We all need something to cheer for at this point in our lives, so the news that all three of Maryland's commitments faxed in their Letters of Intent earlier this morning was fantastic news. (A last-minute Terrence Ross situation might've literally killed a few people.)
"I expected to have one more signed. I thought we had one more in our back pocket, and it didn't get done," coach Mark Turgeon said.
Of course, Turgeon isn't allowed to comment on any unsigned recruits, so we're left to guess. My first thought was Torian Graham, a player for whom Maryland's made a big push and had some rumors on the table of a visit last weekend. InsideMDSports goes old-school and brings up Christian Sanders, who was rumored to be a heavy Maryland lean before committing to Stanford back in September. He notably leaves out any mention of a timeframe here - that is, he doesn't say if this miss happened awhile ago or relatively recently - so we're still guessing. (For that matter ... Jerami Grant, perhaps?). Ah well, what's done is done.
Anyway, Turgeon says they're "actively trying to get some things done," which is a bit of a "duh" comment but is still encouraging. He says they want a power forward and a guard to round out the class. Assuming the guard is Graham - and I'm pretty sure he's it at this point - it should make the search for that final PF a bit easier, even if the options are significantly thinning at this point. I'm guessing they'll keep working away at Charles Mitchell, but I think you have to expect the unexpected at this point.
This is also the first chance Turgeon has to speak on any of the commitments. The official site has wrapped up a handful of quotes on each of them, including some comments from Turge, and it's obviously a nice read. There are five or six quotes for each, but I'll excerpt a few favorites:
Joe Allen, father [of Seth Allen]: "We're very excited for Seth to sign with the University of Maryland and to have the chance to play at such a prestigious school. The academics, the way they have it set up, we know our son will succeed and graduate. The bigger part of it is that the coaching staff, from [Director of Athletics Kevin] Anderson on down is just absolutely, incredibly family-oriented. Seth comes from a strong family background. We can't speak enough about the family atmosphere, the way they made us feel comfortable. It's just a good feeling to know that he's going into that kind of atmosphere. We're excited about the outcome and the making of the young man that the staff at Maryland is going to build on."
Aaron Harrison, Houston Defenders (AAU) Coach [on Shaquille Cleare]: "He's a little different than most in that now nobody wants to play with their back to the basket. That's how he plays and he has the best hands that I've seen in such a long time. I don't think there's a limit to his potential to be honest. If you play him one-on-one, because he's so big and strong, he puts his body on the defender and scores. Over the summer time, we looked at it and he scored 72 percent of the time we gave him the ball on the box. He's come a long way. He's only been in the country for four years and when I first met him he always had good hands and feet, but he's worked so hard to make himself better. He's come such a long way."
Leo Papile, Boston Amateur Basketball Club [on Jake Layman]: "He's a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come... At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he's totally unique for American basketball. He's a wing... You put him on the ball and, in our (full-court) defense, he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene."
Ah ... thank God for basketball season, right?
(BTW, I've never been on the Layman train the same way many others have been, but I can't help but feel he'll be the best out of everyone Maryland signs this year.)