Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Three graduate transfers the Terps could target for '14

Trying to predict who -- or if -- Maryland's coaching staff will pursue with its two open scholarships heading into next season is a guessing game.

But head coach Mark Turgeon is coming into the season with two primary ballhandlers: a combo guard in Seth Allen and a heralded incoming freshman in Melo Trimble. With Allen more suited to play shooting guard, it would seem Turgeon may look to the graduate transfer ranks for a one-year plug-and-play option, as he did two seasons ago with Albany transfer Logan Aronhalt.

The list of college basketball transfers is nowhere near complete. Last year's list topped 450 players. But three players jump off the page as intriguing candidates who could help the Terps right away.

IAN CHILES, IUPUI -- The 6-foot-1, 200-pound guard was prolific this year, pouring in 15.8 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game for the Jaguars.

There's no arguing that Chiles can score. But the Terps are looking for someone who can distribute the ball, and Chiles is primarily a shooter -- something Maryland has plenty of on the roster.

BRYCE DEJEAN-JONES, UNLV -- Dejean-Jones is a high-major talent without question. The 6-foot-5, 210-pounder is looking to transfer for the third time in five years after averaging career-bests in points (13.6), assists (3.0) and field-goal percentage (42.7%) last season.

And unlike Chiles, Dejean-Jones is a scorer and a facilitator. There's only one catch: Maryland may be too late to the party. Already, Arizona State, Iowa State and Kentucky have inquired.

MATT CARLINO, BYU -- The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Arizona native has spent a lot of time on the West Coast. But if he's willing to entertain moving east for a season, he'd be a great fit with Maryland. Carlino finished his three years at BYU with 1,200 points, averaging a career-best 13.7 points per game this past season.

He led the West Coast Conference in steals per game, was fourth in the conference in assists per game, and was a WCC honorable mention as a senior. Carlino finished his career at BYU seventh in school history in assists, sixth in steals and sixth in three-pointers. His 2.16 assist-to-turnover ratio would have ranked seventh-best in the ACC this past season.

Though there hasn't been any indication that the staff is pursuing Carlino -- or Chiles or Dejean-Jones, for that matter -- it would be wise for the Terps to take a look at these three options as a one-year stopgap in 2014-15.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Terps show interest in '14 big man Michal Cekovsky

It has been nearly eight months since the Terps added their last commitment to the four-member class of 2014. But it turns out, Mark Turgeon and his staff may not be done just yet.

Meet Michal Cekovsky, a skilled 7-foot-tall, 220-pound Slovakian native who plays for Spain's Canarias Basketball Academy.

Cekovsky opened eyes last summer playing in the European Championships U20 Division, where he averaged 12.7 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

ESPN's evaluation notes that Cekovsky "knows how to post and play with his back to the basket," adding that he has soft touch and can stretch defenses due to his athleticism and movement.

The obvious comparison? "A poor man's Dirk Nowitzki," as his Canarias coach Rob Orellana put it.

It's rare to see a player of Cekovsky's size pop up this late in the recruiting cycle. But following on the heels of Ukrainian teenager Alex Len -- who Turgeon recruited and developed into a top-five draft pick two years later -- the Terps have an obvious and compelling sales pitch for future European big men.

Len, of course, was suspended for the first dozen or so games of his freshman season for eligibility questions stemming from playing a bit of professional ball in Europe prior to coming to the U.S. It's likely Cekovsky would be in the same situation.

But that's not turning any college teams away. At one point, Cekovsky held offers from Louisville, Arizona, Maryland, Oregon, Florida, Connecticut, Florida State, Minnesota and others. His teamate, Matz Stockman, will suit up for Louisville next season.

As it stands, Maryland doesn't have room to bring Cekovsky on board -- provided everyone returns from last year's roster. That's highly unlikely, though, and it's clear Turgeon realizes the importance of bolstering a lackluster frontcourt that provided too little production for the Terps this past season.

Cekovsky is rated the 143rd-best player in the class of 2014 by 247sports, and is rated the 14th-best center in the class by ESPN. Check out his highlight tape below...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Wiley, Nickens commit to Terps

It's been a busy month for Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon.

Just two and a half weeks into June, Turgeon has secured commitments from a pair of sharpshooting wings -- Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens -- to join combo guard Melo Trimble in the class of 2014.

The commitment from Wiley was significant for a number of reasons. First, he was clearly Maryland's top priority in the class. He was the top-ranked player in the state of Maryland, and he joins Trimble -- the top-ranked player in the state of Virginia -- to form the Terps' future backcourt.

Wiley's AAU outfit -- Team Takeover -- is a Nike program, and one that Maryland has not had much luck with over the past few years. Between Under Armour-sponsored DC Assault and Nike-sponsored Team Takeover, the DC Metro area has two of the nation's top AAU programs. So a pipeline into both programs would be huge for obvious reasons.

Next, Wiley's commitment came early. That allowed Turgeon to focus his efforts on landing another swingman (more on that in a moment) and a big man for a four-man class in 2014.

Wiley is ranked the No. 49 player in the class of 2014 by Rivals, No. 39 by 247sports and No. 22 by ESPN. And through 18 games on the EYBL circuit, he led Team Takeover (16-2) in scoring and three-pointers.

And just a week or so later, Turgeon landed commitment No. 3 in the class of 2014 with Pennsylvania swingman Jared Nickens.

Nickens, who plays for Under Armour-sponsored Sports U in Pennsylvania, reclassified from 2013 to 2014 to gain an extra year of AAU play. And it paid off. Through a strong start to the AAU season, Nickens held offers from Oregon State, Seton Hall, Rutgers, Temple, Providence, Wake Forest, Miami (FL) and a number of mid-major programs.

He's not as highly rated as Wiley, but he, too, is a phenomenal shooter in a lanky frame. Some have loosely compared his game to former Terp star Drew Nicholas. One Rivals analyst said he'd be a top 100 player in the next set of rankings, while 247sports has him the No. 152 player in the class of 2014. 

Turgeon has put together a three-man class full of elite shooters that ESPN and 247sports rank the third- and fourth-best recruiting classes in the country. Meanwhile, with one remaining scholarship to spend on a big man (i.e. Chinanu Onuaku, Pascal Chukwu, Trayvon Reed or Goodluck Okonoboh), the Terps' coaching staff can focus its efforts on closing out the class of 2014 on a strong note. 

You can watch game footage of Dion Wiley here...


And watch game footage of Jared Nickens here...

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TerpsRecruiting exclusive: Trayvon Reed

By the look of the scholarship offers Maryland has extended in the class of 2014, one thing is clear: head coach Mark Turgeon is looking to add a big man.

One of the prime targets on Maryland's board is 7-foot-1, 210-pound Atlanta center Trayvon Reed. TerpsRecruiting recently caught up with Reed, who holds offers from several SEC and ACC schools, including Maryland.

This summer, Reed has split his time running with Under Armour-sponsored Atlanta Xpress and Florida-based and Nike-sponsored Each 1 Teach 1.

Since joining Each 1 Teach 1, Reed has averaged 4.1 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game on 53% shooting. The team is 8-0 on Nike's EYBL circuit and qualified for the Peach Jam next month since Reed joined the team. 

Reed's numbers aren't gaudy in AAU play, in part due to sharing touches with North Carolina commit and Each 1 Teach 1 point guard Joel Berry, who is averaging around 13 points per game on the EYBL circuit.

Reed says the schools standing out to him are "Florida, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, Maryland and many others," but notes that he doesn't have a specific timeframe for making a decision. He told Rivals.com's Alex Kline last month that he plans to make his decision sometime next spring.

In the meantime, he'll soak in the recruiting process. He hasn't visited Maryland yet, but says "I plan to," adding that he's talked to the coaches "a couple times."

One thing that could play into Maryland's favor is that big man Charles Mitchell -- an outgoing personality -- is from Atlanta and is friendly with Reed. 

Reed compares his game to NBA veteran Tim Duncan, noting that his "strengths are offense in the post."

