The Maryland Terrapins landed their third commit for the class of 2016, getting the good news from high-end three-star commit Micah Thomas, a forward out of Huntington Prep in West Virginia, on Tuesday. He'll accompany four-star shooting guard/wing Kevin Huerter who committed in September, and four-star point guard Anthony Cowan, who committed in January, in Maryland's recruiting class.
Thomas will join Ivan Bender as one of possibly two scholarship forwards on the roster with Jake Layman graduating and Robert Carter Jr. potentially leaving for the draft. Thomas will be the only true small forward in the rotation as it stands with Jared Nickens and Huerter able to hold his spot at times. This means Thomas could be in line for a ton of minutes unless the program gets another commitment or transfer.
The former Mr. Basketball from Tennessee is strikingly stretchy -- an encouraging attribute for a 17-year-old years away from his best basketball. At July's Under Armour's All-American camp, Thomas checked in at 6'5 without shoes and 168 pounds with an unreal 6'11.5 wingspan (Elsewhere he's listed between 6'6-6'8 and up to 185 pounds.) DraftExpress has NBA pre-draft measurements logged for perspective players from 1987 until last season and the average wingspan for 6'5 players without shoes is 2.5 inches shorter at 6'9. Thomas is the type of player that can assume Layman's place at the top of Maryland's traps and zones with his length and IQ.
At Huntington Prep, Thomas gets an early scouting report on two of his future college opponents. He starts alongside future Indiana Hoosiers point guard Curtis Jones and versatile Michigan State Spartan-to be Miles Bridges. In the rotation he serves as a wing who mostly lets the ball come to him as a spot-up shooter.
His form as a shooter is unique and it's unclear how it'll translate. He releases the ball pretty slowly and low -- almost in front of his face. For someone of his size that might work in high school, but it'll be more difficult to get that shot off against Division I talent.
A year ago at Briarcrest Christian High School he shot 41 percent from 3-point range, though his stats from this season are hard to find.
He can take some contact at the rim as a finisher, but most of his game rests outside the paint. It took some time for Jake Layman to develop into somewhat of a slasher and the same progression should be expected from Thomas, who looks like a real project for Maryland strength and conditioning coach Kyle Tarp. For now he's reserved on the offensive end, waiting more on half court plays to come to him. He can still move in transition though.
Three-and-D might be a clichè description, but it fits where Thomas's game is at perfectly. He's fortunate now not to be guarding massive college-sized forwards given his slim frame, but he's a talented shot-blocker, a perk of his lengthy arms, which should translate when guarding other wing-oriented perimeter players. Thomas has the dimensions to be a very good defensive player.
Mark Turgeon and staff slowly assembled themselves another solid recruiting class, ranked No. 17 by 247Sports, despite missing earlier in the recruiting season on both five-star forward Wenyen Gabriel to Kentucky and four-star forward Mario Kegler to Mississippi State.
They have room for another recruit too.
Though nothing appears looming, the Baltimore Sun's Don Markus suggests the Terps may draw interest in Canyon Barry, son of Rick, who is transferring from the College of Charleston. Five-star wing Terrance Ferguson placed Maryland in his final list after de-committing from Alabama, but he seems unlikely to come to College Park.
For now, Maryland has made progress in an uncertain offseason that could see all five of the team's starters depart for the NBA.