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Jared Nickens commits to Maryland, giving Terps another shooter

Maryland TerrapinsComcast Center (arena)The Washington PostNCAAESPNMark Turgeon

Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon believes that you can never have enough shooters. That philosophy was proven again Sunday, when rising senior swingman Jared Nickens orally committed to the Terps after taking a visit to College Park over the weekend.

The 6-foot-6, 180-pound Nickens joins two more highly touted prospects, shooting guards Dion Wiley and Melo Trimble, for the 2014 recruiting class. Barring any early departures, it brings the Terps to 12 scholarship players — one under the limit — for that season.

Nickens said that by the time he arrives at Maryland, he wants to show that he is “a complete package for them and that I can do more than just shoot.”

Nickens was not being pursued by nationally ranked programs as Wiley and Trimble were, but Maryland’s coaches obviously felt he could help the Terps. Nickens was under the radar before transferring from St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, N.J., after three years to Westtown School in West Chester, Pa.

After being a little homesick early on, Nickens, who is from North Brunswick, N.J., adjusted as this past season went on.

“I think I improved physically and mentally,” he said Sunday. “Skillwise, I got better, dribbling the ball and passing, I became more efficient.”

Nickens was also reclassified, giving him an extra year to improve his game and raise his profile. According to ESPN, Nickens is a 4-star prospect, but other recruiting analysts and sites have rated him a 3-star prospect. He reportedly was also considering Oregon State, Wake Forest and Dayton.

Asked if he plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, Nickens said, “Yeah, I just try to prove that I’m one of the top players.”

Nickens told the Washington Post on June 5 that he was “not close to making a decision,” but that apparently changed after he visited the campus over the weekend. Nickens had also visited Oregon State — which plays Maryland next season — but he canceled his visit to Wake Forest.

Bobby Nickens said Sunday that his son chose Maryland after seeing Comcast Center for the first time.

“When he saw the Comcast Center, he felt this is where he wanted to be,” Bobby Nickens said.

Jared Nickens said he was hosted over the weekend by junior swingman Dez Wells and that all of Maryland’s players treated him well.

“I felt like I knew them 10 years already,” Nickens said. “They treated me like family.”

Nickens improved his 3-point shooting this past season, shooting close to 50 percent from beyond the arc in the second half of the year. All three of the players committed to start their career at Maryland in 2014 are considered more consistent shooters than Turgeon’s current guards.

Per NCAA rules, Turgeon is not permitted to comment on his commitments, but those three show the direction he is taking the program as the Terps head into the Big Ten.

The Terps will be built around quick guards and athletic wing players.

And shooters. Plenty of shooters.

don.markus@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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Maryland TerrapinsComcast Center (arena)The Washington PostNCAAESPNMark Turgeon
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