from Dave Lomonico of terrapintimes.com
Maryland is attempting to add one more piece to its four-man 2019 recruiting class, and head coach Mark Turgeon’s top target appears to be Compass Prep (Chandler, Ariz.) big man Chol Marial. Turgeon went out to watch the 7-foot-2, 220-pound Marial work out April 23, extended an offer, and will be hosting the recruit in the very near future.
“Coach Turgeon came out here and really liked what Chol could do, and they set up an [official] visit,” Compass Prep coach Ed Gipson said. “The visit is going to be [April 25-27]. We talked about it, and [the Terps] could be a good fit for Chol.”
Gipson said Marial thoroughly enjoyed his meeting with Turgeon and liked what the headman told him about the Terps. The Compass Prep coach said the two had an amicable conversation, with Turgeon expressing his interest and “going over all the basics” about Maryland.
“Chol really liked Coach Turgeon and what he was about. He also really liked what Maryland could offer him, just with the chance to play right away and the big-man development,” Gipson said. “[Marial knows] the one big man at Maryland, [Bruno Fernando], and is excited to see the school himself. And it’s a big-time program in the Big Ten, and Chol’s pretty familiar with them. He’s excited.”
A native of South Sudan who arrived in the United States at 14 years old, Marial first attended Cheshire Academy in Connecticut. But after one year there, he headed down to Florida, where he played at Arlington Country Day (Jacksonville, Fla.). Marial spent just one season at Arlington, though, before shifting over to IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.).
By the time 2018 rolled around, Marial was a touted recruit, ranking among the top center prospects nationally, per 247. Unfortunately for him, however, he suffered an ankle injury and played in just a handful of games for IMG. Marial’s ranking, and recruitment, fell off — especially since he wasn’t able to participate in AAU ball.
Marial was content to attempt a comeback at IMG, but he had family out in Arizona and trained in the desert during the offseason. The nearby Compass Prep coaches were already quite familiar with Marial, and they eventually convinced him to play his final high school season in Chandler, Ariz.
The 7-footer didn’t see game action until late December, however, as he was still recovering from a myriad of lower-body injuries. Thus, he continued to fly under the proverbial radar, despite his eight-foot wingspan and vast potential. (There were also questions whether or not he’d qualify academically. But Gipson said Marial is “good to go” with the NCAA.)
Marial flashed during January and February, though — he averaged 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks per game — and began catching the eye of college coaches once again. Turgeon and Maryland were the most recent to offer, while SMU and UCF extended verbals as well. Gipson said coaches from Illinois, Iowa, Arizona State, Georgetown and more have all come through and are showing interest.
“When you see Chol, it really doesn’t take much time to decide, ‘OK, this kid can really go.’ Chol, he can really do it all. He’s a terrific defender and a game-changer on that end,” Gipson said. “He blocks shots like crazy and it’s impossible to penetrate against him with his size and length. Then on the opposite end he can score facing up or with his back to the basket. He’s really good around the bucket with his feet and ability to finish. He’s an excellent passer, he runs the floor well, he has great court vision and he has a high IQ. Plus, Chol can step out and stretch the floor. At the next level, he’s more of a ‘4/5’ man than a stretch-4, but he does have the ability to stretch the floor if need be.
“Chol does need to get even stronger and become more physical, but all the tools are there. He has [one-and-done] potential.
While Maryland would seem to be in a strong spot for Chol should he indeed make it to College Park, Md., Gipson said his budding center is “still pretty wide open” in his recruitment. The coach said more attractive suitors are bound to materialize as coaches stream through Compass Prep.
“It’s just a lot coming at him,” Gipson said. “Right now, he only has the one visit scheduled to Maryland, but I’d expect him to take a couple more before he [commits]. We’re talking about other possible [trips] now. He’s still just familiarizing himself with the whole process.”
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