilled. He’s got a great feel for the game and he’s competitive. But I would be surprised if he [beat those guys out]. I’ve talked to him about this, but I’d be surprised if – in some ways it’s [on] the older guys to not let the younger guys beat them out. But we’ll see how it plays out.

Long term, what's your outlook for him?

I think he’s got a chance [to be good]. Obviously, strength will be a factor. But he’s versatile and already has a really nice feel around the rim. He likes to rebound the ball, he can really run, and he seems to have good endurance in that regard. So I think he can [help] in a lot of different ways. He throws passes, is a good ball-handler at that spot. I wouldn’t say he’s a great ball-handler, but a good one. I think a lot of [how he develops] will have to do with how hard he works. So far, it seems like he’s got a great work ethic. One thing about him, Taylor was home-schooled up until last year. He played the competition he played. I think once he gets in the Division I environment, he’s going to flourish.

The first of two transfers you’re bringing in is Prescott from Marist. He was a double-digit scorer there, so what was the reason for him leaving and how did you land him?

I’m not sure how he decided to leave. When we found out that he did leave, we have one of his high school teammates (Trice) on our team. I think that had a lot to do with that situation in terms of us getting involved. Winning is important to him. I think he felt like we had a real good chance of winning going forward.

What do you like about his game?

He’s done well at the college level, so that gives you – when you lose three seniors next year in Lamar, [Danny Thompson] and Pierre [Brown], who should provide significant scoring for us this year – it’s nice to know you have somebody who’s been through it and who’s been able to score the ball. But again, he’s a versatile kid, he’s athletic and he can guard. He had to play some point guard for Marist. Hopefully he’s a very different player a year from now than right now. He’s worked very hard on his game.

The second transfer is Whack, a Maryland guy who didn’t play a lot at George Mason. What do you like about his game?

I watched and recruited Whack in high school. He’s a versatile guy who makes shots. He played in a great high school league (Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) with outstanding competition. Then he played for a great program at George Mason with Jim Larranaga, playing against great competition every day. I don’t know how it would’ve played out had he stayed there. I just think it was a situation where he’s going to really have a chance to have a significant opportunity. I look forward to him taking advantage of that opportunity. I think he’s got a lot of ability.

Parker is a recruited walk-on, but could he eventually see some time?

I do. I definitely do. He was very accomplished in high school. He did a ton of winning in high school. I think he definitely can see some time going forward.

What does he bring to the table?

He’s athletic, and again, I like his versatility. He shoots it pretty well for a guy with his athleticism. And he rebounds the ball well. He can defend. He’s also a kid who does all the little things. He’s a competitor. He was a great football player. So I think some of that translates over, his competitiveness.

Looking back on your first year, any regrets or thoughts on how things have gone?

Well I certainly would like to have won more. You always want to win more unless you win the last one. We would have liked to have won more. We had starters out with injury or illness for the year (Brown, Krajina) and then our leading returning guy (Jean Cajou) was injured with a knee injury for the majority of the year. We had a lot of injuries. I thought our team got better, given the hand we were dealt. I thought it was a very positive and productive year.

Is there anyone in particular you’re looking for to step up?

I think we’re counting on everyone to take steps forward. Everyone is just trying to get a little bit better. We’re looking forward to seeing everyone come back. We’re hoping the sophomores make a significant leap. We were so inexperienced last year. ... In many ways, I feel like our eight returning guys, all eight of them were almost freshmen last year. The guy who played the most minutes, Shawn Atupem, isn’t back. So you hope to see a significant bump from all of them.

What are your expectations for this season?

Our expectations are always the same – it’s to win every game we play and get better every day. I think if you figure out how to do the latter, you can do the former.

AP Photo of Robert Burke by Nam Y. Huh / Dec. 23, 2010

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September 12, 2011

The Next Level: Campanaro propels Wake to win

The Next Level is a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters. Chris Eckard, a senior at the University of Maryland and Baltimore Sun sports department intern, is your author.

Before injuring his right hamstring on the final drive of the second quarter, Wake Forest sophomore wide receiver Michael Campanaro (River Hill) made a crucial impact against North Carolina State. During the team’s opening drive, Campanaro caught a 31-yard touchdown pass to give the Demon Deacons a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

But the sophomore wasn’t finished. On a trick play in the second quarter, Campanaro threw his first collegiate pass – a 40-yard touchdown bomb. When he went down with the injury on a 21-yard reception on third down, Campanaro already had a career-high 93 yards on five receptions.

While he didn’t return, the wide receiver’s play was crucial in Wake Forest’s 34-27 win against the Wolfpack. Defensively for Wake Forest, junior linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) finished with a tackle in the win.

Through the first two games, Campanaro is Wake Forest’s second-leading receiver with 172 yards on 12 receptions. For his efforts against N.C. State, Campanaro is your Next Level Player of the Week.

campanaro-wake-forest.jpg

Honorable mention

• Junior wide receiver Tavon Austin (Dunbar) led West Virginia with six receptions, finishing with 82 yards and a touchdown in the No. 19 Mountaineers’ 55-12 win against Norfolk State. His 3-yard touchdown reception was part of a 28-point third quarter as West Virginia recovered from a first-half deficit. Austin also had a 64-yard punt return (three for 86 yards total) and a 25-yard kickoff return. Defensively for West Virginia junior safety Terence Garvin (Loyola) had eight tackles (six solo).

• Junior wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) led Syracuse with 10 receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Orange’s 21-14 win against Rhode Island.

• Virginia Tech sophomore cornerback Kyle Fuller (Mount St. Joseph) recorded four tackles (three solo) and intercepted a pass against East Carolina in the third quarter. On the next play, Pirates sophomore defensive end Derrell Johnson (Cardinal Gibbons) forced a fumble to regain possession. The Hokies went on to win 17-10, while Johnson finished with three tackles.

• Mississippi senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey (Southwestern) recorded three tackles (1 solo), a sack and an interception (27-yard return) in the Rebels’ 42-24 win against Southern Illinois.

Other contributions

• Central Michigan sophomore safety Leron Eaddy (River Hill) recorded a tackle and forced a fumble in Central Michigan’s 27-13 loss to Kentucky.

• Arkansas State senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) recorded four tackles (two solo) in the Red Wolves’ 47-3 rout of Memphis.

• Colorado State sophomore linebacker Shaquil Barrett (a Baltimore native who graduated from Boys Town High in Nebraska) recorded two tackles and broke up a pass in the Rams’ 33-14 win against Northern Colorado.

