DBR Recruiting Report 12/19/2008

Gary Williams and Rob Ehsan were in New York last Saturday, watching Taran Buie’s Bishop Maginn squad beat Tobias Harris’s Long Island Lutheran team 63-60. Buie scored 24 points while Tobias Harris was held to 13 points. Harris had foul trouble (3 fouls before halftime) and Bishop Maginn double teamed him whenever he had the ball. I posted this info in another thread but felt it was worth repeating.

It’s starting to look like it’s between Notre Dame and UMD for Buie.

In addition to Buie, DeMatha’s Victor Oladipo, Lake Clifton’s Will Barton, and Montrose Christian’s Terrence Ross all are considering UMD.

Isaiah Epps begins his season tonight (weather permitting). I sense no significant changes in his recruitment during his season. He’s been firm that spring is when he’ll decide. It appears to be down to Pitt and UMD but don’t be surprised to see some other schools attempt to get into the mix with him.

April 2009 will be a CRITICAL month for Terp recruiting. UMD’s season will be over and the AAU circuit will fire up. Evaluations will be completed and 2010 recruits will begin giving verbal commitments. Then, of course we’ll turn to the class of 2011 where as many as five spots will be open.

As for this year, the million dollar question is who/when will someone step up consistently in the paint? How the Terps are going to match up against Hansbrough/Thompson at UNC; Booker/Sykes at Clemson; Singler at Duke; Allen at VT; Costner/McCauley at NCSU? If the guards aren’t playing lights out against those teams it’s gonna be a struggle.

On that note, Braxton Dupree had a meeting with Gary Williams prior to the Delaware State game. Word is that GW told him he needs to work harder, specifically he needs to be better at rebounding and being a finisher when he gets the ball inside and not really worry about anything else.

IMHO the next couple of weeks are crucial for BD. Classes/finals are over so he’ll have a few weeks of being able to focus on nothing but basketball. He needs to get out of this funk he’s in stay positive and stay focused and work on his weaknesses. We need him to play better for this team to have success this season.


DBR Update 12/12/2008

As reported yesterday, the Terps thin front line got thinner as Jerome Burney is out anywhere from 3-6 weeks with a stress fracture on the bottom of his foot.  Let’s all wish Rome a full and speedy recovery.  If you’re looking for a silver lining in this injury take solace in the fact that after tonight the Terps have 10 days off (that’s almost 2 of the 6 weeks).  Meanwhile, this provides an opportunity for other bigs to rise to the occasion starting with tonight’s game against Delaware State.

While the Terps are about to play their 9th game of the season, the coaching staff staff has been hard at work on the recruiting trail.  I’ve posted several times how critical the class of 2010 is to the program and now some new names have surfaced in that class.  At first it appeared the Terps class of 2010 would be a PG, a SG and some type of forward.  But given the current state of our ‘bigs’ I now feel that getting a big man in 2010 is critical.  To that end, the Terps have been out to see Darnell Turner play.  He’s 6-8, 240 lbs, from the Blue Ridge School in Dyke.

I’ve been told that Maryland will be in attendance at tomorrow’s game between Bishop Maginn (Taran Buie) and Long Island Lutheran (Tobias Harris).

The Terps are recruiting two players at Miller School (close to Charlottesville, VA), Hippolyte Tsafack, a 6-8 PF and Mychal Parker, a 6-6 G-F.

Tsafack has a high level of interest in UMD and took an unofficial visit to College Park over the Thanksgiving weekend.
He’s considered a warrior type of player similar to James Padgett.  And much like Padgett, Tsafack doesn’t get a lot of touches on offense due to the teams talented perimeter players.

Parker has a long list of schools interested in him and he already has scholarship offers from  Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and has drawn interest from Florida, North Carolina, and others.  Some feel Parker could be the most skilled swingman in the class of 2010.

Speaking of Padgett, I watched his game on ESPN last night and was encouraged by what I saw. He appears to have good hands, works hard, knows what to do with the ball although he gets few touches.  He needs to work on his FT shooting.  Summary…a taller, stronger version of Dino Gregory.

Someone asked about SG Anthony Wroten.  Word is he was ruled academically ineligible to attend the HS he wanted to attend (guess he was trying to transfer?) so he clearly has academic issues and may not be able to play any ball this season.  This could lead to a reclassification of his recruitment class (currently he’s a 2011 recruit).  UMD has not offered him a ‘ship at this point in time but Tennessee has (evidently UT will admit anyone).

