Former Memphis Tigers guard Antonio Barton is a major Terps target. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden–USA TODAY Sports
Yesterday, Maryland target (and former Rutgers PG) Eli Carter decided to continue his basketball career at the University of Florida. Carter chose the Gators over the Terps and now will join a crowded Florida backcourt where minutes will be hard to come by. Make no mistake; Carter has major talent, as evidenced by schools such as Maryland, Texas, and even Duke looking in his direction. The former St. Anthony guard averaged 15 points per game on a dismal Rutgers squad, and Florida (judging by their hot pursuit) still remembered Carter dropping 31 against them in a double overtime UF win his freshman year. Following his visit to Gainesville this past weekend, Carter decided to cancel his Maryland visit and chose to be a Gator for his final two years of eligibility.
Some questioned the Terps involvement with Carter, wondering why Turgeon was after a shoot-first PG whose shooting percentage and assist-to-turnover ratio were not exactly eye-popping? And with two years of eligibility left, would the addition of Carter have affected Maryland’s chances of getting top Terps target Dion Wiley? The fact of the matter is Eli Carter would have been a huge talent upgrade, and more talent is what the Terps need right now. Turgeon and company would have loved to have added Carter, but lets face it: missing on a PG who looks for his own shot is not the end of the world.
With that being said, Turgeon and his staff are still blazing the recruiting trail, handing out offers to every local recruit, it seems. They still have their eyes on a few potential transfers that can help Maryland return to the NCAA Tournament this upcoming season. There are almost 300 transfers out there, which can make it pretty overwhelming for Terps fans to check out realistic targets. Here is a short list of realistic possibilities of recruits that can find their way into the Terps rotation come October:
Antonio Barton (PG, Memphis) – Barton just makes sense; he’s from Baltimore, has family that is close by, he’s the god brother of fellow Terps guard Nick Faust, and plays a position the Terps are in desperate need of. And wouldn’t you know it; Barton wants to go to a school where minutes will be at a premium. Makes sense doesn’t it?
Maryland’s biggest competition will be Kansas State, whose starting PG Angel Rodriguez transferred over a week ago (Miami looks to be the favorite). KSU has the minutes to give Barton, as does Maryland. There’s talk that Syracuse could be in play, but freshman sensation Tyler Ennis (St. Benedict’s Prep) will be the starter, leaving Barton as a backup, which likely means no dice. Therefore it will come down to Maryland and Kansas State. Do not put too much emphasis on the daughter/local/family ties aspects, Barton wants to make it to the show, and he will go to whatever situation that helps him the most.
Josh Davis (PF, Tulane) – This one is kind of all over the place, and Davis’ camp is keeping things close to the chest. The one-time NC State pledge came close to averaging 18 PPG and 11 RPG this past season, and many schools are vying for his services. NC State is still involved, but Maryland is in there battling as well. After the departure of Alex Len, this rebounding extraordinaire would be a perfect addition to the Terps squad. Schools like Gonzaga, San Diego State, Pittsburgh, Iowa State, and a slew of others are being mentioned as well.
Vertrail Vaughns (SG, George Mason) – Maryland is slow-playing this one at the moment, although Vaughns did visit College Park last weekend. The former Texas high school standout is known as a shooter, which would make the Logan Aronhalt comparisons that much more logical. His numbers were not that impressive this past season (only 5 PGG and under 35% shooting from behind the arc), and he started to lose some of his playing time to freshman Patrick Holloway. It’s unclear if his performance was more due to an injury or Paul Hewitt’s system. Vaughns would add depth to the Terps backcourt, but it’s apparent that Turgeon wants to hold this one off until after Barton and Carter’s decisions are made.
It appears that Turgeon and company (following Len’s departure and Howard’s transfer) want to bring in two transfers this season, a PG and a big. The emphasis is on a PG who can run his system, but also will not tie up future scholarships. Barton in particular would be a huge addition to the team, and a player like Davis would only solidify Maryland’s chances of reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three years.