Terps Sign Three for Men’s Basketball
Trio puts Maryland 17th in ESPN.com team rankings
COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland signed three players to National Letters-of-Intent on Wednesday, with the additions of Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman placing the Terrapins’ class 17th on ESPN.com’s national team ranking.
Allen is a 6-foot-2 guard from Fredericksburg, Va.; Cleare is a 6 -9 center from Houston and Layman is a 6-8 forward from Wrentham, Mass. The quality of the signing class, given the recent arrival of head coach Mark Turgeon and his staff on the Maryland campus, has drawn national attention.
“We’re very pleased with our class for 2012 so far,” said head coach Mark Turgeon, in his first season at Maryland. “We’ve added three quality players with great character who will fit in with our Maryland Basketball family.
“All three are very skilled basketball players who have a great feel for the game. My entire staff and the administration did a fantastic job in helping us secure these kids.”
Cleare and Layman are four-star recruits and part of ESPNU’s Top 100 prospects, according to ESPN.com. Allen is a three-star prospect and has graded at 89 on the same website. Allen was the first recruit to commit to being part of Turgeon’s program.
“I think they’ve gotten some guys who have shown that this staff, from a national perspective, will be very aggressive,” said Dave Telep, a national recruiting analyst for ESPN.com. “Turgeon is an astute evaluator of talent. If you look at this class, it’s a total national class. He’s been able to leverage some relationships he already had.
“When evaluating recruiting, and the way the calendar is now, the second year a staff is at a school is usually the better year. If you look at the class they’ve gotten, this is a very good opening effort.”
SETH ALLEN (6-2, 195, SG, Fredericksburg, Va., Fredericksburg Christian School)
Was Coach Mark Turgeon’s first commitment at Maryland… A combination guard who was ranked by ESPN.com as the sixth-best prospect in the state of Virginia… A three-star recruit who graded at 89 from ESPN… Athletic guard with 40-inch vertical leap… Led Fredericksburg Christian to a 31-2 record and conference title as a junior… Averaged 24 points, four assists, 3.5 steals and hit 92 3-pointers as a junior… Had 23 points against Montrose Christian last season… Turned 17 years old in October… Left-handed shooter… Travel team was Hoop Booth… Chose Maryland over Clemson, Old Dominion, VCU, Virginia Tech and Virginia.
Turgeon on Allen: “Seth is a very explosive athlete and scorer. He has a great feel for the game, is very good in the pick-and-roll and will be a great defender for us. Seth is a local kid with a great family who will represent Maryland the right way.”
Seth Allen: “I feel like it’s a big relief that I don’t have to go through recruitment anymore and I know I found the right school. Maryland fits me best, so it’s a big relief and I’m really happy that I’ve finally signed. My family was a big part of this and Maryland being so close was important. I wanted my family to be able to see me play. I really like Coach Turgeon and the rest of the coaching staff and I get along with the players. When I went on my official visit the coaches really motivated me; they just want everybody to get better. I think I fit in with the offense and defense so well and I think it’s going to be a good year when I get there.”
Joe Allen, father: “We’re very excited for Seth to sign with the University of Maryland and to have the chance to play at such a prestigious school. The academics, the way they have it set up, we know our son will succeed and graduate. The bigger part of it is that the coaching staff, from [Director of Athletics Kevin] Anderson on down is just absolutely, incredibly family-oriented. Seth comes from a strong family background. We can’t speak enough about the family atmosphere, the way they made us feel comfortable. It’s just a good feeling to know that he’s going into that kind of atmosphere. We’re excited about the outcome and the making of the young man that the staff at Maryland is going to build on.”
Coach Darren Berkley, Fredericksburg Christian School: “Seth is a special player… Every game he did something that amazed our coaching staff. Not only is Seth a great scorer, he has great moves and he is mentally tough. Seth’s teammates love him and want to play on his team. He has great leadership qualities and a magnetic personality that people are attracted to… My expectations are high for Seth. I truly believe he will be successful at Maryland.”
Craig Boothe, Hoop Booth Team: “Seth has by far exceeded the skill level of some of the other players in our program who have gone to Division I. I think his going to Maryland is a great fit from the perspective that he’s a family-oriented kid. Having him close will allow some of our local people to have access. He’s a great kid who was under the radar screen a little… I think this is a match made in heaven.”
SHAQUILLE CLEARE (6-9, 270, C, Houston, Texas, The Village School)
Consensus four-star prospect who is ranked as the sixth-best center in the nation by ESPN.com… Ranked 39th overall among the ESPNU Top 100… Graded at 95 by ESPN’s scouts… Has excellent strength and power which leads to solid rebounding at both ends of the floor… “A big body post with off-the-charts upside,” according to ESPN.com… Travel team was the Houston Defenders… Native of the Bahamas… Chose Maryland over Arizona, Texas, Baylor and Miami.
Turgeon on Cleare: “Shaq will give us a big, physical presence in the paint. He will be a great defender and low-post scorer for us, and for his size, he is a very explosive athlete. He is a great young man who really wanted to be at Maryland and is being very well coached by Don Harvey.”
Shaquille Cleare: “”It’s a strong conference, they have great coaches and they’re good at developing players. When Coach Turgeon left A&M and went to Maryland, it turned out well. It was so shocking to me, it was a big surprise. I think Coach Turgeon will do great things at Maryland.”
