Josh Verlin (@jmverlin)
Thanks to another good performance at the Fab48 event out in Las Vegas, St. Anthony/Sports U wing Markis McDuffie picked up two high-level offers to add to his list.
Maryland extended a scholarship on Monday afternoon, a day after Wichita State. They’re the 14th and 15th schools to offer McDuffie, a sharpshooting 6-7 wing whose size on the perimeter has a lot of mid-to-high-major schools after his services.
“That’s actually the first time they’ve called me, but they were interested in me at Reebok,” McDuffie said about Maryland. “They’ve been talking to my coach a couple of times.”
The Terrapins (17-15 last season) made a move from the Atlantic Coast Conference to the Big Ten this offseason, though McDuffie at first called them an “ACC” school. When informed that they were making the change, he didn’t seem to mind (“that’s good, that’s great”).
More importantly for McDuffie is the presence of his friend and former Sports U teammate, Jared Nickens, an incoming freshman at the school this fall. Nickens, a Westtown School (Pa.) product, is like McDuffie a lanky shooter who’s best suited as an off-guard or a small forward.
“We both play the same [position], we’re both very similar, skinny, 6-7 guards who can shoot the ball,” he said, but added “I think I could play alongside him, that would be great.”
Wichita State might not be in a power conference, but they’ve got plenty of name recognition after last season’s 35-1 record and the 2013 run to the Final Four. Under head coach Gregg Marshall, the Shockers have become one of the top “mid-major” schools in the country, and though the Wichita campus is a little further than McDuffie had in mind, their success on the court is too much to ignore.
“I know they’re actually a really good program, they’ve ben good for the past couple of years, really good,” he said. “Got a couple of NBA guys, Cleanthony Early [drafted 34th overall this year], a few other guys, they’re pretty good. I mean, that is a little too far, but it’s a great school and I’m interested in it. My options are open right now.”
McDuffie’s next step is to figure out where he wants to visit, and most of that is yet to be done. The only other school to offer during July was Saint Joseph’s–home to another Sports U product, rising sophomore DeAndre Bembry, though just like Maryland and Wichita State he wasn’t ready to say whether or not he’d be visiting the school in the coming weeks and months.
There was one school, however, that he mentioned taking an official visit to.
“I’m thinking about going on an official visit to VCU, I think,” he said. “That’s the only one I’m thinking about right now, I’m not sure about the other ones. We’re going to make some plans for that.”
He was still undecided on a few things, including which schools he wanted to see before school started and when he would make his decision; his college choice “could” come before the early signing period–but not necessarily.
“It’s all in the air–maybe a little late, not too late,” he said. “Probably the middle of the season, I should know where I’m going.”
One thing he does know is what factors matter in his recruitment.
“Great academics, a school that can help me in the future; nice campus, a school where I can fit in very well,” he said. “Good people, great coaching staff that’ll also get me better and prepare me for the next level.”