Jared Nickens commits to Maryland
One year ago on the summer circuit, Jared Nickens was a sharp-shooting 6-6 wing with scholarship offers from a number of mid-major Division-I schools.
Three-hundred and sixty-five days later, he is pulling up from behind the three-point line at the Reebok Breakout Classic in Philadelphia with two of his future coaches, Mark Turgeon and Dalonte Hill, looking on.
Between these two summers, Nickens' recruitment had taken off, ultimately culminating in a pledge to Maryland in June.
This July live recruiting period afforded Nickens the first opportunity to play in front of coaches while already knowing where he would be playing his college ball.
"It was a big relief," Nickens told Comcast SportsNet by phone. "I was able to play more freely knowing I didn’t have much to worry about. I was just there to perform better."
According to media reports, Nickens started slow at the Reebok Breakout Classic and was unable to find his groove early, but later found the long-distance stroke that had landed him a scholarship offer from the Terps.
Turgeon and Hill were around for much of the weekend, watching Nickens, fellow 2014 commit Romelo Trimble, and a handful of other prospects on the Maryland radar.
Nickens, Trimble, and Maryland target Chinanu Onuaku were all named all-stars at the event.
Trimble and Nickens have developed a friendship over the course of their respective recruitments and, as Nickens explains it, Trimble was part of the reason he gave Maryland a serious look.
"We talked and he said I should come to Maryland," Nickens said. "But I fell in love with the campus and the coaching and everything from academics to basketball."
Turgeon and the Terrapins were one of the first high-major schools to show interest in him, along with coach Craig Robinson at Oregon State.
"[Maryland] stood out. I just felt loved by them. I felt like they really needed me."
After staying in Philadelphia over the weekend, Nickens and his Sports U (N.J.) AAU teammates travel to Milwaukee for the Under Armour Invitational, now with a major weight off of his shoulders.
"I’m just going to look forward to keep improving and being involved," he said. "That's all."