NCB On The Trail: Maryland Terrapins

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Maryland returns nearly its entire roster, so the Terps have every position covered. What they don't have, however, is a shot blocker. Maryland's leading returning shot blockers are small forward Dez Wells and Jake Layman, who both average less than one block per game. That is exactly what 7-foot-1 Trayvon Reed, the No. 68 overall prospect in the ESPN 100 and the No. 8 center, brings.

Reed could be an X-factor next season. He provides the one element Maryland doesn't have coming back and that you need to win titles.

#AskCoachB: Making a point

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
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Romelo Trimble is headed to Maryland, and the staff there is grooming him to be a point guard. Right now, Trimble is a combo guard, which means he can run a team and get baskets at any time. He plays for a great high school coach at Bishop O'Connell in Joe Wootten, who has taught him the balance of putting up big scoring numbers and distributing to his teammates. Trimble must pay attention to making good decisions if he truly wants to be a point guard.

James Blackmon Jr. has been a shooting guard his whole life and he is one of the best in the country. I think he should stay as a shooting guard who can handle the ball on screens and push the ball on fast breaks. He is a good passer, but he is a great shooter. He should be the best 3-point shooter on Indiana's roster next season.

Robert Johnson is currently a combo guard because he plays equally well both on and off the ball. Johnson can process the game and still look for his offense. He's a good passer with a dribble-drive game, and I like the way he defends opposing point guards. Johnson could gradually play some possessions at the point for Indiana because he is a solid decision-maker.

Tadric Jackson is headed to play for Brian Gregory at Georgia Tech. Jackson has super speed and wants the ball in his hands. At times he is a one-man fast break. His DNA is to score, but he also possesses great vision. He gets into the lane at will to create for himself or find his teammates. Jackson is a dangerous scoring point guard.

There are no pure point guards in that group, but those are definitely some extremely gifted guards.

Recruit and return: NCAA misses

March, 17, 2014
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While the 68 teams that made the NCAA tournament prepare for the madness, fans of teams on the outside must turn the page to next year. Thanks to a core of returning players and strong incoming recruits, here are five programs that could be dancing at this time next year.

Georgetown Hoyas


Quick references:
Georgetown's 2013-14 roster
Georgetown's 2014 recruiting class

Possible 2014-15 starting five:

G: D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera

G: Jabril Trawick

F: Paul White

F: Mikael Hopkins

C: Josh Smith

Georgetown


Who it loses: Four players will be gone for coach John Thompson III. Markel Starks and Nate Lubick have been starters since they were sophomores and were instrumental to last season's Big East championship team. Starks was first team All-Big East this season, scoring 17 points per game. Aaron Bowen played a big role as the sixth man and gave the team a spark off the bench. At times, he played starter's minutes. Moses Ayegba was a front-court presence off the bench and was a strong presence in the paint.

Who it adds: This four-man class is the nation's seventh best and it includes three ESPN 100 players. This class is loaded with versatility and scoring talent as the Hoyas will continue to cause matchup problems for opponents. Isaac Copeland's growth continues to impresses us, as he combines size and athletic ability with a very fluid set of skills. He won a championship at Brewster Academy in the New England Prep school league, which is some of the best competition in the country. Paul White is the consummate forward in the Georgetown system as he showed he could be a facilitator, bucket-getter or defender. L.J. Peak is a battle-tested and tough small forward who can score in different ways and someone who can play right away because he competes so hard. Tre Campbell was a first-team all-league performer as a point guard in the prestigious WCAC, an ultra-competitive Washington, D,C.-area high school conference. Georgetown predicates its system of having a high level of skill on the floor at all times and this class gives them that edge plus a whole lot more.

What it means for next season: Next season's team could be more gifted and athletic as the freshman class gives them a big boost. The one freshman who needs to be good early is Campbell, because of the departure of Starks. With Smith-Rivera returning as the team's leading scorer and best 3-point shooter, and Smith back controlling the inside, this team could be a contender for a Big East title. Georgetown has always played the game with many interchangeable parts and next season it will have plenty of pieces to choose from.

Trending: Up. The Hoyas return the strength of their roster and add a lot of talent. Under the guidance of JT3, that means more postseason appearances. - Paul Biancardi



For breakdowns of Indiana, Maryland, Seton Hall and USC, click here Insider.

