IMG Academy Center Eyeing January Visit to Maryland

Maryland has already been able to sign a trio of recruits to solidify the backcourt with Jamie Kaiser Jr., DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahn Lamothe headed to campus next season, but the search for a big man has been a work in progress before the staff pulled the trigger on one last week.

IMG Academy three-star center Braden Pierce added another offer to his rapidly changing offer list after assistant coach David Cox sparked the interest between the two sides. “I talked to coach Cox about a week ago and then Saturday or Friday, I talked to coach [Kevin] Willard and he offered me over the phone,” Pierce told IMG. Willard was also down at IMG this month to check on Kaiser but got a chance to follow up on a pursuit that began at the beginning of the fall. “He came to IMG I guess earlier, maybe September or October. They saw me play and they liked how I was developing and he said they really needed a big for next year.”

Pierce admitted he isn’t too familiar with Maryland and doesn’t get the chance to play alongside Kaiser given Pierce is on IMG’s post-graduate team, but he tried to familiarize himself last week after tuning in for the win over Saint Peter’s. “I tried to watch their game the other night, I watched a little bit of it. I need to see more about their style of play. I’m not really sure what they run just yet.”

He’ll give Maryland a chance to show him more in-depth with a potential official visit next month. “I’m going to talk to coach Cox and try and schedule an official visit in January at some point. I’ve got a lot of traveling to do but I should be able to make it up there one weekend.”

Pierce doesn’t have any visits set in stone but knows another official will go to Missouri as they’ve been in pursuit. “They’ve been talking to me for a month or a little over I’d say,” Pierce added. A handful of other schools have been in contact in recent weeks. “Missouri, for sure. I’ve been talking to South Carolina a good bit, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Virginia a little bit.”

What is the 7-foot, 230-pound big man prioritizing in his recruitment?

I want to play somewhere I can really develop because I started late. I grew up playing baseball for the most part, I didn’t start playing full-time basketball until sophomore year. So, a place where I can really develop and place with good academics and style of play is a big deal too. Where I can have the ball in my hands whether it’s in the post or on the perimeter, I feel like I can do both pretty well.”

While nothing is set in stone, Pierce has an idea of when he would like to have a decision.

“Preferably by March.”

Pierce is rated a three-star prospect and an 89 overall by On3, sitting as the 146th-best prospect and 15th-best center in the nation.

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