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Quietly, the Maryland basketball staff has been recruiting one of the nation’s top juniors for the past half-year or so.
Cleveland forward Carlton Bragg, one of the most highly sought players in the Class of 2015, has been hearing from the Terps since early this year and received a visit from assistant Bino Ranson this weekend.
“Coach Bino was up last night to watch our open gym. He came to see Carlton Bragg and a couple of other kids. He said he loves the way Carlton plays and Maryland’s got to have him,” said Mike Graves, Bragg’s mentor and a former coach at his high school, Villa Angela-St. Joseph.
Ranson’s hardly alone. Bragg, a versatile 6-foot-9 prospect, is ranked the No. 2 power forward and fifth-best prospect overall in the Class of 2015. He’s a high-priority target for schools like Kentucky, Ohio State and Louisville, but Graves said no school has entrenched itself as the favorite in his recruitment.
“We’re just going through the process of trying to look at all of the schools, see how they compare to the other schools. … He’s wide open. No school is too close and no school is too far,” Graves said. “Carlton’s a good kid. He’s got a long way to go, but he’s come a long way."
With Maryland’s impending move to the Big 10, Mark Turgeon and company are working to expand their recruiting base toward the Midwest. Turgeon recently spoke with Bragg as Bragg was traveling to a camp run by former Terps star John Lucas. When he arrived, Lucas chipped in his own two cents.
“John Lucas was telling us about Maryland, how he was the No. 1 pick and how he played for Maryland,” Graves said. “Coach Bino said they want to get him down for a visit sometime soon or during the season for a game. We’ll probably make it for a game.”
Bragg’s recruitment will be a full-scale national tussle, and Maryland has quietly been working its way into contention.
“They’ve been calling for six or eight months. This was one of the first times Coach Bino got to see him in person, and he really liked him. They’re going to be following him,” Graves said.
Note: While attending the open gym, Ranson also checked out a couple of Bragg’s 2015 classmates, 6-8 center Derek Parson and 6-2 guard Brian Parker junior. Graves said Ranson was impressed with Parker.