One year ago Sam Cassell Jr. was a "rotation guy" at Notre Dame Prep with mid-major offers and high-major interest. On Sunday, the former St. Frances guard committed to Maryland over offers from Connecticut, Florida State and several others.
Notre Dame Prep coach Ryan Hurd said Sunday that Cassell is "a remarkably better player" now than he was one year ago.
"There was no question that a ton of athleticism was there," Hurd said. "He matured in all aspects of his life. Two years away from home for the first time in his life, you have to grow up a little. In talking to his dad, he was clearly well raised. It’s time he got to where he was supposed to be.
"He put a ton of work into it. He’s taken advantage of the opportunity to be around other great players. He took the challenge and ran with it."
Hurd said Cassell, who averaged more than 16 points for the Crusaders during the 2011-12 season, was tempted to sign with the Terps during the fall period. The 6-foot-4, 180-pound point guard took an official visit to College Park and liked what he saw. But Hurd cautioned him against making a quick decision. Over the next five months or so, Cassell's feelings for the Terps remained the same.
"He came back and he knew that he wanted to go there," Hurd said. "I told him what I tell all the kids – see a couple places, let it play out. I’ve seen in the past when kids like him decide to wait, how much of a commodity they can become. He decided to wait and see what else was out there. New schools came and he kept talking about Maryland. Eventually, it was time to say Maryland was the place he wanted to be."
* The Sun Chronicle of Attleboro, Mass., profiled Maryland-bound small forward Jake Layman, who talked about spurning more well-known prep programs to stay at King Philip High.
"It's not like I'm famous, but I do get recognized - it's been like that a lot for a while now," Layman was saying over the weekend. "It's not like I'm a celebrity and I have to watch where I go.
"But, there's definitely pressure. I look at it as good pressure, not bad pressure, the standards are higher - I like it."
A lock for a fourth straight all-state selection, Pfirman is one of only 20 players nationwide chosen to play in the prestigious game. South's all-time leading scorer learned the WBCA Committee had selected her as one of the country's best players four weeks ago while looking at the organization's website.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun