Wednesday, August 15, 2007

First the trickle, now the flood

Maybe we'll look back a few years from now and point to the recruitment of Terrence Jennings as the moment when Maryland basketball recruiting was resurrected. No offense to the 2006 or 2007 classes who have fine players in their own right, but the kinds of players Maryland's new staff are picking up are on another level from the last two years. In addition to the 5-star PF Maryland just picked up Baltimore wing Sean Mosley who is himself a 4-star top 50 level player. Mosley made no secret of his desire to play for Syracuse but the log jam at the guard positions there forced him to focus elsewhere, while Mosley's parents have always been strong Maryland supporters. The staff may have turned up the heat on Mosley's decision by continuing to recruit the guard position while the senior weighed his options.

Burned in the recent past by some local recruits who spurned Maryland at the last minute I think Gary Williams wanted to make sure that didn't happen this time. The situation with SG Chris Turner isn't clear at this point with some reporting that he will also give a verbal commitment to Maryland in the coming days. Regardless I think the staff pursued Turner and even PG Andre Young to send a message that Maryland was willing to move on if necessary. I don't think there was any animosity in this but the staff probably wanted get a firm commitment so that they could plan out the two remaining scholarships for 2008 and 2009. With a potentially loaded local 2009 class, and many listing Maryland, the staff will have some interesting choices to make in the next 12 months.

Some facts about Mosley. He is a strong candidate for player of the year for Baltimore as awarded by the Baltimore Sun. He has been on the All-Metro team for three years running and is a better player than the 2007 winner, Malcolm Delaney. He averaged 21 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists for St. Francis Academy as a junior last year. He has been a member of the Baltimore Sun All Metro team for three years running. According to reports he has a versatile game and has no problems drawing contact and scoring in traffic, which has been a weakness of the Terps backcourt the last few years. Mosley may not overwhelm you with any particular part of his game but he is a winner which is what convinced him to play for Gary Williams. Mosley pledged to Maryland on his mother's birthday as a present, as she wanted him to stay close to home. It was a nice job by assistant Keith Booth and Williams to land the kind of elite Baltimore area products the Terps need to get back to the elite of college basketball. Before we give Booth too much credit realize that Mosley would probably be playing for the cheater up at Syracuse had they not gone in another direction. Still, it is a good sign and hopefully indicative of more good things to come in recruiting. For now the days of signing a mid-major caliber player at the end of the signing period appear over.

This move helps to ensure that Williams will have a flexible roster with lots of interchangeable players. The teams of the last few years had bench players with major flaws or who were fairly one dimensional. It limited Williams ability to adjust to opponents and meant that if the match ups were not in Maryland's favor it was difficult to win. The future rosters will have wing players with the ability to play a number of positions effectively. The 2006-8 classes will fit well together and have a nice balance, at least on paper. As the 2002 and 2003 classes demonstrated you never know until they start playing what you've got.

You can read more about Mosley here and here.

Another interesting note is that junior college transfers seem to have lost some luster in College Park. Consider that after this year, when Boom Osby graduates, Maryland will not have a single JUCO player on the roster. You would have to go back to before the National Championship to find the last time that was the case. I don't have anything against JUCOs, as many top programs use them, but it is another sign that things are changing for the Terps.


Goterps said...

Wasn't Ryan Randle a transfer player on the national title team?

Esquire said...

Yes, Randle transfered from Allegany Community College to Maryland. He was another JUCO player who had a nice, but short, career at Maryland. After Randle came Jamar Smith, Sterling Ledbetter, Parrish Brown and then Boom Osby. As I said you have to go back before the 2002 title to find a Maryland team with no junior college players on it.