• Connecticut junior safety Jerome Junior (Archbishop Curley) recorded eight tackles (five solo) as the Huskies fell 24-12 to Vanderbilt.

• North Carolina senior linebacker Zach Brown (Wilde Lake) recorded six tackles (three solo) in the Tar Heels’ 24-22 win against Rutgers. Brown finished with 1.5 sacks, with a loss of eight yards. Rutgers sophomore linebacker Nick DePaola (Hereford) recorded a tackle.

• Penn State true freshman safety Adrian Amos (Calvert Hall) returned two kickoffs for a total of 31 yards in the Nittany Lions’ 27-11 loss to Alabama.

• San Jose State senior cornerback Brandon Driver (Parkville) had five tackles (four solo) in the Spartans’ 27-17 loss to UCLA.

• Temple junior running back Matt Brown (Baltimore native who graduated from New Jersey's Peddie School) rushed 16 times for a total of 91 yards in the Owls’ 41-3 rout of Akron. Brown also returned two punts for a total of 21 yards.

• UAB sophomore quarterback Jonathan Perry (Dunbar) misfired on his lone passing attempt, but rushed for 10 yards and three carries in the Blazers’ 39-0 loss to No. 18 Florida.

• UNLV freshman defensive back Mike Horsey (Dunbar) had two tackles (one solo) in the Rebels’ 59-7 loss to Washington State.

• Utah State wide receiver Xavier Martin recorded a 31-yard catch in the Aggies’ 54-17 rout of Weber State.

• Virginia freshman wide receiver Darius Jennings (Gilman) recorded a 13-yard catch, returned a punt for three yards and took back five kickoffs for a total of 96 yards in the Cavaliers’ 34-31 win against Indiana. Virginia senior defensive tackle Nick Jenkins (Good Counsel grad, Westminster native) assisted on a tackle in the victory.

US Presswire photo of Michael Campanaro by Jeremy Brevard / Sept. 10, 2011

Posted by Baltimore Sun sports at 12:09 PM | | Comments (2)
Categories: The Next Level
        

Weekend wrap – Hills, Nixon team up for win

Maryland commitments Perry Hills and Anthony Nixon connected six times in leading Pittsburgh Central Catholic to a 30-7 win over Bethel Park on Friday.

Perry Hills connected with fellow Maryland-bound teammate Anthony Nixon for two touchdowns to lead No. 1 Central Catholic (2-0) to the win against visiting Bethel Park (1-1) at the Wolvarena. Hills, who completed 10 of 20 passes for 189 yards, found Nixon for scoring strikes of 43 and 37 yards. Nixon had six catches for 134 yards.

• Terps quarterback recruit Caleb Rowe had a huge game in guiding Blue Ridge to a win over Pendleton (S.C.).

Led by Maryland quarterback commit Caleb Rowe’s 282 passing yards and five touchdown tosses, Blue Ridge (3-0) came charging back in the second half and claimed a 42-14 victory.

• Maryland cornerback pledge Sean Davis powered Maret (D.C.) to a 47-2 win over Friends, catching five passes for 51 yards and rushing for 81 yards on three carries, including a 42-yard touchdown run.

• Terps wide receiver recruit Amba Etta-Tawo contributed to McEachern's 20-7 win over Marietta (Ga.).

Mike Sherman had nine carries for 17 yards, and Amba Etta-Tawo caught four passes for 54 yards.

• Maryland-bound athlete Joe Riddle rushed for 84 yards on 14 carries in Linganore's 49-0 win over Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

• UM wide receiver commitment Malcolm Culmer helped Willingboro (N.J.) to a 22-7 win over Cinnaminson.

Anthony Robbins engineered a second-half surge, finding Malcolm Culmer with an 8-yard TD pass and heaving a 79-yard scoring bomb to Isaac Williams, as the visiting Chimeras came alive in time to pull out the Patriot Division victory.

Basketball recruiting

Danuel House, a five-star player from Missouri City, Texas who the Terps reportedly expressed interest in over the summer, committed Sunday to Houston.

House, a 6-7, 195-pound forward from Hightower, is a pure scorer who can attack the rim with consistency. If any of you have seen him play, you’ve almost certainly seen his ability to get above the rim.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 9:35 AM | | Comments (2)
        

September 11, 2011

Isaiah Miles discusses his St. Joseph's pledge

isaiah-miles-st-josephs.jpg By the end of Isaiah Miles' freshman year at Glenelg Country School, the athletically precocious 6-foot-7 forward was a well-known prospect to college basketball recruiters across the country.

Coaches from high- and mid-major programs frequented GCS open gyms to get a look at Miles. Included in that early group of interested parties was St. Joseph’s coach Phil Martelli, who continued to track Miles’ progress over the next two years of his high school career.

On Friday night Miles, now a senior at Milford Mill, rewarded Martelli’s persistence with a commitment.

“From the beginning, I could tell they wanted me,” Miles said. “Coach Phil Martelli showed me his interest was strong from the beginning. He kept it through all four of my years. … [So] it feels good. It’s a lot of pressure off me now. Now I can play basketball, not worry about colleges looking at me and work at getting myself better in the gym.”

Miles, who averaged 18.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.75 blocks and one steal for Glenelg Country as a junior, also considered Drexel, La Salle, Loyola, North Carolina State, Richmond, St. Bonaventure, South Florida, Towson and Western Kentucky.


A 2011 Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection, Miles had a standout summer for Nike Baltimore Elite on the AAU circuit. NBE president Carlton "Bub" Carrington said he always envisioned Miles “playing in the ACC,” and continued to think he was capable of doing so.

“But I also thought he could have a tremendous career at the Atlantic 10 level,” Carrington said. “It’s about picking the right level. He’s done a terrific job of doing that.”

At St. Joseph’s, which finished 11-22 last season, Miles could have an opportunity to eventually be the centerpiece of the team. Taking on such a significant role is something that appealed to him.

“They told me I was their No. 1 priority,” Miles said. “It felt great. I felt special. … I wanted to go to a program and make a change, make them better.”

Carrington said Miles projects to be a face-up 4 in college. While he did much of his damage beyond the arc for Nike Baltimore Elite, Miles is definitely capable of doing battle in the paint.

“A kid his size that can shoot the ball is not always a tough guy,” Carrington said. “But he’s not afraid to get in there and mix it up. He will go down there, push, scratch, claw and bite. He’ll definitely get into the mix. … [And] he can shoot the ball better than most 3s and 2s, so you can stretch the defense.”

Miles took an official visit to St. Joseph’s last weekend. He said he was blown away by the campus and impressed by the business school offerings.

