The coach of a Texas high school basketball prospect who took an official visit to Maryland over the weekend said that his player left College Park without the scholarship offer both were expecting him to receive.
InsideMDSports.com, which was the first to report that 6-foot-3, 190-pound guard Jalon Pipkins of Paris High was visiting Maryland, has also listed 6-5 shooting guard M.J. Walker, a five-star recruit, as well as four-star prospect Jemarl Baker, a 6-2 shooting guard, as possible targets for the Terps.
Walker is reportedly considering Florida State while Baker has Duke, Kentucky, Arizona and Marquette in pursuit.
If the interest by Maryland in Pipkins came as a surprise to many fans who follow the team's recruiting, the fact that he didn't get an offer came as a surprise to his high school coach, Billy Mack Steed.
"I was surprised by it because when they flew to Paris, they liked him a lot,” Steed said in an interview.
Before Pipkins left for College Park last week, Steed said it sounded as if he was going to get an offer.
Steed said the only other school he knows Pipkins plans to visit is Tulsa, which is about three hours by car from Paris.
“That’s something his mother is very interested in,” Steed said.
Steed said the interest in Pipkins came after Maryland assistant Bino Ranson saw a highlight tape that included several of the player’s high-flying dunks and called Steed, who sent Ranson some game film of a player who averaged just under 22 points a game as a senior.
Ranson "saw what he was doing against some of the better players in Texas and they wanted to come here and look at him,” Steed said.
Steed said Pipkins “is the best dunker I’ve ever seen,” including habitually dunking on bigger players.
“I saw him dunk on a 6-8 guy that Oklahoma State was there to watch,” Steed said. “In practice, I’ve seen him take off from one foot in front of the free throw line and dunk. That’s pretty good for a 6-4 guard. I don’t know who [Maryland] has got coming back or they’ve got coming in but if he’s more athletic and finishes at the rim better than Pipkins, he won’t play there long.”
The day that Turgeon and Ranson visited the school, located about 100 miles from Dallas, Steed had his team scrimmage against a local junior college team that had been a playoff team in its conference.
“He just dominated them; he was just head and shoulders above everybody and they saw about two plays and they were about ready to have him up there,” Steed said.
Pipkins had gone under the recruiting radar in a state deep in Division I talent. According to Texastop100.com, Pipkins was the 99th best player in the state. Part of the reason for Steed not drawing that much interest is that he is also a wide receiver on the football team and did not play on an AAU team affiliated with a major athletic shoe company.
“There were a few other schools in there the day Maryland came and one of the guys said, ‘If he’s No. 99, all we’ve got to do is recruit Texas,’” Steed said. “I’ve seen nearly everyone in Texas play and there are not 98 players better than him. I’ve seen the No. 16 player play and it’s not even close. Pipkins is better.”
Steed said that because Pipkins spent half his year playing football, “when he goes straight basketball, there’s a ceiling he hasn’t touched yet.”