With the basketball season drawing to a close Maryland fans are starting to look at how the Terps might fare next year, their first in the Big Ten. One of the main reasons for optimism is the top 10 ranked recruiting class Coach Mark Turgeon has coming into the program. I wrote last week about how each of the four incoming freshmen might make an impact.
When he reclassified from the 2013 class to the 2014 class and transferred from St. Patrick (NJ) to Westtown School (PA), Jared Nickens was flying under the radar as a national recruit. Since the move, the 6-6 wing has blow up and is now a 4-star prospect, the fourth ranked player in the state of Pennsylvania, 22nd small forward and in the top 100 overall.
How did this happen? Nickens says he's gotten, "stronger and more athletic," as well as "better defensively and better at making decisions." He credits Westtown's head basketball coach Seth Berger with the transformation, saying "I knew he would make me the best player I could be."
He made the decision to commit to Maryland over the summer after an official visit, citing the Coach Turgeon and the rest of the staff as main reasons, along with the plethora of off-campus activities, beautiful campus and quality of student housing.
As to how he anticipates fitting in to the Terrapin basketball team next season, Nickens says the coaches see him as part of a 4-out, 1-in motion offense, with a lot of off-ball movement, coming off multiple screens to get plenty of catch-and-shoot opportunities.
Personality wise he describes himself as a "clown...I like to joke a lot," which he does often with current Terps Roddy Peters, Dez Wells, Seth Allen and Nick Faust.
Nickens was in attendance on Sunday when Maryland knocked off the #5 Virginia Cavaliers at Comcast Center, sitting with fellow signee Melo Trimble. They didn't rush the court with the students, although Nickens did want to.
Maybe next season he'll be the middle of a court storming instead of watching from the outside.