2024 Four-Star Wing Updates Recruitment, Maryland Interest

Maryland is in hot pursuit of Paul VI (VA) four-star guard Deshawn Harris-Smith, but they’re also making a move on his teammate Isaiah Abraham. The 2024 wing has size and length on his side as a wing player, but he stresses defense as the main focus game in and game out.

“I wouldn’t say it’s the best part of my game, but it’s a thing I focus on the most. I’m not going to come into a game and be like, ‘Oh, I want to score’ or, ‘I’m going to score [these many points].’ I focus on my defense. The offense will come because I work on [that area of the game] in the gym and the lab. So, in a game, defense is the main thing I’m thinking [about]. The best parts of my game would be my scoring ability, my motor, and being able to attack my defender.”

The 6-foot-7, 195-pounder has offers from Pitt, UVA, Villanova, UConn, Marquette, Maryland, Virginia Tech, and more. According to the On3 consensus, he’s a four-star recruit in the 2024 class, ranked the 51st best player nationally, the 16th best small forward, and the third-best player in Virginia.

After averaging 14 points and four rebounds for a Highland School (Va.) Hawks team that went 21-10 (8-4 VISAA Division 2 Region), he transferred to Paul VI this summer to join a WCAC program that won the conference title last season.

“I just saw PVI as a winning organization. The way they wanted it, everybody was emotional; [they wanted] it so bad and never [gave] up. I like that,” Abraham said about the victory.

Now that he’s on the team, Abraham will have a hand in helping the Panthers repeat in 2022-23. He shed some light on what it will take.

“Stay to what you do. For PVI, Defense is a huge thing. Coach Farello made that clear. You’re good if you play defense and take [smart] shots on the offensive end. Defense is what everything’s about. That’s how you win a basketball game. If you work on [holding] a team to a low [number] of points and score more than them, that’s how you win. So being a winning organization, defense is the priority.”

Dug McDaniel, Deshawn Harris-Smith, and Darren Harris were leaders for the championship team and earned All-Conference honors. Abraham spoke on what playing with guys like them has done for his game.

“Competing with that every day has helped me a lot. DeShawn [Harris-Smith] is a dog. I love competing with him at one-on-ones after practice. Or, just five-on-five, I’m taking his leadership skills and looking at how he plays. Runs during the summer for PVI, Brandon Slater came through. Jim Roach [too]. Just playing with those figures has helped me improve my game.”

Harris-Smith is high on Maryland’s wish list after the commitment of Jamie Kaiser. Abraham received a scholarship offer from the Terps back in June.

“I felt good. I was excited to learn more about the program. [Building] the relationship with Coach Skinn [as well] …they love my game, how I move [off the ball], my motor on the court, how I play defense, and my scoring ability.”

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Abraham is another recruit who points out how well the Terps develop their players for the next level.

“I feel like defense is a big priority of Maryland. I understand the defense wins games. So, I think bringing that defensive presence on the court, being able to guard guards, and being 6-foot-7 is a big thing. My scoring ability is [important], but everybody can score. It’s just about defense,” Abraham said about how his style of play fits in with Maryland.

He recently spoke with Maryland assistant coach Tony Skinn about visiting the campus after the early August dead period. Abraham doesn’t have a visit schedule set in stone yet.

He has been in touch with UCONN, Marquette, and UVA about visits and has received interest from Arizona State, Michigan, and Longwood University.

“When I take those visits, I want to see how everyone thinks about the school. I would love to talk with some teammates [at] Maryland or wherever I go on official or unofficial visits. I’d love to see a practice and how the coaches are in action as a team.”

Abraham’s sophomore year at the Highland School taught him that he needs to stay humble. Playing against other top-ranked prospects in the country gave him the confidence to keep working in his quest to be a dominant player.

Over the weekend, he played in the NBPA Athletic Development Group (ADG) Showcase with Team Takeover and soaked everything in.

“I loved it. [I enjoyed the] experiences. We learned about NIL, this whole system, and how things work. We learned [about] the NCAA and high school rules. I love the process. The games were fun. We got to compete against UAA teams. The dunk contest and three-point contest were fun. The whole event was just a good experience.”

Abraham and other players heard stories and thought processes from former NBA guard Baron Davis. Getting that experience made an impact on Abraham.

He said that participating in that tournament, Peach Jam, and others allow him to improve his game by competing against the best.

“Doing things that are sometimes uncomfortable at the highest level makes me the best player I can be.”

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