Looking Ahead: Maryland's Class of 2015 Recruiting Targets

Streeter Lecka

The Terps are bringing one of the top recruiting classes in the nation to the Big Ten this season. Can they outdo themselves with an even better 2015 recruiting class?

Mark Turgeon and his Terps are bringing some heavy artillery to the B1G this year in the form of the 12th-ranked recruiting class in the nation. Unlike fellow newcomer Rutgers, who appear to be bringing a butter knife to a gun fight, Maryland's group is expected to compete immediately; any B1G freshman hazing will be reserved strictly for the Scarlet Knights.

Everyone has become familiar with Maryland's incoming quintet of baby-faced freshman -- Melo Trimble, Dion WIley, Trayvon Reed, Jared Nickens and Michal Cekovsky. The Terps have nearly 30 offers on the table to everyone from the universally lusted after Diamond Stone to Mamadou Ndiaye, a relatively unknown local commodity.

Turgeon and his staff are armed with several open scholarships and a long list of talented high schoolers they hope to join with this year's highly touted freshman class in College Park.

The question is, who exactly are the big names on Turgeon's list?

Guards

Allonzo Trier -- Shooting Guard, 6-4/185
247sports Rankings: 3rd SG, 20th Overall
High School: Montrose Christian School (Rockville, MD)
The Favorite: Georgetown
In the Mix: Maryland, Baylor, Lousiville, Kansas, Oklahoma

Trier has a very funky, high-arching shot. He's not overly explosive and he's not going to fly over defenders in gravity-defying displays of athletic superiority. What he can do is put the ball in the hoop. He has a penchant for finishing awkward drives to the rim, and his layups display a wonderful touch off the glass. He needs to bulk up and become a better passer -- a blanket statement which can be applied to about 98% of all high school basketball players. Trier has excellent ball-handling skills, an invaluable asset he puts to work both on the break and in half-court sets. Trier is adept at creating space between him and the defender in order to get a shot off. Despite his smaller frame, he is actually an excellent finisher through contact. The thought of Trimble and Trier in the backcourt together is enough to send chills down the spines of every B1G coach. Fortunately for them Georgetown appears to be the frontrunner for Trier's services, but Maryland does have an outside shot of landing the talented guard. (Note: 247sports rankings may be a bit dated. Most scout services have Trier listed at 6-5 and an even 200 pounds.)

****
Josh Reaves -- SG, 6-4/185
247Sports Rankings: 23rd SG, 89th Overall
High School: Paul VI Catholic (Fr.-Jr.)/Oak Hill Academy (Sr.)
The Favorite: Villanova
In the Mix: Maryland, Penn State, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Boston College, VCU

Reaves is fresh off a breakout junior season at Paul VI Catholic (Fairfax, Va.) and an impressive showing at the Nike EYBL that have made him the object of affection for several east coast basketball programs. He appears to have limitless energy on the court, bounding up and down on both sides with an effortless athleticism. Reaves spent this past season polishing his offensive game, adding a consistent jumper and an enhanced ability to finish his strong drives to the rim. Despite being a 6-4 guard, the bouncy Reaves rebounds and blocks shots like someone four or five inches taller. Reaves may one day turn into a go-to offensive player, but his true value lies in his defensive capabilities. At just 17-years old, he brings a Tony Allen-like intensity to the game that -- especially at the collegiate level, where coaches often inherit players who only care about the game with the ball in their hands -- far exceeds most of his class contemporaries. Right now, there isn't really a program that stands out as a clear cut "favorite" to land Reaves. Presently, Villanova may hold a slight edge, but this is really anyone's game.

****
Chris Clarke -- SG, 6-5/170
247Sports Rankings: 32nd SG, 138th Overall
High School: Cape Henry Collegiate School(Virginia Beach, Va.)
The Favorite: Maryland
In the Mix: Minnesota, Creighton, Tennessee, Iowa State, Kansas State, Virginia Tech

Six-and-a-half feet of excitement. Clarke can be found flying down the court, glorious dreadlocks swaying back and forth with each long stride as he glides to the hoop, prepared to unleash a torrent of kinetic energy on a poor, unsuspecting rim. The gravity-defying swingman has the motor of a Corvette, but exudes level-headedness and composure on the court at all times, thanks in large part to a lifetime of training under his father, a former U.S. Marine. Clarke's athleticism grants him above-average rebounding and defensive capabilities for someone his size. He has the makings of an excellent slasher on offense and has shown a willingness to dish off to his teammates in creative -- and effective -- ways. Clarke should be able to guard 1s, 2s and 3s at the next level, especially as he continues to grow and add muscle to his still wiry frame.

****
Justin Robinson -- PG, 6-1/170
247Sports Rankings: 26th PG, 122nd Overall
High School: St. James School (MD)
The Favorite: ???
In the Mix: Maryland, Virginia Tech, Illinois, UMass, Providence, Memphis, UNLV, Old Dominion

Robinson earned a spot on the national radar after leading St. James to a 22-5 record while averaging 14.6 points and 7.9 assists per game this past season. He currently plays for uber-talented Boo Williams in the EYBL. Robinson has the makings of an excellent floor general. He has a very quick first step and penetration ability, yet never seems to be hurrying on the hardwood. The young point guard already knows how to control a tempo, showcasing the headiness to know when to look for his own shot and when to get his teammates involved. Defensively, he has active hands and likes to play up on his man. Robinson claims he is a huge Allen Iverson fan, but his game more closely resembles that of a certain point guard who attended Wake Forest and now resides in L.A. (Don't freak out. I'm not comparing him to Chris Paul. He has a similar mindset, nothing more.) Another season of developing his playmaking ability and jumper could turn Robinson into an even more coveted prospect. As of now, his recruitment is wide open.

