Early 2011 Maryland Basketball Recruiting Target Intro: Forwards and Big Men

Here's part two of our intro series for 2011 recruiting targets, the forwards and big men. Part one is here, and has a more detailed introduction.

Even though Maryland's 2010 class hasn't finished yet, the needs for 2011 are generally already worked out. Maryland will likely try to get an athletic, leaping PF, like C.J. Leslie (not happening), Juvonte Reddic (my choice), or Eric McKnight (most likely) to finish out 2010. After that, it's likely - though, of course, not certain - that the class will wrap up.

If that's the case, then Maryland could use a true, pass-first point guard, a wing to pair with Mychal Parker now that Terrence Ross is gone, an athletic face-up four, or a true center. They'd have four scholarships, provided they finished 2010 with just one more player.

Below, you'll find a quick introduction to the players that Maryland has been in contact with or are listing Maryland. This is far from a comprehensive list - schools contact about a hundred players, or more - but it should give you a general idea of the top-tier targets. Remember, Terrell Stoglin came out of nowhere, and Ashton Pankey was a late developer. That happens. The list right now will commit off to different places and will look entirely different in six months.

I have seen a few of these guys play, live or on TV (Quinn Cook, Trevor Cooney, Michael Gbinije) and others I haven't (Deuce Bello, Devin Langford). This isn't my particular thoughts on a prospect or my scouting report - rather, this is a blend and summary of all the scouting reports I've seen on each player. I'm not posturing here or acting as a scout - I'm trying to make staying on top of the game a little bit easier for you. Highlights are also embedded below each prospect's introduction. None of them are mine, and all are publicly available. The Star Rating and Rankings come from three sources - ESPN, Scout, and Rivals, listed in that order under each prospect.

Without further ado, here you go. Bigs are tomorrow.

Moses Abraham/Ayegba, C, 6-9, 225, Progressive Christian (MD), DC Assault
Schools Considered
: Florida, Texas, UCONN, Georgetown, VCU
Star Rating: UNR /  / UNR
Ranks: UNR / UNR / UNR
Major Strengths:
Not much is known about the young African import other than his name changes depending on who you talk to (not even a photo to put up at the top). He has great size and is more polished than you'd expect - he actually had a nice low post in the highlight video linked below. He definitely seems athletic, and he's a true center in an age where there are few.
Needs Improvement: Even though he's more polished than most, he's still somewhat new to the American game and takes more getting used to. Looks kind of like Hasheem Thabeet just in how awkward he looks running the floor. Just doesn't look entirely comfortable yet, but that's normal. Unfortunately, that causes a lot of other problems.
Odds: UConn has success with foreign guys, so I'd expect them to be a major player. Other than that, he's kind of new to the game right now. Could have the handler issues that plague some African players.
Comparison: Maybe its just because both are African imports, but he reminds me of a taller Hippolyte Tsafack. His athleticism and rebounding ability are on par with Patrick Patterson at Kentucky, but he obviously lacks the rest of Patterson's game.
LinksESPNScoutRivalsHighlights (he's #12)

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Darion Atkins, PF, 6-7, 200, Landon (MD), Caron Butler Team Takeover
Schools Considered
: George Washington, Virginia Tech, Georgetown, Wisconsin
Star Rating: UNR /  / 
Ranks: UNR / UNR / #131 overall, #29 PF
Major Strengths:
Atkins is an extremely bouncy four with a nice wingspan that lets him play a little bigger than 6-7. He got a little bit of exposure and complements over the summer, so he's definitely high-major to some extent. Liked to hang around the baseline and is athletic enough to finish around the hoop.
Needs Improvement: Criminally undersized. Not as athletic as you'd have him with his height, though he can still grow. Not dominant on the boards at this point, and though he runs the court averagely, he's not going to win track meets anytime soon.
Odds: Should Maryland push, I could see this happening. Local guy that runs with Takeover. He's been on Maryland's radar and vice-versa for awhile now.
Comparison: Ringer for Landon Milbourne. A tweener without good enough handles or athleticism to play the 3 but undersized for the 4.
LinksScoutRivals (Atkins is #12 below)

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Grandy Glaze, PF, 6-6, 230, Proctor (NH), Team Takeover Canada
Schools Consider
ed: Providence, Oklahoma, UNLV, Xavier, Virginia
Star Rating: 90 / /
Ranks: UNR / #17 PF / #83 overall, #17 PF
Major Strengths: Extremely tough and strong, which allows him to overcome his height disadvantage. Runs surprisingly well on the break. Good rebounder due to positioning and effort. Like Atkins, kind of hangs around the baseline and finishes easy layups. Surprisingly skilled in the low post.
Needs Improvement: Is he tough and strong enough to overcome two to three inch height disadvantages every day? He doesn't have great athletic ability nor ridiculous wingspan (think DeJuan Blair) to overcome it. He's never going to be a face-up four and needs to work on certain things on that aspect, particularly footwork.
Odds: He played his first HS in the states (he's actually Canadian) at St. John's, so Maryland got a little bit of a headstart there. He's since moved up to a New Hampshire school, but Maryland is still in contact. I don't see Maryland pushing hard here because his game is similar to Pankey's, but anything could happen.
Comparison: Basically Luke Harangody, only not as fat and with more normal hair.
Links: ESPN, Scout, Rivals, Intro from NBE, Recruiting Notebook from NBE

