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Maryland men’s basketball will still push for a 2020 PG despite missing on its top target

With their top choice off the board, the Terps will shift focus as they search for someone to replace Anthony Cowan Jr. once he graduates.

Maryland basketball Mark Turgeon Lila Bromberg / Testudo Times

The No. 1 point guard in the class of 2020, Daishen Nix, released a top five list on Monday that included Maryland, and it was expected that the Terrapins could have been potential suitors for the Alaskan prospect by way of Las Vegas. However, things took a turn on Tuesday when it reports surfaced that he would commit to UCLA.

Coach Mark Turgeon and his staff have been recruiting hard for a 2020 point guard to take over for Anthony Cowan Jr., who graduates after this season. Now the Terps will have to focus in on other prospects to fill that role.

With 2020 recruits starting to cut down their lists and take official visits, some programs like Maryland will also take a look at potential targets for reclassification. Students can take advantage of summer and online classes to accelerate their path to graduation, moving them up one recruiting class and stepping on campus earlier than expected.

So far in the class of 2020, the Terps have secured a commitment from four-star combo guard Marcus Dockery. In his final season on the AAU circuit playing for D.C. Premier, Dockery shot 49.6 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from three-point range while averaging 14 points and 2.7 points per game. Whoever Turgeon and his staff bring in will be a primary ball handler that can split minutes right away and pair with Dockery.

Here are some of the guys they’re pursuing.

Karim Mane - Montreal, QC

Mane is probably the best individual talent that Maryland is heavily recruiting in the 2020 class, but there seems to be uncertainty about his timetable to make a decision.

He took part in the FIBA U19 World Cup this summer for Team Canada and finished with 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game. Turgeon was on hand in Greece to watch that competition, but it was also there that Mane discovered he could be eligible to turn pro since he will be 19 years old.

Mane did tell ESPN that college is still a priority though. “I want to get an education too, that’s important for me and my family,” he said. “I have to think about it, but that’s definitely a possibility.”

The door is still open for him to take on the college ranks, and the Terps will gladly accept someone of his caliber. Schools such as Kansas, Texas and Wake Forest are vying for his potential commitment.

But since his recruitment will be a long-term affair, other options that could be more of a long-term solution may take precedence instead.

Cam Hayes - Greensboro, NC

Hayes is a true point guard who ranks No. 29 overall and the No. 4 at his position in the class of 2021, but has been presented with chance to join the class of 2020 instead.

Though he didn’t start for Team CP3 (NC) on the EYBL circuit this summer, Hayes averaged 13.6 points and 5.2 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game.

He took an unofficial visit to Maryland in mid-August, just one month after receiving an offer from the Terps coaching staff. This will certainly not be an easy recruitment, as many top programs are after Hayes, such as NC State, Tennessee and Louisville. The competition depends mostly on if/when he reclassifies and what schools still have a need at the position, but look for Maryland to make a push either way.

Carter Whitt - Raleigh, NC

Similar to Hayes, Maryland reached out to Whitt with an offer in July and was one of a few schools to bring up the topic of reclassification. He sits right behind Hayes as the No. 2 player in the state, No. 8 point guard and No. 48 overall prospect in the class of 2021.

Though he has yet to draw attention from many blue-blood basketball programs, Whitt is a player who could come in and help absorb minutes left open due to Cowan’s departure. He has attracted attention from the likes of Ole Miss, NC State and Virginia, but his recruitment will also come down to timing.

Turgeon and his staff are known for trying to fill any needs and gaps in recruiting as fast as possible. Especially at the point guard position, it is important for a program to go all-in on talent they feel is a perfect fit, and reclassification could help Maryland if things continue to look weary with Mane.

Other potential targets

Noah Farrakhan received an offer from Maryland in January 2018, but things seemed to have cooled down on his trail. He could be a prospect Maryland revisits, but other schools such as Florida, Providence, Ohio State and Penn State have also extended offers to the four-star IMG Academy combo guard.

Andre Curbelo is an off-the-radar four-star recruit from Puerto Rico who may drum up late interest from programs looking to fill a point guard spot. On top of an offer from Maryland, he has garnered interest from Illinois, Louisville, St Johns, and West Virginia.

Santiago Vescovi from the NBA Academy Latin America is just starting to gain more traction in his recruitment. The Uruguay-native received a Maryland offer in mid-July, just like Hayes and Whitt, but also picked up offers from Miami, Temple and Washington State. At 6’2, 175 pounds, Vescovi provides a larger ball-handling frame than some other prospects at the position, which could be a benefit if he sees time early at the college level.