Forwards/Centers

Diamond Stone -- C, 6-10/246
247Sports Rankings: 1st C, 4th Overall
High School: Dominican High School (Whitefish Bay, Wis.)
The Favorite: Kentucky
In the Mix: Wisconsin, Duke, Kansas, Michigan State, UConn, Maryland, Arizona, Indiana

Nearly every major program in the nation is fawning over Diamond Stone. In high school, many big men dominate simply on size alone. Stone dominates the game with power, polish and persistence. Stone worked tirelessly this past season to chisel his body, dropping body fat while increasing mobility. He has the ability to step out and knock down the 15-footer with relative ease, especially against smaller competition. Stone lacks most of the awkward movement so often attributed to young men with prodigious size. He runs the floor well and can finish with either hand. Stone is a load to handle in the paint, and once his feet get planted it's hard to push him off the block. He has great hands for a big; think the opposite of Kendrick Perkins or Roy Hibbert. Stone is an adept passer, a less polished version of Kevin Love in that regard. According to recent reports, Stone and 6-3 combo guard prospect Malik Newman consider themselves a package deal. Landing this pair for the 2015-2016 campaign would be a coup for any program. This is a long shot for Turgeon and the Terps, and unfortunately, the big man may land somewhere else in the B1G (WIS or MSU).

****
Georgios Papagiannis -- C, 7-1/235
247Sports Rankings: 10th C, 39th Overall
High School: Westtown School (West Chester, Pa.)
The Favorite: Maryland
In the Mix: Kansas, Penn State, Villanova, Temple

Papagiannis towers over the realm of high school basketball, standing a ridiculous 7-1 with an excellent wingspan. Papagiannis hails from Greece, where, at the age of 14, he became the youngest player to ever play in the modern era of the Greek Basketball League. The lanky center led Greece to gold at the 2013 World Under-16 Basketball Tournament in Turkey with his superior defense and smooth shooting stroke. Like many European big men, Papagiannis has the ability to step out and knock down a jumper. But he is comfortable both in and out of the post, facing up and backing down. He is still adapting to the American game where low post play is more intense, but he doesn't fear contact. He moves very nimbly for a 7-footer and is an excellent help defender, serving as a safety net for his teammates under the hoop. Adding Papagiannis would give Maryland THREE legitimate 7-footers (along with Cekovsky and Reed).

****

Marcus Sheffield -- SF, 6-5/170
247Sports Rankings: 17th SF, 86th Overall
High School: Chattahoochee High School (Johns Creek, Ga.)
The Favorite: Maryland
In the Mix: Clemson, Tennessee, Florida State, Georgi, Xavier, VCU

Sheffield's got a sweet stroke. A quick release allows him to get a shot off regardless of what type of defense he is facing. He can pull up in transition and nail a mid-range J with relative ease, à la Russell Westbrook (minus Westbrook's insane athleticism and speed, which no one in the world can match). Despite a lack or prototypical size for a 3, Sheffield's athleticism, length and range make up for a lack of strength and height. Scouts really love what this kid can bring to the table. He has the makings of a prodigious scoring threat and an excellent defender. His potential has schools salivating. The Terps appear to be the favorites right now, but competition for his services is likely to ratchet up in the coming months.

****

Esa Ahmad -- PF, 6-7/218
247Sports Rankings: 12th PF, 58th Overall
High School: Shaker Heights High School (Shaker Heights, Ohio)
The Favorite: Ohio State
In the Mix: Maryland, West Virginia, Indiana, Xavier, Dayton, Clemson, Rutgers

A rising star in the Class of 2015, Esa Ahmad is a versatile, jack-of-all-trades forward out of Shaker Heights, Ohio. He averaged 26.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2 blocks and 2 steals per game his this past season, leading his team in every major statistical category as a junior. Ahmad already has 19 scholarship offers, a number that should only increase as whispers of his name spread throughout the nation. Ahmad is a powerful forward unafraid to put the ball on the floor and bully his way to the rim, using his advanced strength and size. Ahmad has developed into a tremendous passer, a huge asset when facing constant double-teams. Ahmad has nice touch and a smooth jumper. If he shows the ability to be a consistent 38-40% three-point threat this kid could turn into something special at the next level. Thad Matta and Ohio State are the current leaders in the clubhouse, but Ahmad has stated he will not narrow down his ever-expanding list of possible destinations until this summer.

Other Top 100 Targets

  1. Cheick Diallo -- PF, 6-9/218. 2nd PF, 5th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Kentucky.
  2. Jaylen Brown -- SF, 6-7/207. 2nd SF, 7th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Kentucky.
  3. Carlton Bragg -- PF, 6-8/205. 3rd PF, 9th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Kentucky. (Are you noticing a theme?)
  4. Doral Moore -- C, 7-0/220. 5th C, 25th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Kentucky. (This seems unfair.)
  5. Daniel Giddens -- C, 6-10/235. 11th C, 40th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Ohio State.
  6. Jalen Adams -- PG, 6-2/170. 7th PG, 41st Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: UConn.
  7. Danjel Purifoy -- SF, 6-6/190. 9th SF, 45th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Auburn.
  8. Horace Spencer -- PF, 6-8/215. 11th PF, 57th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: UNLV.
  9. Josh Sharma -- PF, 6-11/215. 14th PF, 70th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Wisconsin
  10. Bryant Crawford -- PG, 6-2/170. 17th PG, 76th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Louisville.
  11. Donovan Mitchell -- SG, 6-3/180. 21st SG, 87th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Providence.
  12. Alex Owens -- PF, 6-8/220. 21st PF, 97th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: LSU.
  13. Terrence Mann -- SG, 6-5/180. 26th SG, 99th Overall. 247 Crystal Ball: Georgetown.
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