It's decision season for top recruits who want to get rid of everyday calls, texts, media questions, tweets and semi-creepy fan-made pictures of themselves in several different photoshopped team uniforms... and Maryland so far is 1-for-1 after official visits.
Last weekend Kevin Huerter swore he'd take all of his official visits (to Villanova, Maryland, Michigan and Notre Dame) before he made his decision. He toured Villanova the week before venturing to College Park, and had been scheduled to visit Michigan then Notre Dame in consecutive weeks.
Those plans changed after a Labor Day weekend of Terrapins sports-related awesomeness as the newly turned 17-year-old spent time with players on the pre-season no. 1 ranked basketball team in the country. He had the opportunity to watch Maryland's soccer team beat the no. 1 ranked UCLA Bruins in overtime in front of a record-setting 8,449 screaming Terps fans, and spent the next day watching a Maryland football beatdown of the Richmond Spiders. It was the picture-perfect weekend that Huerter, his parents, and Mark Turgeon dreamed of that ended in the same fashion, with a phone call from the 4-star shooting guard, to announce his decision to commit to the Terps.
Immediately Maryland rose to 26 spots to the no. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports, and boasted two top-100 commits (point guard Anthony Cowan has been locked in since January).
Now the program looks to add to its riches this weekend as 5-star forward Wenyen Gabriel official visits campus.
One of the summer's most notable risers, Gabriel rose from the lower quarter of most top-100 lists to the top. He's ranked no. 17 on both Rivals and 247Sports and no. 23 on ESPN.
Today he will listen to three in-home visits from Duke, Maryland and Providence and tomorrow will host UConn and Kentucky (the five remaining schools he listed in mid-August).
Maryland will be Gabriel's first official campus visit this weekend. He has two other official visits scheduled at Kentucky (9/25-9/27) and Duke (10/16-10/18).
Can Turgeon pull another early commitment in September?
Currently 247Sports' crystal ball leads the public to believe Gabriel's recruitment is a two team race, and has odds trending in Maryland's direction, though it still favors Duke 59% - 35%. Gabriel at one point called Duke his "dream school," but with one of the nations best forwards, Jayson Tatum, already committing on live television to Coach K's Blue Devils and the nations best power forward, Harry Giles, being considered a heavy lean, it may not make much sense for Gabriel to play in North Carolina. Many consider him to be a prospect more than an immediate high-level contributor, and he may lose serious minutes and a bit of attention playing behind guys already expected to be superstars.
At Maryland, he'd likely compete for minutes with Jared Nickens and Robert Carter at either the three or the four spots – a much easier task than outplaying two of the top three players in his own draft class. At worst he'd be one of the first players off Terps' the bench.
Maryland fans would also get the opportunity to see him make dunks like this on a regular basis:
Terrapin alumni should consider immediate Turgeon statues be made to surround the exterior of Xfinity Center should Gabriel commit this weekend, but in all likelihood his decision won't come for at least another month as the 5-star picks a school that suits him. In the meantime, prayers should be directed to the other Maryland sports to perform an encore of last weeks all-around stellar performances.