Shaquille Cleare, Sophomore, Center, #44
Collegiate Stats: 3.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Recruiting Ratings: Four stars by all four recruiting services, Top 100 player nationally by ESPN (#30), 247 (#46), and Rivals (#53).
High School: The Village School
Hometown: Andros, Bahamas
High School Highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
Shaq, who is originally from the Bahamas, went to high school in Houston, Texas, where he played on the Houston Defenders AAU team. As a result, Mark Turgeon was already recruiting Cleare while he was still the head coach of Texas A&M and thus already had a relationship established with him when he made the move from A&M to College Park. Cleare was already interested in going to college at Maryland and playing for head coach Gary Williams. So when Gary announced his retirement and Mark Turgeon was named his successor, Shaq felt comfortable about playing for the Terps and head coach Turgeon.
His game against Duke last season, when he held Mason Plumlee to just four points.
Shaq has to replace a lot with Alex Len's departure and he won't be able to do it all himself. He needs to come up big on the defensive side of the ball and secure rebounds. If he can protect the paint and average around 8 points & 5 rebounds per game, Maryland will be in good shape.
Shaq has improved his defense over the summer and it's the main reason why he'll be getting the start at center for Maryland to start the season. The loss of Alex Len is going to hurt Maryland more on the defensive side of the ball than on the offensive side. Shaq needs to become a force in the paint, protect the rim, and provide some offense. He doesn't have to average in double digits for Maryland to be successful this season, but he does need to be a factor on defense.
Our next player is a native of Virginia and went to the same high school as Scottie Reynolds.