“Everyone there, the whole community, people who don’t play basketball, they all welcomed me in with open arms,” Miles said. “Teammates treat me as if I’m already on the team.”

Miles said he can’t wait to join the Hawks next year and lead them back to the NCAA tournament. He’s already built a solid bond with the coaching staff.

“We have a great relationship,” he said. “Me and everyone on the staff, they love me and I love them. ... [They can] expect me to just work hard every single day, on and off the court.”

Baltimore Sun photo of Isaiah Miles by Karl Merton Ferron / March 17, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:37 PM | | Comments (1)
Categories: Local recruiting
        

September 9, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

Maryland landed a commitment Monday from Jake Layman, pairing the four-star small forward with four-star center Shaquille Cleare and three-star combo guard Seth Allen in its 2012 recruiting class.

The next position that could be addressed in the Terps' class is shooting guard. Terry Henderson from Neuse Baptist Christian School in Raleigh, N.C., set up official visits this week to Boston College, George Mason, Maryland, Miami and Richmond, according to ScoutsFocus.com's Joe Davis. Henderson's College Park trip is scheduled for Sept. 30.

Christian Sanders, a three-star shooting guard and Cleare's Houston Defenders teammate, is also still reportedly in the mix for Maryland. He's scheduled for an official visit to Colorado this weekend.

ESPN.com's Adam Finkelstein, meanwhile, provided a short-term and long-term analysis on Layman's Terps pledge.

Short term: Another definite recruiting victory for a suddenly very hot Mark Turgeon. Layman is the No. 53-ranked player in the ESPNU 100 and his commitment boosts Maryland's class into the top 10 in the country. Here's the thing with Layman though, Terps fans are going to need to be patient. While incredibly talented, he's still fairly raw and not used to high-level competition outside of the AAU circuit. Consequently, his learning curve may be a little longer than most would expect from a borderline top 50 prospect.

• DeMatha forward Jerami Grant, who earlier this week was seriously considering the Terps, is now down to three Big East schools.

Syracuse, Notre Dame and Rutgers (in order of appearance) will conduct in-home visits with ESPNU 100 SF Jerami Grant (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha) beginning Friday and by all accounts, any of them could land him.

• The Detroit News' Sam Webb wrote about Michigan's chances with Brewster (N.H.) Academy center Mitch McGary, getting extensive thoughts on the five-star player's recruitment from his SYF Players AAU coach Wayne Brumm.

"Obviously, Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky and Florida have had tremendous success. (Florida coach) Billy Donovan has been a great communicator and he sort of gets the vision from Mitch. (Maryland coach) Mark Turgeon is a lot like (Michigan coach John) Beilein. He is a basketball (mind). Beilein and Turgeon feel most comfortable when they're locked in a gym with their guys. They just get guys better.

• Terps wing target Andrew White has set three official visits.

The Miller School (Va.) senior wing, whose stock soared as much as just about anyone's this past summer, will visit Kansas (9-23), Texas (9-30) and Louisville (10-14), according to coach Scott Willard.

Football recruiting

• Maryland-bound linebacker Shawn Petty was mentioned several times in a Greenbelt Patch story about the Eleanor Roosevelt football team.

“Hopefully we can get further this season than we got last season,” Petty said. “The team’s really excited and we’ve been working hard all summer getting ready for the season.”

• Gilman junior linebacker Micah Kiser talked about his three offers -- Florida, Maryland and Virginia -- in an interview with ESPN.com.

Maryland: "I've talked to coach [Randy] Edsall. He's a really good guy. I like him a lot. I talked to coach [Andre] Powell the other day. I like his personality."

• The Washington Post's Josh Barr discussed Good Counsel receiver Stefon Diggs' interest in the Terps and more in a Recruiting Insider Live video feature.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 11:27 AM | | Comments (7)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

Local hoops event Saturday

Ferron Carter is hosting a combine for 60 high school basketball players from the Baltimore area on Saturday from 11:45 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event, which will take place at Leadership Through Athletes at 2900 Hammonds Ferry Rd. in Lansdowne, will test and showcase players in the following areas:

• Height, weight & wing span
• Vertical & broad jump
• 300-yard shuttle run
• Bench press of 135 pounds
• Skill stations on agility, footwork, shooting, ball skills, rebounding, toughness
• Full-court scrimmage

Players are advised to bring a transcript and provide contact information. A college rep will speak to the players about NCAA eligibility rules. For more information, contact Carter through his website, dynamicsp.net.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 10:46 AM | | Comments (0)
        

September 8, 2011

Sweet 16: Jamar Briscoe, Charlotte

jamar-briscoe-charlotte-201.jpg The year Jamar Briscoe sat out after transferring to Charlotte from North Carolina Central was an excruciatingly long one.

The Cardinal Gibbons grad and 2008 Baltimore Sun second-team All-Metro selection was the second-leading freshman scorer in the country at NCCU. Briscoe was confident he could play at a higher level, and the 49ers – members of the Atlantic 10 – provided that opportunity. While nervousness had rarely been an issue for the former Crusaders star before, Briscoe’s long-awaited Charlotte debut stirred up that unfamiliar feeling.

“The game I was most nervous for was actually the first game I played. It was an exhibition against Queens,” Briscoe said of the Division II school. “I remember dribbling the ball one time and the air just went out from under me. That was the game I was really the most nervous. After that game, everything else just came into the flow. I just followed my natural instincts.”

For the majority of Briscoe’s sophomore season with the 49ers, those natural instincts served him exceedingly well. The 5-foot-10, 165-pound point guard from Cherry Hill scored 16 points (4-for-6 on 3-pointers), dished out five assists and collected three steals in Charlotte’s 94-57 win over Queens. Briscoe followed that up with a 30-point performance in the 49ers’ season-opening loss to Gardner-Webb.

While Briscoe had hoped for more team success than Charlotte experienced in its 10-20 season, first-year 49ers coach Alan Major was pleased with his point guard’s sophomore campaign.

“I’d say he had a really good year,” Major said. “He’s in a tough position. Our guard play in terms of ball-handling and guys we had to rely on to take care of the ball, make plays and get things going in the offense, we really had two guys to do that. Just with our limited numbers, it really puts almost an unfair kind of pressure to ask a guy to handle the ball, take care of the ball and take great shots, defend at a high level and play 35-plus minutes a game. With that, and it being his first year on the floor with us, he had his ups and downs, like some other guys did. But … for what we asked him to do, I thought he had a very good season.”

