Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon picked up his second commitment for 2016 with the recent verbal commit from New York shooting guard Kevin Huerter. Huerter is the second commit currently for Maryland in 2016, joining point guard Anthony Cowan. Like Cowan, both prospects are four-star recruits that signify Maryland is continuing to pick up steam on the recruiting trails.
It took Turgeon a few years to get the ball rolling at Maryland, missing out on the NCAA Tournament in his first three seasons in College Park before finally getting over the hump in his fourth year. While Maryland had missed out on the tournament for the last few seasons, Turgeon was quietly building a formidable program out of the limelight. The 2014 recruiting class was definitely a huge building block for the Terps when Turgeon managed to land a pair of four star guards in Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley, while also adding another formidable player in Jared Nickens and bringing in transfer Robert Carter Jr. (who will be eligible this season after sitting out last year). Turgeon continued to work his magic as he was able to keep Trimble and Jake Layman in school, landed dynamite five-star center Diamond Stone and added some valuable depth at the point guard position with Duke transfer Rasheed Sulaimon.
Maryland went from being a Big Ten addition that many conference fans weren't thrilled on to being one of the conference's best basketball programs basically over night. Now that Turgeon is starting to find success at Maryland, the key will be to continue luring marquee talent and keep Maryland at the top of the Big Ten. After the addition of Stone this year and a pair of four-star commits already in 2016, it appears he's not falling off at all when it comes to recruiting. And of course that makes a lot of sense considering the national attention Maryland is bound to get when competing at the top of the Big Ten. Besides being the top team in one of the nation's best basketball conferences, Maryland also has the D.C. market and surrounding areas, allowing for a sizable fan base and a major advantage in recruiting.
That being said, the addition of Huerter is another strong pick-up for Maryland as they continue their recent success on the recruiting front. Huerter, who chose Maryland over schools like Baylor, Michigan, Notre Dame, Villanova and Xavier, is a four-star shooting guard ranked by Rivals as the 80th best prospect in his class. The addition of Huerter brings a lights out shooter into the mix, with the guard shooting just under 44% from three this past season with his AAU team. While predominantly known for his ability to shoot the ball, he's also a capable passer that can move the ball around when necessary. That versatility could allow him to float over to the point guard position when need be and will lessen the chance that he becomes a one dimensional three-point specialist.
The one potential downside to Huerter, something that is not exactly foreign to incoming freshmen, is his frame leaves a bit to be desired. His height is fine at 6'5", but at 180 pounds he's a bit undersized and lanky. Of course once he can get into the weight room at Maryland he should be able to bulk up a bit, something definitely necessary in a physical Big Ten, but that could make things a tad more difficult for him in his freshman season. Especially his ability to get inside and score, something that a number of thinner guards in the Big Ten have at times shied away from (Kendall Stephens comes to mind).
With Huerter and Cowan set to join the team next year, as well likely having Jaylen Brantley and Dion Wiley around (it's likely Melo Trimble heads for the NBA after this season), Maryland's backcourt should be in solid shape heading into 2016 and beyond. With Diamond Stone a viable one-and-done possibility, Turgeon will likely have to try to add another marquee power forward/center for 2016, but with the recent success at Maryland that should be a relatively realistic possibility.
It took Maryland a little bit to get up and running under Turgeon, but the team is now about to begin what may be one of the program's most successful seasons as they're becoming a Big Ten favorite and a national title contender. With Maryland continuing to recruit high level talent into College Park, it looks like Maryland is here to stay. While a number of Big Ten fans weren't sold on Maryland joining the conference, it's hard to argue with what the basketball team has done in just over a year since joining the Big Ten.