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Maryland basketball still in running for top recruit Josh Jackson

Josh Jackson #11 in action in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY.
Josh Jackson #11 in action in the Under Armour Elite 24 game on Saturday, August 22, 2015 in Brooklyn, NY. (Gregory Payan / Associated Press)

Contrary to earlier reports, Maryland is still in the running for a player many consider one of the top three prospects in the Class of 2016.

Josh Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward from Detroit who is now playing for Prolific Prep in Napa, Calif., told MLive.com Tuesday that he hopes to pick by late February from five schools: early favorites Arizona and Michigan State, as well as Kansas, UNLV and the Terps.

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"I feel like I'll be relieved when it's all over. I won't be doing as many interviews and I won't have as many college coaches calling," Jackson said after scoring 22 points against Huntington Prep (W.Va.) in the Throwdown in Motown tournament in Dearborne, Mich. "I'll just have to focus on school and my game, pretty much."

According to MLive.com, Arizona coach Sean Miller flew in to attend Jackson's game. The Wildcats were considered one of the favorites to land Jackson, who is rated No. 3 overall by ESPN and many think could be the No. 1 player in the 2017 NBA draft, after Miller coached him on the U-18 national team last summer.

If he signed with the homestate Spartans, Tom Izzo might have a class similar in stature to that of Michigan's Fab Five in the early 1990s.

Michigan State has already received commitments from two five-star prospects, forward Miles Bridges (No. 8 by ESPN)  and guard Josh Langford (No. 17) as well as four-star recruits Cassius Winston, a point guard ranked No. 29, and Nick Ward, a forward ranked 39.

Maryland has two players signed for next season, four-star point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. and four-star wing Kevin Huerter. Cowan jumped into the top 100 nationally after a strong performance this summer and Huerter moved up from the low 80s to No. 40.

Jackson took an unofficial visit to Maryland last summer after playing in the Under Armour-sponsored Elite 24 event in Brooklyn. Jackson, whose game has been compared to reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins, plays for 1 Nation Elite Sports, a Michigan-based Under Armour team.

Though Jackson visited when most of the players were home after summer workouts, he came away raving about the Xfinity Center, calling it "one of the nicest gyms I have ever seen" and saying that he could "definitely envision" himself playing for the Terps.

While Maryland is considered a dark horse to get Jackson, consider this: A year ago, the Terps were thought to be the third team in the running for another player from the Midwest, 6-11 center Diamond Stone. The Terps beat out Wisconsin, Connecticut and Oklahoma State for Stone.

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