The future grew even brighter for Coach Mark Turgeon and the Maryland basketball team on Sunday afternoon, when New Jersey swingman Jared Nickens offered his oral commitment to the Terrapins following an official visit to College Park.
From Pennsylvania’s Westtown High, the 6-foot-6 Nickens adds another dangerous three-point shooter to Maryland’s class of 2014, which has already received pledges from Dion Wiley (Potomac) and Romelo Trimble (O’Connell), the top-ranked players in Maryland and Virginia, respectively.
And a group already ranked third nationally by ESPN.com grows even stronger.
Nickens, who transferred from powerhouse St. Patrick’s in New Jersey to Westtown before his junior season, has played this summer in several national all-star games, and suits up for the Sports U AAU team. He had scheduled visits for Wake Forest and Dayton, but instead decided to commit on the spot, after arriving at Maryland on Friday. Miami and Oregon State also offered.
At Westtown, Nickens transformed from a spot-up, corner three-point specialist into a more versatile threat, handling the scoring load and frequent double teams along the perimeter. He shot 48 percent on threes in the second half of the season, and gained 10 pounds in the offseason. He’s a low-turnover, high-IQ wing who evidently impressed his future teammates during pickup games on his visit and can further stretch opposing defenses in Turgeon’s guard-heavy system.
Viewed as an under-the-radar prospect, similar to rising sophomore Seth Allen at least on a national scale, Nickens has said he’s working on creating off the dribble this summer to diversify his offensive capabilities. He’s rated a three-star recruit by 247sports.com and a four-star by ESPN, including 22nd nationally at his position.
Nickens’s commitment also leaves the Terps coaching staff to focus on a big man for its fourth and final recruit in 2014.
Barring any attrition — draft, transfer or otherwise — here is how Maryland’s scholarship situation will look come the 2014-15 season, at the present moment:
SENIORS: Nick Faust, Evan Smotrycz, Dez Wells
JUNIORS: Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare, Jake Layman, Charles Mitchell
SOPHOMORES: Damonte Dodd, Roddy Peters
FRESHMEN: Melo Trimble, Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens