Maryland commit Jaylen Brantley proved himself playing with Boston-area stars

Ever since Melo Trimble announced last year that he was coming to Maryland, Mark Turgeon and his staff had trouble recruiting another point guard to follow the McDonald's All-American to College Park.

A number of prospects turned them down because they assumed – and rightly so – that Trimble was likely going to start from the moment he stepped onto the campus.


The Terps even lost Seth Allen, who started the second half of last season and finished as the team's second-leading scorer.

It took two well-traveled, mature and more versatile players to embrace the idea of backing up Trimble at the point and also seeing a role playing along side at shooting guard.


This season it's going to be Richaud Pack, the fifth-year senior transfer who is attending Maryland's graduate business school. Pack got his degree from North Carolina A&T after averaging 17 points per game last season.

Starting next season, it will likely be Jaylen Brantley, who is currently at a junior college in Texas after starting his career at Marshall. Brantley, who committed to Maryland for next year, will come in with three years of eligibility.

Brantley said Monday that Turgeon and his assistant coaches "kept saying that me and Melo can complement each other on the court" either as point guards with differing styles or while playing together.

Similar to Trimble, the 5-11, 170-pound Brantley prides himself on being a point guard who is equally adept at running an offense and scoring out of it. If anything, Brantley has even more experience doing both.

Leo Papile, whose Boston Amateur Basketball Club has turned out future NBA players for more than 20 years, said Brantley doesn't always pass "the look test" because of his size and slight frame.

"You see him and you ask, 'Are you sure about this guy?" said Papile, who admitted having a similar reaction when Brantley showed up as a "scrawny" ninth grader from Springfield, Mass.

"But give him the ball, he doesn't make mistakes and he puts the ball where it's supposed to go or he puts it in the basket," Papile said Monday. "Jay's all business. He doesn't come to fool around or be ranked. Jay's just worried about that scoreboard."

Shortly after joining the BABC, Brantley was moved up from the ninth grade team to the 10th grade team. Brantley ended up pushing the team's point guard, future Syracuse star Michael Carter-Williams, to shooting guard. Brantley wound up helping BABC win two AAU national championships.


Playing with a lot big-name talent – future NBA lottery picks Williams and Nerlens Noel, as well as Iowa State star George Niang, Kansas forward Wayne Selden and Maryland's Jake Layman – Brantley was often the player opponents had the most trouble containing.

Papile said the only player who shot the ball better for his teams than Brantley was Dana Barros, who averaged nearly 20 points per game at Boston College playing for Gary Williams during the mid-to-late 1980s.

So what happened to Brantley, a player who as a four-star prospect received offers from many of the top programs around the country and seemed all set to go to Virginia?

Brantley said Monday that after transferring from a public high school in Springfield to a private school as a junior, he fell one core course short of being eligible for Division I.

He wound up at Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., in 2012, but the NCAA had targeted the school as a basketball factory and several players, including Sam Cassell Jr., could not get their full eligibility.

Brantley was declared a partial qualifier and wound up last year at Marshall, where he didn't play. When Tom Herrion was fired in the spring, Brantley left and wound up at Odessa Junior College.


"Me and my family talked about it. We knew I could play at a higher level, but once he got fired, I just knew it wasn't the place for me anymore," Brantley said.

Brantley has seen what some of his former AAU teammates have done and feels he is capable of doing similar things.

"Since playing with Michael [Carter-Williams] and the year after with Nerlens when everybody was looking at him, I really just had to play with a chip on my shoulder and play game as hard as I could," Brantley said. "I knew one day everyone would know who I was."

That day might be coming – at Maryland.