More good news for Maryland basketball fans on the heels of the news that Steve Goins was cleared to join the team. The Terps received a commitment from 4-star power forward James Padgett out of Brooklyn, New York the other day. The 6'8" and 220 pound senior is a power forward with lots of ability to improve his game. In contrast to many so called "freshmen" college players like Jeff Allen, Padgett won't be a 20 year old when he sets foot on campus next year. He doesn't even turn 18 until April 2009. It seems his choice came down to Maryland or Pitt but with Pitt signing two big men for 2009, including the coveted PF Dante Taylor who the Terps lost in a recruiting battle to the Panthers, Padgett liked his chances of playing sooner in College Park. Like with SG Sean Mosley coming to Maryland at least in part to Syracuse's recruiting other players at his position the Terps land another player because the inn was too crowded elsewhere. It is also nice to get a recruit to land at Maryland for a change because he wanted to go away for college instead of the other way around. You can read more about Padgett's decision here and here. Gary Williams track record putting big men into the NBA was cited by Padgett as a reason to pick Maryland. He also considered West Virginia, St. Johns, Providence and South Carolina. Padgett had originally said he would wait till late October or November to give his commitment but perhaps the Terps interest in PF Arsalan Kazemi made him decide to take the scholarship offer from Gary Williams first.
In an interview earlier in the summer you can tell Padgett is a different kind of cat as you can see by the fact that he likes math, Harry Potter and The Great Gatsby, which I think is refreshing. Don't fret though because he likes sleeping in and relaxing too.
Padgett plays for Lincoln High in New York City and will play against good competition this season which will help him contribute sooner rather than later at Maryland. He got experience playing with Juice All-Stars this summer on the AAU circuit. Padgett seems to play close to the rim and is an aggressive rebounder but that doesn't mean he isn't athletic. In some ways he reminds me of a tougher and more physical version of James Gist, but without the jump shot. To me that is a good thing because there were too many times last year Maryland could have used Gist closer to the basket but James was never really comfortable in the lane. Given all the rotten news in regards to the basketball program this is great news.
Maryland is also putting the full court press on 4-star C Jordan Williams from Connecticut who was here on an official visit in recent days. If they can land Williams too it would be the best big man class Maryland has had in years and go a long way towards shoring up the weak front court.
To watch some more video of Padgett click here or watch the videos below.