A year ago, Maryland was considered a long shot to land Diamond Stone, then rated among the top two high school centers and top five players in the country.
Wisconsin, the home state school for the 6-foot-10 center from Milwaukee, and defending national champion Connecticut, were thought to be clear favorites over the Terps and Oklahoma State.
It took one visit to Maryland Madness to get Stone, now getting ready for his first season in College Park, thinking seriously about becoming a Terp. Will the same thing happen with Josh Jackson, considered by many the No. 1-ranked player in the Class of 2016?
The 6-foot-7 guard from Detroit took an unofficial visit Monday to Maryland, according to a source familiar with the process. Unlike Stone, who reportedly had four schools on his final list, Jackson recently listed the Terps as one of nine schools in the running.
Though Maryland still is considered a dark horse on a list that also includes perennial powers Kentucky, Duke, Kansas and Michigan State — as well as Villanova, UCLA, Arizona and UNLV — getting Jackson on campus is a significant step toward staying in the running.
Jackson’s mother, Apples Jones, recently told Adam Zagoria of SNYtv that “Maryland has come a long way, they’re getting in the game," adding that she expected her son to take official visits to Maryland, Kansas, Michigan State, Arizona and UCLA.
Jackson told Zagoria that he was looking for a school with a “great coach and a great environment. I want to play with great teammates and a coach that will push me and not kiss my butt.”
The Terps, who have received an oral commitment from local four-star point guard Anthony Cowan Jr. for the Class of 2016, are expecting visits from a number of other four-prospects, including 6-9 forward Wenyen Gabriel and 6-5 shooting guard Kevin Huerter.