By Jeff Ermann
Special to The Baltimore Sun
8:07 AM EST, February 27, 2013
Maryland’s men’s basketball staff has shown the ability to recruit players from various locales, but the Terps do have a couple of hot spots. They've been successfully keeping top talent in the D.C. metro area, while also stretching their regular efforts all the way up the Eastern seaboard to New England, where assistants Scott Spinelli and Bino Ranson both have deep ties.
After signing Boston star Jake Layman last year, the staff is recruiting several more players from the region in the 2014 and 2015 classes.
One such prospect is junior Goodluck Okonoboh of Wilbraham & Monson Academy in Tilton, N.H. The 6-foot-8 center, ranked by 247Sports as the No. 26 overall player in country and No. 3 center, visited Maryland earlier this season with his coach and a couple of teammates.
“I really enjoyed it. The guys there do a great job and everybody had a great time,” said Wilbraham and Monson coach Chris Sparks. “They have been doing a really good job [recruiting Okonoboh]. He’s just focused on improving and not really thinking about favorites or anything, but he liked it very much.”
Okonoboh, who’s regarded by many as the best shot-blocker in the Class of 2014, is averaging 16 points, 10 rebounds and 7.6 blocks this season. A former teammate of Layman with the historically prominent BABC AAU program, he’s got offers from Maryland, Syracuse, Missouri, Marquette, Pittsburgh and more, along with interest from Kentucky and others.
With Spinelli, the primary recruiter of Layman and other New England prospects, leading the way, Maryland’s made Okonoboh and early priority in 2014.
“Absolutely. The coaching staff has been up here probably four times," Sparks said. "They develop kids, and I think the proof of that is [Alex Len]. That’s something that he’s looking for. ... I've known Coach Spinelli for a long time, as well as Bino, who I used to work at camps with. ... He’s open right now. He’ll go where he feels comfortable and where he thinks he can elevate his game. That’s the bottom line.”
Okonoboh was joined on the visit by Luis Montero, an athletic 6-7 wing rated the No. 12 small forward in 2015, and 6-4 freshman guard Mustafa Heron. Sparks said a report that Maryland offered the two during the visit was false as far as he knows, but Maryland’s made its interest in both young players apparent.Maryland will likely be keeping close tabs on Okonoboh this spring and summer. Stay tuned.
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