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Maryland's Top Remaining Prospect, Desmond Hubert, Picks UNC

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Bad news all around: Maryland's top remaining target in the 2011 recruiting class, New Jersey C Desmond Hubert, has ended his saga of a recruitment and picked UNC over Maryland. Per ESPN's Dave Telep:

"I had a feeling [when I was down there] but I wanted to give it a few days to let it calm down," said Hubert. "When you're there its their job to make you feel like you belong.".

Hubert had indicated in the past that he was open to redshirting, and it's something he'll probably have to do at UNC given the frontcourt talent ahead of him. For that reason, I'm fully expecting some commenters to hate on Hubert's decision, but that's misplaced. Everybody's in it for a different reason; if Hubert wants academic reputation (he's an intelligent, well-adjusted guy) and basketball tradition, then UNC is good for him.

Anyway, this leaves Maryland in a bind.

The Terps still have one more scholarship in the 2011 class for sure, but more importantly will have a huge hole in the middle if Jordan Williams goes pro. Hubert wouldn't have filled that hole by himself, of course, and maybe he wouldn't have been any better than James Padgett. If nothing else, though, he would've provided another option and some much-needed depth.

As it stands now, Maryland's front-court without Williams consists of James Padgett, Berend Weijs, and Ashton Pankey. There's not a start among the three of them; in fact, they combined for just 13.9 minutes per game last season and 12 DNPs. There's no evidence that one of them will be ACC-starter-caliber, let alone two of them. Again, Hubert might not have fixed that, but his presence would've been welcome nonetheless.

Instead, Maryland has at least one scholarship remaining in this class, and possibly two. They could go after Jared Guest, a lanky PF from South Carolina who visited College Park not long ago, or perhaps go the JuCo route again. Wally Judge is still technically an option, too, but considering he'd be a transfer he wouldn't provide any immediate satisfaction.

Truthfully, given the options available, I wouldn't be surprised to see Gary Williams save the two scholarships. That's not normally his M.O., but I don't know how many other options he has. Most of the JuCo ranks are depleted, there's tons of competition surrounding Judge, and Guest is a project's project. Saving them would give Maryland an extra two scholarships in the 2012 class, which isn't too much better but at least has more options (and time). 

Jordan Williams' return has always been the determining factor of the success of next year's team. That's even more true now.