Let’s all hope for a breakout game from Cliff Tucker tonight…of course he’ll need minutes to do that.


DBR Recruiting Update – 12/05/2008

The Terps are quite active on the trail for top talent in the class of 2010, and they’re also quietly working on the class of 2011 and 2012 but for today here’s an update on the class of 2010:
Pe’Shon Howard was at UMD for a two day unofficial visit last week. Howard is a 6-2 junior combo guard, who plays for Oak Hill Academy. He is said to be a “Big Ten” type guard, strong, physical, and tough, with pretty good skills, has played both PG and 2G. He is definitely a person of interest to UMD, particularly if the Terps miss out on Isaiah Epps.
Also in for an unofficial visit recently was 6-8, 230 lb insider Hippolyte Tsafack, a junior from Cameroon, who currently plays for the Miller School near Charlottesville, VA.
Terps have offered a ‘ship to SF Mychal Parker, a native of North Carolina. Parker has offers from Maryland, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Clemson to name a few, and is also being looked at by Florida and Miami. Word is that he’s a smooth, athletic, scoring machine from the “3” spot.
Great to see the Terps are working these kids…staying in touch…inviting them for unofficials in the 2010 class, and covering all their bases. Though only three ships currently are available, it appears the Terps are preparing for the possibly of needing to bring in 4 players in this class. With the guys mentioned above, plus Epps, Taran Buie, Barton, Regan (who scored 23 points in 17 minutes in his season opener) Victor Oladipo, and (IMHO) long shots Roscoe Smith and Tobias Harris; the Terps have a very good list to work from.
I mentioned in the Michigan game thread that Oladipo was at the game. He was in the locker room following the game being chatted up by Gary and staff and word is he enjoyed himself on his visit.
I had hoped to make it to Taran Buie’s season opener tonight but that is now looking like a long shot for me, perhaps I’ll be able to attend the Tuesday night game and give my first hand evaluation following that.

Big Terps Weekend and DBR report

Tonight is the start of huge weekend for Terps fans. Aside from a “are we able to beat mid-major teams by 20 points consistently” game against Vermont tonight; the Football Terps square off against Florida State for a must-win game.

Vermont is likely a Tournament team come March. However, if tonight’s game winds up ending like last year’s Northeastern game; I may have to stab myself with a compass. A solid win tonight and I feel like we can say that real progress has occured from last year.

As for football; the boys close-out Byrd Stadium tomorrow with a chance to get to 8 wins. If they win; the Terps will have earned the right to compete against Boston College for the right to play for the ACC Championship. The Terps still have a lot of business to take care of; but it all starts with beating Florida State. The Fridge will the team ready. If I’m not mistaken; the Terps can close-out a perfect season at home for the first time since 2001. Let’s get it done

Before I get to DBR’s latest update; I’d like to send along a link from our friends at the ACC Report. They have a nice little piece about the Football Terps. Enjoy.

Now for DBR:

After watching two games on ACC Select none of our questions have been answered by our big men. I’d love for Braxton to give us 10 points a game, but at this point I’d settle for some REBOUNDS. Braxton, and his back ups must rebound or it’s going to be a long and frustrating season for the Terps and their fans. Steve Goins will likely get more playing time down the line, but the coaches must feel that he is not quite there yet. But clearly, if Jordan Williams and James Padgett arrive in tip-top shape next season they will get minutes and get them from game one.
Sean Mosley has some lingering effects of missing practice time with the sprained ankle. But he’s able to do things while on the court that help this team. As he gets more practice and playing time he’ll adjust quickly enough.
JSK has given the team offensive energy off the bench. How wonderful is it to have a guy come off the bench looking to shoot and can hit it from almost anywhere? As I mentioned back in the early part of fall, he does lose his man on defense from time to time so work is still needed there.
As far as recruiting goes…lots of chatter about people close to Will Barton wanting him to go to college close to home. Will Regan had a terrific time on his UMD visit. Wants to major in business and knows there are lots of business opportunities in the DC area. Talked about an Under Armor internship if he was a UMD student. While at UMD Regan met Lefty, Tom McMillen, Joe Tydings, and Congressman Steny Hoyer.

He’s going to take his time visiting schools and likely make a decision after his HS season ends. He mentioned that playing at the next level with his AAU teammate Taran Buie would be “fun”. Epps wants to play on the same team as Buie too…Buie must be a freakin’ magnet.

The Terps front court <i>could</i> get crowded starting with the 2010 season. Dupree and Burney would be seniors, Goins a junior. But Baxter, Wilcox, Holden, and Randle managed to all get quality playing time while helping us to back-to-back final fours.
Regan can play inside or out. Can take his game as far as 20 feet from the basket according to his HS Coach. He’s not an above the rim/flashy player but is very skilled.

The Terps are also in the mix with wing players Victor Oladipo, Leek Leek, and Daryus Quarles. As for Roscoe Smith, I’d be very surprised if he pops to UMD. He wants to go to UNC and Georgetown appears to be his 2nd choice. As far as his recruitment goes, think Terrell Vinson. In other words, Terps are involved but other schools are simply ahead of us. Even though the Terps have offered and other schools haven’t done so.

As discussed here, scholarship numbers and the play of our current bigs during this season, will be factors in how 2010 recruiting plays out. I’m told the Terps would like to bring in 4 recruits for 2010 but a ship would have to open up for that to happen.
Tonight’s game won’t be an easy win for the Terps, Vermont has solid bigs. I think that for a win tonight, getting off to a quicker start offensively than we did in the first two games is important.

DBR update 11/7/2008

The Terps definitely laid an egg last night. Cosh has to go. He’s going against a QB with a bum ankle and he doesn’t blitz? What is wrong with him? Force the QB to beat for chissake!

The Terps still control their own destiny. If they can take care of business at home, they should go to a nice bowl. As for the basketball team, w’ll get our first chance to see them this weekend against Rollie Massimino’s team. Let’s hope for less than 10 turnovers.

From DBR:

There’s been some postings here about possible transfers and certainly, attrition is always possible in the spring, but it would appear that if that happens, the Terps would likely save any ‘ships for the Class of 2010. The majority of players in the 2009 class will sign between 11/12 and 11/19. Any other 4-star or 5-star guys unsigned after that most likely have off court issues, academic issues, or are thinking about playing overseas.
If everyone returns for next season we should expect David Pearman to return to “walk-on” status. So for now the focus of recruitment will be on the all important 2010 class, and set up for the classes of 2011 (with Burney, Dupree, Gregory, Bowie , and Tucker ALL scheduled to leave in three years that will be a huge class for UMD) and 2012.
As far as recruit visits, Will Regan visits next weekend, for the Bucknell game, and then the UNC football game. UMD was one of the first schools to offer Regan but Arizona State, Michigan, and Stanford have been pushing hard. The Terps will need to show lots of love on the visit in order to stay in the mix. Regan is a versatile 6-8+ big man, with inside/outside skills and is equally terrific in the classroom.
Terps and Fighting Irish seem to lead for Taran Buie. Pitt and Terps appear to lead for Epps. Roscoe Smith is still waiting for an offer from UNC and should pop to them when he gets it.
Former Terps recruit, and son of John Lucas, Jai Lucas transferred from Florida. Since we have three players that can play the point on the team right now, I don’t expect the Terps to show interest (and we don’t have any ‘ships available at this time). Frankly, I expect Lucas to either wind up at Rice, Houston, or Oklahoma State.
For tomorrow’s exhibition game we could see the following starting five: PG- Hayes, SG- Vasquez, SF- Mosley, PF- Milbourne, C- Dupree. Bowie, Gregory and Burney off the bench. Mosley rolled his ankle in practice and if it’s a problem either Tucker or Bowie would start.

Jin Soo Kim Declared Eligible by NCAA Clearinghouse!

The headline says it all folks: Here’s the press release:


Freshman earns clearance from NCAA

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The NCAA Clearinghouse has ruled Jin Soo Kim eligible for the 2008-09 men’s basketball season, head coach Gary Williams announced Monday.

The 6-foot-8 freshman forward from South Kent, Conn., will begin practice with the team on Wednesday.

““The Maryland basketball team is very happy for Jin Soo,” said Williams.

Doug Dull
Associate A.D.-Media Relations
University of Maryland

DBR Update – 10/31/08

Happy Halloween folks.

