It's Maryland Madness day, everybody! Bit crazy to think back on the fact that forty years ago tonight, Lefty Driesell organized a 1.5 mile midnight jog around the Byrd Stadium track, an event for which 3000 fans showed up for and birthed the modern-day extravaganza known as Midnight Madness.
And while it doesn't look like Wale will be completing my dream Madness, the admittedly pretty cool alumni game and the newness of the Mark Turgeon era should keep this one relatively fresh (hopefully at least fresher than that last few of the Gary Williams era).
But over the past decade, the variety of Madnesses at every school have really been about the recruits. It's a prime opportunity for a school to get a high-profile recruit on campus, show off facilities, and give him a taste of the fan support waiting for him down the road. It's like getting them to visit a game a month before the games actually start.
Maryland has had a few big visitors in past years, notably Justin Anderson. This year's haul seems more ... tepid. And future-focused.
First of all, long-time Testudo-er Charlotte NC Terp has a lengthy, well-done FanPost with plenty of leg-work on the visitors for tonight. Make sure to check it out, and I'll be shamelessly borrowing some of the same stuff.
The big visitor, it appears, is Sam Cassell, Jr., the son of the
alien NBA great of the same name. IMS tweets that the visit this weekend is an official, so presumably there's a fair amount of interest on both sides. Cassell is a 6-4 2012 combo guard out of Baltimore, who plays for powerhouse Notre Dame Prep (and before that, St. Frances Academy) and Nike Baltimore Elite.
Cassell is a two-star type by most services, although his game has reportedly skyrocketed in recent months. In that same link, a Matt Bracken profile for the Sun, Cassell claims a host of interest, including from Arkansas, Villanova, and Washington, and his coach calls him "definitely a high-major talent." He's a bit of a combo guard because of his size, but his playing style is more of a pass-first pure point. I'm not sure how necessary another guard is with Seth Allen already in the fold and high-profile targets like Nate Britt, the Harrisons, and Torian Graham on the radar, but I haven't seen Cassell play anytime recently so I'll hold my tongue.
I do, however, now get to dream of some crazy dream world in which Steve Francis and Sam Cassell show up for Maryland games with regularity.
The other big name is Rodney Bullock, a 6-7 combo forward from Hampton, VA. The 2013 forward is a top-100 type with legitimate four-star potential. Maryland's been on him for several months now, getting an early start over some other top programs. Based on how the rest of the '12 class turns out, it's possible that he'll be a big priority for the staff next season.
Another visitor mentioned in that same link is Andre Walker, a 6-10 beanpole from Clarksburg. Walker's a 2013 target with obvious size, but I've never heard of him before now, so I'd temper any expectations on that front.
Elsewhere, Alex Kline, occasionally unreliable though he may be, is promising visits from Will Ferguson, Tevon Saddler, and John Crosby. Ferguson is a 2013 local point guard, hailing from Arlington, VA. He'll likely be an upper-three star type, but will probably be lower on the pecking order than the Harrison twins (obviously), Nate Britt, and perhaps a few others.
The other two are slightly more obscure names. Saddler is a 6-4 guard from Baltimore who plays for St. Frances Academy, while Crosby is a 2014, 6-0 point guard also from Charm City. Names to watch, I suppose.
If you wondering where all the big names are, like the Harrison Twins and Nate Britt and Amile Jefferson and Kennedy Meeks and Rysheed Jordan? The short answer: most everywhere other than Maryland.
The Harrisons will be at Kentucky. Britt is at North Carolina. Jefferson will visit UConn. Meeks and Jordan are at Georgetown. Others, like Mitch McGary and Robert Carter, don't appear to be heading anywhere.
So, yeah, it's a bit quieter than usual on the recruiting front. At least point guard commit Seth Allen will be there. I think.