Terps Targets In Breakout Tournament: Halfway Recap


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Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

With the conclusion of Thursday’s action, we’ve reached the halfway mark of the Reebok Breakout tournament in Philadelphia, PA., so what better time than now to give an update on some of the Terps commits and targets playing?

The Commits:

Romelo Trimble, Team Iversons

After two games, it’s almost undeniable that one of the most impressive players at the Breakout tournament has been Terps 2014 commit Melo Trimble. Trimble has been rising quickly on every major recruiting board, and after two games it’s hard to deny that he might rise even more.

In his first game, Trimble’s shot wasn’t falling as consistently as it typically does, and yet he still managed to make a big impact against Team Kemps. Trimble only connected on 3 of his 10 shots, yet his ability to get to and connect from the charity stripe had him finish as the leading scorer of the game. On the whole, Melo shot 7-of-9 from the free throw line, and combined with a pair of three pointers (on five attempts), helped guide his team to victory.

Perhaps the best part about his first game? His four dimes. Melo seems to be helping his teammates just as much as he is helping himself. You have to like unselfish play at the guard position.

His second game was where he really caught people’s attention. Trimble showed off that “it” factor that scouts seem to love so much again, as he hit a last second shot to give his team a 79-76 victory over Team Reignmen. Talk about clutch.

Not only did Trimble elevate his game when his team needed it most, he put together a phenomenal all-around game as well. Trimble went 4-of-4 from downtown, and 8-of-13 overall from the floor to finish up with 20 points. As is standard with Trimble, he dished out another four dimes to his teammates.

He also managed to show off a bit of theivery, coming up with three steals in his second outing. For Trimble, displaying his versatility against top-notch competition as well as his competitiveness is something that should have Maryland fans salivating.

Jared Nickens, Team Highlights

Joining Trimble at the Breakout tournament is fellow 2014 Terps commit Jared Nickens. The 6’7 swingman from Dirty Jerz started things off slowly in game one, but absolutely exploded in his second outing.

In his first game against Team Questions, Nickens struggled to make an impact with his scoring ability, failing to connect on all but one of his seven shots. It should be noted that six of those came from three point range, too, as that is where Nickens does most of his damage. Star 2014 guard Emmanuel Mudiay got Nickens his looks, but the shots just weren’t falling for him. Part of that is because the team he was playing against (with stars like Rashad Vaughn, Noah Blackwell, and Jeremiah Jefferson) was absolutely loaded, so that has to be taken into account, too.

Still, Nickens did manage to finish with five points and a pair of steals, so it wasn’t an entirely disappointing outing. They also came away with a win, which might be even more important.

His second game, however, is why you don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Nickens showed off that quick release and smooth stroke that made Mark Turgeon place so much value in his game by draining four of his seven three pointers en route to an 18 point outing. Nickens shot 7-for-13 overall, and became an absolute threat on the offensive end. Sure, playing with Mudiay makes life easier given how talented he is, but Nickens rebounded from a tough outing very well.

Speaking of rebounding, Nickens managed to pull down three of them. That isn’t a ton, and Nicken still has work to do in rounding out his game (and his strength), but it’s progress. He’s also officially averaging 1.5 steals per game thus far, suggesting his length is helping with his defensive endeavors.

Overall, Nickens team is 2-0, and that’s thanks in large part to his offensive outburst in game two.

The Targets:

Chinanu Onuaku, Team Niques

In Maryland’s quest for a big man commitment in 2014, Chinanu Onuaku is viewed by many as option 2B after Goodluck Okonoboh and Trayvon Reed. That really shouldn’t be the case, though, as Onuaku is making a name for himself after starting off this year unranked by most recruiting services.

The 6’11 Montrose Christian big man has had an impressive summer, and the Breakout tournament is turning out to be a continuation of that trend. Onuaku started his tournament play off with a very efficient first game for Team Niques. Onuaku connected on 6-of-9 shots for 14 points while going up against the best prospect in the state of Delaware and top 100 player in 2014 class Ben Bentil. He also showed off a wee bit of range by hitting on his lone three point attempt of the game, something that had to please scouts.

Onuaku also displayed the same tenacity and hard-nosed defensive effort that has caused scouts to keep a closer eye on him. Onuaku brought down seven rebounds and also managed a steal, with his rebounding total tying the game high.

During his second performance against Team Shaqs, Chinanu was no less dominant, and even more efficient. Onuaku finished with eight points and six rebounds, hitting on four of his six field goal attempts (one of which was yet another three pointer). He also did what scouts love to see: finish the game with multiple blocks. In this case, he tossed away three against the guard-heavy Shaqs.

Overall, Onuaku is off to a very solid start, and one that is certain to help him continue to rise in the rankings. Onuaku is viewed as the most-ready to contribute right away of the three big men that Maryland happens to be recruiting — at least on the defensive end. His team’s 2-0 record so far is a testament to his ability to be an anchor in the post even against top-tier talent.

Leroy Butts, Team Iversons

Leroy Butts, high school teammate of Romelo Trimble and fellow WCAC champion, is a 2015, 6’7 forward whose been on Maryland’s radar for awhile now. He’s got offers from Georgetown, Maryland, Miami, and Virginia already, and with his size and length he only stands to gain more.

During Team Iversons first game of the event, who do you think was the second leading scorer behind Romelo Trimble? If you said Butts, give yourself a cookie. Leroy put together a nice 13-point performance by hitting six of his nine shots from the floor, most of which came from down low. He has a bit of work to do on his jumper, but the set of tools he’s working with should make that an easy task.  For now, he’ll just continue to finish strong at the rim.

Butts also snagged six boards along the way, giving himself a nice little stat line. Butts is a guy who is always willing to go for the rebound, and even though his frame isn’t massive, his wingspan has to be. His arms seem to stretch from one sideline to the other, and Butts uses those to his advantage.

In his second game, Butts had a slightly less effective outing. Butts finished 4-of-11 from the floor, and couldn’t get a lot going against Team Reignmen, though he still finished with eight points and five rebounds (two of which were offensive). That’s the thing about Butts: he’s always going to help your team win in one way or another, even if it’s not in the scoring department.