With relatives living in Maryland and fond memories of the Terps' 2002 national championship lingering in his mind, Jake Layman always had interest in UM's basketball program. Maryland's interest in the 6-foot-8, 195-pound small forward, however, took a bit longer to develop.
"Honestly, they were one of the last ones to kind of start recruiting me a little bit," said Layman, who has family in the Bel Air area. "I always wanted Maryland. I always loved Maryland. When I got the call from Coach Bino [Ranson] – he was the first one that called me – I was so happy. And here I am now."
Layman, now eight months removed from his commitment to the Terps and two months shy of his arrival in College Park, couldn't be happier to have found "the perfect place for me." The Maryland coaching staff, meanwhile, is similarly pleased to have landed a consensus four-star prospect in Layman. The Terps' evaluation of Layman last summer seems even more astute in hindsight considering that the Wrentham, Mass., native will compete for a spot on USA Basketball's U-18 team next month.
"I was so happy [to be invited to Team USA training camp]," Layman said. "It's going to be a great opportunity to try and make the team. I'm definitely going to work hard up until then. I'll be ready to go."
Layman said the Maryland coaching staff is "really relying" on him to be a defensive stopper and effective outside shooter as a freshman. How much he plays will be determined by how hard he works, but with Terrell Stoglin's unexpected departure and the potential to play Nick Faust at the 2 instead of the 3, minutes at small forward appear to be readily available.
Before competition for Maryland's starting positions begins in earnest, Layman is focused on getting stronger and bonding with his future teammates. He missed a chance to play with the Terps' other five incoming freshmen last month at the Capital Classic because he was recovering from a tonsillectomy. But Layman is acutely aware of the excitement surrounding the arrival of him and his classmates.
"It's definitely awesome to see that everyone expects us to do well next year," Layman. "It definitely puts some pressure on us, but it's good pressure. We still have a lot of work to do before next year. We're not just going to walk in and be national champion contenders. We've got to work hard this summer and be ready for the season."
Name: Jake Layman
Birthdate: March 7, 1994
Birthplace: Norwood, Mass.
Hometown: Wrentham, Mass.
Position: Small forward
High School: King Philip Regional High School
Senior statistics: 26 points, 14 rebounds, five blocks, four assists per game
Rankings: Rivals.com -- Four-star prospect, No. 17 power forward, No. 70 player overall. Scout.com -- Four-star prospect, No. 14 small forward, No. 65 player overall. ESPN.com -- Four-star prospect, No. 17 small forward, No. 3 player in Massachusetts, No. 67 overall, 93 rating. 247Sports.com -- Four-star prospect, No. 14 small forward, No. 4 player in Massachusetts, No. 61 overall, 96 rating.
Runner-up school: "That's a hard question. Maryland was my only visit. I think my second choice was probably Florida."
Other schools considered: Syracuse, Louisville
Favorite pro basketball player: Mike Miller
Favorite pro basketball team: Boston Celtics
Favorite all-time Terp: Len Bias
Favorite music: "I like it all. I love Dave Matthews Band. Rap, I like Drake. Red Hot Chili Peppers, I love them."
Favorite book: "Unguarded" by Chris Herren
Favorite TV show: "Eastbound and Down"
Favorite food: Chicken fingers and French fries
Favorite high school class: History
Favorite thing about College Park: "I would say the Comcast Center."
Hobbies: "Just hanging out with friends. That's something I always do. I'm getting into golf a little bit now. Baseball is one of my other hobbies."
Intended major: Undecided
Something that not many people know about you: "On my mom's side of my family, I have 12 aunts and uncles."
Best basketball moment: "Scoring my 1,000th point at KP junior year. That was pretty special."
Role model: "I would definitely say my parents, just because they taught me everything."
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Why Maryland? "I think their coaching staff was the best fit for me. I think I'm going there at a good time where I can get some good playing time. All the guys on the team are great. They're all great guys. And the guys I'm going in with are all great guys, too. That's really exciting for me."