Aaron Harrison, Houston Defenders (AAU) Coach: “He’s a little different than most in that now nobody wants to play with their back to the basket. That’s how he plays and he has the best hands that I’ve seen in such a long time. I don’t think there’s a limit to his potential to be honest. If you play him one-on-one, because he’s so big and strong, he puts his body on the defender and scores. Over the summer time, we looked at it and he scored 72 percent of the time we gave him the ball on the box. He’s come a long way. He’s only been in the country for four years and when I first met him he always had good hands and feet, but he’s worked so hard to make himself better. He’s come such a long way.”
Pat Clatchey, Mount Saint Joseph’s HS (Baltimore) Head Coach: “I had the opportunity to coach Shaquille at the NBA top-100 camp. I found him to be a terrific young man on and off the court. He’s very polite and respectful off the court, engaging personality, and all business when he gets on the court. He has a big body, great hands and good footwork. He’s an interior scorer and a pretty good interior passer. I think the thing he’s going to have to develop at the next level is conditioning and getting used to day-in and day-out playing against strong and athletic bodies. But I think he’s a very good acquisition for Maryland basketball.”
Don Harvey, Village School Head Coach: “He was really, really intrigued by Coach [Gary] Williams. That’s what got it started. When Coach Williams left, Shaq was a little down about that. So we had to get him back up. The next school on his list was [Texas] A&M, and then [Mark] Turgeon ended up going to Maryland, so that made it even more [attractive]. … I think he fell in love with Maryland… (Turgeon) is a guy who you can believe is going to do things the right way. He’s going to build your character and your heart. You feel him when you talk to him. He really, and I mean really, likes Coach Turgeon.”
Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “He’s an anchor recruit. He’ll definitely grow within the program and he’s capable enough and has broad enough shoulders that he’s going to be able to be a main guy for a couple years. What is really impressive is he’s got very good touch. He’s a legitimate offensive player in the lane and is tough. He’ll be able to come into the ACC and know his way around.”
JAKE LAYMAN (6-8, 190, SF, Wrentham, Mass., King Philip Regional HS)
Listed by ESPN.com as the top recruit from the state of Massachusetts… Graded at 94 by the website, which has him 11th nationally among small forwards… Ranked 53rd nationally on ESPNU’s Top 100… Long, athletic player with deceptive quickness… Averaged 24.6 points, 15.6 rebounds, 7.1 blocks as a junior at King Philip Regional… Travel team was Boston Amateur Basketball Club under the guidance of Celtics administrator Leo Papile… Chose Maryland over Syracuse, Louisville, Florida, Notre Dame and Providence
Turgeon on Layman: “Jake is a very skilled and explosive athlete who is improving at a big-time rate. Jake has all three phases in his game with the ability to knock down the 3, shoot the mid-range, plus get all the way to the basket. He is also a tremendous defender with great anticipation. Jake comes from a great family, and we are excited about welcoming into our basketball family.”
Jake Layman: “It’s a dream come true for me to sign with Maryland and I couldn’t be happier. The school, Coach Turgeon and all the other coaches, I love them and I get along with the players really well so that was good. The coaching staff is down to earth and easy to talk to so that made me feel comfortable. I know they’re all tough coaches so I think that will help me grow a lot. I’m very excited about the opportunity to play in the best conference in America and play at the Comcast Center.”
Claire Layman, mother: “For my husband and I and our whole family, when we came for the official visit, with Coach Turgeon, Coach Spinelli and the entire coaching staff, we just had such a feeling that this was the right place for Jake. We felt all along that the ACC was a good fit for Jake’s skill set and I think with the University, over the recruiting period, what became clear to us is how important it was for Jake to be able to play where his family could be part of it too… The basketball was really important to Jake but just the University itself I think has everything Jake wants academically and it just was a really good fit. Maryland has so much to offer and it was really just a perfect fit.”
Dave Telep, ESPN.com: “When Jake hit his stride this summer, you were either there to see it or you weren’t. For those who saw it, he immediately became a priority recruit. What not many people will know is he’s a heck of a defensive player. In one tournament where they kept stats, he certainly led everyone in steals per minute.”
Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “Jake has a lot of tools and is just scratching the surface of his potential. He can shoot and score in a lot of ways. He’s also got athleticism and size to go along with his scoring ability. He’s a guy who is going to get better each and every day.”
Leo Papile, Boston Amateur Basketball Club: “He’s a young, developing guy with enormous potential and upside. The best is yet to come… At 6-9, with the ability to guard guys down on the floor, he’s totally unique for American basketball. He’s a wing… You put him on the ball and, in our (full-court) defense, he just wreaks havoc with his mobility. He was bound to just make an enormous impact on the national scene.”
Coach Sean McInnis, King Philip Regional HS: “It’s a fantastic time for Jake and his family. They’re really looking forward to being a part of the Maryland family… I think when you look around the country, he’s probably the only kid who’s 6-8 that plays the point… I think what Maryland was looking for was a student-athlete that’s going to come in, defend, and play a couple positions while at the same time playing in transition, utilizing some size at the guard position.”
THE CLASS OVERALL
Paul Biancardi, ESPN.com: “This class is well-balanced between guys who can help immediately and guys who can be brought along and will make their mark in the ACC. Mark does a good job of evaluating players and a good job of developing them. He’s put together an all-star recruiting staff there. When they’re not out recruiting, they’re thinking about recruiting.”
Some quotes courtesy The Baltimore Sun.
– Terps –