It finally happened. Maryland's been rumored to be in the lead for 6-6 Baltimore swingman Nick Faust for months, but he finally made it official when he committed to Maryland over Villanova and FSU on ESPNU earlier today.
This is perhaps the first elite, national recruit Maryland's landed since Mike Jones; he's certainly the highest-ranked. Faust is in the top 50 of all three major services, and notably ranked as high as #25 by ESPN. He's been offered by a variety of big teams, from Tennessee to Memphis, throughout his recruitment, though for whatever reason the interest has never seemed mutual.
Faust's most lauded for his shooting ability, but he's generally regarded as a very advanced offensive prospect with a lot of upside defensively. He's long and athletically advanced, and has played generally good competition, including Josh Selby last year.
Faust had two utterly quotable moments during his ESPNU announcement. The first came after Lowell Galindo asked about his deceiving babyface. Faust responded, "I would say it's deceiving because a lot of players think that 'Oh, he's a little guy, he can't play,' but ultimately, I'll just destroy you." The confidence continued later, when Galindo asked why people should fear Maryland. Faust's response: "We're gonna win a national championship."
Besides the obvious awesomeness here, there's some geographical significance here. Maryland's always had a love-hate relationship with Baltimore, which consistently puts out some amazing talent (recently, Josh Selby and Roscoe Smith), and Faust is the first time in a long time that B-More's top recruit will head to College Park. This may be the first of hopefully many fruits from the hire of Bino Ranson, a former AAU director of a Baltimore AAU team. The commitment will hopefully give Maryland some credibility, in Baltimore in particular but also nationally.
Faust is Maryland's second commitment of 2011, along with three-star point guard Sterling Gibbs. Adjehi Baru visited last week, and a few more big targets - namely Antwan Space and Desmond Hubert - are coming in this weekend. Baru, Space, and Hubert are probably the top three remaining targets, with Greg Lewis, who's deciding on Monday, on the fringe. To say that momentum has picked up here is a bit of an understatement.
We'll do some more on how Faust fits in, plus where Maryland goes from here, later, probably tomorrow. But for now, bask in the glory that is an elite recruit at Maryland.