You can watch Reed (No. 5, in black) playing with Atlanta Xpress at the Pitt Jamfest from last month here: 


You can watch the second half here:

Friday, May 24, 2013

EYBL sends recruits' stocks soaring Part II

Picking right back up from where we left off earlier this week, five more high schoolers have considerably raised their stock since Nike's 2013 EYBL season kicked off.

One who has been particularly impressive is Texas Pro's Terrance Ferguson. What makes the 6-foot-5, 170-pound wing stand out is that he just finished his freshman year. While his frame may continue to fill out, putting on a few pounds may transform him from a wiry scorer into a more unstoppable player.

Beyond his stellar play on a 17U team -- when he could easily be playing 15U or 16U -- Ferguson's teammate, Emmanuel Mudiay, is the No. 2 player in the class of 2015 on Rivals.com. So big-time head coaches from schools like Arizona, Baylor, Kansas and Kentucky are watching Texas Pro games and seeing what Ferguson is bringing to the table as just a freshman.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG APG
Terrance Ferguson Texas Pro (Texas) / 2016 12.4 3.7 2.1

Another player who has been outstanding is Ajon Efferson. The 6-foot, 155-pound point guard from California has been excellent in EYBL play alongside top 40 recruit Kameron Chatman, who has drawn in coaches' attention.

Efferson scored 34 points in a game against Wisconsin Playground, whose point guard Rashad Vaughn is a consensus blue-chip recruit. But for some reason -- potentially his transcript and ability to academically qualify -- schools haven't begun a full-out pursuit of the rising senior. Regardless, he's one to keep an eye on.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG APG
Ajon Efferson ICP Elite (Ore.) / 2014 12.9 3.2 2.8

Class of 2015 big man Tyler Lydon did himself a huge service by reclassifying from 2014 earlier this year. The 6-foot-8, 180-pound big man from New York held offers from James Madison, Siena, Boston University, UAB and Fairfield prior to the reclassification.

Since then, his reclassification -- coupled with solid performances through three EYBL events -- has put Lydon on the radar of several high-major colleges. Suddenly, he holds offers from Boston College, Iowa, Iowa State, Minnesota, Penn State, Providence and Virginia Tech. And if he continues to perform well in AAU play, those offers should continue to roll in.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG
Tyler Lydon Albany City Rocks (N.Y.) / 2015 7.0 8.1

Another relative unknown prior to this AAU season was Leon Gilmore, a rising senior in Texas. The 6-foot-7 big man wasn't getting big-time looks, but after averaging more than nine points and nearly four rebounds per game for a loaded Houston Hoops program, Gilmore caught some coaches' eyes.

He added offers from Nebraska, Texas, Houston, Creighton and Oklahoma State, according to 247sports' Jerry Meyer, and is now rated the No. 62 player in the class of 2014. Kansas State, Oklahoma and UNLV continue to monitor him. And while Houston Hoops and its high-major recruits -- Justin Jackson, Justise Winslow and Kelly Oubre -- continue their reign of terror in the EYBL circuit, Gilmore should continue to get looks.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG APG
Leon Gilmore Houston Hoops (Texas) / 2014 9.2 3.8 1.9

The final recruit whose stock ought to be on the rise through three EYBL events is Pennsylvania big man Nana Foulland. Foulland held offers from Holy Cross, Bucknell, George Mason, Delaware, Rider and Boston University prior to the summer, with interest from most of the Atlantic 10 Conference schools.

But Foulland has been hearing from bigger schools since averaging more than eight points and seven rebounds per game for Team Final. He told CityofBasketballLove.com that "he's also hearing from 'Wake Forest, Seton Hall' and other higher-conference schools."

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG
Nana Foulland Team Final (Pa.) / 2014 8.3 7.2

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Watch Damonte Dodd play in the Nat'l Prep Championship

Folks unable to make the trek 90 minutes west of Washington D.C. to check out Terps commit Damonte Dodd -- have no fear. The Basketball Diary's YouTube page captured Dodd's Massanutten Military Academy game in the National Prep Championship against Notre Dame Prep.

