Maryland Signs JUCO Big Man

May 14, 2010

Maryland is working hard to bring in a recruiting class that will help them continue to compete.

Yesterday, news broke that they have added another big man to their roster for next season with Berend Weijs (C, 6’10”, 2010), a Dutch player who this season played for junior college Harcum College.

According to this report on the Harcum website:

“Harcum College sophomore center Berend Weijs has signed a national letter of intent to play to at the University of Maryland in the ACC. Weijs becomes the fifth Harcum sophomore to sign with an NCAA Division I program this year, joining teammates Antonio Bumpus (Utah St.), Wilbur O’Neal (Robert Morris), Diyaaldin Kelley (Maryland-Eastern Shore), and Jeremiah Bowman (Longwood). The 6’10” Weijs set school record by blocking 119 shots this season.”

This means that Maryland is bringing in a total of six new players for next season, where Weijs will join Mychal Parker, Terrell Stoglin, Pe’Shon Howard, Ashton Pankey and Haukur Palsson from the 2010 class.

Read more about the incoming big man here.


Austin Rivers Loves Duke, But…

May 8, 2010

So Austin Rivers (PG, 6’4″, 2011), who has officially opened his recruitment back up and immediately mentioned Duke as a possible destination, has now visited Duke. No, that’s not so much news, but what is novel in the age of Twitter and blogging is that Austin has blogged about his visit to Duke on DimeMag.com:

That was really cool to see everything there. It was a major event! Just the history and the campus and seeing all my boys down there was really fun. I was actually feeling a little under the weather that night of the banquet, but there was so much going on that it didn’t stop me from having a good time.

What’s even more interesting is that Dime Magazine chose to give this story the headline “AUSTIN RIVERS H.S. HOOP DIARY: VISITING (AND LOVING) DUKE”. The meme that’s been repeated is that Austin loves Duke so much that he’s already a lock for Coach K, but nothing in the story indicates that. In fact, Austin states that his visit to Duke was extremely brief, and a more accurate representation of his visit would seem that he will need more information.

Austin goes on to give a timetable for his final decision:

My goal is to have a decision around August. I want to have it done before my high school season for sure, but I’m shooting for August. That looks doable right now.

This entire process could mirror the C.J. Leslie saga, where the hometown player commits to the local team early, then de-commits, then finally, after considering other options, goes with his first choice.

The reasons for Austin, or any player to go somewhere other than their original choice is either that they did not realize all of the options they might have or something could have changed with the original choice. For example, a coaching change. However, in many cases, the reasons that a player committed early are the same reasons available later.

Austin also states he will visit North Carolina soon.


C.J. Leslie Commits to the Wolfpack

May 1, 2010

C.J. Leslie (PF, 6’9″, 2010), originally committed to coach Sidney Lowe and the Wolfpack in 2007. It was a big recruiting deal for coach Lowe to grab the hometown player, where the Wolfpack recently watched fellow Raleigh phenom John Wall bolt for Kentucky and one-and-done accolades.

Leslie then reconsidered, and opened his recruitment up last year, which isn’t as common in basketball as football. However, Leslie had committed so early that it’s not unthinkable that he would have second thoughts.

Leslie considered several schools, including Kentucky, but in the end and after several visits, he returned to the Wolfpack and decided that his original choice was the right one. Now, Leslie’s accomplished much more by playing in the McDonald’s All Star game and Jordan Brand Classic, and the Wolfpack can breathe easily that after looking at his available options, Leslie decided to stick with the Pack.

Now, they just have to wonder if he’ll stay longer than one season.

Leslie adds clout to the Pack’s recruiting class, which already boasts Ryan Harrow (PG, 5’11”, 2010), a lightning quick guard who will add flash and scoring to the NC State team, so Sidney Lowe has some depth and talent on his roster, and if Tracy Smith, who declared for the NBA draft but may pull out, returns, the Pack could be serious contenders in the ACC next season. It will be interesting to see if the Pack players engage in any summer Pro-Am play to get a sense of how far along they will be.

With Leslie, the Wolfpack is getting a long, athletic forward with ability to finish above the rim. He can beat players off of the dribble and scores well, but he will need to work on his post defense to play in the paint in the ACC.