Mount St. Joseph hoops standout plans to stay home
Mount St. Joseph rising senior Jalen Smith, the reigning VSN boys' basketball player of the year, verbally committed to the University of Maryland Monday evening.
"I've finally committed," Smith said a tweet which included Smith with his family in a Maryland uniform as well as one with the Terps coaching staff. "I believe that I can academically and athletically achieve my goals at home through my committment to the UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND."
Smith, a 6-foot-9 forward averaged 17 points, nine rebounds and three blocked shots for the No. 3 Gaels (37-4 overall), who swept the MIAA A Conference and Baltimore Catholic regular season and tournament titles. He was named the BCL Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year.
The No. 13 prospect in the Class of 2018 by Rivals.com, Smith pledged to the Terps over 2016 national champ Villanova, Miami, Virginia and Syracuse. He will join Gael teammate Darryl Morsell, who will be a freshman this coming season in College Park.
"Darryl and Jalen are close and had a lot of success at St. Joe," said Gaels coach Pat Clatchey. "The opportunity presented itself at Maryland and he had a great visit."
Smith officially visited College Park last weekend. He's been a high priority for the Terps, with assistant and former St. Frances Academy star Bino Ransom leading the charge, since his sophomore season.
A tenacious backline defender, Smith's offensive game flourished last winter, running the floor and finishing in transition. He also became an effective outside shooter.
In addition to becoming the first player to win the BCL's Player and Defensive Player of the Year honors last season, Smith was named Maryland's Gatorade Player of the Year.
If Smith signs with the Terps, he would be the biggest area prospect to join the Terps since Dunbar's Keith Booth in 1993.
"Too many kids especially in the Baltimore area get a lot of hype and I don't think it's good for them," said Clatchey. "Jalen has kept his eyes on the prize and kept working and getting better. He had a monster season for us last year and is capable of doing it again next year."
With Smith joining Morsell in College Park, speculation has begun to build that the MIAA/Baltimore Catholic League's other top recruiting prize, John Carroll's Immanuel Quickley, may be considering the Terps more closely as well. Earlier this year Quickley narrowed his choices to Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas and Miami. Currently, Quickley is in Egypt preparing to play for the U.S. U19 National Team in the FIBA U19 World Cup, next week. The American squad is coached by Kentucky head coach John Calipari.
Last Updated (Tuesday, 27 June 2017 09:27)