Massanutten (30-4) came up just short in overtime, and he had to share touches all season long with Kansas commit Frank Mason, Miami (FL) commit Deandre Burnett and Boston College commit Garland Owens. But Dodd had a successful prep year, averaging 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game.

And Massanutten coach Chad Myers told the Baltimore Sun that the 6-foot-10 big man "had an unbelievable year for us. ... I think he's going to help Maryland right away."

Watch Dodd and Massanutten face off against Notre Dame Prep below. Dodd bursts out of the gate with an athletic alley-oop followed by an impressive block.

Catch the first half here:


Catch the second half here:


And catch the overtime period here:

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

EYBL sends recruits' stocks soaring Part I

One of the best ways for a high school basketball player to get noticed -- and, in turn, earn a scholarship offer -- is to perform well on the AAU summer circuit in front of head coaches and assistants.

Through three Nike EYBL events, dozens of players have cemented their statuses as elite recruits in the 2014 and 2015 classes. Others have failed to live up to expectations. But the following 10 players have played their way from virtual unknown into bona fide high major recruits.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG APG
Bonzie Colson BABC (Mass.) / 2014 20.1 6.5 1.6

Case in point is Bonzie Colson, an undersized power forward from Rhode Island. Colson -- whose father is an assistant at Boston College -- came into the AAU season with offers from Rhode Island, Vermont, Boston University, Seton Hall, George Washington, Harvard, Fairfield and Quinnipiac.

But Colson should be collecting plenty more offers soon. The rising senior has exploded in the early part of this summer's AAU events, averaging more than 20 points per game for BABC (9-4). Though he may be undersized as a big man, he's clearly one of the more cerebral players on the circuit and hasn't let his 6-foot-6 frame stop him from stat-stuffing the box score.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG
Martin Geben Team Takeover (Md.) / 2014 8.2 7.2

Another player who has exceeded expectations is Team Takeover's Martin Geben. While his team has improved to 13-0 in EYBL play -- the only team still undefeated through three events -- Geben has been steady, averaging a hair over eight points and seven rebounds per game.

The Hagerstown big man had offers from Xavier, Temple and Dayton prior to AAU season, but has since collected offers from Maryland, Notre Dame, Virginia and Villanova, among others. Geben will miss the upcoming EYBL event as he travels to Lithuania to try out for its U19 national team.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG
Aaron Falzon Expressions Elite (Mass.) / 2015 12.2 5.8

Expressions Elite's Aaron Falzon has made quite the splash so far. The rising junior big man plays alongside consensus blue-chip recruit Abdul-Malik Abu for the Massachusetts-based AAU team.

While coaches from all over the country plant themselves at Expressions' games all summer in hopes of landing a commitment from Abu, Falzon's stock will continue to rise. He holds offers from Providence, Boston College, Sacred Heart and Boston University, but Rivals.com reports he has drawn interest from Ohio State and Duke as well.

And best of all, he has an entire AAU season left to play after this year.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG RPG
Julian Richardson California Supreme (Calif.) / 2014 12.2 3.6

California Supreme's Julian Richardson -- whose father, Pooh, played NBA ball for a decade -- has emerged in EYBL play. Julian, a 6-foot-2, 160-pound shooting guard, came into the AAU season with an offer from Fresno State.

But he and blue-chip wing Bennie Boatwright, who holds high major offers from most of the Pac-12, have led the team in scoring through 13 games. And while coaches continue to scout Boatwright -- a top 40 recruit in the class of 2014 -- they'll get a glance at Richardson, whose stock should continue to improve as his numbers continue to impress.

Player AAU Team / Class PPG
Tyler Nelson BABC (Mass.) / 2014 13.2

While Colson collects accolades for his play thus far, another player on BABC -- shooting guard Tyler Nelson -- has turned heads, too. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound sharpshooter ranks second in scoring on the Massachusetts squad with 13.2 points per game. He's established himself as one of the premier three-point threats on the AAU circuit, hitting 38 of his 77 three-point attempts, good for 49%.

And while he holds mostly low major offers from the Ivies and Northeastern schools, his performance through 13 games has cemented himself as an elite sharpshooter on the circuit.