The rich get richer, and Rick Patino is making it rain with top recruits for the 2014 class. Today Patino added his newest prize, as 6’11”power forward Chinanu Onuaku of Riverdale Baptist became the new Cardinal, choosing Louisville over Georgetown, Miami, and to a much lesser extent, Maryland.
Inside the gymnasium, the hats were lined up on the table in front of Onuaku and his family, coaches and teammates; missing from the hat lineup was a Terps hat. After securing a commitment from top 100 center Trayvon Reed (GA), Onuaku cut the Terps from his list of top suitors, despite Turgeon’s continuing efforts to land him. In the end, Turgeon and staff were out of scholarships, and although Maryland was considered the heavy favorite to land Onuaku, he will be wearing a different shade of red at the next level. But Riverdale Baptist coach Manning Durant said that this was a lot closer than some may think:
“They missed out on this one, but it wasn’t by much” says coach Durant, giving a chuckle. “They’ve done an excellent job. I mean, coach Turgeon for one has really turned around the perception of how university of Maryland goes after local products.” Coach Durant continues to say how Turgeon and his staff’s strong efforts in the DMV will definitely pay dividends with local recruits in the future. “I think they’re gonna be great for years to come with keeping players home, as will Georgetown. They’ve been doing a pretty decent job of it, but Maryland is gonna really jump out there with some folks in the next five years or so with all of the local talent that they’re keeping home.”
Coach Durant parted with a reflection of just how difficult local recruiting battles could be as the neighboring schools continue to excel. “The job that the local teams are doing these days, are bar none, second to none. They’re doing a great job and this miss was not indicative of how things are gonna be, especially on the Maryland side.”