College Basketball Recruiting: Maryland Lands Top Recruit Shaquille Cleare

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 24, 2011

Photo courtesy of
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The University of Maryland announced today that they have received a commitment from Shaquille Cleare. The 6’9” center from Houston will be a huge addition to a team in desperate need of frontcourt help.

ESPN has him ranked as the No. 40 overall recruit for 2012. They describe Cleare as having “good hands, light feet and excellent touch around the basket.” He has a large body and the ability to become one of the best rebounders in the country.

When he arrives, he will instantly help a Maryland team that is down to eight scholarship players for this upcoming season. The team’s frontcourt was weakened when star sophomore center Jordan Williams declared for the NBA draft. This created a domino effect as shortly following this announcement, long-time head coach Gary Williams retired. Two recruits decided to de-commit from the school, leaving the team severely short-handed for this upcoming season.

New head coach Mark Turgeon knows that this will be an uphill battle this upcoming season. As a result, he has hit the recruiting trail hard to improve the future of this team. For this reason, Shaq Cleare’s commitment has deeper importance. The Terrapins are also targeting Cleare’s teammates Aaron and Andrew Harrison. The twins are very highly-ranked players in the 2013 class, and they might feel comfortable playing with their old center.

Top recruits usually like to play with other great players. Few young athletes want to be stuck on a losing team. With Maryland looking at a long 2011-2012 season with its shorthanded roster, it is important to show future recruits that they can compete. With Shaquille Cleare, Maryland fans and top targets know that there will be a winning program on the horizon.