Maryland Could Really Use Harrison Twins


It’s probably fairly obvious at this point that most, if not all, Maryland fans would love Andrew and Aaron Harrison to grace Gary William’s floor come next year. It’s probably not as obvious how bereft Maryland has been of that caliber of talent over the past ten years. It’s not that the Terrapins lacked very solid talent; they consistently clean up with the 4-star level talent every year. It’s just that when it comes to acquiring Top 5, Top 10, and even Top 15 level players, the Terrapins have missed and missed badly.

Consider that Maryland has not had a single 5-star player in their recruiting class since 2003, when a certain Mikes Jones (who?!) decided to come aboard. At that time, Jones was ranked as the second-best shooting guard in the 2003 draft class, but was the 20th best player in the nation. He was a fringe five-star in the class that featured LeBron James and everyone else. Yes, Jones was a McDonalds All-American, and even a Parade All-American, but he was a fringe talent who was known more for his dunking than anything else. Here’s his Parade Third Team All-American roster:

THIRD TEAM
PLAYER DATA POS SCHOOL HOMETOWN RANK COLLEGE
Aaron Brooks 5’10 155 PG Franklin Seattle WA
82
Oregon
Regis Koundjia 6-8 210 PF Laurinburg Institute (NC) Central Africa Republic
24
LSU
Linas Kleiza 6-7 225 PF/C Montrose Christian (MD) Lithuania
34
Michael Jones 6’4 185 SG Thayer Dorchester MA
13
Maryland
J.R. Giddens 6’5 185 SF Marshall Oklahoma City OK
41
Kansas
Demetrius Nichols 6-7 190 SF/PF St. Andrew’s (RI) Boston, MA
19
Syracuse
Michael Nardi 6-2 162 PG St. Patrick Avenel, NJ
83
Villanova
Chris Taft 6-10 230 C/PF Xaverian Brooklyn, NY
21
Pittsburgh
Rodrick Stewart 6-5 215 SG Rainier Beach Seattle, WA Southern Cal
Terrence Roberts 6-8 205 PF/C St. Anthony’s Jersey City, NJ
29
Syracuse

Pretty good, right? Three NBA players out of the whole bunch (Giddens, Brooks, and Kleiza). Maryland appeared to have a gem on their hands who was poised for greatness. Until you look at the players the Terrapins could have had, but missed out on: here’s the second team:

SECOND TEAM
 
PLAYER DATA POS SCHOOL HOMETOWN RANK COLLEGE
Andrew Lavender 5’7 150 PG Brookhaven Columbus OH
12
Oklahoma
Brandon Bass 6’7 225 PF/SF Capitol Baton Rouge LA
25
LSU
Travis Outlaw 6’8 195 SF Starkville Starkville MS
31
Mississippi State
Sebastian Telfair 6-0, 160 PG Lincoln New York, NY
11 +
Jackie Butler 6’9 260 C McComb McComb MS
54
Mississippi State
Vakeaton Wafer 6’5 210 SF Heritage Christian Cleveland TX
18
Florida State
Dion Harris 6-4 200 SG Redford Detroit, MI
16
Michigan
Ekene Ibekwe 6-9 195 PF/SF Carson Carson, CA
23
Maryland
Brandon Cotton 5’11 165 SG/PG DePorres Detroit MI
32
Michigan State
Trevor Ariza 6-8, 200 PF Westchester Los Angeles, CA
14
UCLA

Seven NBA players! That’s the caliber of player the Terrapins weren’t getting. They were getting a less certain bet; look no further than Ekene Ibekwe, who was ranked lower but was undoubtedly a much better player. It wasn’t a knock on his ability, but it was certainly indicative of how much talent there was in this class, and how little of it the Terrapins got. Their five stars just aren’t Kentucky’s five stars. Even after winning a National Championship the year prior, the Terrapins couldn’t get anyone from the Parade All-American team.

And if they had? What if Gary Williams would have gone after these guys harder? (Note: This is going to hurt)

 

FIRST TEAM
PLAYER DATA POS SCHOOL HOMETOWN RANK COLLEGE
LeBron James 6’8 235 SF St. Vincent-St. Mary Akron OH
1
Luol Deng 6’7 215 SF Blair Blairstown NJ
2
Duke
Ndudi Ebi 6’9 195 PF Westbury Christian Houston TX
8
Arizona
Kendrick Perkins 6’10 265 C Ozen Beaumont TX
7
Memphis
Kris Humphries 6’8 210 PF Hopkins Chaska MN
6
Duke
Shannon Brown 6’3 185 SG Proviso East Maywood IL
10
Michigan State
Leon Powe 6’7 215 PF Oakland Tech Oakland CA
11
California
David Padgett 6’11 210 C Reno Reno NV
22
Kansas
Chris Paul 5’11 160 PG West Forsyth Clemmons NC
15
Wake Forest
Brian Butch 7’1 225 C Appleton West Appleton WI
5
Wisconsin

Nine of the ten players on Parade’s All-American First Team have made it to the NBA. Four of them are All-Stars, two of them are likely Hall of Famers. The Terrapins couldn’t attract that talent (save for LeBron James, who no one could attract), and the result is that they had to make do with much less than other top flight programs. They won a National Championship that way, but that isn’t the way to build dynasties. That isn’t the way to build programs that will be mainstays in the NCAA Tournament every year and potential National Championship contenders every few years.

After Mikes Jones, there were no five stars. The recruiting breakdowns is as follows (according to Rivals, which had a better database than any other site from 2000-10:

5 Stars Since 2003: 0

4 Stars Since 2003: 11 (including the 2012 class)

Compare that with Syracuse, who is about to join the ACC:

5 Stars Since 2003: 4

4 Stars Since 2003: 13

—-

The 4-star recruits are about even, with ‘Cuse holding a two person advantage over Maryland. The biggest difference, and the reason why Syracuse is perennially in the NCAA Tournament, are really those 5-star recruits. Gary Williams and Jim Boeheim were comparable coaches, but the talent with which each coached with was always different. Jim had Carmelo, Gary had Hassan Fofana. Okay, maybe that’s an awful comparison, but you get the point.

So were someone asks you in two years why Maryland isn’t considered one of the top basketball schools to play for in the NCAA despite their geographic location, simply remind them about the difference between having four 5-stars over a ten year stretch and having zero 5-stars in that same period of time. It’s the difference between fringe tournament team to Sweet 16 lock year-in and year-out. Andrew and Aaron Harrison are the kind of recruits that other players want to play alongside. The two of them give credibility at once to their basketball team, but also the program they play with. They’re that good, and Maryland losing out on these two? The ramifications are difficult to quantify, but I’ll give it a shot.

Two five stars — it’s half the difference between being Syracuse and being Maryland over the past decade of college basketball. So yes, Maryland could really use these two.

Tags: Aaron Harrison Andrew Harrison Fansided Harrison Twins Maryland Basketball Maryland Terrapins