Two names have been popping on the radar heavily the past few days for Maryland basketball recruiting: Eric McKnight and Juvonte Reddic. Maryland is in desperate need of an athletic, shotblocking big man in the mold of Ekene Ibekwe or Chris Wilcox; Jordan Williams is a good inside presence, but not a shot blocker, and we don't really have any idea what Padgett brings to the table yet.
With C.J. Leslie rapidly seeming less and less likely and Tobias Harris seeming more and more locked in at Tennessee, prospects are increasingly dwindling, and it looks like Maryland will have to go the under-the-radar, late-bloomer route.
Those late bloomers? Two NC natives, McKnight and Reddic.
McKnight is 6-9, 215, a bit of a string bean, but an athletic string bean. ESPN constantly describes him as "a jumping jack", which Maryland most definitely won't have next year. He doesn't at all seem to be a finished product yet, but he's rapidly gaining interest as a late-bloomer. He can grab rebounds, dunk, catch the ball, and is a good shotblocker; post defense and post moves offensively are questionable. Regardless, all those traits together mean he has a high ceiling and can become a contributor early.
For what its worth, he doesn't appear to have any high-major offers, but he's been getting interest from Wake Forest and Maryland, and I'm sure others have gotten in contact (Missouri, for one).
Reddic isn't much different. No writeups exist on him (that I can see), but there's definite interest from Maryland. At least there's some highlight tape, and it looks like he's a defensive presence in the same way McKnight is: shotblocking. Having not seen tape on McKnight, Reddic is more exciting to me right now. Highlights embedded below: (if you don't like Kid Cudi, mute first)
You can't tell much from it, but he can block shots and runs the floor absurdly well. His dunks are thunderous, which really reminds me of Chris Wilcox. In a way, he seems like a poor man's, bulkier C.J. Leslie. Looks like he can step out and hit the occasional jumper, too.
Reddic goes to the laughably named Quality Education Academy, but QEA is a powerhouse. Getting a presence there can only help in the future. There's plenty of burgeoning interest in him, too, though I don't know if there's an offer on the table.
Honestly, I don't know which Gary prefers, if he does prefer one. Personally, I like Reddic, but that's because his highlights are really exciting. I'll feel more comfortable when I see both writeups and highlights of both, but I don't think it's possible to complain about either.
Both provide what Maryland needs (an athletic shotblocker) but don't expect too much early. Remember, Steve Goins was a late bloomer, too, and I still have no idea what he even looks like. Hopefully this late-bloomer turns out better.
I wouldn't be surprised if either of these guys are offered and/or commit in the near future. It's getting to be time to wrap up the class, and the backcourt is set. They're a bit too similar to take both, even though Maryland would have the scholarship room.