The first domino in Maryland's 2015 recruiting class could fall next week.
Paul VI (Va.) and Team Takeover AAU guard Franklin Howard, a four-star prospect ranked No. 58 overall in the Class of 2015 according to Rivals.com, will announce his decision on his 17th birthday, April 14, he confirmed to CSN.
Howard, who did not play during his junior season at Paul VI as he recovered from surgery he underwent this past summer to repair a torn left ACL, was cleared by doctor’s last week, eight months after undergoing the procedure.
With the decision approaching, Maryland makes the cut in Howard’s final six schools, along with Georgetown, Virginia, Ohio State, NC State, and Syracuse.
Assistant coach Dustin Clark has been the main recruiter for Howard, the guard told Comcast SportsNet, and the comfortability between the junior and the Maryland program has grown. In addition, Howard’s mom, Gloria, is an alumnus of the university.
“I just really like Coach Turgeon,” he told CSN. “I like the coaching staff and I think they have a great group of guys. I think they have a great relationship with their players.”
One of Maryland’s four signees from the Class of 2014, which ranks among the nation’s best, is guard Dion Wiley. He comes from the same AAU program, Team Takeover. But the question is whether that will aid Maryland at all during the process. The indication from Howard is that it will not necessarily sway him either way.
“Me and Dion are friends,” Howard said. “But we never talk about Maryland like that.”
By the time Howard steps foot on a college campus--wherever that is--the Maryland roster as it stands will look different. Leading scorer Dez Wells will have graduated, along with sixth man Nick Faust. Seth Allen will be a senior, Roddy Peters will be a junior, and incoming guards Wiley and Romelo Trimble will be sophomores.
At 6-5, Howard is a combo guard who is working to develop the point guard skills that would make him stand out at the college level, considering his size.
“Throughout my career, I kind of had the ball in my hands most of the time. I just think I kind of had a point guard mindset and was kind of molded into being a shooting guard and a shooting mindset.
“I think, at the end of the day, I’m still kind of a pass-first combo right now. I was always kind of one at heart, I was just kind of tall.”
That process has been set back with his injury, but he and Team Takeover return to the floor on April 25 in Sacramento, Calif., for the first stop of Nike’s summer-long EYBL tour.