Maryland basketball recruiting: Who is Danjel Purifoy and why is he interested in the Terps?

247 Sports

A 2015 consensus top 50 forward is very interested in being a Terp, yet we've never talked about him before. Let's change that.

The NBA Top 100 camp is underway in Charlottesville, VA (ew). It's one of the first major recruiting events of the summer, which means that everyone that matters in the college basketball recruiting world - players, coaches, reporters, etc- are in one place for the first time. As one would expect, this also means we are starting to get some recruiting news leaking out bit by bit. One of those nuggets that came out Thursday night perked up the ears of Terrapin hoops fans.

Now, you are probably saying to your computer screens quizzically, and perhaps a bit annoyed, "Uh, Andrew, you're our basketball recruiting guy...why haven't we talked about top 50, 4/5-star forward that apparently really likes Maryland before now?"

First, let me say stop talking to your computer screen, weirdo. Second, let me apologize and explain.

Danjel Purifoy (pronounced as it's spelled) has had an interesting, and maybe concerning, path to this point. The Alabama native, and top player in the state, was cut from his high school team in April, according to Al.com. Their quotes from his Bibb County coach Russ Wallace were very harsh:

"He's not doing the things he needs to do to be a part of my program," Wallace said. "When you don't show up for spring practice, you're not going to play for me. I don't care if he's the best player in the state or the worst, that's just how I work."

Before going to Bibb Country, he played at Cahawba Christian Academy. It's currently undecided where he'll play next season, but by the end of his high school career Purifoy will have attended at least three different schools.

In response to these perceived issues, his AAU coach responeded

So, that's about all we know regarding that. Also of note from that tweet is that he plays for the AAU team ATL XPress, the same team that new Terp Robert Carter Jr was a part of, whose coach accompanied Carter on his transfer-recruiting visits and is still a major influence on his life. That connection has probably helped Maryland here.

I hadn't listed him as a major target before for a few reasons.  First, I didn't really see a connection prior to the Carter transfer. Second, his perceived character issues didn't seem to jive with what Maryland wanted. Third, he seemingly changed his top-interest group weekly and it was hard to get a hold of his recruitment at all.

Now that we have all the background settled, we can delve into Purifoy as a, ya know, basketball player. He's a 6-7, 190 lbs forward from Centreville, AL rated 4-star, 45th overall and 9th small forward on 247 Composite, but a 5-star, 21st overall and 5th small forward on 247's own rankings. Both have him as the top player in Alabama.

They list him as a small forward, but I think that's only because the system requires them to pick a single position. In my eyes, he's a tweener forward that could play the 3 or the 4 in college.

These are highlights from the NBA Top 100 Camp:

These are from last year:

He's not as big of a body as Carter, as tall as Reed or Cekovsky or as good a shooter as Layman or Smotrycz, but he might be a more complete player than any of them.

Purifoy knows how to use his length and athleticism to his advantage and constantly moves his feet well on defense. It looks like a nightmare for any forward to play against him. Also, he never seems to quit on a play.

Offensively he's incredibly agile and smooth. He's not an explosive athlete, but has enough athleticism to get to and finish around the rim. He has a good first step and the handles to penetrate and slash. The one thing missing is a consistent jump shot, especially from deep. His shot isn't broken by any means, it's just not a major tool in his arsenal right now.

A former Terp great who watched Purifoy at the Top 100 Camp had this to say:

Overall, he'd be a great addition to what the Maryland squad seems like it will look like in 2015: one that loses at least Wells, Smotrycz and Pack and add, as of now, Carter Jr. As I've said before, the 2015 class should look to bring in a few different type of players than those currently on the team, like a quick, passing point guard, a back to the basket center and/or a big, athletic, defensive minded tweener forward. If you want a recent-Maryland comparison to Purifoy, I'd say a stronger, rich-man's Landon Milbourne, but with a worse jump shot.

Possible personal issues aside, having a 5-star, potential McDonald's All American player so interested in Maryland yet again shows the roll Mark Turgeon, Dustin Clark, Bino Ranson and Cliff Warren are recruiting right now. It's a machine that's produced one of the most talented (according to recruiting rankings) Maryland rosters in decades, if not yet the wins to match.

As Turgeon said in a recent Baltimore Sun article, regarding his apparent hot seat:

Hot seat? I'm on fire. Melo Trimble. Dez Wells. Dion Wiley. Jared Nickens. Michal Cekovsky. Trayvon Reed. Robert Carter...If I get any hotter, I don't know what I'm going to do.'

If they add Purifoy, in addition to some of the other highly ranked players they're targeting in 2015 (Justin Robinson, Kevin Dorsey, Bryant Crawford, Georgios Papagianis, Esa Ahmad, Jordan Murphy, etc), Turgeon and co. might just have to figure out what exactly they're "going to do."

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