Briscoe, who started 28 games, averaged 12.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals. He was instrumental in leading Charlotte to three significant upsets: a 49-48 win over then-No. 7 Tennessee, a double-overtime triumph at Georgia Tech, and a 66-62 home win over Xavier.

“Beating Tennessee, No. 7 in the nation, that’s memorable,” Briscoe said. “I don’t plan on having kids, but I can tell my brother’s grandkids and their children. I’ll always remember that. … It was a great experience, playing under those lights. I wasn’t nervous. Everybody wants that spotlight. That’s why you work hard – to win.”

Briscoe, better known as ‘Deuce’ to those closest to him, may have been a first-year player for the 49ers, but almost immediately he emerged as the team's most vocal leader. Major said Briscoe took his role as the floor general to heart, working hard in the weight room, directing the offense, and keep things loose off the court.

“He’s kind of infectious,” Major said. “He probably has got our team’s best sense of humor. He’s one of the funniest guys. As you get to spend more and more time around him, a lot of times college kids don’t get adult jokes, then they start laughing about 30 seconds later. The funny thing about Deuce is that he gets adult jokes. He has this way of just throwing out a zinger, you throw one back, and you both walk out of the office laughing. That type of personality is great for your team and a good way of keeping things loose.”

Briscoe has spent the past several months in Charlotte, attending both sessions of summer school and working hard on improving his game. He had plenty of company on the court this offseason, including one well-known Charm City legend.

“I’ve been working out with one of Baltimore’s greats – Shawnta Rogers, just doing work with Nut,” Briscoe said. “He’s been coming down here to work out with me. [Former Towson Catholic and Virginia Tech star] Malcolm Delaney had moved to Atlanta, and he came up and worked out with me. And [former Charlotte star and first-round NBA draft pick] Rodney White, I worked out with him the last two months of the summer. I’ve been lifting weights. I’ve been around some good natives from home keeping me focused, away from the city.”

For the upcoming season, Major is looking for Briscoe to improve his offensive efficiency. The 49ers coach hopes the point guard has more 5-for-9 performances than 5-for-12 performances. Charlotte has added more ball-handlers to its roster, alleviating some pressure from Briscoe. But the only thing that matters to Briscoe about this year is simple.

“I want to win, man,” Briscoe said. “I’m trying to win. Like I said when I came here, I want to win. I know I’ve got the chance to play in the A-10, but I want to play in the Atlantic 10 championship. Everybody’s got a chance – every team in the conference. But I want to win it, man. I really do.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

Previous Sweet 16 selections: Dylon Cormier, Loyola

U.S. Presswire photo of Jamar Briscoe by Geoff Burke / Jan. 5, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:29 PM | | Comments (3)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        

September 7, 2011

Q&A with Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman

todd-bozeman-morgan-2011.jpg Last season was far from the norm for Morgan State men's basketball coach Todd Bozeman.

For just the third time in a nine-year head coaching career, a Bozeman-coached team missed the postseason . The Morgan State coach -- who has been to three NCAA tournaments with Cal and two with the Bears, plus an NIT appearance with MSU -- doesn't plan on making that a habit.

With a veteran team returning and a solid recruiting class coming in, getting back to the promised land seems a reasonable goal for the Bears, who finished 17-14 last season. Bozeman has added five players to Morgan's roster: Blake Bozeman, a 6-foot-2, 165-pound guard from Bowie; Jeremy Canty, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound guard from Norcum High in Portsmouth, Va.; Shaquille Duncan, a 6-foot-9 forward from Philadelphia's Frankford High; Thair Heath, a 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward from Compton, Calif., who played last year at San Bernardino Valley College; and Anthony Hubbard, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound wing from Woodbridge, Va., who starred last season at Frederick Community College and originally committed to Iowa.

Bozeman spoke to Recruiting Report last week about Morgan's 2011 class.

When Hubbard decided to leave Iowa, how did you get involved with him?

Well, we recruited him initially, so he wasn’t foreign to us. My assistant coaches really liked him a lot. Like in some cases, it appears that it won’t work out for you. He went out to Iowa, and decided he actually preferred to be closer to home. We were really involved with him, and we knew a lot of the same people, so this was just a matter of us laying out for him what Morgan State had to offer. The fact that we can help him reach his dreams and goals and accomplish the same things by being close to home, it just worked out for us. I think it’s a good fit for him. He’s obviously very talented and brings a wealth of experience to us.

What, specifically, do you like about his game?

Well the fact that he can really create his own shot and can really get to the basket. He’s really strong, so he rebounds and can play three positions – all three perimeter positions. And he’s motivated. He has a burning desire to succeed. Those are the things that you really want. He’s carrying a basketball around with him everywhere on campus. He’s on a mission.

Hubbard spent almost four years in prison for his role in a burglary. Were there any concerns about his past, or are you confident that’s all behind him?

Well yeah, everybody has a past. It’s just a matter of some folks’ past are different than others. We are who we are based on experiences we’ve gone through. He made a mistake and he moved on. He paid for it and he moved on. There's not a whole lot left to say about it.

Canty was a really accomplished high school player who won two state titles. What do you like about his game?

Well again, I like his energy level. All the guys that we’ve brought in have a high energy level. I really like that [all the recruits] have high basketball IQ. Anytime you can get a player of Jeremy’s caliber that has won that much, it says a lot because he has seen [winning] first-hand as opposed to you telling him about it. He’s done it at a high level. He’s played in high-level games. He’s been well-coached. So I’m very excited about Jeremy. When we started recruiting him, he was a guy that was a very explosive scorer. But like all the freshmen, it’ll take time for him to get comfortable in the system. Some move faster than others.

What does Shaquille Duncan bring to the table?

Well I like his energy level, I like his basketball IQ. He just kind of goes hard. He’s just a tough, physical guy that just goes really hard. I’m really excited about bringing another big into the program that has that energy level. He’s active. Shaquille is really active. And he can score and is really a tremendous rebounder and a very, very good defender. He can defend guys 6-3 on up. He brings a lot to the program.

We also signed my son, Blake. He played at Solebury Prep. The thing that he brings is he’s got high basketball IQ. He’s a guy that can run all day and really shoot the ball. He can add depth to our backcourt as well.

How did that recruiting process with your son play out?

I tried hard not to put pressure on him because I can imagine it’s tough to just tell your dad no. So I wanted him to be able to make the decision on his own. Obviously, it’s special for me to have an opportunity to coach him. And I wanted him to feel comfortable for himself. We’ve been winning, and he knew he would get a fair shot with the coach, and then he would learn a lot because he’s been learning a lot already. It really just fit. So I’m excited about the opportunity to coach him. He made it known he wanted to play for his dad. I coached him in AAU ball as well. He was raised to not think he’s owed something just because he’s my son. He’s been working hard doing his preseason work. And he’s just one of the fellas. He doesn’t call me dad whenever I’m around them. It’s Coach.

