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3-star 7’2 center Chol Marial commits & signs with Maryland basketball

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With Bruno Fernando gone, the Terps have their new big man.

Belmont v Maryland Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Maryland men’s basketball isn’t done adding to its 2019 class, securing the commitment and signature of 2019 three-star center Chol Marial on Monday.

The 7’2 center becomes the Terps’ fifth signee, joining just over a week after his official visit to Maryland. His recruitment moved fast, and he secures the final scholarship left open by Bruno Fernando's departure.

“I want to thank Coach Turgeon for giving me this opportunity,” Marial said in Maryland’s press release. “Coach Turgeon and I have gotten along really well and I really enjoyed spending time with the rest of the coaching staff and players. Bruno Fernando and I have similar backgrounds and I saw how much he improved as a player at Maryland. I’m looking forward to getting better every day and playing for Terp Nation.”

Marial was a former top prospect for the class, after displaying a long-range touch early on in his high school career. He’s played sparingly the last two seasons due to shin splints and played for four different high schools in his career. His game is in the mold of “unicorns” like Kristaps Porzingis, but his injury issues caused teams to back off. He finished his career at Compass Prep in Arizona and also made stops at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, and two other schools.

Marial joins a class that features four-star center Makhi Mitchell and his three-star twin Makhel, as well as Philadelphia natives three-star forward Donta Scott and two-star guard Hakim Hart, the latest addition. The commitment should give Turgeon his second straight top-25 class and pushes Maryland to No. 22 in the nation. The Terps currently have the second-best class in the Big Ten behind Ohio State’s No. 12-ranked class.

“I’ve watched Chol the last three years and I can’t say enough about him as both a person and a basketball player,” Turgeon said in the release. “One of the top players in his class when healthy, Chol’s tremendous size and length make him an excellent rim protector. Chol possesses a humble demeanor and a strong work ethic that will fit well with our family. We can’t wait to have him in College Park and look forward to helping him reach his dreams.”

The now five-man class joins a team that fell a shot short of the Sweet 16 and returns all of the production from its 2018 freshman class that was highest ranked in the Big Ten coming into last season. Jalen Smith forgoing the draft process was a boon for head coach Mark Turgeon, and he’ll now have another high-ceiling big man to join him to try to make a deep-run in the tournament.