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Jahari Long announces transfer to Maryland, reunites with Kevin Willard

Kevin Willard has added four new players, pending two NBA decisions, since becoming Maryland's head coach. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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The Maryland men’s basketball program has secured a commitment from Seton Hall point guard Jahari Long. The 6-foot-5 Houston native announced Friday he has chosen the Terrapins over North Texas and Tulane. Long will reunite with Kevin Willard, the former coach at Seton Hall, and he should bolster the depth of Maryland’s roster that still has multiple open scholarship spots.

Long appeared in only five games last season and had knee surgery in December. In those five games, including two starts, Long totaled four points, 11 assists and five rebounds. He played 12.4 minutes per outing.

As a freshman the previous season, Long averaged 6.9 minutes in 19 appearances and scored 19 points all season.

Out of Episcopal High, Long was a three-star recruit and the 11th-best player in Texas, according to 247 Sports’ composite ratings. Long, a rising junior, has at least two seasons of eligibility remaining, but he could have a longer college career if he uses the eligibility relief granted to all athletes during the coronavirus pandemic or if he gains another season because of his injury.

Maryland was in need of a point guard after the departure of starter Fatts Russell. Willard already landed a commitment from a point guard in Jahmir Young. The former DeMatha star averaged 19.6 points last season at Charlotte, and he seems to be a probable starter for the Terps next season.

Maryland basketball lands commitment from Georgetown guard Donald Carey

Young is continuing through the NBA draft process and announced Maryland as his transfer destination if he chooses to return to school. He’s not projected to be drafted by an NBA team, but his future at Maryland won’t be certain until he officially withdraws from the draft. Players have until June 1 to do so and maintain their NCAA eligibility.

Long could prove to be a valuable backup option at the position, and his familiarity with Willard should help. Long is the fourth player to commit to Maryland this offseason, joining Noah Batchelor, an incoming freshman wing, and Georgetown guard Donald Carey, who like Young will continue to go through the NBA draft process.

If all four ultimately enroll at Maryland, Willard still has two remaining scholarship spots. Starting center Qudus Wahab and reserve guard Marcus Dockery both transferred out of the program this offseason, and Maryland had no committed high-schoolers when Willard took over.

With the expected roster, Maryland could have a starting lineup of Young and Carey along with returners Hakim Hart, Donta Scott and Julian Reese.

Willard primarily needs another big man who can contribute. Reese, a 6-foot-9 rising sophomore, could have a breakout season, but behind him, the Terps don’t have many options after the departure of Wahab. Forwards Arnaud Revaz and Pavlo Dziuba are both set to return but have played only sparingly in their Maryland careers.

The Terps are among the finalists for Washington State transfer Efe Abogidi, a 6-foot-10 forward from Nigeria. He started 29 games last season for the Cougars and averaged 8.1 points with 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He would be a significant addition for Willard and the Terps.