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Jordan Goodman, PF, 6-8, 190, Progressive Christian Academy (MD), DC Assault
Schools Considered
: Kansas State, West Virginia, Georgetown
Star Rating: 94 / /
Ranks: #50 overall, #7 PF / #7 PF / UNR
Major Strengths:
Goodman has been PG County's next great one for quite some time now. Extraordinarily athletic with great height, he can play anwhere from the 2 to the effectively and dominate for stretches at time. He has some low post moves, a solid shot, and the physical tools to dominate.
Needs Improvement: He's inconsistent and can disappear as much as he dominates. It's all too easy to forget he's on the court. He can get careless on defense.
Odds: He almost committed to Maryland his freshman year, I believe, but decided against it. He's still high on the Terps and has been on the campus a lot, but there are major concerns about academics (FWIW, there's no blame in this case - he's been through hell and back). Not sure if it'll ever happen for that very reason.
Comparison: Kevin Durant in terms of body build and type of game, but he's far from that polished yet. People keep saying DerMarr Johnson, so I'll go with that.
Links: ESPN, Scout, Rivals, ESPNRise Profile, Story from his freshman year on the near-commitment (#33 below)

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Matt Gorski, C, 6-10, 220, Cosby (VA), Team Takeover
Schools Considered
: Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Wake Forest, Pitt
Star Rating: UNR / / UNR
Ranks: UNR / #15 C / UNR
Major Strengths:  Can't teach height. He could end up being 7-0 or bigger by the time he gets to college. He's developing more and more in terms of a low post game and court awareness, and he can finish strong at the rim.
Needs Improvement: Still looks awkward offensively. Not an athletic specimen, and still skinny for my taste. Just how much he can develop his post game will determine how good he is in college.
Odds: Just because there are few true centers and few that are this big, Gorski will be a hot commodity. His recruitment is yet to heat up, though, so Maryland should have a good a chance as any.
Comparison: As much as I hate to say it: Chas McFarland. McFarland has a better face-up game right now, but the two are similar in height and athletic ability.
Links: Scout, Rivals, NBE Intro

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Mikael Hopkins, PF, 6-8, 210, DeMatha (MD), Team Takeover
Schools Considered
: Georgetown, Clemson, Syracuse, Florida, Texas
Star Rating: 95 / /
Ranks: #36 overall, #6 PF / #4 C / #32 overall, #6 PF
Major Strengths: Very, very athletic with good size. He can play facing the basket or post his man up with solid, improving post moves. Range extends out to the 3 point line, though not with much consistency. Is a shotblocking presence on defense. Continuously improving.
Needs Improvement: Definitely needs to fill out and get stronger, but that's not abnormal right now. Could do with more consistency entirely, because he has a tendency to disappear at times on the glass and offensively.
Odds: He keeps talking about wanting to get away and he'll have that ability, because he's a big-time player. Maryland will keep pushing, though, and you never know what could happen.
Comparison: I really, truly, honestly see Terrence Jones right here. Jones had better handles and Hopkins is more inside-oriented, but they're both ultra-athletic fours with the ability to face up and knock down shots. The mentalities are slightly different.
Links:ESPN, Scout, Rivals, Super Showcase Write-up, DeMatha Highlights

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Desmond Hubert, C, 6-8, 195, New Egypt (NJ), New Jersey Playaz
Schools Considered
: Villanova, Pitt, Kansas
Star Rating: 94 / /
Ranks: #59 overall, #5 C / #8 C / #54 overall, #7 C
Major Strengths: Athletic and moves well for his size. Ridiculous wingspan. Those combine to make him a top-level shot blocker. Runs extremely well on the break and is a dunking specialist. Good rebounder, again thanks to his length and athleticism.
Needs Improvement: Won't face the basket much, but that might not be a negative. Could use a more developed low post game. He's not very strong and needs to fill out, even moreso than Hopkins. That hurts him on the low-block.
Odds: Look at the schools on his list: they're big timers. Then again, Maryland has had growing success in that area and he's already been on campus.
Comparison: Remember Jordan Hill, at Arizona? Similar to him without the jumper. Also, Taj Gibson at USC a couple years ago, though Gibson had more of a face-up game.
Links: ESPN, Scout, Rivals, NBE Update, The Shiver Article

