Sports fandom is fickle. A week ago, Maryland basketball seemed dead in the water. Now, they've won two straight, are back on the bubble, and just received a commitment from their top remaining target in the 2011 class, German combo forward Martin Breunig. Breunig visited for the N.C. State game, and though he has little idea of the national basketball scene, apparently felt well enough at home to pull the trigger right away.
He's a native German and has been in the states for only a few months, which means there's a dearth of information around him, relatively speaking. He's 6-9 and 215, and plays his prep ball at St. John's Northwest Military Academy in Wisconsin. Virginia, Cincinnati, Arizona State, and Marquette were a few of the teams involved, among others. Maryland offered a few weeks back, and interest in him promptly skyrocketed.
Breunig's an interesting prospect. He has elite height (6-9) and athleticism (see the videos embedded below), plus just about every other skill in the book, including a decent handle and a pretty good shot. (For the record, his stroke looks like a dead ringer for Dino Gregory, at least to me). He obviously likes dunking (who doesn't) and will do it quite a bit.
He could be either a 3 or a 4, sort of like Kyle Singler, whom I still see as Breunig's most obvious comparison in the college game. Maryland's lacked that type of guy for years, so finally getting an offensive matchup problem is a relief. Very few teams have a player with the height, shot, and athleticism that Breunig has, and that's a serious boon moving forward.
As far his post moves go, the best I can tell is that they're developing. He's not the thickest guy in the world, and that might mean he's not exactly a banger. Even so, he seems comfortable in the post and in the paint, which is the most important thing. If the videos are any indication, he's not afraid of some contact, but he also doesn't utilize too many post moves. For what it's worth, I'd expect him to get significantly stronger in college; Maryland's S&C program is one of the best in the country.
To temper some expectations: keep in mind that he's only been playing in the states for a few months now. That means he has a lack of exposure to the American game, and that means he might have a longer readjustment process than most. Basketball is basketball for the most part, but it's tough to tell just how ready (or not ready) he is.
For the record, this probably means Maryland's no longer pursuing Greg Whittington, the 6-9 combo forward from Howard County. Whittington is a nice prospect, but he's not as impressive on film and has a skillset extremely similar to Breunig's. Even though Maryland still has an open scholarship for 2011, they don't need to stack similar players. I expect them to wait on Desmond Hubert and Wally Judge, perhaps look at a JuCo prospect, or save the scholarship for 2012.
I'm sure some people will turn this into a Gary recruiting discussion, and I'd like to avoid that, if at all possible. This isn't a big departure from Maryland's normal recruiting strategy; it's just happening more successfully. For that, Gary deserves some props. The star hounds aren't going to be placated, but Breunig is a pretty big commitment regardless.
Not enough good things can happen in College Park right now. Now I'm just waiting to hear that Justin Anderson is ready to commit, too. To pass the time, check out some Breunig videos: