With Maryland’s class of 2014 back court locked down following an oral commitment from small forward Jared Nickens this past weekend, the Maryland men’s basketball coaching staff can focus its full attention on completing the highly touted group — which is already ranked among the top five classes nationally by several recruiting Web sites — with a big man.
Now that Nickens, Dion Wiley and Romelo Trimble have all offered their pledges to the Terrapins, forming a lethal shooting group that likely has Coach Mark Turgeon salivating over the future, Maryland will shut down its dealings with other guards, looking instead for size and interior presence. Barring any future attrition and assuming that Nickens, Wiley and Trimble honor their oral commitments and sign with Maryland, the Terps have 12 scholarships filled for the 2014-15 season, with just one left. They almost certainly will use that on a big man.
Here are five names associated with the Terps and where their recruitments stand, listed in alphabetical order:
C Pascal Chukwu (Fairfield College Preparatory, Fairfield, Conn.)
A 7-foot-2 monster shot blocker, the Nigerian immigrant has kept his recruitment primarily under wraps, though not for a lack of exposure. He participated in the NBA Top 100 camp in Charlottesville last week, but his offer list also remains a secret. If Maryland’s recruitment intensifies, expect more to emerge over the summer, but for now his status and the Terrapins’ interest remains a mystery.
PF Martin Geben (St. Maria Goretti, Hagerstown, Md.)
A talented, potential stretch-four with interior strength, Geben is currently overseas in Lithuania, where he made the country’s under-19 national team. He plays AAU for Team Takeover, averaging a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game and 7.5 points per game on 51.4 percent shooting. He boasts 17 offers, according to 247sports.com, including Maryland, Notre Dame, Temple and Xavier. Rated a four-star prospect by 247sports and three stars by ESPN.com, Geben would bring a blue-collar work ethic to College Park, displaying surprising range to go along with a body that clearly has room to add muscle.
C Goodluck Okonoboh (Wilbraham & Monson Academy, Wilbraham, Mass.)
The highest rated among Maryland’s big-man targets, Okonoboh recently picked up an offer from Duke, adding to a list that already includes Indiana, Connecticut, Maryland and Syracuse, among others. Recruited by assistant coach Scott Spinelli, Okonoboh might be a long shot for the Terps, but his hyper-athleticism and shot-blocking capabilities makes him an enticing recruit. A top 20 prospect nationally according to ESPN.com and an old friend of Nerlens Noel, Okonoboh is appearing this summer at both the Amare Stoudemire and LeBron James camps.
PF Chinanu Onuaku (Riverdale Baptist School, Riverdale, Md.)
Like Chukwu, Onuaku impressed at the NBA Top 100. A 6-10 local prospect, his brother Arinze played for Syracuse for four years. Though the Orange haven’t offered the younger Onuaku, he has plenty of suitors, chief among them Maryland, Cincinnati and Georgetown. He plays AAU for DC Assault and could continue the local movement that Turgeon and his staff have enjoyed since arriving here, culminating in commitments from Trimble and Wiley, the top-ranked players in Virginia and Maryland, respectively. As for Onuaku, a summer teammate of Trimble, he would (like the other prospects listed here) provide an interior shot-blocking presence to anchor what projects to be a guard-heavy lineup in the future.
C Trayvon Reed (Shiloh High School, Snellville, Ga.)
After scoring Charles Mitchell from the Peach State last March, the Terps go for another Georgia big man in Reed, a four-star prospect according to 247sports.com who has mostly SEC offers, including Auburn, Florida and Alabama. According to 247sports.com, the 7-1, 200-pound Reed recently picked up offers from Kansas and Miami as well, so suffice to say Maryland has plenty of competition. Assistant coach Bino Ranson is handling his recruitment.