Mark Turgeon has been busy of late, handing out scholarship offers like one of those crazed prophets on the sidewalk that pass out pamphlets touting their "completely sane" organization as humanity's one true salvation. I'd wager Turgeon is avoiding the crazed prophet approach, but he does have an excellent organization to sell.
Maryland currently has five available scholarships for 2015 and six for 2016. Turgeon is strutting into Maryland's inaugural Big Ten season with one of the best recruiting classes in the nation, a trend he hopes to continue by nabbing a few of the players listed below.
Class of 2015
Markis McDuffie -- 6-7, 185 lbs. Small Forward. No. 27 SF, No. 139 National.
The St. Anthony's (N.J.) product is coming off a stellar showing at the Reebok Breakout Classic (July 8-11). The stringy wing averaged just under 10 points per game while connecting on only 25% of his three's. Not exactly breathtaking numbers, even against a bevy of top 100 prospects.
McDuffie's praise stems from defensive ability, point-forward potential and a smooth, albeit inconsistent, jumper. The senior's game calls to mind the "Greek Freak" Giannis Antetokounmpo -- seemingly endless limbs, a game split between gawky and graceful and a hopeful sense of boundless potential.
Maryland has offered 2015 SF Markis McDuffie of Sports U (NJ).— Alex Kline (@TheRecruitScoop) July 28, 2014
Christian James -- 6-4, 180 lbs. Shooting Guard. No. 48 SG, No. 176 National.
James, much like McDuffie, greatly improved his stock during the July Live recruiting period. The scintillating shooting guard averaged 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 62% at Nike's EYBL Peach Jam finals (July 16-20). James is almost always an offensive aggressor, blending a mixed bag of tricks -- including several nifty spin moves that transform James into a potent offensive whirling dervish -- to keep defenders off balance. The Texas senior possesses a sweet stroke to go along with his tantalizing offensive potential. Unlike most young wings, James has shown a commitment to defense augmented by his athletic prowess and knowledge of the game.
Back in November, James listed Oregon, Maryland and Texas as his three favorites. With his name currently gaining traction, it's possible that any number of basketball powers could swoop in to try and steal one of the Lone Star state's most talented prospects.
Alex Illikainen -- 6-9, 210 lbs. Power Forward. No. 24 PF, No. 103 National.
A stretch four with a solid low post game, the former hockey player has become a basketball revelation in the ice-dominated state. Illikainen will be taking his talents to Brewster Academy (N.H.) this year to finish his high school career against competition more suited to his skill level.
Illikainen was in the midst of an exceptional EYBL campaign before breaking his nose at the Peach Jam. The senior finished the EYBL season shooting 43% (29-67) from behind the arc, proving his worth as a true stretch forward. Illikainen's game is extremely polished for this stage in his development, being labeled as a "high IQ" player by nearly every coach or scout that he comes into contact with. Minnesota is the current front-runner for his services, with recent reports saying it's almost a done deal that the talented prospect returns to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for what should be an exceptional college career.
Jarvis Johnson -- 6-1, 170 lbs. Point Guard. No. 25 PG, No. 128 National.
If Johnson has proven anything in his short time as vaunted basketball prospect, it's that he's a winner. The Minnesota native has won three consecutive state titles for De La Salle High School (Minn.).
Despite running the point, Johnson is really more of a scoring threat. He's explosive, exciting and erratic. His shot selection is wildly inconsistent, but when he's on the diminutive guard can put points up faster than the scoreboard technician can add them. In terms of playing style, Johnson is more Nate Robinson than John Stockton, but his stature will relegate him to to point guard.
Athletically, few are as gifted. Johnson is intense, animated and exciting. If he can learn how to approach the game with a bit more aplomb he could be one of the more dynamic scoring threats in the Big Ten.
Following from recent reports, it is very likely Johnson ends up a Golden Gopher, remaining to play in the state he calls home.
Jarvis Johnson (Pulley/DeLaSalle) has picked up offers from California and Maryland. Jarvis is a Rivals150 PG. @NorthstarAlex— Ryan James (@RyanJamesMN) July 30, 2014
Class of 2016
Tony Carr -- 6-3, 170 lbs. Point Guard. Unranked in 247Sports Composite.
You prove yourself on Broadway, you get recognized. Tony Carr did just that in the Nike EYBL 16U Peach Jam finals, going off for 31 points and gunning for immortal status. With Carr's Team Final down 63-55 in the championship game with just over two minutes remaining, Carr briefly donned a cape, scoring eight straight points to bring the game into overtime. Team Final would fall in the end, but the Herculean effort from Carr was the true crowning performance of the day.
Despite the scoring prowess displayed at Peach Jam, the slender Philadelphia native is more of a true point guard by nature. By using an aggressive speed to enter the land of the bigs and draw defenders, Carr has proven himself more than adept at setting his teammates up for open buckets. His shot is still lacking consistency, but the Roman Catholic (Pa.) floor general has spoken about committing himself to changing that this summer.
Carr plans to visit Maryland, along with Penn State, sometime in August.
2016 Roman Catholic guard Tony Carr has new offers from Maryland and Penn State. (via @jmverlin)— inRecruit (@inRecruit) July 23, 2014
Alterique Gilbert -- 5-9, 150 lbs. Point Guard. No. 18 PG, No. 88 National.
When you're this small, you need to have one transcendent skill to make it; Dana Barros could knock down a three from any spot on the floor. Ty Lawson makes everyone on the court look like Wild E. Coyote, while he plays the part of the Road Runner. Spudd Webb, at 5-6, was arguably the most gifted athlete to ever lace up for an NBA team. Those are transcendent skills
Not quite in the same class as those legends, Gilbert nonetheless has his own powerful skill: an ability to score form anywhere on the court. There's rarely any defender that can stay in front of Carr without some help. Quick and decisive, Carr navigates his way through the mine field down low like a veteran captain. At Peach Jam Gilbert may have been at his finest, dropping consecutive games of 22, 21, 17 and 31 points on 52% shooting. Probably closer to 5-11 than 5-9, Gilbert is still one of most exciting players you're likely to see on the hardwood.
Maryland offers 2016 PG Alterique Gilbert. Had a monster showing at Peach Jam with CP3. Can score from anywhere on the court.— Derek Piper (@Future150DPiper) July 22, 2014
Brandon Robinson -- 6-5, 170 lbs. Combo Guard. No. 14 CG, No. 65 National.
A mature combo guard, Robinson has a proven ability to get nearly any shot off against even the most stringent defense. The Georgia product is coming off of an eye-opening performance at the 16U Peach Jam earlier this month.
Robinson has a little Jamal Crawford to his game. The slender frame, off-the-bounce jumpers, fanciful passes. Robinson has even developed a habit of making those abstract, off-balance trick shots that Crawford seemingly gets to go several times a game. His game is still developing, searching for more of a balance between offensive attacker and point guard responsibility. Regardless of the positional label next to Robinson's name, he can, and will, do everything a coach asks to help win a game.
2016 Guard Brandon Robinson Talks New Terps Offer: On Monday, Maryland continued their pursuit for a guard whe... http://t.co/4eLi8i3eQF— Maryland Terps Hoops (@TerpsHoopsNews) July 24, 2014