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I don't think I'm alone when I admit that I didn't see this coming.

St. Benedict's Prep (N.J.) center Greg Echenique had been weighing scholarship offers from Maryland, Duke, Villanova, Creighton, Notre Dame, Miami and Penn, among others.

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But yesterday, the Venezuela native and Newark, N.J. resident committed to the in-state Rutgers Scarlet Knights, according to the Herald (N.J.) News' Adam Zagoria. Here's Echenique on his decision, courtesy of Zags Blog:

"By going to St. Benedict's Prep, New Jersey has become a second home to me. I want other players to believe in Rutgers the way I do. What has always impressed me about the RAC and the Rutgers fans is that they love the basketball team and are supportive whatever the circumstances. Coach Hill and his staff and have convinced me and my family that the balance of academics and athletics is a perfect fit for me. In the long run, what convinced me most was not the fact that they play in the Big East or the facilities, but it was the people who make up the program."

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Echenique was thought to be a pretty serious Maryland target. He visited College Park and was in the Comcast Center crowd during the Terps' loss to Clemson earlier this month. Echenique took in a Duke game the next week. So if there's a silver lining to this recruiting loss, it's that the Terps won't be facing Echenique two or three times a year on an opposing ACC roster.

With Echenique gone, all UM eyes can probably turn to National Christian Academy power forward Dante Taylor, who, according to Scout.com, sports offers from Maryland, Pittsburgh, South Florida and USC.

Here's what Scarlet Knights fans are getting in Echenique:

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