VIP: Return to Campus; Offseason Buzz; Coaching Praise

Maryland basketball is hot on the recruiting trail after the commitment of four-star guard DeShawn Harris-Smith this week. With a consensus top-25 class this cycle now and the team heading back to campus in the coming days, more premium rumblings surrounding Maryland basketball.

Summer of Splash…it’s been a hectic summer when you look back at Maryland’s activity. Adding Jahmir Young, Don Carey, Jahari Long out of the transfer portal; signing Noah Batchelor; stabilizing the roster; adding three 2023 commitments. NIL helped keep the roster in order this offseason for some current players, but in addition to all the wins on the trail, a source said roughly 40-45% of Willard’s time in College Park has been spent on overall recruiting. Willard has made a conscious effort to dedicate time to breaking the ice into the Maryland community, such as occasional golf outings with former Maryland head coach Gary Williams. He’s also spent time with former alums to generate a more inviting and welcoming environment in College Park.

Staff finding its groove…Maryland’s staff under Willard has lived up to its billing. Grant Billmeier benefits from joining Willard in College Park given he knows the system, Tony Skinn has the local ties that helped Maryland break into Paul VI, David Cox’s ties in the area and as a head coach amplify the bench. There’s a belief that Skinn will ultimately become a head coach in the future, but for now, he’s helping get Maryland basketball on track especially locally.

Team juice…this is the last week off for the team with school back in session next week. A source said Willard takes pride in losing only one player to the portal this offseason. There was an emphasis on only making portal additions complementary pieces to the current players and that ties into the pride Willard takes in early. It’s known that it’ll take this team time to get through the early portion of the season. The marquee games like Tennessee and UCLA give Maryland a good barometer heading into conference play, but there’s pieces. Previous intel has been high on Jahmir Young’s ability to create offense, noted Noah Batchelor’s impressive inside-out game and Ike Cornish’s shooting ability. Hakim Hart, meanwhile, steps into a feature role once more while Donta Scott has trimmed down ahead of his senior season. All eyes are on Julian Reese in the frontcourt, though, and whether he can make the sophomore jump and remain out of foul trouble. With the team set to return to practice, a source added that former Maryland guard Greivis Vasquez will head to practice next week to speak with the team.

On the trail, Maryland is hot after going three-for-three with their local guard targets. With Jamie Kaiser, DeShawn Harris-Smith and Jahnathan Lamothe all in the fold, Maryland is pleased that they have a trio of complementary prospects that can line up in different combos on the floor. Next up is the frontcourt and keeping consistent with four-star with Mouhamed Dioubate, but Maryland’s first three dominos have fallen in College Park.

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