New Jersey forward has unique connection to Maryland basketball assistant

Maryland had been keeping close tabs on St. Rose (NJ) power forward Matthew Hodge through his junior season as the 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward steadily heard from the staff.

Hodge’s first experience with Maryland came back in February when he made the trip to College Park for the Purdue game, the day the staff officially jumped into the mix. “I went to that game then I talked with coach [Kevin] Willard, that was when they offered me,” he told IBG.

The shooting touch that the stretch four showed through the season into EYBL where he shot 70% has led to a bevy of high major interest from Virginia Tech, Seton Hall, Penn State with Villanova keeping tabs on him. Maryland, though, has maintained contact as a new assistant is now leading the charge.

“I’ve spoke with coach Willard a few times. The one that was recruiting me was coach Grant [Billmeier] but then he went for the NJIT head coaching job. It’s a funny story. The assistant coach that’s there now, Mike Jones, recruited me over at Virginia Tech and he’s really good friends, old teammate with my dad so I’m in touch with him all the time now.”

While the relationship between Jones and Odell Hodge, Matthew’s father, from their time together at Old Dominion gives Maryland an ‘in,’ the trip to College Park last season gives Hodge a good impression of the Terps early on.

“In the beginning I had to do my research about the fans and atmosphere. But seeing it at the Purdue game was insane, watching them storm the floor. That helped a lot.”

Hodge admits the next step is sitting down with the staff to see how he fits within Willard’s system, but with him in no rush to make an imminent decision, Maryland is on his shortlist for potential return visits next fall.

“We’re keeping those open and doing official visits, everything in September, October because now there’s no students so I want to get the full picture.”

Hodge is not yet rated by On3.

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