The Maryland Terrapins are on a roll on the recruiting trail. Multiple five-star prospects have visited College Park in the last few weeks and the 2016 recruiting class reaped the benefits of this momentum, as Clifton Park, NY (Shenendehowa) senior Kevin Huerter verbally committed to the Terrapins on Monday.
A commitment wasn't expected, as Huerter scheduled official visits with Michigan for September 12 and Notre Dame on September 25, according to 247sports.com. In an interview with Inside Maryland Sports, Huerter and his father listed his comfort level with the current Terrapin players and their feeling of assistant coach Dustin Clark and head coach Mark Turgeon making him a priority.
Huerter certainly appeared to be a priority, as Georgia senior Brandon Robinson and coach Turgeon mutually agreed to cancel this weekend's visit due to Huerter's commitment.
With the presumption of sophomore guard Melo Trimble on the fast track to the NBA after this upcoming season, the Terrapins will need figure out who will be used to replace the star guard. With 2016 point guard Anthony Cowan committed to Maryland, it's unexpected for Huerter to be used as a lead guard, but with a terrific shooting stroke, look for Huerter to be used more as a shooting guard and possibly a small forward for the Terps.
Huerter lists himself at 6'6, 170 pounds, and with good height and length for the shooting guard position, the prospect will bring a combination of terrific shooting mechanics and passing.
With Trimble possibly out after this year and Cowan en route to College Park next year, Huerter isn't expected to fill in as point guard - Jaylen Brantley and Cowan will be the two point guards used. With above average ball-handling, Huerter can serve as an emergency point guard if needed, but will prove most useful stretching the floor and keeping defenses honest with his three point prowess.
With Dion Wiley and Jarred Nickens set to be juniors by the time Huerter arrives, the off-guard spot will be crowded and playing time could be limited for Huerter in year one. As senior Jake Layman will leave the small forward spot vacant in 2016, the possibility of Huerter or Nickens moving to small forward exists. Head coach Mark Turgeon could rearrange the position listing to have Nickens and Huerter on the court at the same time, giving Maryland two lethal three point shooters.
On defense, Huerter can play a role by disrupting passing lanes, getting deflections and steals. Using his 6'6 frame, the senior won't be an elite defensive stopper right away, but has the ability to disrupt plays and make an impact on defense.
Areas for Improvement
Huerter will need to tighten up his ball-handling in order to be used as a point guard or an effective shooting guard. If defenses can hone in on Huerter's shooting, the chance of becoming stagnant increases with diminished ball-handling skills.
At only 170 pounds, Huerter will need to become good friends with Director of Basketball Performance Kyle Tarp. Tarp has a knack for transforming student-athlete's bodies and getting them in the best shape of their lives. With a full senior season ahead of him and a summer workout plan once he arrives to College Park, there is no doubt Huerter will bulk up.
With deceptive athleticism, Huerter is sneaky on offense, but his defensive footwork and lateral quickness could improve. The ability to guard quicker guards will be tough right away for Huerter.
Huerter has the look of an impact freshman due to his shooting ability and length on defense. After scouting Huerter, I expect him to be a three or four year player within the Maryland program. With the influx of talent in College Park, the Terrapins have the opportunity to be flexible with their roster and move players around if needed. Look for Huerter to play a role as a reserve as a true freshman and contend for a starting role in his sophomore campaign.