VIP: Next Steps for Maryland Basketball Recruiting After Four-Star Commitment

With Paul VI (VA) four-star guard DeShawn Harris-Smith committing to the Terps on Wednesday evening, Maryland basketball now boasts a consensus top-25 class thanks to a local trio of commits. With the class projected to take five this cycle, who could Maryland go for next? We take a deep dive to examine the list.

What’s next in the frontcourt?

Maryland now has three guards in the 2023 class with Harris-Smith joining Jamie Kaiser and Jahnathan Lamothe. Granted, Kaiser can play the wing too but can Maryland add another guard? That conversation begins with South Kent (CT) four-star Elmarko Jackson, who was slated to release a top seven only to improvise into a top eleven. It’s no surprise that Maryland made the cut. The top-50 prospect has a strong rapport with assistant Billmeier and head coach Kevin Willard, the duo have recruited him since their days at Seton Hall and Willard’s track record with guard development resonates. Maryland is still under consideration, but the path to early playing time isn’t as clear as it once was. Contact remains consistent between the two, though, and no official visits have been set up yet.

Maryland also extended an offer to Virginia guard Davin Cosby, a fast-rising guard whose stock rose through the live period, earlier this summer but missed out on his top group. Putnam Science guard Connor Dubsky committed to Rhode Island earlier this month, as well. Even if the Terps don’t add to the backcourt, the trio of local guards arguably give Maryland their best backcourt class in the last ten years.

What about the rest? 

Maryland has been recruiting four-star Mouhamed Dioubate through the summer and between Willard and Billmeier, made the cut last week alongside Alabama, Kansas State, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest. The 6-foot-7 forward will take all five official visits in the coming weeks before committing ahead of his senior season. But now, the attention shifts to the frontcourt with two primary targets: four-star center Papa Kante and juco big Okechukwu Okeke. Kante is returning from Sengal to begin his senior season at South Kent alongside Elmarko Jackson. An early fall decision is expected with Maryland still squarely in the mix alongside Michigan and Rutgers with Pittsburgh rounding out the top four, and there’s steady confidence from the Terps. Okeke could also visit down the line, though nothing is set yet. Prolific Prep (CA) center Michael Nwoko also included Maryland in his top group but skepticism surrounds Maryland’s chances to land him.

 Update on top-50 prospect Derik Queen

One option for Montverde Academy (FL) four-star center Derik Queen is reclassifying into the 2023 class once he begins his junior year. A source said it’s “50-50” as of now that Queen makes the leap into the 2023 class. After starting his high school career at St. Frances, he’s on track to get the academic credits needed and more clarity on whether he will make the leap will take shape in the coming weeks. Part of the clarity is ensuring his academics are still on track, part of it is also attributed to what his role at Montverde will be for the upcoming season. Maryland is in a good spot for Queen if he does opt to leave high school one year early, though. Queen currently being away from home does help Maryland’s chances with the four-star holding distance from his family as a key factor. Arizona, Kentucky and Oregon are a handful of other schools that have been consistently mentioned for him, but again, distance plays a heavy factor and Maryland has capitalized on that angle thus far. Maryland has prioritized Queen in the same fashion as they have with their 2023 targets and were the only school to host him for a visit this summer—weeks after his family visited campus. Assistant Tony Skinn is leading the charge for Maryland, but the staff’s collective efforts have made Queen feel like a priority.

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