What I’m Hearing on Local Four-Star Target

Maryland has momentum on the trail after four-star Jamie Kaiser became the second commitment in Willard’s first full recruiting class. With two targets now in the fold, Maryland shifts their attention to another top local target.


Paul VI (VA) four-star guard Deshawn Harris-Smith has a top five but it’s a two-team battle as mentioned this weekend. Maryland and Villanova remain the primary two suitors but with Kaiser in the fold, there’s momentum for Maryland. Local contacts have indicated it’s Maryland who is the likely landing spot for the reserved target. After assistant David Cox reeled in Kaiser, it’s assistant Tony Skinn who is leading the charge for the point guard target. Harris-Smith’s recruitment turned up after he took over the point for Team Takeover this summer, paving the way for Maryland to sell him the immediate playing time available to run the point in College Park once Jahmir Young exhausts eligibility following the 2022-23 season.


Villanova has historically done well with Team Takeover targets and that’s primarily because of head coach Jay Wright. Now? Villanova still has allure with their history and DMV presence, but not at the same level as it once was. The Wildcats remain a prominent contender, but Maryland has ammo. Team Takeover and Paul VI assistant Lamar Steven’s was a former teammate—and roommate—of Skinn’s when the two played together at George Mason. That connection helps Maryland’s chances down the stretch and a source added the Paul VI staff was able to connect with the Terps’ staff last week to build on the relationships as Willard looks to lock down the DMV.


What else helps? Kaiser and Harris-Smith are close friends and with one aboard, it bolsters the chances for the second. Lamothe and Harris-Smith also have a friendship as the St. Frances guard turns into a Terps’ recruiter for the second priority target.


With intel showing it’s Maryland and Villanova battling it out down the stretch with the Terps gaining steam, when is a commitment expected? It’s not finalized as the Harris-Smith family is out of the country for vacation, giving the four-star a chance to bunker down and weigh the pros and cons, but the earliest a decision could come is next Sunday. The last week of August is expected to be a realistic timeframe, but again, he’s in the process of finalizing his announcement plans. For now, Harris-Smith sits at WARM on the big board.


Elsewhere in the backcourt, South Kent (CT) four-star guard Elmarko Jackson has been a longtime priority for Maryland with assistant Grant Billmeier leading the charge. Jackson’s timeline, however, remains the same with a late fall decision expected and no visits set to-date. With his extended timeline, all eyes remain on Harris-Smith as Willard and Co. look to reel in another local talent.