After visiting College Park this weekend, Westtown School small forward Jared Nickens saw all he needed to see. The Pennsylvania wing committed to Maryland on Sunday afternoon after his weekend official visit at the school.
Nickens joins a class that already includes local guards Romelo Trimble and Dion Wiley. The class was previously ranked third in the nation according to ESPN. That ranking could get bumped up a tad with the addition of Nickens. The former St. Patrick’s standout is currently rated as a four-star prospect on ESPN and is a three-star on Rivals and 247 Sports. He had scheduled to visit with Wake Forest and Dayton later this month and also had offers from Miami and Oregon State.
The 6-6 small forward brings something that the Terrapins have lacked for many years: a lethal shooter. Nickens is a spot-up shooter that is capable of nailing a jumper from anywhere on the court. In the second half of this past season at the Westtown School, Nickens shot 48 percent from beyond the arc. The Pennsylvania native is a smart basketball player who doesn’t turn the ball over very often. As many know, the Terps were quite a turnover-prone team throughout the 2012-2013 season.
Nickens’ size also is a huge advantage. As much of a strength as his long distance shooting is, he has a strong mid-range game and can bang down low along with post players. Nickens was primarily known as a shooter early in his high school career but has added this very important dimension to his game. The Westtown School wing is not afraid to put his back to the basket and burrow his way inside. Nickens is also a very long athlete, which allows him to play very strong defense. He really is a great all-around prospect.
The addition of Nickens gives Maryland one of the strongest groups of guards around. Barring any early entries to the NBA Draft or transfer, the 2014 guard/small forward group will consist of Nick Faust, Dez Wells, Seth Allen, Roddy Peters, Wiley, Trimble, Jake Layman, and now Nickens. That is downright scary if you’re an opposing team trying to guard players of this caliber. Now Mark Turgeon will likely turn his attention to adding a post player to round out a phenomenal 2014 class. Trayvon Reed or Goodluck Okonoboh seems to be the most likely targets for the Terps.
We will have more on the addition of Nickens in the next few days.