Any other newcomers?

We also have an addition of a young man Thair Heath, 6-10, from San Bernadino Community College. He’s here as well. He’s one of those kids that’s just a tenacious rebounder. He throws his body around a lot. We really believe in his defense and rebounding.

With a veteran group coming back and these newcomers, what’s the expectation this season? How will this team be different than last year's group?

Well I thought last year we had a good group. I just thought that for the first time other than the very first year, we had to count on first-year guys, and we typically haven’t done that. We’ve always had guys that were kind of waiting their turn. If you look at it, every guy in his second year played in the postseason for us. Jerrell [Green] played in the NIT his second year. Itchy [Bolden] played in the NCAA tournament his second year. Sean Thomas played in the NCAA tournament his second year. Hopefully with Larry [Bastfield], that trend can continue. It’ll be his second year at the point for us. Last year was the first year, and it’s kind of tough on first-year guys because it takes some time to learn the system, get comfortable with it and adjust to those things. With Aric Brooks, he’ll be a year more experienced and, as a senior, have three years of college basketball under his belt. Larry Bastfield is the same. Larry’s been a Division I starter for three years. And then [you have] Justin Black, coming off an All-MEAC rookie campaign with another year of experience. I really like this group. With the addition of Hubbard and the three freshmen, I like the group. It’s an athletic group of talent.

How does this team stack up with some of your previous Morgan teams?

Top to bottom, I definitely think it’s the most talented team we’ve had.

Baltimore Sun photo of Todd Bozeman by Karl Merton Ferron / Dec. 4, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:33 PM | | Comments (3)
        

September 6, 2011

Terps recruit Jake Layman has 'enormous' upside

With his lanky frame, shaggy blonde hair and European-style game, Jake Layman was somewhat of an unknown – and curious – commodity when he joined Leo Papile's nationally renowned Boston Amateur Basketball Club in the spring of 2010.

Layman, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward, was looking to expand his game and gain greater exposure. Papile was more than happy to add that sort of “unique” talent to his powerhouse squad.

“He came into the program, an established team [with] an established system,” Papile said Tuesday. “He came from outside the city, where most of our players don’t come from. And he earned everything he got. He’s a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come.”

Papile is far from the only coach who feels that way about the senior prospect’s potential. Thanks to a breakout spring and summer on the circuit with BABC, Layman added offers from Florida, Louisville, Maryland and Syracuse to a list that already included Boston College, Notre Dame and Providence. Late Monday night, on the heels of his official visit to College Park, Layman canceled trips to check out the Gators, Cardinals and Orange in favor of committing to the Terps.

“It’s a fantastic time for Jake and his family,” said Sean McInnis, Layman’s coach at King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass. “They’re really looking forward to being a part of the Maryland family. … He watched a great Maryland football game and wanted to be part of the athletic program. It’s an exciting time for us.”

Layman – who was first recruited by Maryland coach Mark Turgeon when he was at Texas A&M – joined McInnis’ varsity squad at King Philip as a freshman, becoming a double-digit scorer right off the bat. His greatest success came last winter, when he averaged 24.6 points, 15.6 rebounds and 7.1 blocks in leading the Warriors to the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association South Sectional title game.

“I think when you look around the country, he’s probably the only kid who’s 6-8 that plays the point,” McInnis said. “Jake has grown up playing that position. He’s such a long kid, too. He has an approximate 7-foot wingspan. Jake has the foot quickness to defend the 2, the 3, and the 4 as well. … I think what Maryland was looking for was a student-athlete that’s going to come in, defend, and play a couple positions while at the same time playing in transition, utilizing some size at the guard position.”

A major step in Layman’s development as a high-major player took place when he joined BABC nearly a year-and-a-half ago. Playing for Papile’s program afforded Layman the opportunity to learn from a veteran coach who also serves as the Boston Celtics’ assistant director of basketball operations. Layman started out as “the 10th or 11th man” on BABC’s top team, but worked his way up to the sixth-man role this year. Papile predicted big things for Layman this year on the circuit.

“He’s one of those guys that had he played at the Euro camp or something like that, the whole scouting community would’ve been excited about him as a professional prospect somewhere in the world,” Papile said. “At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he’s totally unique for American basketball. He’s a wing. He’s a face-up 4 or a 3 for us. He’s strictly a face-up player. You put him on the ball, and in our defense he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene.”

BABC finished the summer with a 62-4 record, winning the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League championship. Layman wasn’t the most decorated player on the team, but he might have raised his stock more than anyone else in the program.

“If you buy into the theory of guys who bloom later and hit their stride, then Jake Layman is the guy who fits that profile,” said Dave Telep, ESPN.com’s national recruiting analyst. “I think he’ll play the combo forward at Maryland. He’ll stretch the defense with his size. He has really good shooting touch and definitely can be a ball-pressure guy and cause all kinds of matchup problems. I just think with Jake Layman, the best basketball lies ahead of him. This summer he kind of empowered himself, surprised himself, and really had an exceptional run.”

Telep said Layman reminded him of Chandler Parsons, a 6-foot-10 small forward who finished a productive four-year career at Florida last spring and was drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. Layman isn’t the scorer Parsons is yet, but he’s similarly versatile and has a comparable style of play. “He’s definitely going to play behind the 3-point line,” Telep said.

Papile, meanwhile, believes Layman will make his mark as a defensive presence for the Terps right away.

“We used a lot of full-court press,” Papile said. “Ironically, a lot of our full-court stuff is similar to Gary [Williams’] style. For a guy almost 6-foot-9, with the wingspan that he has, it really opened a lot of eyes. It really affected the other team’s on-ball press, trapping at halfcourt with that length and the ability to really move side to side. I think he made his mark defensively prior to his offensive game, which is still developing. But he’s just so damn athletic and he can shoot. He was really an impact guy for us.”

Layman joins Fredericksburg (Va.) Christian guard Seth Allen and Houston center Shaquille Cleare as part of Maryland’s 2012 recruiting class. Layman, a four-star prospect and ESPN.com’s No. 53 overall player in the 2012 class, probably won’t be the last coveted recruit that commits to the Terps this fall.