No video available :(

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Greg Lewis, C, 6-9, 225, St. Frances (MD), Nike Baltimore Elite
Schools Considered: Clemson, Xavier, Florida State, Florida
Star Rating: 91 / /
Ranks: UNR / UNR / #108 overall, #14 C
Major Strengths: Improving rapidly. Long and athletic, and more filled out than either of the two mentioned above at this point, but just as long and athletic. Imposing shotblocking presence, solid rebounder. Good finisher at the hoop, and his free throws didn't look bad.
Needs Improvement: Like Hopkins, he has a tendency to disappear for minutes at a time. He doesn't seem to have much in the way of a low post game yet; he's been racking up 15-20 points off the break and on layups and putbacks. Those won't be available in the NCAA.
Odds: Depends on how hard the Terps push. He's not as good a prospect as Hopkins or Hubert, but he's more of a pure center, and might be an easier coup. If they decide to make him a top priority, I see no reason they wouldn't be one of his top schools. I'm not sure how much interest there is there.
Comparison
LinksESPN, Scout, Rivals, Rivals Beach Ball Classic Write-up, Hoophall Note

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Hunter Mickelson, PF, 6-10, 200, Westside (AR), Arkansas Wings
Schools Considered: Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Florida
Star Rating: 94 / /
Ranks: #51 overall, #8 PF / #11 PF / #57 overall, #10 PF
Major Strengths: Very skilled and very long. Has a great face-up game and jumper. Surprisingly athletic and fast, he's able to run the court very well. Hard worker, relentless rebounder, and good shotblocker thanks to his outstanding length.
Needs Improvement: String bean. Gets pushed around down low on both ends; could use more than a little bulk. He likely will fill out, though, because he has room to do it. Gets almost no lift on his jumper, almost a set-shot, but that's not a big deal because few people that have the height to challenge him can extend to 18 feet. 
Odds: He and his dad seem to like Maryland, but he does have a heavy-hitter on his list in Kentucky. I have no reason to feel this way, but gut feeling is moderately confident.
Comparison: James Johnson, but skinnier. Everything else is right on. Considering I really liked Johnson, this is good.
Links: ESPN, Scout, RivalsAAU Nationals Note

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Julian Royal, PF, 6-8, 200, Milton (GA), Southern Kings
Schools Considered
: Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ohio State
Star Rating: 96 /  / 
Ranks: #21 overall, #4 PF / #12 PF / #30 overall, #5 PF 
Major Strengths:
Very solid face-up four. Can do everything you want him to, and do it effectively. He has a good jumper out the three point line, is a good passer, can attack the rim from the perimeter, and can score inside with developing low post moves. Not jaw-droppingly athletic, but it's adequate.
Needs Improvement: Like everyone else at this point, size and strength. He's on the lanky side, though his build makes him look stronger than he is. That becomes a problem defensively on the low block and when rebounding, because he can get pushed off the ball pretty easily. His offensive low post moves are still developing, but they're coming along.
Odds: First, the good: Maryland's been down at Milton for a long time now. They've been visible. He wears an Under Armor shirt (!!!). The bad: he didn't list Maryland in the above link, and you rarely hear the two in connection.
Comparison: Has all of Tobias Harris' skills, but not as strong. Everything else matches up. Before you say that's a bad comparison because of the gigantic size differential, know that Tobias was too big, and Royal is too small. It's not a stretch to think that Royal could bulk up significantly between now and the summer and end up about the same as Tobias.
LinksESPNScoutRivalsPeach Jam HighlightsCity of Palms HighlightsThanksgiving Classic Notes

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Kyle Wiltjer, PF, 6-9, 225, Jesuit (OR), Drew Gooden Soldiers
Schools Considered
: Gonzaga, Kansas, Oregon, Kentucky, et al.
Star Rating: 95 /  / 
Ranks: #42 PF, #6 PF / #5 PF / #23 overall, #4 PF
Major Strengths:
 Can hit from anywhere on the floor, which is unusual for someone his size. Unlike many other of the face-up fours Maryland is recruiting, Wiltjer already has a solid build to him and good strength. He's a very savvy player, and knows how to use his advantages. His post moves are actually pretty good, at least from a footwork perspective.
Needs Improvement: He's not all that athletic, for what that's worth, but it's not like he can't run or jump. He has a good base, like I said above, but he's not going to push anyone around. He's not all that comfortable facing up his opponent. 
Odds: No idea. He's been listing Maryland, and similar to Jabari Brown, I don't think distance will be a factor. The best players from Oregon seem to have no problem going far away, and Maryland will have no problem recruiting him. It all depends on where he falls on their big board.
Comparison: I'm so, so sorry...Kyle Singler. Dude is Kyle Singler. Hopefully he's just not a douche like Kyle Singler.
LinksESPNScoutRivalsLSI Write-upBox of M.E.S.S. Interview 

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