With top prospects committing on a seemingly daily basis, schools filling out their classes and new players emerging, Maryland seemed to be a little late to the party for 2008 basketball recruiting.
All that changed in a hurry, of course, with the commitment last week of five-star power forward Terrence Jennings -- a player who became the Terps' first commit for 2008, and one that was definitely worth the wait.
Some Maryland fans have debated whether Jennings is one of the greatest Terps recruits of all-time. That's probably a stretch, but nabbing Rivals.com's No. 15 player overall for 2008 certainly has a way of heightening expectations.
Jennings has basically spent all summer working the AAU circuit, impressing scouts, writers and coaches. Here's what SLAM had to say about Jennings following his play at the Rbk U. tournament at Philadelphia University in July.
7. Terrence Jennings, 6-10 power forward, Mt. Zion (NC), 2008: This Jennings gets compared to Amare by most experts for his tremendous athleticism and motor. A run-and-jump athlete who dunks everything around the bucket, blocks shots and boards, he's also showed signs of a face-up game.
Like SLAM noted above, the Amare Stoudemire comparisons have followed Jennings seemingly everywhere he's gone. The comparison is apt both for Jennings and Stoudemire's similarly itinerant academic backgrounds and for their respective games.
I had a chance to watch Jennings play in May at the Arizona Cactus Classic in Tucson. Here's a video highlight package I produced of him at the tournament when I was working for the Arizona Daily Star. One disclaimer – some of the local media seemed a bit overly enthused for Jennings to commit to the Arizona Wildcats, as you'll hear in some of the questions. I swear I wasn't one of those questioners. Click here to see the video. Look out for a back-to-back-to-back alley-oop sequence near the end of the clip.
I thought it was pretty interesting, in retrospect, how Maryland received mention from Jennings in the video, but was not among his top three. Keep in mind this was recorded less than three months ago. It just serves as another example of how fluid recruiting is, and in this case, likely how important Gary Williams' loyalty was in securing this commitment. Arizona, UConn and Cal all dropped out of the race, but Maryland persisted, and Jennings rewarded that devotion with his pledge.
Now for a brief introduction …
Welcome to "Recruiting Report", a blog devoted to all things recruiting. I'll be dealing primarily with Terps football and basketball, but will also have a significant focus on Baltimore-area high school athletes who are moving on to the next level. This blog will be a mix of links, opinions, original reporting, rankings analysis, predictions, highlight videos and more.
A little background on me: I just began work as a sports producer for baltimoresun.com in July, but my first brush with recruiting was back when I was about 10 or 11. My dad and I would leaf through Tom Lemming's football recruiting newsletter, and he would point out all the high school players headed to his alma mater, the University of Michigan. When Rivals and Scout hit the scene several years later, I was a full-blown recruiting junkie.
As far as experience is concerned, I wrote for Michigan's Rivals site and magazine when I was a student in Ann Arbor. Before coming to Baltimore, I worked for the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, providing University of Arizona recruiting coverage for the Star's Web site (hence, the above linked Jennings video).
I'm a newcomer to the area, so please feel free to e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) or comment on this post with suggestions, tips, etc … I'm looking forward to it.