Not much going on this week with the football team on bye and basketball season yet to get underway.  I’ve been trying to write a basketball preview for weeks and I just can’t seem to a get a sense of this team.  I’m sure I’m not the only one. It will be a wild ride in College Park this year.  More to come on this later.  For now, here is the latest from DBR:

Lots of speculation about the Jin Soo Kim situation, but until we hear a final decision has been made , that’s all it is…speculation. It’s really an effin’ mess as JSK is already behind in terms of learning the system, practice time and conditioning (although he may have been slowed there by recovery from shoulder surgery). You’d have to think that the coaches have an 8-9 man rotation in mind by now.
JSK’s status affects recruiting, as the numbers are tight, and the Terps are still, pursuing Arsalan Kazemi, 6-7. However I’m told that Rice may be the leader for Kazemi as that school is in Houston and Houston is where Kazemi’s adviser lives. Also, Kazemi stands a better chance of stepping right in and getting major minutes as a freshman at Rice. Kazemi visits UMD in about a week.
Clearly a ‘ship would have to be available in order for UMD to sign Kazemi this fall. If JSK gets rejected by the NCAA, then we have a ‘ship. However you’d have to think that UMD would honor Kim’s commitment and he could sign with the Terps next fall, if all his academics are in order. Right now it’s ‘hurry up and wait’. A final decision should be coming in the next week or so, if not today, depending on yet another possible appeal.  It’s Halloween so lets hope the NCAA Clearinghouse gives UMD a treat today.
A new recruit has popped up on UMD’s radar for 2010 and it’s 6-6 SF Daryus Quarles. Word is that he’s terrific shooter.\

A Note from DBR – 10/24/08

Before we get into DBR’s latest from the recruiting trail; the Terps need to care of business on Saturday. No excuses. If we aren’t 6-2 24 hours from now, I am giving up on the season (not really, but I am damn tired of the inconsistency).

As for the updae, I can’t tell you how excited I am for the Leek Leek era. I don’t care about the kid’s skills. This needs to happen.

The week started off great with the commitment of Jordan Williams (JW plans to sign a LOI with UMD on 11/12), and then we hit a speed bump with the news about Jin Soo Kim.
Lots was discussed yesterday about JSK’s status so I won’t rehash that only to say that “time keeps on tickin, tickin” into the future and I’m not feeling to confident this will work out in JSK/UMD’s favor. This underscores the Terps efforts with Arsalan Kazemi. He has taken the SAT’s and has an offer from UMD. Kazemi wants to sign early and from what I’m told Rice & UMD are his leaders. However Kazemi wants to play a lot as a freshman and that, along with his advisor living in Houston, could tip the scale in Rice’s favor. Kazemi is a 6-7 combo forward and is scheduled to visit College Park on 11/8.
No feedback from Roscoe Smith or anyone that tripped with him to Maryland Madness. I kinda got the feeling that the main reason he came was to show support for his friend Sean Mosley. Word is that Smith is VERY high on UNC and the Tar Heels are showing interest but have not yet offered. Everyone I talk to indicate that as soon as UNC offer’s Smith a schollie he’ll pop to them.
Meanwhile, the coaches continue to do a good job of identifying recruits EARLY and getting them on campus for visits. Today two recruits will be making unofficial visits along with their coach…someone named Keith Gatlin LOL.
The players are 7-0 freshman (class of 2012) Deng Leek, and his brother , 6-6 Leek Leek, a sophomore (class of 2011).
In other recruiting news, Junior forward Marcus Thornton, 6-8, is scheduled to make an unofficial visit on Monday. And, a kid DBR would love to see UMD get, junior forward/center Will Regan will be on campus on November 14 for the game against Bucknell, and will stay over for the football game against UNC.

Terps have an open practice at 12:15pm on Saturday.

Jordan Williams Commits to Maryland

As has been widely reported; Jordan Williams verbally committed to Gary Williams today. It was also reported that Gary Williams had no idea what Jordan was committing to; as it had been that long since Gary had actually recruited anyone. OK, I made that up. I couldn’t resist.

Seriously, this is a huge win for Maryland and in particular Coach Williams. Everyone knows how much he hates to recruit, but Gary clearly put in the time with this kid. He made Jordan feel wanted and really sold the program.

Jordan Williams is a guy you build around. Maryland can place him alongside fellow recruit James Padgett and boom; there is Maryland’s froncourt for the next four years.

