Starting Five: Maryland gets 2021 started
What can Maryland fans expect from Mark Turgeon's first catch out of the class of 2021? A 2022 guard remains hot, picking a favorite for top three junior Pat Baldwin and much more in this week's edition of the Starting Five.
1. FOUR-STAR FORWARD REESE KICKS OFF MARYLAND'S 2021 CLASS
So, what can Terps fans expect from the 6-foot-9 Reese?
First of all, Reese is not a prospect who I have seen as much as some others in his class. But, he was also among those that I had been most looking forward to seeing this spring and here's why. I'm really intrigued by his overall combination of size, athleticism and budding skill.
Adding strength is the major priority, but he's still got a year of high school left before getting to campus and he's already started to bulk up since this time last year. That aside, he's just dripping with upside. He moves very well, he's a sneaky athlete around the rim, he can stretch defenses a bit with shooting and he's a plus shot blocker and good rebounder.
Guys like him are ideal in college hoops because he can play as either a four or a five. Bigs who can can shoot are a luxury and if they can protect the rim too? Double bonus. It's reasonable to expect that he should arrive on campus ready to play at least 15-20 quality minutes a game and he's a guy who very likely would have seen his stock shoot up this summer based on the signs he showed during his junior season.
2. 2022 GUARD DERRIAN FORD REMAINS HOT
Had he been able to hit Nike's EYBL with Team Thad this spring, it's quite likely that we would have been writing quite a bit about shooting guard Derrian Ford, who has managed to fly somewhat under the radar despite a top 40 national ranking and several high level scholarship offers.
The Magnolia (Ark.) High product hasn't gotten to hit the circuit just yet, but his recruitment has managed to thrive after winning back-to-back state championships during his first two years of high school.
A high scoring guard who can get to the rim or burn defenders from deep, Ford picked up offers from Kansas and Ole Miss this spring. They joined programs like Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Oklahoma State and TCU among others in doing so and there doesn't look to be any end in sight.
Though Covid-19 has limited Ford's ability to play in front of and visit coaches, he's done some pretty significant work when it comes to taking unofficial visits. Ford has already seen Arkansas, Alabama, Baylor, Rice, Texas A&M and Vanderbilt and he's planning to get more out of the way. As soon as he can get back on the road he's planning to hit Georgia Tech, Kansas, Ole Miss, Missouri and Oklahoma State.
Exactly when he'll be able to make those visits or hit the floor again is anybody's guess, but keep an eye out for Ford down the road.
3. PICKING A FAVORITE FOR PAT BALDWIN
Over the weekend, our Corey Evans reported that top three junior Patrick Baldwin Jr. is down to a final 10 of Duke, Georgetown, Kentucky, Michigan, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Northwestern, UCLA, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Perhaps as fundamentally sound and skilled as any player in the country, regardless of class, Baldwin Jr. is the son of a coach (Patrick Baldwin Sr. who heads up Milwaukee and played his college ball at Northwestern) and it shows. Not only is he sound, he's a quiet killer who doesn't back off the gas pedal when he's got an opponent down.
So, who is the favorite? Right now it sure looks to be Duke. That's who I made my Futurecast pick for last week and the Blue Devils hold basically every pick that has been made to this point. It's understandable, he fits and he thinks highly of Mike Krzyzewski. But, it's not totally a done deal yet. I do think there's some intrigue with Kentucky, Northwestern could be a sleeper because of family ties and of course Milwaukee could be an interesting spot as long as his father is the head coach.
But for now, let's set Duke as the favorite.
4. RECENTLY RECLASSED PLAYERS WILL ENTER RANKINGS NEXT WEEK
Last week, we saw a pair of four-stars from the class of 2021 announce that they will enroll as class of 2020 prospects. Big man Adama Sanogo committed to UConn while announcing he will reclass and then Texas A&M-bound sharp shooter Jaxson Robinson announced later in the week that he would enroll a year early as well.
So, we obviously need to get these guys ranked in the class of 2020. Normally, we would have done so immediately. However, this time, we are going to wait a little bit because we'll be releasing the final rankings for the class of 2020 next week. Given that the rankings were just about to go through a change it didn't make sense to put Sanogo and Robinson into the rankings only to see their rankings likely change (though it would be due to shuffling around them) only a week later. So, this time around I hope our readers can hang in there with us while we wait a little longer than usual to make the rankings moves that situations like prospect reclassifications create.
5. TEXAS SENIOR CAN HELP SOMEBODY OUT
As I've been scouring through the lists of available players in the class of 2020 it isn't just the few big names or nationally ranked players that catch my attention. Guys like unsigned shooting guard Shamir Bogues catch my attention too.
For the life of me, I can't understand why the product of Killeen (Texas) Ellison is still on the board after a strong career playing for coach Alberto Jones that culminated in him earning All-State honors and being named his District Player of the Year.
Bogues hasn't just proven he can play in Texas. He was impressive for Drive Nation in last spring and summer's EYBL. A solid athlete who can get to the rim and who can make some plays for others, he has leadership qualities and is a menace on the defensive end. Yes, his jump shot needs to fine tuning, but overall I can't believe there's not a scholarship out there for him -- even at the low- or mid-major level.
Somebody is going to do their homework on Bogues and end up with a nice pickup late in the 2020 recruiting cycle.