Roundtable: 2014 defensive standouts 

March, 11, 2014
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There are a lot of different ways to win in college basketball, but one of the few staples of virtually all good teams is a commitment to defense.

Ironically, good individual defenders never seem to get the credit they deserve, and that can even be true with the recruiting process. Standouts on offense are not only easier to recognize, they’re also easier to quantify with basic statistics. There’s also a popular sentiment among college coaches that they can teach a player to defend if they have the proper physical tools.

The reality though is that college-ready defenders are perhaps even harder to find than college-ready scorers or playmakers, which should in turn make them that much more valuable. With that in mind, we went back to our team of RecruitingNation experts and asked them to pinpoint the defensive game-changers in this year’s ESPN 100:


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video
The McDonald's All American Game is annually the nation's most prestigious high school basketball all-star event. The rosters have been announced for the Class of 2014, and this year's game will once again be played at the United Center in Chicago and will air live on ESPN on April 2.

Here's a deeper look at five exciting matchups we'll see in the 2014 contest.

1. The battle of the giants
Jahlil Okafor (West) vs. Myles Turner (East)


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Maryland signs trio of ESPN 100 prospects

November, 14, 2013
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Maryland officially announced its 2014 recruiting class on Thursday as the Terps will welcome three ESPN 100 prospects next season.

ESPN 100 SG Romelo Trimble (Upper Marlboro, Md./Bishop O'Connell), ESPN 100 SG Dion Wiley (Oxon Hill, Md./Potomac), ESPN 100 C Trayvon Reed (Snellville, Ga./Life Center) and four-star SG Jared Nickens all signed on with Maryland and head coach Mark Turgeon.

"We added four very skilled players who, combined with their outstanding character, will be very welcomed additions to the University of Maryland basketball program," Turgeon said. "Their personalities will fit in great with their future teammates. With their potential to get better, it should be a really fun group to coach."

#AskcoachB: Where's Onuaku headed?

October, 3, 2013
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Chinanu Onuaku (Upper Marlboro, Md./Riverdale Baptist) is set to make his college decision on Friday afternoon, as he just returned home from his third and final visit to Georgetown. He also visited Louisville and Miami.

Louisville seems to be the frontrunner for the center at this point, as the Cardinals are coming off a national championship last season and currently hold the nation’s No. 19 recruiting class. Miami losses a lot this season and so far it has done a very good job of building the nation’s No. 20-ranked class. Both schools have a need for more size.

Never count out the local school, Georgetown, which sits in a good spot after getting the last visit.

It would be a surprise if he picks Maryland, which has assembled the No. 3 class and has a loaded roster with really no room. The Terps are mainly focusing on underclassmen right now. Cincinnati could be a dark horse in this race.

Weekly commitment roundup

August, 23, 2013
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Big Ten conference
Ohio State
Mickey Mitchell SF Plano, Texas/Plano West
HT: 6-foot-6 WT: 210 pounds
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 31
Stars: 4
ESPN 60: 31

Big East conference
Seton Hall
Angel Delgado PF Troy, N.Y./Huntington Prep
HT: 6-8 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 16
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 63

Pac-12 conference
Arizona
Craig Victor PF New Orleans/Findlay Prep)
HT: 6-8 WT: 205
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 5
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 31

ACC
Syracuse
Kaleb Joseph PG Nashua, N.H./Cushing Academy
HT: 6-3 WT: 165
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 10
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 51

Maryland
Trayvon Reed C Snellville, Ga./Shiloh
HT: 7-1 WT: 210
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 9
ESPN 100: 84

SEC
Missouri
JaKeenan Gant PF Springfield, Ga./Effingham County
HT: 6-8 WT: 210
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 7
Stars: 4
ESPN 100: 37

Tennessee
C.J. Turman C Madison, Ga./Morgan County
HT: 6-9 WT: 215
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: 15
Stars: 4

Alabama
Brandon Austin SF Montgomery, Ala./Carver
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2015
Positional Rank: 14
Stars: 4

Big West conference
UC-Santa Barbara
Justin Burks SF Las Vegas/Arbor View
HT: 6-5 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: 2