“It just keeps validating the foundation they’re laying under Mark Turgeon,” Telep said. “They’re getting good players. They’re getting guys who are going to fit what they do. They’re not just going out and getting name recruits. They’re getting coachable guys that are going to buy in, and playing time is going to be there. It’s really going to be up to those kids.”

McInnis, who has coached Layman for almost four years, thinks his star player is up to the challenge.

“There are some tremendous young men [at Maryland] right now that can play the game of basketball,” McInnis said. “They have new players coming in; I know [Cleare] and a gentleman from overseas [Alex Len]. When the full recruiting class is ready, they’ll be able to tell Jake what’s expected of him. But it’s an exceptional opportunity for Jake.”

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:34 PM | | Comments (11)
        

The Next Level: Tavon Austin stars again

Welcome to the 2011 debut of The Next Level, a weekly Recruiting Report feature that focuses on natives of Anne Arundel County, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County and Howard County who appear on NCAA Division I Football Bowl Subdivision rosters.

An unsuspecting intern will take over this feature starting next week, but for now, it'll be business as usual around these parts. We'll start with The Next Level Player of the Week, highlight a few honorable mention performances, and then get to the rest of the highlights from local college players.

This college football season has started much like the 2010 campaign ended: with West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin earning Next Level Player of the Week honors. Austin, a former Dunbar star, caught three passes for 32 yards and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the Mountaineers' lightning-shortened 34-13 win over in-state rival Marshall. Austin, whose 100-yard kickoff return tied a West Virginia record, was named Big East Special Teams Player of the Week.

He finished the game with 190 all-purpose yards, with 119 yards against the Thundering Herd on two kickoff returns and 46 yards on three punt returns.

tavon-austin-wvu-marshall.jpg

Honorable mention

• Making his Penn State debut, true freshman safety Adrian Amos (Calvert Hall) intercepted Indiana State quarterback Ronnie Fouch in the fourth quarter and returned the pick 46 yards to the Sycamores' 12. Amos also recorded two tackles (one solo) in the Nittany Lions' 41-7 win.

• In his first career start, Maryland sophomore safety Matt Robinson (Atholton) recorded 10 tackles (five solo) to help the Terps to a 32-24 win over Miami on Monday night.

• Syracuse's 36-29 win over Wake Forest featured major offensive contributions from two local players. For the Demon Deacons, sophomore Michael Campanaro (River Hill) caught seven passes for 79 yards and one touchdown. Campanaro also returned two punts for 12 yards and two kicks for 34 yards. For the Orange, junior wide receiver Alec Lemon (Arundel) had a team-best seven catches for 52 yards.

• Virginia Tech sophomore cornerback Kyle Fuller (Mount St. Joseph) recovered a blocked punt by Tony Gregory in the end zone for a touchdown in the Hokies' 66-13 rout of Appalachian State. Fuller also had four tackles (three solo).

Other contributions

• Arkansas junior fullback Kiero Small (Cardinal Gibbons) caught one pass for seven yards in the Razorbacks' 51-7 win over Missouri State.

• Arkansas State senior cornerback Darron Edwards (Dunbar) recorded six tackles (five solo) in the Red Wolves' 33-15 loss at Illinois.

• Army junior slotback Kelechi Odocha (Atholton) rushed three times for 20 yards in the Black Knights' 49-20 loss at Northern Illinois.

• Central Michigan sophomore safety Leron Eaddy (River Hill) assisted on one tackle in the Chippewas' 21-6 win over South Carolina State.

• Colorado State sophomore linebacker Shaquil Barrett (a Baltimore native who graduated from Boys Town High in Nebraska) made three tackles (one solo), and half a sack.

• Connecticut junior safety Jerome Junior had four tackles (three solo) in the Huskies' 35-3 win over Fordham.

• East Carolina sophomore defensive end Derrell Johnson sacked South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw for a loss of six yards in the Pirates' 56-37 loss against the Gamecocks.

• Maryland's 32-24 win over Miami on Monday night featured contributions from many local players. In addition to Robinson, junior safety Eric Franklin (Archbishop Curley) recorded four tackles (two solo) and broke up one pass, sophomore defensive end David Mackall (Edmondson) assisted on four tackles (including one for a 2-yard loss), and junior defensive tackle A.J. Francis (Gonzaga (D.C.) grad, Severn native) assisted on two tackles.

• Mississippi senior defensive end Wayne Dorsey (Southwestern) assisted on one tackle and broke up a pass in the Rebels' 14-13 loss to BYU.

• North Carolina senior linebacker Zach Brown led North Carolina with six tackles (five solo) in the Tar Heels' 42-10 win over James Madison. Brown had 2.5 tackles for loss, including a sack for a 6-yard loss.

• Rutgers sophomore linebacker Nick DePaola (Hereford) collected one solo tackle in the Scarlet Knights' 48-0 win over North Carolina Central.

• San Jose State senior cornerback Brandon Driver (Parkville) recorded five tackles (four solo) and broke up one pass in the Spartans' 57-3 loss at No. 6 Stanford.

• Temple junior running back Matt Brown (a Baltimore native who graduated from New Jersey's Peddie School) rushed 11 times for 36 yards in the Owls' 42-7 win over Villanova. Brown also returned one punt for 37 yards and one kickoff for 23 yards.

• UNLV freshman defensive back Mike Horsey (Dunbar) assisted on two tackles in the Rebels' 51-17 loss at Wisconsin.

• Utah State senior wide receiver Xavier Martin (Joppatowne) caught a 25-yard pass in the Aggies' 42-38 loss at Auburn.

• UTEP sophomore linebacker Horace Miller (Dunbar) assisted on two tackles, including a sack, in the Miners' 31-24 win over Stony Brook.

• Virginia freshman Darius Jennings (Gilman) stayed busy in the Cavaliers' 40-3 win over William & Mary. The 2010 Baltimore Sun All-Metro Offensive Player of the Year caught four passes for 61 yards, carried the ball once for a 3-yard gain, returned one punt for 27 yards and two kickoffs for 32 yards.

Defensively for U.Va., senior defensive tackle Nick Jenkins (Good Counsel grad, Westminster native) contributed three tackles (one solo).

• Wake Forest junior linebacker Joey Ehrmann (Gilman) made four solo tackles, including one for a 2-yard loss, in the Demon Deacons' 36-29 loss to Syracuse.

U.S. Presswire photo of Tavon Austin by Charles LeClaire / Sept. 4, 2011

Posted by Matt Bracken at 7:00 AM | | Comments (3)
Categories: The Next Level
        

Terps land forward Jake Layman

On a night when Maryland's football team made headlines with a nationally televised win over Miami, the Terps basketball program got some good news of its own.

