Maryland hoping Harrison twins will be program-changers
Coach Turgeon's looking to build around a core group of players
Maryland needs program-changers.
Looking ahead to the Class of 2013, the Terps need a couple of players who can come in and change the face of the program, but who also have skill and high basketball IQ.
The answer could be the Harrison twins.
Andrew and Aaron Harrison, both 6-foot-5 and out of Richmond (TX) Travis High, are among the top five players in the class.
And Maryland is one of four schools – along with Villanova, Kentucky and Baylor – that the twins are “more than likely going to,” Aaron Harrison Sr. told FiveStarBasketball.com during an exclusive interview.
"I'm from Maryland, I've known [assistant coach] Bino Ranson for a long time and [head coach] Mark [Turgeon], he's been recruiting them since he has been at Texas A&M," Harrison Sr. added.
Going forward, Turgeon and his staff want to build around a core group of players – Terrell Stoglin (if he doesn't go pro),Alex Len, Ashton Pankey, James Padgett, Pe'Shon Howard, Nick Faust and incoming recruits Jake Layman andShaquille Cleare.
The Harrisons are AAU teammates with the 6-9 Cleare on the Houston Defenders, and Harrison Sr. likes how Layman, a Boston Area Basketball Club star, plays.
"They got some players that fit in so well with Aaron and Andrew, like Jake Layman," Harrison Sr. said. "He fits perfect, long player, plays hard, isn't about stats. He's a long 3 who can catch and shoot."
He added: "You have Aaron, Andrew, Jake and then Shaq. Throw that in with the others pieces they have and you have a real good team."
For his part, Cleare is already working on the talented twins.
"Maryland has always been on the list," Harrison Sr. said. "Shaq is their friend, he's recruiting them."
Still, there will be fierce competition for the twins. They are open to all schools and have a ton of offers.
Kentucky, as always, is sure to be a factor.
“Both those kids are program-changers,” one Division 1 assistant told Five Star. “You can give them the ball right away.”
Harrison Sr. doesn't disagree when asked about the strengths o his sons.
"Their ball-handling ability and ability to get to the hoop," Harrison Sr. said. "If they have a smaller guard, they can overpower him. If they have a bigger guard, they can go around him."
TARGETING 2013 TALENT
While the Harrison twins remain Maryland's first priority in 2013, they are involved with a number of other players as well.
Beejay Anya, a 6-8 center out of DeMatha Catholic, is considering the Terps among his many, many offers.
“Coach Turgeon still has a lot of interest in me when Gary Williams left,” Anya told Five Star. “I think he's doing a great job recruiting right now and hopefully Maryland has a great team. They're on my list of schools as of right now.”
Kris Jenkins, a 6-6 power forward out of Washington D.C. Gonzaga, is another player whose stock is rising as a result of his recent play.
"I'm open to anything but just to be able to stay close to D.C., and Maryland, it would be great to play in front of a lot of family and friends and a lot of hometown kids that I grew up with,” Jenkins told Five Star. “But I'm just not going to say that playing at home is where I want to be.
“We're just going to sit back and watch those kids and see how [Coach Turgeon's] team's transformed.”
Harrison Sanford is a reporter for Fivestarbasketball.com. Follow him Twitter: @HarrisonSanford