CAA
Drexel
Rashann London SG Philadelphia/Roman Catholic
HT: 6-2 WT: 180
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Ivy League
Princeton
Mike LeBlanc SF Dover, N.H./New Hampton School
HT: 6-6 WT: 185
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

NEC
Farleigh Dickinson
Devin Eke PF Scotch Plains, N.J./Union Catholic
HT: 6-6
Class of 2014
Position Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

America East
Binghamton
Justin McFadden SG Ardmore, Pa./Lower Merion
HT: 6-5 WT: 200
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Vermont
Brandon Hatton SG Covington, Ky./Dixie Heights
HT: 6-2
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending

Cam Ward SG Marshall, Wisc./Marshall
HT: 6-2 WT: 155
Class of 2014
Positional Rank: NA
Stars: Evaluation Pending
The shooting guard position is the spot that teams count on for scoring and to take over when the squad needs to make a run. So much skill and practice goes into becoming a player that teammates and coaches can count on to score points.

Besides the physical tools, confidence may be as vital as any skill for a great shooting guard. Does he have the makeup to take and make game-winning shots? Does he possess the self-confidence to shoot another open shot after missing consecutive attempts? Will he make the big free throw to close out a game?

Below are five keys that are vital to being an elite shooting guard, with a look at which prospects from the Class of 2014 best demonstrate each of those traits.

[+] EnlargeRashad Vaughn
Courtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourRashad Vaughn is the No. 1-ranked shooting guard in the ESPN 100.

1. Create their own shot


Why it’s important: The ability to create a shot in transition, half-court sets or on a broken play separates the elite shooting guards from their peers. The best 2-guards are ideally players who can score in as many ways as possible from all three locations on the floor: behind the 3-point arc, the midrange area and in the paint. Producing points from the foul line is also a significant part of the total package. Every great team needs a player with the gift to create scoring opportunities for himself or others at any point during the game.

Who does it best:
Rashad Vaughn: Vaughn has a natural knack for putting the ball in the basket, and he does so with a high skill level, confidence and a soft touch. He can change gears in a moment’s notice, get his shot off in traffic and make difficult shots as he produces points on the move, off the bounce or from a stationary position. As his volume of shots lessens and his shooting percentage increases, he will stand out even more. With his combination of deep range on his jumper and creative pull-ups, drives and finishes, Vaughn is one of the most lethal scorers in the nation. And when he does have a passing opportunity, he can see it and make the pass.

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Myles TurnerCourtesy of Kelly Kline/Under ArmourNo. 10 recruit Myles Turner is down to eight finalists: Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma State, Duke, Kentucky, Arizona, Louisville and Ohio State.
Myles Turner (Bedford, Texas/Euless Trinity) was unknown and anonymous just a few months ago, heading into the April recruiting period. A broken ankle kept him off the summer circuit last season and kept him off the radar for most of the elite college programs.

But it has all changed in a hurry for the 6-foot-11, 225-pound Texan, who has made an Anthony Davis-esque rise up the rankings, elevating himself from outside the ESPN 100 to No. 10 overall in the Class of 2014 to now potentially challenging fellow big men Jahlil Okafor (Chicago/Whitney Young) and Cliff Alexander (Chicago/Curie) for the No. 1 spot. While Okafor is polished and skilled, no one in the 2014 class may have as much upside as Turner.

Turner recently cut his college list to eight and has set just one official visit thus far, to Lawrence, Kan., for the Jayhawks’ Midnight Madness on Oct. 4. Turner’s father, David, told ESPN.com that the family has also already set up in-home visits with Texas and Kentucky.

Here’s handicapping the race for Turner, ranking his finalists from 1-8 after talking to those involved in the recruitment:

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LONG BEACH, Calif. -- After three days of competition at the Adidas Nations, the matchups are set for Monday night’s third-place and championship games, which will both air on ESPNU.

Adidas Nations features the world’s elite 18-and-under players representing teams from the United States, Africa, Australia, Latin America, the Philippines and Russia. The format is a combination of skill work, drills and game competition, culminating in Monday’s championship.

The Adidas Nations third-place game between Africa and USA 2015/2016 Red will feature eight players ranked in the ESPN 60 and will air live at 7 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN. Following that, the championship contest between USA 2014 Red and USA 2014 Blue will include 18 players ranked in the ESPN 100 and will air live at 9 p.m. ET on ESPNU and WatchESPN.

The title tilt will include a number of intriguing matchups, led by a must-see big man battle between No. 1 overall prospect Jahlil Okafor for USA Red versus No. 10 recruit Myles Turner for USA Blue. At the power forward position, Kevon Looney and Craig Victor of USA Red will battle Trey Lyles and Reid Travis of USA Blue. The small forward spot, meanwhile, will pair up Stanley Johnson of USA Red against North Carolina-bound Theo Pinson of USA Blue. And finally, the backcourt battles will include Kaleb Joseph and Louisville recruit JaQuan Lyle of USA Red versus Maryland-bound Romelo Trimble and Ohio State commit D'Angelo Russell of USA Blue.

Emmanuel Mudiay of USA Blue is not expected to play in the championship game due to a banged-up knee, while Malik Newman of USA 2015/2016 Red will likely miss the third-place game with a sore hip. If healthy, Mudiay would have made 19 ESPN 100 prospects in the title game and Newman would have made nine ESPN 60 recruits in the third-place contest.

But there will still be plenty of talent on display. Here’s a closer look at eight players -- two for each team -- to watch Monday night on ESPNU for the Adidas Nations third-place and championship games.

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LAS VEGAS -- The fifth and final day at the elite AAU events in Las Vegas on Sunday had a little bit of everything.

It began with a lights-out shooting performance from ESPN 100 point guard Riley LaChance (Brookfield, Wis./Brookfield Central), followed by a spectacular scoring outburst by ESPN 60 shooting guard Tyler Dorsey (Los Angeles/St. John Bosco).

As the day wore on, ESPN 100 Maryland commit Romelo Trimble (Arlington, Va./Bishop O’Connell) found his shooting groove while 2015 shooting guard Jeffrey McClendon (Pasadena, Calif./Pasadena) proved that playing lockdown defense can garner attention as well.

Finally, the last game of the day was a tilt between two of the more highly acclaimed 2016 ESPN 25 prospects in Deadrick Lawson (Memphis, Tenn./Hamilton) and Joe Hampton (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha), with Lawson leading his Team Penny to the U15 championship over Hampton's DC Assault squad.

Here’s a closer look at some of the best performances from Day 5 at the Las Vegas Classic and Las Vegas Fab 48.

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ESPN 100 guards cap strong July in Vegas 

July, 29, 2013
7/29/13
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Editor's note: This is the final entry in Dave Telep's July Road Trip blog. Throughout the month, Dave checked in each day he was on the road while covering some of the biggest basketball recruiting events in the country, from Las Vegas to South Carolina to Indianapolis to Georgia to Orlando and back to Vegas to close things out.

LAS VEGAS -- That's it? It's over? When the July recruiting period ends, there's no parade and no season-ending party -- only a slew of dreary players, coaches and scouts who are all too happy to pack up and head home.

For me, the month started in Las Vegas at the LeBron James Skills Academy and ended here as well with a trio of elite Vegas AAU events over the weekend. For the last entry in my July road trip blog, here’s a look at the storylines that stood out on Sunday in Las Vegas, including items on ESPN 100 guards Romelo Trimble and Isaiah Whitehead, the search for big men and some recruiting news and notes.

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Georgia center commits to Oregon State

July, 23, 2013
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Oregon State coach Craig Robinson landed his first commitment from the 2014 class on Monday night with a pledge from center Isaiah Manderson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton), multiple sources are reporting.

The 6-foot-10 Manderson chose the Beavers over Georgia, Maryland, Mississippi State, Tennessee and Auburn.
MILWAUKEE -- Maryland-bound 2014 shooting guard Romelo Trimble (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell) has had the hot hand for DC Assault this entire week at the Under Armour Summer Jam presented by NY2LA Sports.

[+] EnlargeRomelo Trimble
Kelly Kline/Under ArmourMaryland-bound 2014 guard Romelo Trimble is a powerful backcourt player with a sweet shooting stroke.
Trimble, the No. 45 prospect in the ESPN 100, has been all business and has played with off-the-charts confidence. He has not only been consistent but has also made big shots when his team has needed a basket.

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