We've written about the 2014 basketball recruiting class so much on this site that I'm sure many of you are getting sick of it. You know the names, you know the pressure, you know everything.
Well, too bad. Here are more things! I know you'll read them all because you have the same sickness as I do. You love it. You hate that you love it, but you love it. You animal.
Update, 5/13: Jeff Ermann is confirming what we heard about Trayvon Reed's status:
First, and most importantly, according to sources within the program, everything seems to be fine with the Slovakian 7-footer's paperwork. They fully expect him on campus and ready to go for the 2014-2015 season.
This is important for Maryland because they sorely need good front court players and Cekovsky is a good front court player. How good? Depends on who you ask.
The final 247Sports composite rankings have him at 127th overall, a 3-star and the 26th ranked power forward. 247 themselves regard him quite a bit more - 36th overall, a 4-star and the 6th power forward. That would make him the second best player in the 2014 class, after Melo Trimble. ESPN gives him an 80 grade and just a hair outside of the top 100. They also have him as a 4-star and 14th at his position.
Analyzing Cekovksy's game
The likelihood of Reed's academic qualification has come into question over the last few months, but according to the same source, Maryland expects him to be on the team next season. From what we've heard, nothing is final yet (and his status can certainly change), but they are preparing for this season with Reed in mind as a part of the roster.
Final rankings for Reed don't vary nearly as much as for Cekovsky. He's 76th overall in composite, 87th in the 247 rankings, and 68th on ESPN. He's somewhere between the 8th and 11th center in the class and according to ESPN is the 5th best freshman shot blocker.
After no-showing at the Capital Classic, I was concerned that something might be up with Wiley, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Everything is good to go and he'll be on campus hittin' treys on schedule.
After starting off the cycle as a 5-star (as he was when he committed to Maryland), Wiley has slipped a little due to some injuries during his senior season but remained stable as a consensus 4-star. He's 52nd (14th SG) in the composite rankings, 60th on 247 (18th SG) and 52nd on ESPN (12th SG).
On the trail
Nickens was an unknown when he committed to Maryland last summer. It seems like the Terrapin staff identified his talents before anyone else, because he's shot up the rankings.
Both the composite and 247 rankings have him as a 4-star and the 93rd overall player in the class of 2014. The only difference is in the positional rankings, where the composite ranks Nickens the 23rd small forward and 247 has him as the 21st. This is essentially meaningless, but, again, y'all lap this stuff up so take it and stop complaining you clowns.
ESPN still has him as a 3-star and outside the top 100 with a 78 grade. Nickens does not seem to agree, according to his recent tweet after the final rankings came out.
Espn needs to fix that!— Jared Nickens (@Jnickens_1227) April 30, 2014
Perhaps the most important Maryland basketball recruit in a decade, if not longer, Trimble is racking up the accolades. Fox Sports named him the 6th best shooter in the class of 2014 (Nickens was 7th) and CBS's Jon Rothstein (so much Andrew Emmer in Jon Rothstein) says he "may be the most important freshman in the country next season".
ESPN finally pulled the trigger and gave the WCAC and All-Met Player of the Year his 5th star, ranking him the 29th overall player. They still list him as a shooting guard, which drives me crazy, but hey, nobody's perfect. The composite and 247 rankings are in agreement with him as the 5th best point guard in the class, and the 32nd and 34th overall player, respectively.
Hope for the freshmen
Trimble remains very good and exceedingly critical to any success the Terps might have in their inaugural B1G season. No pressure, kid.
Quick 2015 Update
With the rash of transfers, the 2015 recruiting class will likely be bigger and different than previously thought. In past posts I've said that Maryland would probably try to keep it at 2-3, with wings and big men as the focus. Now it seems like they want to add a point guard, one or two bigger wings and definitely a power forward. Dez Wells, Evan Smotrycz and whatever graduate transfers they bring in will be gone and Charles Mitchell and Jake Layman will be right behind them. Strong programs recruit for depth as much, if not more, than they recruit for immediate impacts.
Robinson, a 3-star, plays semi-locally for St. James School in Hagerstown, MD. He was under the radar until recently when he received a rash of offers from Maryland, UNLV, Memphis, Illinois, Temple and George Washington. He plays for Boo Williams on the AAU circuit and is considered the 4th best prospect in Maryland.
Robinson would be a great option to back up Trimble for a few years and develop as a player. He's not the kind of recruit you bring in and turn over the keys immediately, but he's local and would provide point guard depth that Maryland's lacked forever.
Blackwell was a completely unknown name for Maryland fans until this tweet from Thursday.
2015 Team Superstar PG Noah Blackwell has picked up an offer from #Maryland.— Josh Gershon (@JoshGershon) May 8, 2014
The California native is unranked on 247 and a 2-star on ESPN. His only offers before Maryland were from Oregon State (pre-Craig Robinson firing), Long Beach State and Loyola Marymount. He plays for the Under Armour sponsored Team Superstar AAU team, which was at the Jayhawk Invitational, an AAU event in Kansas that took place at the end of April. The Maryland staff was also reportedly there, which is probably where they were impressed with Blackwell enough to offer.
"He's a 2-star!" You might say, "How could they have been so impressed?!"
Well shut up and watch some of these highlights.
Kid's got sick handles and passing ability. He can also hit jumpers and has the size and athleticism you're looking for in a point guard. Yes, mixtapes can be very deceiving and there are obviously holes in his game, but Mark Turgeon and Maryland's staff have shown an ability to identify talent ahead of the curve. Knowing what to do with that talent? That's the bigger question yet to be answered.
I'm intrigued by Blackwell but would like to see more of him. The tools are there but I suspect he hasn't found a way to put them all together yet. If he does, I wouldn't be surprised if he starts getting some bigger West Coast offers as he makes his way through the AAU circuit this summer.