VIP: next steps for Maryland basketball after Hakim Hart’s decision

Hakim Hart became the first senior to announce his plans for next season after declaring for the 2023 NBA Draft while also entering the transfer portal on Thursday. All three seniors—Jahmir Young, Hakim Hart and Donta Scott—would’ve still had clear roles on next year’s roster, but other than Young, having a feature role was less likely than it was in the 2022-23 season as Willard infuses the roster with his guys. While the tide turned on Hart and buzz emerged this week that the portal was the most likely route, the sentiment hasn’t changed surrounding Donta Scott as I expect him to announce possibly the same plans as Hart.

That leaves Jahmir Young, who sat down with Kevin Willard today as the staff lays out its pitch. I’m told there’s confidence that between Young’s feature role and NIL package, a return is a viable return for the 2023-24 season. Young would anchor a backcourt that features top-50 phenom Deshawn Harris-Smith, a veteran backup in Jahari Long and a combo guard in Jahn Lamothe. Other schools like Arkansas and Miami were said to be among the schools expressing interest through backdoor channels, but the sentiment remained that it’d be Maryland or pros with pros the initial expectation. Now, Young is said to be in decision mode with his mother and rest of his camp with the option for a return still alive and, depending who you talk to, expected back next season. I’d expect an announcement by the end of the weekend as we track which way he ends up going.

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Should Young return and Scott move on as expected, Kevin Willard and the staff will have just one vacant scholarship to work with for the 2023-24 season. Attrition is still expected in the frontcourt as the staff could have likely three more scholarships to work with, giving them a chance to find a shooter to replace Don Carey, a forward to replace Donta Scott and a possible wing or big man to iron out the rotation.

Maryland has already been linked to double-digit targets thus far. IBG reported earlier that the staff has reached out to former Arizona State center Enoch Boakye, who entered the portal on Wednesday, while the staff will host Texas Tech forward Robert Jennings for a Zoom next week. Maryland has also stayed in the mix for Towson transfer Nick Timberlake, though the mutual interest with the blue bloods continues to rise. We’ll delve into portal targets once visits begin getting set.

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