The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Maryland basketball fills a need, adds Canadian center Caelum Swanton-Rodger

New Maryland coach Kevin Willard landed Canadian center Caelum Swanton-Rodger. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Maryland men’s basketball coach Kevin Willard added some much-needed frontcourt depth Thursday with the signing of 6-foot-11, 220-pound Caelum Swanton-Rodger. Swanton-Rodger, a recent high school graduate from Calgary, Alberta, joins a 2022 recruiting class otherwise heavy on local talent.

“He is a high-motor center who is extremely active around the rim and on the defensive end,” Willard said in a statement. “He’s very effective in pick-and-roll situations because of his athleticism around the basket.”

Behind projected starter Julian Reese, a rising sophomore, Maryland has little depth among its big men. Swanton-Roger averaged 21 points, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks on the Marquee Hoops circuit. He previously played for the Canadian national team during the FIBA U16 Americas Championship.

“Maryland is a perfect fit for me and I am excited to become a Terp,” Swanton-Rodger said in a statement. “... I can’t wait to be a part of the program.”

The center is Willard’s fourth commit to a class primarily built through transfers with local ties. Jahmir Young, a point guard who previously played at Charlotte, once starred at DeMatha, and Georgetown transfer guard Donald Carey is from Upper Marlboro. The only other incoming freshman, 6-foot-6 wing Noah Batchelor, is a native of Frederick, Md., who most recently played for IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

Young and Carey are likely to form the Terps’ starting backcourt. Swanton-Rodger could contend for minutes following the loss of center Qudus Wahab, who transferred back to Georgetown.

Willard, whose team lost five players this offseason — Fatts Russell, Eric Ayala and Xavier Green to graduation, plus transfers Wahab and Marcus Dockery — has one scholarship remaining. But another Canadian announced on Instagram on Thursday night that he had committed to the Terps: forward Patrick Emilien, a graduate transfer from St. Francis Brooklyn. The 6-foot-7 native of Toronto averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds during one season with the Terriers; before that, he spent three years at Western Michigan.

Swanton-Rodger, who played for Edge Prep High and the club UPlay Canada, is Maryland’s first Canadian player since Ontario native Justin Jackson, who was selected by the Denver Nuggets in the second round of the 2018 NBA draft. But Emilien could soon join him.

What to read about college basketball

Men’s bracket | Women’s bracket

Way-too-early top 25: Kentucky, North Carolina, Houston, Gonzaga, Arkansas and Duke should be in the mix again next season.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk: Kansas forged the biggest comeback in the 83 championship games to date to beat North Carolina and win the men’s national title.

Gamecocks dominate: The women’s national championship is officially heading back to Columbia, S.C., for the second time in program history after a wire-to-wire 64-49 victory by South Carolina over Connecticut.

Mike Krzyzewski’s last game: Coach K’s career ends with joy and agony in college basketball Armageddon.

One day, two title games: A decade after Title IX, a battle for control of women’s basketball split loyalties and produced two national champions.