Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Dupree Tips Off 2007 Class

As expected, Maryland received its first recruit for the 2007 season this week and it was a big one, both literally and figuratively. Braxton Dupree from Calvert Hall in Baltimore has given a verbal commitment to play for Maryland in 2007. If Calvert Hall sounds familiar to you there is a good reason, another Maryland player by the name of Juan Dixon came to College Park from that high school. Dupree is a 6-8 and 260lbs roadblock at C/PF and automatically plugs a hole in the frontcourt. As of today Maryland will only have James Gist(assuming he stays for his senior year), '06 recruit Jerome Burney and current freshman Dave Neal as potential post players for the 2007 season. Maryland is likely to add a junior college big man in the spring to further bolster the post but don't be surprised if Dupree plays significant minutes right away.

That is not a scary proposition because Dupree has good hands and a well rounded low post game for a high school player. He has the size to hold his own in the rough and tumble ACC, though he could use some conditioning like all high school players. He is also a very good student and by all reports a nice kid.

Dupree is a consensus top 50 junior and his ranking will likely rise if he plays well this fall. He could be in the top 30 by next spring. Recruits are always that Forest Gump box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get, but Dupree is going to be a big time player for Gary Williams. His commitment will likely get the ball rolling on other 2007 commits and there are already rumors that another junior is ready to verbal in the next few weeks. Another Baltimore big man, Dino Gregory, is leaning towards the Terps. Gregory is another 4-star top 100 player that Maryland can put in the frontcourt and could rise up the rankings with a strong fall, like '06 recruit Landon Milbourne.

The staff will also be pushing hard for SG Jeff Jones from outside Philadelphia in the next month. Jones is reportedly down to either Maryland or Georgia Tech, though Villanova is still lurking. Jones has visited Maryland three times already and was at one of the exhibition games. I have a feeling the late push by Maryland has really impressed Jones and that he will commit to Maryland. He would give the Terps another scoring SG to improve the backcourt depth after Mike Jones and DJ Strawberry depart. Jones is also a very good student.

The new assistant coaches, particularly Rob Moxley, have overhauled how recruiting is done at Maryland. After getting in late on many recruits Maryland was still able to land another top 20 class for 2006. This will pay huge dividends not only for the 2007 class but well beyond that. It is a new era at Maryland and I am confident that they have the right people in place to bring the program back to where it was in 2002.

ACC Notes

Anyone notice that Miami's basketball team lost to Air Force the other day, the service academy's first ever victory over an ACC foe? Not that Air Force is a bad team but the loss should make anyone who picked them to dance this year think twice. They are still a team with only a few ACC caliber players. Couple this with Virginia Tech's embarrassing loss to Bowling Green at home and this wasn't a good week for ACC newcomers. At this rate programs who have never beaten an ACC team should line up for their chance against these two. They're both football schools, let's not kid ourselves. Neither has even the slightest chance to contend in the ACC for the foreseeable future.

Georgia Tech coach Chan Gailey got a 5 year $5 million contract extension. Athletic director Dave Braine called GT one of the three toughest jobs in the nation given Tech's high academic standards. I think GT is a fine school with very good academics but that statement is silly. Has Braine checked out Tech's basketball team lately? There are no engineering majors on Paul Hewitt's squad. That is not a cheap shot, just pointing out that everyone bends the rules to admit athletes and GT is no exception. To excuse Chan Gailey's mediocrity by saying he can't get the best players due to admissions standards is laughable.

Maryland safety Milton Harris was named ACC defensive back of the week for his 16 tackle game against UNC.

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