With the early signing period coming to a close, three recruits inked their names into the Maryland Basketball family.
The 2018 recruiting class was set to be a huge step forward for Mark Turgeon and the Maryland program. The Terrapins were able to obtain three verbal commitments before the 2017-18 season tipped off, and still have their chances with other key recruits.
Without a doubt, the biggest of these signees was the 6’10 forward Jalen Smith. Ranked as the 22nd best player in the entire nation, according to 247 sports, Smith is set to make major contributions right when he steps on campus next fall.
Smith was a teammate of Maryland freshman Darryl Morsell at Mount Saint Joseph, which adds an extra bit of chemistry for Terrapin fans to look forward to. The graduations of Michal Cekovsky and Sean Obi after this season will open up the front court competition for Smith to make his presence felt.
Maryland also received a letter of intent from Aaron Wiggins of Greensboro, North Carolina. The 6’6 guard/forward is listed as the 41st best player in 2018, according to 247Sports.
Wiggins is an elite scorer who can provide an immediate impact at either shooting guard or small forward for Turgeon next season. The potential departure of Justin Jackson could leave a role for Wiggins to fill next fall.
The other letter of intent comes kind of close to home. Delaware talent Eric Ayala, who plays for IMG Academy, is ranked 76th in the nation by 247Sports.
Listed as a 6’5 combo guard, Ayala can command the point, or play as a shooting guard. His play style looks very similar to a former Terrapin by the name of Melo Trimble. The way he drives to the hoop, embraces contact, and finishes is reminiscent of Trimble’s outstanding freshman campaign.
Mark Turgeon released a statement about these signees, saying:
"They are three tremendous young men who are going to make outstanding contributions to both our program and University. I’m eager to begin working with them. I’m proud of the efforts of our coaching staff as they’ve identified three special student-athletes with high character who will fit well within our program’s culture."
Recruting is far from over, as Turgeon is also looking at possible commitments from five-star talents, Keldon Johnson and Moses Brown. Those players are ranked 14th and 15th, respectively, in the country for the 2018 class.
Maryland already sports the fifth ranked class, according to 247Sports. If Turgeon can add both of these recruits to the list, the Terrapins could easily be sporting the best class in the nation.