Maryland basketball recruiting: An early look at the Terps' guard and small forward targets in 2015

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

A likely small recruiting class means Maryland can be selective.

Maryland will be looking at three scholarship openings for the basketball recruiting class of 2015 after the departures of Dez Wells, Nick Faust and Evan Smotrycz. The focus of the class will probably be on front court players, but the staff might look to add a guard and/or a small forward to add much needed depth.

Even though it's still early, here are some names to keep in mind.

Guards

Estimated # in 2015 class: Maybe one, but possibly none. The talented core of Seth Allen, Roddy Peters, Melo Trimble and Dion Wiley will receive a bulk of the minutes, but you can never have enough good guards in college basketball.

Targets:

Allonzo Trier (highlight film)

High School: Montrose Christian, MD

247sports composite: 4-star, 38th overall, 10th point guard, 1st in Maryland

The competition: Georgetown, Baylor and Indiana.

My take:

In a vacuum, I would say Maryland has a great shot with the highly touted point guard from Rockville. There is no such thing with a vacuum, though, and a guy as talented as Trier might not want to come to a program that has recruited two other 4-star point guards in the last two cycles. Can't say I would blame him, either. It would be great to reel in more local stars, but the stars (get it?) probably don't line up on this one.

Malik Ellison (highlight film)

High School: Life Center Academy, NJ

247sports composite: Not yet ranked on any service, which is weird.

The competition: La Salle, Temple, Penn State and St. Joe's.

My take:

First of all, it may not be fair to classify Ellison as a guard. He currently plays guard for Life Center (Trayvon Reed's team, by the way), but is 6-5 and growing. According to his father and coach, the legendary "Never Nervous" Pervis Ellison, Malik is expected to grow at least a few more inches and could top out at 6-8. When I scouted Jared Nickens and Reed earlier this year I came away very impressed with Ellison and think he plays more like a wing anyway.

I have no idea why he's not ranked anywhere yet. He was pretty clearly either the best or second best player in the game I watched that included a 2015 4/5-star and two 2014 4-stars. Once he does get a ranking I would expect him to land somewhere in the high 3-star, low 4-star area.

I really like Maryland's chances with Ellison. His father is already sending a member of the family to College Park (older sister Aja will play for Brenda Frese next season), he fits a need, he's only getting taller and better, and if/when the avalanche of big-time offers come this summer on the AAU circuit, Maryland will have been one of the first.

Chris Clarke (highlight film)

High School: Cape Henry Collegiate, Virginia Beach, VA

247sports composite: 3-star, 115th overall, 25th shooting guard, 5th in Virginia

The competition: Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Creighton, Old Dominion, East Carolina, and interest from Indiana.

My take:

Clarke is another guy I really like, and another guy that probably isn't really a guard. He's a tough, gritty player that excels on defense and as a rebounder. His shooting isn't a strong suit but it's been getting better. Think of him as a glue-guy that will hustle for the loose ball, get put-backs off offensive rebounds and do whatever is asked to fill in the cracks on a team. Frankly, the team could use a player like that right now.

I think Maryland has a very good chance...if they want him. They have offered, so you'd think they do, but there is a possibility they back off if a higher ranked (or soon to higher ranked *cough* Malik Ellison *cough*) player commits.

Franklin Howard (highlight film)

High School: Paul VI Catholic, VA

247sports composite: 4-star, 65th overall, 12th shooting guard, 3rd in Virginia

The competition: Georgetown, Syracuse, Ohio State and maybe Kansas.

My take:

I think Howard falls into the Trier category of "any other year, but probably not this one." You could say Trier and Howard are the Trimble and Wiley of 2015. Maryland's been recruiting Howard for a while now, and certainly want him to be a Terrapin, but there are other, greater needs. Recruits are smart and can see the full picture. He'll know all of this and, while a guys like Ellison or Clarke might not care because Maryland is among their best or first offers, guys like Howard have other really good options.

Small Forwards

Estimated # in 2015 class: Probably one

Targets:

Marcus Sheffield (highlight film)

High School: Chattahoochee, GA

247sports composite: 4-star, 77th overall, 15th small forward, 7th in Georiga

The competition: Clemson, Florida State, Georgia and VCU.

My take:

Sheffield is among the most likely of the small forward targets. To be honest, I don't know much about him as a player. The only highlight video doesn't show much. I expect there to be plenty of new videos coming out on the AAU circuit this summer, so that should change. What's most important is that enough people have seen him and liked him that he's a composite 4-star.

Jordan Murphy (no highlight film)

High School: William J. Brennan, TX

247sports composite: Not ranked yet

The competition: Baylor, Kansas State, Marquette, Fresno State and Oklahoma State.

My take:

Again, I don't know much more than Turgeon and other members of the staff have been down to Texas a few times over the last year or so to see him, and offered. He's got most of the requisite Big 12 offers to indicate he's a pretty good player, if not quite Kansas-offer-level.

Mamadou Ndiaye (this is the only highlight film, but it's pretty cool)

High School: Oakland Mills, MD

247sports composite: Not ranked yet

The competition: Kansas State, UNLV, WVU (no offers from any yet, including Maryland)

My take:

We know he can dunk, but that's about it. Finding information about Ndiaye is difficult because he shares a name with a 7-6 center from UC Irvine. He's local, so if anyone has seen him play, please give us a scouting report in the comments.

NOTE: I know some will be freaked out by the amount of targets with no rankings. All this means is that the scouts at the recruiting services have yet to see the player enough (or at all) to make an educated evaluation. A lot of the eyes come during the summer before their senior year at AAU tournaments where a large amount of players are in one place at one time and scouts can scout them.

Look for the breakdown of big men coming up soon...


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