The ultimate success of Maryland’s 2018 men’s basketball recruiting class will become a little clearer this weekend, with two prized prospects set to reveal their choices.
Guards Devon Dotson and Eric Ayala announced on Twitter on Wednesday that they will make their decisions known, with Dotson making his commitment around 6 p.m. on Friday and Ayala following on Saturday.
The two players were part of a weekend visit to College Park last month that also included five-star guard Keldon Johnson as well as two players already committed, five-star forward Jalen Smith (Mount Saint Joseph) and four-star wing Aaron Wiggins.
Dotson, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound point guard from Charlotte, N.C., is ranked 24th overall nationally in the 247sports.com Composite rankings and is rated either a high four-star or five star depending on the recruiting website. He is reportedly down to Maryland and Kansas, with North Carolina State being given an outside shot.
Ayala, a 6-5, 180-pound combo guard from Wilmington, Del., who is currently playing at IMG Academy in Florida, is ranked 76th nationally in the 247sports.com Composite rankings. A four-star prospect, Ayala is reportedly down to the Terps and Oregon.
Maryland coach Mark Turgeon made a final home visit to Dotson in hopes of convincing him to join Wiggins, an AAU teammate in North Carolina. Ayala, who initially was considered a 2017 recruit until reclassifying, has been to the campus several times.
Here are a few scenarios to consider:
The Terps get both Dotson and Ayala to join Smith and Wiggins, as well as possibly Johnson, rated the No. 2 shooting guard and No. 14 overall player according to 247sports.com, and Moses Brown, the second-best big man and No. 15 player overall, in what could be the top recruiting class in the country.
Johnson, a 6-6, 205-pound wing from Virginia, who attends Oak Hill, was reportedly ready to commit to Maryland two weeks ago, but decided to put his decision off until the early signing period early next month. He is reportedly choosing between the Terps and Texas, but also has a late offer from Kentucky to consider.
Brown, a 7-0, 210-pound center from New York, is also reportedly leaning toward the Terps since their two biggest competitors, Louisville and Arizona, have become ensnarled in the ongoing college basketball scandal. Brown visited Maryland last month and is reportedly going to take a visit to UCLA later this month.
Though it seems unlikely, the Terps go 0-for-2 this weekend if Dotson and Ayala choose to go elsewhere.
Maryland certainly has location going in its favor, something both players have stated as being a positive for the Terps. But if Dotson decides to become a Jayhawk and Ayala a Duck, it will certainly put a lot of pressure on Turgeon to sign Johnson or another guard.
Given how long the Terps have hung in there with Dotson, there seems to be a decent chance that Maryland can get him to join Wiggins and the others. The fact that his father said he bonded well with Johnson and the other players during their visit could also help Turgeon.
Dotson's decision also comes a day after news broke that the Kansas school newspaper requested documents from the FBI regarding the school's dealings with Adidas, which has been mentioned prominently in the ongoing scandal that has led to the arrest of four college assistants and the administrative leave of Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino at Louisville.
Considering the timing of this weekend’s announcements, it appears that Ayala is waiting to see what Dotson does. Still some recruiting analysts believe Ayala is a virtual lock, given the proximity to his family’s home compared to Oregon and the fact that the only other school he was seriously considering was Miami, which also has been linked to the scandal.