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Maryland basketball recruiting: An early look at the Terps' front court targets in 2015

A likely small recruiting class means Maryland can be selective.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that the Maryland front court struggled with consistent production after the departure of Alex Len to the NBA (and even with him). Class of 2014 7-footer Trayvon Reed should help alleviate some of those problems next season, but it's essential that Coach Mark Turgeon add some more big bodies in the class of 2015. The staff is trying to do just that and have cast a wide net so far in this cycle.

Maryland will look to add at least one, but probably two, front court players. Here are some names to keep an eyes on as the recruiting pressure ramps up in the offseason. I broke up the targets by power forward and center, but many of these guys can play either position and might even grow before they would get to College Park.

Power Forwards

Carlton Bragg (highlight film)

Height/Weight: 6-8/180

High School: Villa Angela-St. Joseph, Cleveland, OH

247sports composite: 9th overall, 3rd PF, 1st in Ohio.

The competition: Kentucky, Ohio State, Arizona, Duke, Illinois, Louisville, Kansas.

My take:

Bragg is the dream for 2015. He's an absolute beast athletically. I would say usually that Maryland has no shot with a guy like Bragg, but the staff haven't given up and might wrangle a visit during the spring or summer. He'll probably end up at Kentucky, so don't get your hope up.

Esa Ahmad (highlight film)

Height/Weight: 6-7/218

High School: Shaker Heights, Cleveland, OH

247sports composite: 91st overall, 21st PF, 4th in Ohio.

The competition: West Virginia, Xavier, Iowa State, Clemson, Indiana.

My take:

Ahmad is a well-rounded, if slightly undersized, power forward prospect that would fit in perfectly at Maryland. He's athletic, has a nice jump shot and excels defensively. West Virginia is seen as the leader at the moment but Dustin Clark has been to Cleveland a few times over the last few months to watch and talk to Ahmad and his family. They obviously want him badly and of the top 100 big man targets, he's probably the most likely to be a Terp.

Horace Spencer

(I can't bring myself to link to 8th grade highlights, so here is a cool dunk from January)

Height/Weight: 6-8/215

High School: Findlay Prep, NV

247sports composite: 49th overall, 12th PF, 4th in Nevada.

The competition: Georgetown, Iowa, Seton Hall, Oregon State, Temple.

My take:

Spencer is athletic and long, but very raw offensively. That's pretty much all I know about the kid other than Findlay Prep is one of the premier basketball factories in the country. His scholarship offers are all over the place so location doesn't seem to be an issue. It's still very early in the process for Spencer. If the staff takes a trip out to Nevada to see him after the season ends we'll know they are serious.

Josh Sharma (highlight film)

Height/Weight: 6-11/215

High School: Northfield Mount Hermon, MA

247sports composite: 75th overall, 19th PF, 2nd in Massachusetts.

The competition: Wisconsin, Illinois, Harvard, Indiana, Florida.

My take:

I'd be shocked if Sharma didn't go to Wisconsin. Maryland has been on him for a while but this one is a very, very long shot.

Oumar Barry

this is all I could find, but go watch some old Melo Trimble highlights and he's in them)

Height/Weight: 6-9/215

High School: Bishop O'Connell, VA

247sports composite: Not rated on 247, but a 4-star on ESPN (25th PF, 3rd in Virginia)

The competition: None.

My take:

Barry doesn't have an offer from Maryland, or really anyone else that I can find, but I came away impressed when I scouted Trimble a few months ago. He's tall, long and very active defensively and on the boards. He won't be a priority for the Terps and will likely end up going mid-major (barring an impressive showing over the summer). If they're desperate for a big body later in the cycle he might be an option.


Sylvester Ogbonda (can't find any highlight film)

Height/Weight: 6-8/220

High School: National Christian Academy, MD

247sports composite: Unranked on 247, but a 3-star on ESPN (29th C, 4th in Maryland)

The competition: No offers but interest from Georgetown, BC, Miami and Syracuse.

My take:

Ogbonda has named Maryland his leader, although he doesn't have an official scholarship offer. He's an active player with a nice offensive skill set. He can hit from midrange and finish around the rim. There's definitely adequate athleticism but he'll need to learn how to use his body more to his advantage. There's potential that he rises significantly in the recruiting rankings on the circuit this summer. If Maryland wants him he's likely to come, at least at this point.

Georgios "George" Papagiannis (highlight film)

Height/Weight: 7-1/235

High School: Westtown School, PA (Originally from Greece)

247sports composite: 73rd overall, 9th C, 2nd in Pennsylvania.

The competition: Kansas (no offer yet), Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, Temple.

My take:

This is my dude. Bragg and Diamond Stone (below) might be the most highly touted guys Maryland is recruiting but Big Papa is my personal favorite. I scouted him while going to see Reed and Jared Nickens and was blown away. He reminds me of LaMarcus Aldridge of the Portland Trailblazers. He's incredibly agile for a 7-footer, a great shot blocker, athletic as all get-out, has solid post-moves and can hit consistently from midrange and behind the arc. Everything that you could possibly want in a big man he has, and he's still learning.

The recruitment aspect has been weird so far. Westtown's coach hasn't allowed anyone to interview him and his teammates are very vague when asked about him. Maryland was one of the first to offer and having his former teammate Nickens on the team is a big plus. It's always scary to see Kansas as competition, but they've been slow to offer. I'd be pretty confident about Maryland's chances to land him if this was a normal, open recruitment but I'm hesitant with all the mystery.

Diamond Stone (highlight film)

Height/Weight: 6-10/246

High School: Dominican High School, WI

247sports composite: 5th overall, 2nd C, 1st in Wisconsin.

The competition: Wisconsin, Marquette, North Carolina, UCLA, Duke, Arizona.

My take:

Stone is the highest ranked player Maryland's going after in this recruiting class. It'll be difficult to pry him away from his home town/state schools, but the staff is still putting in work. This is the kind of player for which the move to the B1G helps Maryland over, say, UNC, because it's still the "local" conference.

As a player Stone is the prototypical big-bodied, back-to-the-basket center. He has high level post moves, can rebound with the best, has really good hands and can pass out of the post. It's not a mistake he's a top 5, 5-star player. He reminds me a lot of Andrew Bynum (the one from his last year with the Lakers, not this one).