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Kevin Willard picks up first commit in Maryland native Noah Batchelor

Kevin Willard still has five scholarships to fill after getting his first commitment as Terps coach. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Noah Batchelor, a 6-foot-6 wing, committed to join the Maryland men’s basketball program Monday, becoming the first addition under Coach Kevin Willard. Batchelor, a three-star in-state prospect, had previously signed to play at Memphis, but he withdrew his national letter of intent in February.

Batchelor most recently played for IMG Academy, the powerhouse high school program in Bradenton, Fla. He is considered the No. 221 player nationally in the 2022 class and the 46th best small forward, according to 247 Sports’ composite ratings.

Batchelor will begin his career at Maryland next season as part of a roster that will be heavy on newcomers. With the departure of three scholarship seniors — Eric Ayala, Fatts Russell and Xavier Green — along with the transfers of starting center Qudus Wahab and reserve guard Marcus Dockery, Willard still has five open scholarship slots.

Returning starters Donta Scott and Hakim Hart, as well as rising sophomore forward Julian Reese, should be key pieces on Willard’s first team in College Park. But the Terps still have numerous holes to fill, making the program an attractive landing spot for those seeking early playing time. When Willard took over the program more than three months after Mark Turgeon’s departure, the Terps didn’t have any commitments from high school players. It’s typical for new coaches to be tasked with rebuilding a roster, but Maryland had also just gone through nearly an entire season while in a state of limbo.

The D.C. area is packed with high school basketball talent, and if Willard can capitalize on that geographic advantage, he’ll have a better chance of being successful at Maryland. His staff reflects that mission, with assistants Tony Skinn and David Cox both having local ties. Greg Manning Jr., who worked under Turgeon and is the son of a former Terps great, also remains on staff as the director of operations after filling in as an interim assistant coach last season.

Batchelor, who starred at Glenelg Country School in Ellicott City and St. Maria Goretti in Hagerstown before that, represents their first in-state recruiting win.

With transferring becoming increasingly common in college basketball, new coaches can bolster their rosters quickly. But Willard has said teams need to “be extremely strategic with the portal” and ensure that an influx of transfers doesn’t hurt the program’s culture.

The transfer portal has “become a weapon in college basketball,” Willard said. “But you cannot get away from recruiting talented high school freshmen and developing those freshmen with your culture, your work ethic, so that is passed on year in, year out.”