Jake Layman, a 6-foot-8, 190-pound small forward from King Philip Regional High in Wrentham, Mass., committed to Maryland after an official visit to College Park, according to multiple media reports.

"I like Coach [Mark] Turgeon's style of play, his offense is a good fit for me," Layman told ESPNBoston.com. "The ACC is a good conference for me, too. I think it's the most skilled conference in the country, I like it a lot. I've spent a lot of time with the players [on my visits], I know them real well, and they're easy to talk to, so that’s good. Plus, I have the opportunity to be an impact player my freshman year."

Layman, rated a four-star prospect and the No. 53 player in the 2012 class by ESPN.com, canceled visits to Florida, Louisville and Syracuse after deciding on the Terps. He is the third commitment of Maryland's 2012 class, joining Seth Allen, a combo guard from Fredericksburg (Va.) Christian, and Shaquille Cleare, a center from The Village School in Houston. King Phillip coach Sean McInnis told Recruiting Report in July that Layman was a fan of Maryland's coaching staff.

“Turgeon and [assistant coach Scott] 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.”

Check back with Recruiting Report on Tuesday for more on Layman's commitment.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:32 AM | | Comments (19)
        

September 5, 2011

Weekend wrap – Riddle unstoppable in win

The first game of Joe Riddle's senior season was a memorable one.

The Maryland-bound athlete powered Linganore to a big win over South Carroll on Friday night.

The Lancers' senior tailback, who is bound for the University of Maryland next year, flashed his Division I speed and showed his hometown fans why the Terrapins went after him. Riddle ran for 232 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Linganore pulled away from the Cavaliers 28-6, snapping SC's 14-game regular-season winning streak.

• Terps commitments Perry Hills and Anthony Nixon helped Pittsburgh Central Catholic to a 20-17 win over Archbishop Wood.

The game appeared to be swinging towards Central Catholic's favor when Hills (6-of-13, 122 yards) hooked up with fellow Maryland recruit Anthony Nixon (4 rec., 75 yards) on a 33-yard touchdown pass with 2:41 left in the third quarter, capping a 13-play, 76-yard, 6:10-drive. Nixon caught three of his four passes on that drive.

• UM quarterback recruit Caleb Rowe had a monster game in Blue Ridge's 57-0 win over Eastside (S.C.).

Rowe finished the game with six touchdown passes, three to Bryton Griffin and the other three to younger brother Brennon.

• Terps linebacker pledge Shawn Petty directed Eleanor Roosevelt to a 35-6 win over Norview High in Norfolk, Va.

Quarterback Shawn Petty completed 6 of 14 passes for 170 yards and two touchdowns. He also scored touchdowns on runs of 16 and 4 yards. Petty tossed a 74-yard scoring pass to Tyrone Temoney, who had three catches for 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Amba Etta-Tawo was McEachern's leading receiver in the Indians' 20-13 win over Lowndes (Ga.).

Etta-Tawo caught six passes for 82 yards.

• Maryland cornerback recruit Sean Davis caught five passes for 116 yards, rushed three times for 63 yards, scored four touchdowns and a 2-point conversion in Maret's 48-0 win over Model (D.C.).

• UM linebacker commitment Brock Dean found the end zone once in Bishop McDevitt's 28-7 loss to Gateway (Pa.).

Bishop McDevitt tied it with 10 minutes left in the half on Brock Dean's 1-yard run.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:25 PM | | Comments (0)
        

September 2, 2011

Weekly recruiting roundup

While the Maryland football team opens its season Monday night against Miami, the Terps men's basketball staff will stay busy by hosting several notable visitors.

Philadelphia forward Amile Jefferson, Wrentham, Mass., forward Jake Layman and Gonzaga (D.C.) junior point guard Nate Britt were among the prospects tentatively scheduled to be in College Park this weekend. The Washington Post's Josh Barr caught up with Britt's father to discuss the Terps.

As for Maryland, in addition to the feeling out process between a recruit and a coach, there is an interest in seeing new coach Mark Turgeon’s style up front and personal.

“You want to see how he is going to coach his team this coming year,” Britt Sr. said. “He wanted to do that before saying, ‘I do,’ because at the end of the day, that [coach] is who he is going to be working for.”

• Terps target Mitch McGary, who is scheduled to make an official visit to Michigan this weekend, could reportedly make six official trips.

In [Adam] Finkelstein's report, he explains that McGary was technically a senior last season, and his 2011-12 year at Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, N.H., will officially be a post-graduate year -- making it possible for him to officially visit all six schools (Michigan, Duke, Kentucky, North Carolina, Maryland and Florida) on his list, if he so chooses.

• Maryland target and DeMatha forward Jerami Grant was scheduled to visit Rutgers this weekend.

• HighSchoolHoop.com posted a Q&A this week with Maryland-bound combo guard Seth Allen.

HSH: What was it like going against John Wall? You guys were going three-on-three and you two were matched up hard.

SA: Yeah it was fun. I played against him a lot up at Maryland because he comes to the Maryland open gym so I play with him up there. It’s fun because he’s a number one draft pick in the NBA so I feel like if I can go at him and score on him then I can score on anybody.

• The Progress-Index of Petersburg, Va., profiled UM wing target Andrew White.

To date, rivals.com has White receiving more than two-dozen offers. The list is highlighted by offers from BYU, George Mason, Virginia Tech, Richmond, Southern Florida, Utah, and Miami (Florida). More importantly, with the Kansas addition, White has received offers from Cincinnati (1961, 1962), Connecticut (1999, 2004, 2011), Louisville (1980, 1986), Maryland (2002) and North Carolina State (1974, 1983).

• Terps targets Aaron and Andrew Harrison are reportedly planning to attend Kentucky's Big Blue Madness next month.

Kamari Murphy, a three-star forward from Brooklyn, N.Y., who reportedly draw some UM interest, committed this week to Oklahoma State.

The school's basketball coach, Travis Ford, paid Murphy a visit in Georgia, where he has family, before the start of the AAU season, Murphy said. It was all part of a full-court press by the Cowboys, who were unwavering in their commitment to Murphy, recruiting him since his junior year at Lincoln.

• Oklahoma State also officially landed 2011 center Marek Soucek.

Ford’s pursuit of Soucek began months ago, but was kept hush-hush as the Cowboys coach worked to get the young Czech’s class work verified here through the NCAA. Once complete, OSU had to provide a visa for Soucek to take to the embassy there, clearing the way for a passport and his ticket to, eventually, Stillwater, hopefully before any of the other interested schools – Maryland, Washington, Seton Hall, Gonzaga, to name a few – pounced, too.

Football recruiting

• UM tight end pledge P.J. Gallo was profiled this week by PhillyBurbs.com.

Gallo has gone from a 6-foot-4, 220-pound relative string bean as a junior to 245 pounds and he says he has not lost any of his quickness.

“Everyone wanted me to (gain weight),” Gallo said. “I can definitely see the benefits. I still feel comfortable at this weight. I was actually bigger, but I dropped a few pounds.

• Terps athlete commitment Shawn Petty was named one of 10 players to watch by the Prince George's County Gazette.

Headed to the University of Maryland, this multi-talented quarterback should easily best his 1,109 passing yards and 12 touchdowns in eight games last season as long as he remains healthy. Petty missed a chunk of last season with a broken collarbone.

• The Frederick News-Post previewed Linganore's season this week, focusing much of its story on Maryland-bound athlete Joe Riddle.

"Joe may be in the backfield, he may be out wide," Linganore coach Rick Conner said of the senior standout. "Who knows where he's going to be? He's going to be all over the place, I think."

• Pittsburgh Central Catholic teammates and UM recruits Perry Hills and Anthony Nixon were mentioned in a Philly.com story previewing the team's game against Archbishop Wood.

"[Nixon is] very fast, a real physical specimen," [Wood coach Steve] Devlin said. "We'll have a couple of defensive packages for him."

• The Carroll County Times wrote this week about defensive end Noah Spence, a teammate of Terps linebacker pledge Brock Dean at Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, Pa.

"When [defensive line coach Greg Gattuso] went to Maryland, that made Maryland a top choice of Noah's," [Bishop McDevitt coach Jeff] Weachter said.

• Dean received mention in The Patriot News' Bishop McDevitt season preview.

The outside backers are simply lethal. Maryland recruit Brock Dean (6-1, 220 sr) gets to the ball in a hurry and is a pure playmaker.

• Three Terps targets were listed as offensive players to watch in The Sun's 2011 high school football preview: Gilman's Cyrus Jones, Franklin's Ian Thomas and Loyola's Jordan Floyd.

A second-team All-Metro defensive back, Floyd should stand out even more on the offensive end this season after grabbing 44 receptions for 709 yards and 11 touchdowns a year ago.

• Maryland pledge Roman Braglio of McDonogh was named a Sun defensive player to watch.

A bookend on the Eagles' defensive line with Allen Jackson, the 6-foot-4, 260-pound Braglio, who is headed to Maryland, had 67 tackles and 10 sacks a year ago.

Posted by Matt Bracken at 2:22 PM | | Comments (6)
Categories: Weekly recruiting roundup
        

September 1, 2011

Sweet 16: Dylon Cormier, Loyola

dylon-cormier-sweet-16.jpg There were plenty of reasons why Dylon Cormier decided to play basketball for Loyola.

Academics, proximity to home and early playing time were all factors in the Cardinal Gibbons combo guard’s choice. But Cormier’s relationship with Greyhounds coach Jimmy Patsos was perhaps the most crucial piece of the puzzle.

“Me and him, we clicked from the get-go,” Cormier said. “That’s my man right there. We think the same way. We’re the same people. … In practice, he’s just as fired up as I am about the game. Coach is one of the main reasons I came here. He cares about it just as much as I do.”

The trust between player and coach was evident throughout the 2010-11 season. Cormier started 27 of 30 games, averaging 8.1 points and three rebounds and quickly emerging as one of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s top freshmen.

For Cormier, a Baltimore Sun All-Metro player at a Baltimore college, there were undoubtedly high expectations heading into his first season.

“And he came close to fulfilling them,” Patsos said. “His ability to play defense -- he covered the other team’s top scoring guard. Let me tell you – he didn’t play any defense [in high school]. He was a scorer and a point guard in high school. We were 0-3 in the games he didn’t play when he had mono. So that’s just how you can see what he did for our team. He was good defensively – better than what I thought he was going to be.“

There were certainly some eye-opening moments for Cormier in his introduction to college basketball. There were plenty of highlights, like a 20-point performance against UMBC. Then there were experiences at the other end of the spectrum, like Loyola’s 99-75 loss to Georgetown.

“We were in it for a little while, but they got the better of us in the second half,” said Cormier, who scored 11 points against the Hoyas. “As a freshman starting point guard that first year, it was new to me. I was the new kid on the block. Everybody else has been through it. That’s difficult, just trying to get it done.”

Patsos, who plans to start Cormier again at the 1 this season, said he would like the sophomore to be more assertive offensively this season, and continue developing as a defender. He’s also counting on Cormier to continue serving as Loyola’s top recruiter. Cormier has emerged as the Greyhounds’ unofficial ambassador to other Baltimore players.

“I think that [former St. Frances point guard] R.J. Williams is here because of Dylon as much as anybody,” Patsos said. “I think [former City center and Xavier transfer] Jordan Latham is here [in part because of him]. We had to do what we had to do in recruiting them, but so did Dylon. He gets active in the recruiting process. He tells them what he really likes about Loyola and playing in the league. He loves the league. He’s just a great guy.”

Said Cormier: “My approach to them is just tell them it’s close to home, and on the court we’re going to have a good time. That’s what I told R.J., that’s what I told Jordan. There’s nothing like being home where everyone knows who you are. Jimmy takes good care of us, it’s a good school and it’s a good look.”

Loyola, which finished 15-15 last season (including a 10-8 mark in the MAAC), seems primed to make a jump in the conference standings this year. Leading scorer Shane Walker is back, along with top rebounder Erik Etherly, MAAC Sixth Man of the Year J’hared Hall, MAAC All-Rookie team member Justin Drummond and valuable rotation players like guard Robert Olson, forward Anthony Winbush and forward Julius Brooks. Williams and Montrose Christian guard Tyler Hubbard are expected to be impact newcomers. And in the center of it all is Cormier, who has high hopes for his second year.

“This is the best team I’ve seen in years at Loyola,” Cormier said. “We’ll be tough to play. We’re [one of] the biggest, strongest teams in the league this year. I’m real excited about this season. We’ve got a lot more to show.”


The Sweet 16 is an occasional series profiling the 16 best Division I college basketball players from the Baltimore area. Players were selected based on prior accomplishments and projections for the upcoming season.

U.S. Presswire photo of Dylon Cormier / Dec. 18, 2010

Posted by Matt Bracken at 12:10 PM | | Comments (0)
Categories: The Sweet 16
        
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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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