As if the magic of turning a slightly above .500 team into the preseason No. 3 team in the nation in less than two years weren't enough, Xfinity Center is about to be blessed with some serious talent for this year's Maryland Madness.
Following a team autograph session, magician J.P. Wilson is set to perform the opener in a familiar basketball atmosphere. Wilson was on stage at halftime for the second Western Conference semifinal game between the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers in Houston a few months ago. He's performed for many other NBA teams including the Sixers, Pelicans, Raptors and Hornets, and on collegiate courts as well including Big Ten foe Northwestern.
Though a magician is a mild choice in comparison to bringing in rapper 2Chainz like Georgetown, the Terrapins have better talent they didn't have to pay money for.
When the roster is announced, fans will swoon over Big Ten pre-season player of the year Melo Trimble and pre-season co-freshman of the year and five-star recruit Diamond Stone. Rounding out the rest of the Terps preseason accomplishments, Trimble was named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list, senior Jake Layman to the Julius Erving Award watch list and Duke-transfer Rasheed Sulaimon to the Jerry West Award watch list. In addition, DraftExpress's most recent mock draft has Stone selected No. 10 overall, Layman No. 25 and Trimble No. 36. No lie, the Terps have talent.
The excitement will be in the team's first public scrimmage, of course in addition to the heavily anticipated team dance. Fans will get a first look at coach Mark Turgeon's off-season additions which include Stone, Sulaimon and junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley.
More than just fans will be in attendance as Turgeon has assembled an entourage of prospective recruits.
Two Are Targets in the Class of 2016
The Oak Hill Academy transfer has risen to the top of Maryland's most wanted list after the Kentucky Wildcats robbed the Terps of five-star forward Wenyen Gabriel. Kegler is a pretty good prize in his own right, as he is rated a high-end four-star recruit by 247Sports, sitting at No. 27 in the composite rankings, ten spots below Gabriel. The 6'7 forward is likely more college-ready than the new Kentucky commit, weighing 30-pounds heavier in a two-inch smaller frame.
For those unfamiliar with the recruiting charts, schools in orange Kegler has scheduled or taken official visits to, schools in blue were considered for official visits and schools with a slash have been eliminated from contention for his talents.
Kegler visited Arizona State in mid-September, Baylor a week after, Mississippi State a week ago, and Maryland will be his fourth visit this weekend. He's scheduled to visit Indiana the following weekend. The visit to Mississippi State was unexpected until a commitment from four-star forward Lamar Stevens caused Kegler to rethink his visit to Penn State.
A weekend commit from the Mississippi native would bring Maryland's recruiting class for 2016 into the No. 5 spot according 247Sports, behind Michigan State, Duke, Florida State and Connecticut.
During last season's NBA All-Star break, 39 campers from 23 countries ranging in age from 16 to 18 trained with NBA players and coaches including Denver Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari, Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng, Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams and Spurs former center Tiago Splitter. 6'8 18-year-old Jacob Larsen was one of the talents in attendance for the NBA's "Basketball Without Borders Camp."
In February the 230-pound Danish power forward mentioned Duke, Maryland and George Washington as three of the schools recruiting him, according to Adam Zagoria.
Larsen is the younger brother of Rasmus Larsen, a former top European prospect who held an offer from Duke, but died unexpectedly at the age of 20 in May.
Larsen is ranked No. 19 in DraftExpress's list of top international prospects born in 1997, and he is likely to play college ball in America as a member of the class of 2016.
Some additional footage of him here.
Other Recruits Expected to be in Attendance:
The commits: Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter
At least two future Terps will walk through the doors at Xfinity Center. Four-star point guard Anthony Cowan will be in attendance according to 247Sports' Josh Stirn, alongside the Terps newest commit, four-star wing Kevin Huerter. The duo currently has Maryland slotted as the 17th-best recruiting class in 2016 according to 247Sports.
A 6'11 four-star class of 2017 big man, Dajour Dickens, will be at madness according to Adam Zagoria. He is ranked the 9th best center in his class in 247Sports composite rankings, and holds offers from Clemson, Creighton, Memphis, Temple, Virginia and Virginia Tech among others.
Class of 2018 five-star forward Jalen Smith will witness the madness, according Don Markus. The Baltimore native received an offer from Maryland just under two weeks ago, but recently told the Baltimore Sun that he expects to play for the Terps. This will be Smith's fourth unofficial visit. He also holds offers from Marquette, Miami and Providence.
Another class of 2018 recruit, Noah Locke's visit was confirmed by his high school basketball team's Twitter account. The 6'2, 165-pound shooting guard has offers from Cincinnati and USC, among others.
Antwuan Butler and Ajiri Johnson
One of the top eighth-grade prospects in the country, Che Evans, will be in College Park according to 247Sports' Stirn.The 6'6 wing has interest from Arizona, Arizona State, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, Kentucky, Maryland, St. John's, UCLA and UNLV.
The four-star forward in the class of 2017 recently canceled his visit, according to Zagoria.