Now, I haven’t had the chance to see Jordan Williams play; I will defer to the more knowledgable on that front. I just know the following: He is a big-time recruit of the four-star variety. Can someone name me that last four-star big man that Gary Williams nabbed out of high school from a state other than Maryland? (for the record, James Gist was a four-star player out of Good Counsel in Wheaton, MD in 2004). My guess is Chris Wilcox, but that is going back to 2000. (Can someone verify this?)

So to recap, this is the first top quality big man THIS DECADE (Wilcox signed his LOI in 1999) that Gary Williams has recruited. The last sentence tells you everything you need to know about the last five years of Maryland Basketball.

As such, I’m excited for what the Jordan Williams saga symbolozes: a rededicated Gary Williams. He has seen the error of his ways and has put forth the necessary effort to bring home the bacon. The fact that he was rewarded with Jordan Williams saying “yes” proves that hard work pays off. I’m sure that Jordan Williams will be great and hopefully, his name will hang from the rafters one day. For now, I’m just going to celebrate the fact that a 63 year-old man still has the fight in him to succeed in the ACC.

Maybe the tide has turned for the Terps. The start of the season is a month away and there will be plenty of locker room material in the form of preseason predictions to motivate the team. One thing is for certain. The coach still has the desire to win.

A Recruiting Note From DBR

We are starting a new feature here at Turtle Soup. Approximately, once per week (or whenver he has something juicy), our very own Diamondback Russ (aka DBR) will be sending me his recruiting update. For those unfamiliar, DBR has routinely made comments under various Turtle Soup posts over the years. Those comments are chock full of information that comes from an “un-named source” who is close to the program.
Here is the first installment….
This could change but here is the current UMD scholarship availability:
2009- 2 (Neal plus one available)
2010- 3 (Hayes, Vasquez, Milbourne)
2011- 5 (Burney, Dupree, Gregory, Tucker, Bowie)
GW has been doing some traveling to evaluate players. He recently was in NY at Long Island Lutheran HS to watch 6-7 junior forward Tobias Harris. He also drove over to Montrose Christian to check out a junior swingman and a 6-5 freshman.

Class of 2010
Chuck Drisell and Robert Ehsan were in town (Albany, NY) yesterday to observe Taran Buie at a work out. I was unable to get down to Bishop Maginn HS to see the workout or talk to the coaches. My boss wouldn’t let me bounce early. He just doesn’t understand how important UMD B-Ball is to my well being :) Buie is headed to Notre Dame this weekend for an unofficial visit. Forward Will Regan from Buffalo will be tripping to Notre Dame with Buie. I’m told Regan can score down low, works his butt off, and has a nice touch. And is terrific in the classroom.

Buie will be at Maryland Madness. I believe Regan will be too, but my sources haven’t confirmed that with me yet.

Isaiah Epps has trimmed his list of schools. He currently lists Maryland, Pitt, and Rutgers as the leaders with Texas getting involved recently. Epps has already made one visit to College Park and will visit again for Maryland Madness. Pitt could pick up another 2010 guard in the next few weeks, something to watch for because that surely would not hurt our chances.
Epps and Taran Buie are friends and recently played on the same team in the Nike IS8 Fall League in NYC. They compliment each other very well on the court.
Epps would be a HUGE get in a class where we’ll need some guards. He doesn’t expect to decide on a school until spring so we’ll hear lots more about ‘Zeke’ over the coming months.

Class of 2009

With just two scholarships available for the 2009 class and one claimed by Padgett, getting JW or Arsalan Kazemi would be a successful recruiting class. Getting both, which could happen depending some other stuff, would be a bonus, and would allow the coaches to concentrate on perimeter players in 2010.
Jordan Williams is visiting St. John’s this weekend on his official visit. Hopefully on Monday I’ll have some follow up info on where St. John’s stand in his recruitment. JW has no other visits scheduled but I wouldn’t be surprised if he tripped to Marquette, Providence, and UMass. I look at it this way: if JW makes a quick decision, it will most likely be UMD. If it plays out past the fall signing period could be trouble BUT I wouldn’t necessarily panic because he blew up suddenly late in the summer and the recruiting process is new to him. Ultimately he may want to take more campus trips for comparisons. But UMD is in a good position with JW right now.

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