As important as Lance Stephenson is for what he represents, when you look at it practically, he doesn't fix much. He would make recruiting much easier, and there'd be more hype in Maryland recruiting, but the big class is 2010. Maryland could really win out in this class, or they could end up with a horrible class that leaves them in worse position than they are now. Three to four scholarships will be available, three of them guaranteed (Vaz, Hayes, and Milbourne all leaving, one more will probably pop up - Lance leaving, a transfer, etc.). 2010 could truly be make or break for this team. The guards are extremely important: Maryland probably needs to grab two of these guys, as two guards are leaving the system. What guards are they looking at? Glad you asked. Maryland has six main targets for the guard position - not that they're not looking at other guys, but these guys are the ones they'd like to get. The ones to look out for are after the jump:
Will Barton6-6, 170, SG, Lake Clifton HS, Baltimore MD
Rated 92 on ESPN (Rare abilities + starting frosh on top 25 team); 4 stars on Scout, #8 SG; 5 stars on Rivals, #8 SG, #24 overall
Strengths: Great frame and length. Well rounded. He can put the ball on the floor and hit a jumper or pass it off to the open guy. Plays efficiently. Nice jumper. Surprisingly good defender and rebounder. Good athlete with a ton of potential. Could easily add some weight.
Weaknesses: Strength. He just doesn’t have it. He really is thin as a rail. Luckily, he has the frame to put on a lot more weight. If he starts eating a lot of protein and gets on a consistent weight-training program, he’ll add strength that will allow him to finish better and be a better defender. He’s a very good player, but probably not a game-changer that he was considered to be earlier in his career.
Also Considering: Pitt, Kentucky, Villanova, Georgetown, Memphis, Virginia, Providence
Odds: Improving. A lot of people wrote Barton off when he was considered to be a major 5 star prospect, but he’s drifting back to four star territory. He seems to like the Terps, so Maryland has a legit chance.
Taran Buie6-2, 180, Combo Guard, Bishop Maginn HS, Albany NY, Albany City Rocks AAU
Rated 96 on ESPN (Rare abilities + starting frosh on top 25 team), #40 overall, #12 SG; 4 star on Scout, #17 SG; 4 star on Rivals, #53 overall, #13 PG
Strengths: Athletic combo guard. Naturally a two, but can play the one. Natural scorer. Good speed and quickness, can break defenders down off the dribble. Somewhat consistent midrange game. Solid on defense.
Weaknesses: Average (at best) from three. Definitely a slasher, not a shooter. Sometimes has trouble creating his own shot. Tweener without a real position. Not a rebounding guard.
Also Considering: Penn State, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Pitt, Syracuse
Odds: Pretty good. Buie is considered one of the potential jewels of the class. From what I’ve heard, the coaches are recruiting him pretty hard. I expect Maryland to at least get down to his final three, if not land him.
Tyrone Garland6-1, 160, PG, John Bartram, Philadelphia PA
Not rated on ESPN or Scout, 3 stars on Rivals, #32 PG, #132 overall
Strengths: Not too much info out there, but out of the very little I’ve read, he’s a true point guard, pretty much the only one the Terps are recruiting for 2010. Good ballhandler and passer. Solid defense.
Weaknesses: Needs some more strength and weight (what's new?). Not exactly a scorer. Shot could use some work. A bit raw.
Also Considering: Marquette, Penn State, Pitt, Seton Hall, Villanova, Virginia Tech
Odds: Unclear. I think he’s a Plan B type of player, so the Terps haven’t put too much of a press on him. If they do, I’m not sure how he’ll respond.
Pe’Shon Howard6-2. 195, PG, Oak Hill Academy, Mouth of Wilson VA, Team Breakdown AAU
Ranked 94 on ESPN, #60 player overall; 3 stars on Scout; 3 stars on Rivals, #31 SG, #129 overall
Strengths: One of the few guards who doesn’t need to add weight. He’s very strong, and can easily finish through contact. He’s a solid penetrator, though not by quickness; he’s very crafty when ballhandling, and has some nice moves. Knows how to score. Very good defender, even though he doesn’t have outstanding quickness. Very smart kid, both on and off the court. Hustles for loose balls.
Weaknesses: Short. He’s a tweener. Like Buie, he’s a natural shooting guard, but certain issues dictate that he’ll have to play point guard. This is a problem, because he really looks for his own shot before others’. He also has some consistency issues on his jumper, and lacks a midrange jumper at all.
Also Considering: Indiana, Ohio State, UCLA, Louisville
Odds: Not that great. Maryland’s in there, but I find it unlikely that he’ll choose Maryland to go to college. No one's been talking up the Terps here, which is usually a bad sign.
6-4, 180, SG, DeMatha, Hyattsville MD, Triple Threat AAU
Rated 86 on ESPN (Significantly contribute for national program); 3 star on Scout; 4 star on Rivals, #15 SG, #57 overall
Strengths: Epitome of a team player; hustles, high energy, unselfish, great defender, etc. Strangely, he’s also extremely athletic. He could easily look for his own shot - he’s athletic enough - but he doesn’t. Always in motion, so he wears down defenders quickly. Has a decent long range shot. Has made some great dunks. Smart player. Quick enough to stay in front of guys on defense.
Weaknesses: Hasn’t really become a master at any one aspect of the game. Sure, he’s good at everything, but he’s not great at anything yet. Doesn’t score in bunches. Mid-range jumper could be better. Not very strong, needs to put on a bit more weight. Defense is solid, but he doesn't shut people down.
Also Considering: UMass, Providence, Virginia Tech, Virginia, Pitt, NCSt
Odds: Not sure. He hasn’t really delved into his recruitment too much yet, and I could really see him blowing up in the summer. Very smart kid, academics will be important (that won’t be a problem unless Duke or Stanford get involved, but they could). I like the kid a lot, and I think Maryland has a decent chance at him.
Terrence Ross6-5, 180, SG, Montrose Christian, Rockville MD, Team Jones AAU
96 on ESPN, #41 overall; 4 stars on Scout, #19 SG; 4 stars on Rivals, #10 SG, #31 overall
Strengths: Very athletic. Some great dunks. Surprisingly good outside shot. Can hit the three when he’s open. Hard worker. Scores in bunches. Could be dominant offensively. Huge potential.
Weaknesses: Haven’t heard much about his defense (from what I've seen on TV, it’s not terrible, but not great, either). Needs to work on his ballhandling. Right now he has some trouble creating his own shot off the dribble, although he can find openings off the ball well.
Also Considering: UCLA, Washington, Cal, Kansas, Oregon State, Texas
Odds: Wouldn't count on it. Ross is originally from Oregon, so he’s listing mostly West Coast schools. He has gone to a few Terp games and seemingly enjoyed them. If anyone on the East Coast could pull it off, it’d probably be Maryland. That said, I don’t like their chances too much. Maryland could be on the list for awhile, though.
So, if you had to pick two out of this bundle, who would it be? Buie, Oladipo, and Barton seem to be the most likely. In a perfect world, I'd take Buie and Ross, but I love Oladipo's game. I wouldn't turn away Barton, either. I think Buie and Garland might be the most likely.