Hate on Adam Zagoria if you want to, but the man isn't always the bearer of bad news. For example: his interview with Jake Layman at Peach Jam, where it's revealed that Layman's favorite is Maryland:
That's the real headliner of the day. Layman claims offers from BC, Providence, and - here's a surprise - Louisville, but says Maryland is his favorite, and there appears to be no doubt or wavering when he says it. It sounds like he does want to go through the process a bit, but he wants to decide before fall, which isn't a lot of time for another school to change his mind. Sounds like Maryland is closing in.
For the record, Layman's performances yesterday in North Augusta were of the mixed bag variety. He put together an outstanding game against Isaiah Zierden's Howard Pulley Panthers: 29 points, 12-14 shooting, and 3-4 from deep, plus two assists. Then he played against DC-based Team Takeover in the quarterfinals, and didn't exactly impress, scoring just two points in only 9 minutes.
If Layman's BABC team beats Oakland Soldiers in today's semi-final, you'll get a chance to see them on ESPN tonight. I'll update the post if they do.
[Update: Indeed they did. ESPNU at 7.]
Zags also talked to Texas big man Prince Ibeh, who mentioned Maryland in his list but claimed no favorites and didn't seem to gush about any school in particular. Ibeh, for what it's worth, was a star of the second day, per ESPN:
As one of the top shot-blockers at the EYBL, Ibeh impacts a game without having to score the basketball. He is an impressive runner and rebounder who controls the paint and is able to give his team a chance by effecting the opponent's field goal percentage. He has tremendous upside because he is just learning the game and has drawn the attention from some of the elite programs in the country.
Elsewhere, Rivals liked two more Maryland targets: 2012 SF Jerami Grant and 2013 combo guard Daquan McNeil.
Jerami Grant, SF, Team Takeover- Grant was just one of several Team Takeover guys who elevated their play along with James Robinson. The lean combo forward played strong around the rim and dominated the paint as an interior scorer. If he couldn't muscle in a shot, he got to the free throw line (18 times) and the usually poor free throw shooter did a good job of making important charity tosses. He finished with a team-high 26. ...
Daquan McNeil, SG, Baltimore Elite-While the Hoops and Takeover were battling on one floor, next door McNeil was leading his team in their own battle with the Oakland Soldiers. A tough 6-foot-3 combo guard from the class of 2013, McNeil took on all challengers as he got to the rim and hit lots of key shots. It wasn't quite enough, but he finished with a game-high 26 points and five rebounds.
There are simply too many strong guards in 2013, I swear. Between the Harrisons, Britt, McNeil, and Kameron Williams, there are four combo guards that I'd be ecstatic to land in any year. For future reference, spacing would be cool.
One final note: Amile Jefferson says the schools recruiting the hardest are N.C. State, Villanova, and, yes, Maryland. State and Nova are supposedly making big pushes for him, and the competition there is going to be pretty stiff. That said, if that's a top three of sorts, you have to be happy to be in that fight without any of the traditional "big schools" as competition.